Sunday, August 28, 2011

Farm Talk: The Garlic Story

Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Update: The Garlic Story

In 2005, we launched the Global Garlic Project with 100 bulbs. 10 bulbs each of 10 different varieties: Persian, Thai, Tibetan, Korean, Italian, Sicilian, Ukrainian, Russian, Yugoslavian, and Salt Spring Island. As 1 bulb has on average 6 cloves, we planted our 600 hundred cloves, and in the summer of 2006, we harvested 600 bulbs. We took the largest 250 of these bulbs, separated them into cloves, and planted 1500 in the fall of 2006. In the summer of 2007, we harvested 1500 bulbs. We set aside the largest 650 bulbs, and planted 4000 cloves in the fall of 2007. In the summer of 2008, we harvested 4000 bulbs. Of those 4000 bulbs, we took 2500 bulbs, or 15,000 cloves, and replanted them. In the summer of 2009, we harvested 15,000 bulbs. In 4 years, we had grown our crop from 100 bulbs to 15,000. We were finally able to begin distribution, which we did through bulks orders, farmers markets, and CSAs. Of those 15,000 bulbs, we took the largest 3500, or 21,000 cloves, and replanted them in the fall of 2009. This led to the 2010 harvest of 21,000 bulbs. Last fall, we planted the largest 4500 of these bulbs, or 27,000 cloves, which led to our harvest of 27,000 bulbs this summer! Over the years, we have added some additional varieties. A few years ago we added Israeli and Chinese, and this is the first year we are ready to distribute it. Last season, we added Romanian, Japanese, Siberian, Northern Quebec, and Argentinian. However, these are many years away from distribution. We hope to continue to secure garlic seed from various places around the world. What’s the difference between all the varieties? Some are hot and spicy, some are mild, some are sweet. Some varieties have many cloves per bulb (Sicilian can have up to 16), while others, like the Russian, can have 2 or 3 huge cloves. Colours and shape vary as well. We love the Global Garlic Project, because it promotes seed diversity, enriches the taste of our food, promotes health and wellness, and because it’s so fun to cook with so many different types of garlic! Our garlic can be accessed at our CSAs, the Leslieville and Sorauren Farmers Markets (available starting Sunday, Sept 4th), and by placing a bulk order. If you are interested in placing a bulk order, you can do so at http://bit.ly/12wbLh. For more info about the various varieties, and their unique qualities, please visit http://bit.ly/UGW2Q. If you are interested in growing your own garlic this year, check out the following link for basic growing instructions: http://bit.ly/tyJiz. Looking forward to sharing in the garlic harvest with you!


Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: Garlic Dipping Sauce:
A fun and simple way to experiment with the different flavours of each variety. When having a tasting session, make a generous amount of the basic sauce. Then the only differences in flavour are from the differences in the varieties of garlic. The proportions of yogurt and mayonnaise may be varied. For vegans, substitute mustard or soy-yogurt for yogurt.

For the basic sauce combine:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


Divide the base into as many dishes as you have garlic varieties you want to compare. To each dish add enough crushed garlic of one variety to get a good but not overpowering garlic taste and label the dish with the variety name. Dip raw or steamed veggies in the sauces.


That's it from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


Daniel

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Farm Talk: Preserving the Harvest

Hello Farm Folk,

Please help others to learn about what we are up to, and how to get involved: 1. Twitter (
http://twitter.com/): Follow us at @thecuttingveg; 2. Facebook: Like us at http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ, 3. E-mail this newsletter to anyone who may be interested; 4. Share the link to this newsletter (http://bit.ly/ga5Am0) on Facebook or Twitter. 5. Bring a friend with to the farm or a CSA pick-up. Thanks for helping us to spread the word!

The McVean Farm Harvest Table: One of the Great Events of the Year!:
On August 28th, 2011, Chef Yasser Qahawish will prepare a unique and delicious 4-course family-style feast cooked over charcoal. The meal will feature the amazing diversity of fresh produce from the McVean farm and local artisans, paired with local sustainable wines and beer. Join us at 3pm for a walking or wagon tour of the farm stopping for hors d'oeuvres and to meet our passionate hard working farmers. Tickets are $100.00 per person (all wine and beer included), children under 12 are free. All proceeds will go to support the McVean Farm and FarmStart's other programs and services for new, ecological farmers. For more information and to reserve your spot at our harvest table visit www.harvesttable.ca or call 519.836.7046 ext.103.

Farm Update:

August can often be a difficult month for organic farmers in Southern Ontario, as it's when burnout can begin to set-in. One can feel like they've been working so hard for so long, while still having a few full months ahead to contend with. Certainly I have experienced this in past seasons. However, this year, with the addition of two amazing Organic Farmers to the team --- Paul Clarkson and Jessica Gibson, a phenomenal Intern Team, an incredible Volunteer team, and with our commitment to balance and wellness...no burnout to report. Just happy people, plants, and produce! Meanwhile, while we are at the peak of the harvest season, many of us are putting energy into preserving the harvest, so we can enjoy local, organic goodies throughout the winter. Personally, my freezer is stuffed with zucchini (grated raw and ziplocked), swiss chard & kale (blanched or steamed, cold water bath, and ziplocked), garlic scapes and strawberries (too late), and homemade pesto (both basil and parsley varieties). Next up for me, is freezing more zucchini, and chard, freezing tomatoes once they are in season (top cut off and ziplocked), drying some mint for winter teas, and putting away for storage some potatoes, onions, winter squash, and garlic. Of course, it'll be a huge treat to have access to local, organic produce through the winter; but in the meantime, preserving the harvest is so much fun!


Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

RECIPE: Veggie Curry (from www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
4 carrots, diced
2 cups green beans, halved
1 small cauliflower, separated into florets (or subsitute eggplant, broccoli, or peppers)
1 large baking potato, cut into small cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and grated
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
4 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Sautee the onion, garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and mix. Stir occasionally.

Cook for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Make sure the potato is cooked thoroughly.

Enjoy with rice.

That's the news from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


Daniel

P.S. If you haven't checked out our podcast yet, you can do so at http://www.thecuttingveg.com/podcast

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Farm Talk: The Garlic Harvest is Done!

Hello Farm Folk,

Podcast:
Check out episode 4 of The Cutting Veg Podcast "Flowers", as Eric discovers the power that flowers offer in courtship: http://www.thecuttingveg.com/podcast

Farm Update:
Thanks to the hard work of our amazing team of volunteers, interns, and staff, we completed the garlic harvest on Monday. We now have approximately 22,000 bulbs in the barn curing (hanging to dry). Photos of the garlic curing can be seen here: http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ . The curing process is the crucial last phase of growing great garlic. During the 3-4 week curing period, the energy from the leaves and stalk go into the bulbs as they dry. This will provide the bulbs with its last boost of nutrition, flavour, and size, and promote long-lasting storability. Once our garlic is cured, we will clean and label them, and the process which began almost 12 months ago, with preparing beds for planting, will be complete. Then, we can begin to distribute our scrumptious varieties. This year, available for distribution, we will have Israeli, Korean, Persian, Russian, Salt Spring Island, Sicilian, Chinese, Tibetan, Ukrainian, and former Yugoslavia. You will be able to get our garlic at our CSAs, and by placing a bulk order at http://www.thecuttingveg.com/global-garlic. Now that the garlic harvest is done, our attention turns to "Fall Planting." It's time to get the Arugula, Radishes, Turnips, Asian Greens, and Salad Greens into the ground.. There's several crops that we can all plant in August for an autumn harvest. In addition to the crops mentioned above, other options include Bok Choy, Spinach, and Peas. Last season we planted salad greens as late as mid-September, and were able to get a harvest in mid-October. Happy planting!

Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

RECIPE:Tzatziki Sauce (from www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
1 (8 oz) container plain yogurt
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
2 large cucumbers
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt
Pepper
  • Shred the cucumbers and cover with a thin layer of salt. Allow to stand for an hour, until the cucumbers begin to drain. Discard of the liquid.
  • Combine the sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, dill, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor.
  • Add yogurt and cucumbers to the blended mixture. Stir with a spatula.
  • Serve chilled.

That's the news from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


Daniel

Monday, August 8, 2011

Farm Talk: The Raindance

Hello Farm Folk,

Please help others to learn about what we are up to, and how to get involved: 1. Twitter (http://twitter.com/): Follow us at @thecuttingveg; 2. Facebook: Like us at http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ, 3. E-mail this newsletter to anyone who may be interested; 4. Share the link to this newsletter (http://bit.ly/ga5Am0) on Facebook or Twitter. 5. Bring a friend with to the farm or a CSA pick-up. Thanks for helping us to spread the word!

Garlic Harvest Photos (courtesy of Tom Nolan):
Check out some photos of our garlic harvest, including the thousands of bulbs hanging in the barn to cure: http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ

Farm Update:
Over the last couple weeks, we've been blessed with well-timed rains. Farmers are funny, when it comes to rain. We want it exactly at the right moment. We don't want it when we're working in the fields, but we want just when we leave to go home. We want it when the plants are thirsty, and then not until the plants are thirsty again. Often, we want it and don't want it at the same time. When our plants are needing a drink, we are desperate for it to rain...unless we are running a Farmers Market or a CSA, so that more people will attend. We want it to rain for our farm in Sutton, where the soil is sandy and dries so quickly, and at the same time, we don't want it to rain in Brampton, where the soil is clay, and often over-saturated. This raindance of competing needs goes on inside of farmers, and challenges our emotional wellness. For farmers, how well our crops are doing often has a big impact on how we experience life. Lousy crops and plants that aren't thriving can give us the blues, and dampen our spirits. Happy plants and bumper crops lead to happiness, joy, and inspiration. Of course, the challenge is to maintain emotional stability throughout the ups and downs of each season. Organic Farming truly is a spiritual practice for many of us. Whether we like it or not, our inner world will be challenged. Some seasons, the timing of the rain seems to work out just perfectly. In 2008 and 2009, it seemed to rain exactly when we wanted it to. It would rain every week or so, but not in between. It would rain just as we were leaving the farm, after a hard days work. In 2010, we were thrilled when April was super dry, allowing us to get a major jumpstart on the planting. Then it rained almost every day in June, and drowned our plants. This year, following way too much spring rains, and summer drought, it has been a wonderful treat to get some rain exactly when we need it over the last couple weeks. These well-timed rains have saved us countless hours of work irrigating, and is making our plants very happy. The Hot Peppers, Eggplants, Tomatoes, Winter Squash, Basil, Zukes, Cukes, etc, are all looking healthier than ever. In farming, and in life, we don't always get what we want exactly when we want it. This challenges us to practice acceptance, patience, trust, etc. But in those moments, where we get when we want, when we want it....it feels pretty damn good!


Turnip the Heat:
Market attendees write about discovering the joys of cooking with and eating turnips from The Cutting Veg: http://bit.ly/nL30W7

That's not Trash, that's Dinner:
Interesting New York Times article on using all parts of your veg: http://nyti.ms/ruutkY

Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

RECIPE: BAKED SQUASH PASTA (from http://www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • 2 cups arugula, kale, or chard leaves
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups dry pasta (e.g. spaghetti or fusilli)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Cut the acorn squash into half. Take out the seeds using a large spoon.

Bake in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. Use a fork to determine if it is ready (it

should be tender).

Let the squash cool and then puree it in the blender.

Put some water to boil for the pasta.

Sautee the onions in a large pan, over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until

tender.

Add the garlic and sage. Stir well. Add the milk and bring to a boil.

Add in the arugula and cook until wilted.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. The desired texture should be al dente.

In a large bowl, mix the vegetable stock, pureed squash and salt. Add to the onion mix.

Remove from heat when the mixture begins to bubble.

Add the pasta to the pan and mix.

Transfer all the ingredients to a shallow casserole dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and

walnuts on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

That's the update from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


Daniel

Monday, August 1, 2011

Farm Talk

Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Photos:
Check out some recent photos of the farm and our veg at http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ

Farm Update:
The Garlic harvest is going great so far! We've harvested 14 beds (100ft x 4ft), or approximately 15,000 bulbs. Only 10,000 or so to go! When distributing our garlic, we grade them as large, medium, and small. Due to the extreme weather conditions of this year (endless winter and spring precipitation, followed by summer drought), I was concerned that we would end up with mostly smalls. However, while we may not have as many larges as in past seasons, they are primarily mediums which are looking very healthy and robust. The Garlic harvest will continue next Sunday and Monday. See volunteer opportunites below, if you want to join us for the final stretch of the garlic harvest, or just participate in our general farm activities of harvesting, weeding, watering, etc. Hooray for the garlic crop!


Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

RECIPE: Hearty Vegetable Cacciatore (from http://marniwasserman.com/)
This can be served on top of chicken, fish or tofu. You can even throw in a can of beans and make it like a vegetarian chili!

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 cup diced leeks or onions

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

3 cups mushrooms

½ cup finely chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil

2 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano

3 bay leaves

2 cups tomato sauce

1 tsp salt

½ cup finely chopped parsley

1-2 cups of cooked white beans


  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and cook garlic and leek or onion over medium heat until soft.
  2. Add carrot, celery, mushrooms, basil, oregano, bay leaves and tomato sauce, beans salt and parsley.
  3. Cook for 15-30 minutes until moisture has evaporated and dish is reduced and thickened.


Optional:

  1. Bake in oven (350F) for 15 minutes until heated through
  2. Serve along side whole grain pasta or enjoy on its own.

That's all the news from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


Daniel