Sunday, October 30, 2011

Farm Talk: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Hello Farm Folk,


With the core of the farming season now complete, this will be our last weekly edition of "Farm Talk" for 2011. We will be in touch periodically throughout the winter, to let you know how plans for the 2012 season are progressing.


Farm Update:

The CSAs are done for 2011, the Internship program is complete. All of our heat loving plants (eg. tomatoes, zucchini, basil, etc), have been hit by frost and died. Our 45,000 garlic cloves have all been planted and mulched. In short, the core farming season is done! We will still be on farm throughout November --- harvesting for our winter farmers markets, and moving our supplies from the Brampton farm to the Sutton location. However, for the first time since January, when the planning and marketing process began (goal setting, crop planning, distribution planning, and bringing the team together), the pressure is off. No need for regular 5am-8pm workdays, no need for 6 day work weeks every week. Just the low-pressure wind down of November, and the deep slumber of December. The farm, and the farmers, are being put to bed.


Reflections on 2011:

In running The Cutting Veg, I focus on three core areas: growing veg, growing a sustainable growing business, and growing people. It has been well documented that it's been a difficult and disappointing growing season. The abundance of winter and spring precipitation saturated our clay soil for too long, stunting the growth of our plants. For the "growing veg" part of my job description, it was a very disappointing year. The business side is tied to 2 key factors: CSA members, and the harvest. I can't complain about the CSA memberships --- to be at 300 members (total of our 4 locations) after 3 years is pretty strong. However, the poor harvest necessitated outsourcing much more veg than anticipated, making it an unsatisfactory year financially. A stepping stone year indeed, but disappointing in and of itself. While the "growing veg" and "growing a sustainable business" parts of my job description didn't play out as I hoped, I am thrilled by the "growing people" side. The "people" can be boiled down to CSA members, market-goers, interns, volunteers, staff, and supporters. Throughout the season, wherever I spent my day, I could see the people growing. The volunteer who came out week after week because it helped with her depression. The Interns who gained clarity on their life path. The newsletter readers who felt more connected to the growing season and natural cycles through the weekly updates. The staff who found their calling. The CSA members who took pleasure in local, organic flavours, and meaning in being part of something good for the world. The kids who came to the farm or the CSA, and deepened their connection to nature, and where their food comes from. Great growing seasons and financial abundance will come. In 2011, as a community, we grew people.


Looking Forward: Where to get your veg this winter:

We have been blessed with an influx of farmers markets in the GTA, and many of them run during the winter. Throughout the winter, there's tons of great local, organic veg available, including salad greens, sprouts, beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, winter squash, and so much more. The Cutting Veg will be at 99 Sudbury Market (http://bit.ly/v3l6Qi) on Sundays and the Sorauren Farmer's Market (http://bit.ly/Tw2DZ) on Mondays, where we will have our garlic, salad mix, root vegetables, winter squash and more. For a complete listing of farmers markets in the GTA, including the winter markets, visit http://bit.ly/vMJsIl.


Recipe: Marinated Kale Slaw Salad (from marniwasserman.com)

1 bunch of kale (any variety)

1 fennel (optional)

1 head of cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

1 beet shredded

2 tbsp hemp seeds

½ cup hemp oil

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

2-4 Tablespoons honey

1 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, toss in all ingredients (except the hemp seeds), squeezing as you mix to “wilt” the kale.

Allow marinating in fridge for a few minutes – or up to an hour, mixing in the hemp seeds just before serving.


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


Daniel

Monday, October 24, 2011

Farm Talk: The Garlic Planting is Done!


Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Update:
The Garlic planting is done! Over the course of the last two weeks, we have managed to plant 24 beds (approx 150ft x 4ft), including 19 different varieties. And we surpassed our goal of 40,000 cloves planted, totaling approximately 45,000. Starting with 100 bulbs in 2005, to have grown to 45,000 (which we will harvest next summer) is very exciting. Each of the beds is mulched with a thick layer of straw, which will perform many functions. First, it will provide some insulation for the garlic from the cold of the winter. In the spring and summer, the straw mulch will both suppress the weeds, and help retain moisture. Thus, by mulching thickly, we will barely need to weed, and never need to water this crop. Additionally, the straw will eventually break down and provide the soil with organic matter and nutrients. If you are growing garlic at home, you can use leaves to mulch with. The only thing to be aware of in mulching with leaves is that they can form an impenetrable mat, so you need to fluff them up in the spring. For garlic growing instructions, visit http://bit.ly/tyJiz. With the garlic planting complete, the last big task of the season is done. This week will be our last week of CSAs for the 2011 season, and farmers markets will continue into December. Our attention now turns to clean up, and preparations for the 2012 growing season. And rest!

Recipe: MUSHROOM Pâté (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)

1 large onion, minced, (or 1 bunch of green onions)

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 Tbsp olive oil

4 cups mushrooms, sliced

½ cup ground walnuts or almonds

½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp ground flaxseeds

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

Salt

Ø Sautee the mushrooms, onion and garlic in olive oil over med-low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender.

Ø Mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Ø Throw everything, including the mushroom mix, into the food processor. Blend until a puree forms.

Ø Serve with warm baguette or crackers.


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


Daniel



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Farm Talk


Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update:
I had forgotten how rewarding the garlic planting is. We began last Sunday --- 12 people planting and mulching. It was gorgeous out, and by the hottest hours of the day, it felt as though it were summer again. By 3pm, we had about 12,000 cloves in the ground. Five beds had been mluched with straw to knee height. Monday we were a smaller crew --- about 5 of us. It was another staggering day, requiring hats, sunscreen, and lots of water. This is our first garlic planting at the Sutton farm, and the soil texture is...beyond words. Putting ones hands in the soil as you plant each clove feels so therapeutic. By the end of Monday, we had planted another 6000 or so cloves, and mulched 2 more beds. The garlic planting was put on hold for Tuesday and Wednesday, as we focused on harvesting for our CSAs. We got back at it on Thursday, with a crew of four, and by the end of the day, we had topped 25,000 cloves planted. At this time of year, my garlic planting addiction emerges, and I just want to plant more, more, more. We will continue planting and mulching over the next week, and are clearly on track to meet our goal of 40,000 cloves planted. After a farming season that has been challenging physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially....the garlic planting is reminding me how much I love growing veg.

Three Happy CSA Members:
Check out the attached photo!

The Get Well Stay Well Guide:
Check out this fantastic guide to staying healthy, via Lisa Borden at Borden Communications + Design (www.bordencom.com): www.scribd.com/doc/68636136/The-Get-Well-Stay-Well-Guide

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: CARROT RAISIN SALAD (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
6 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1 cup raisins

½ cup walnuts, chopped

2 large apples, peeled and grated

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well.

Serve chilled as an appetizer, or dessert.

Tip: it is best to grate the apples last as they turn brown the quickest. Sprinkle with some extra lemon juice to avoid discoloration.

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

Daniel


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Farm Talk


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 Planting continues:
Please join us on the farm in Sutton this Sunday, Oct. 9th, and Monday, Oct. 10th from 7:30am-3:30pm for the garlic planting. This will be the 1st time we are planting our crop at the Sutton farm. In addition to planting our staple favourites, including Persian Garlic, Tibetan, Korean, Israeli, Sicilian, etc, we are adding 4 new varieties to the mix this year: Portuguese, Hungarian, German, and French Pink. In all, we will be planting 20 varieties, originating from all over the world. Our goal is to plant 40,000 cloves this fall, which will turn into 40,000 bulbs next summer! If you would like to join us for this annual event, please email 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 this weekend!

Farm Update:
After several days of working in the cold, rainy weather, we're thrilled by the return of the sun and warmth. The plants aren't minding one bit either. The zucchini plants have shocked us by growing new leaves, and starting a new round of production. Among the heat lovers, the hot peppers, eggplants, and beans continue to produce as well. Meanwhile, the fall crops are still coming on strong. The Asian greens are especially luscious, and the lettuce continues to thrive. The radishes are abundant, and it looks like the fall turnips --- everyone's favourite crop --- are going to produce after all. We are also experimenting with a fall crop of green onions --- we planted some the first week of September. While they were slow to germinate, many have emerged now, and we're hoping to have some available for harvest in the next couple weeks. Further, the garlic planting starts today. 40,000 cloves is the goal! It will continue on Monday, and over the next couple weeks, so let us know if you'd like to participate. All and all, it's the homestretch on the farm with lots to plant, and lots to harvest!

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: Vegetarian Chili with 50 Cloves of Garlic (via Marilyn Cukier, CSA member)

2 eggplants, about 1 ½ lb (750 g)

2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

3 Onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

50 cloves garlic (approx), peeled

1 sweet green pepper, sliced

1 sweet red pepper, sliced

2 Tbsp chilli powder

1 tsp each: cumin and dried oregno

½ tsp each: dried thyme and salt

1 lb (500 g) mushrooms, quartered if large

1 cup green beans, in 1 inch pieces

Two 28 oz/796 mL cans tomatoes, undrained

1 ½ cups white wine

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 cup corn kernels

19 oz/540 mL can chick-peas, drained

350 g package frozen lima beans

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Cut eggplant into ½-inch cubes; place in colander set over bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 30 minutes to drain any bitter juices. Rinse; drain well. Meanwhile, in a 6-quat heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions for about 10 minutes or until tender but not brown, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add minced garlic and jalapeno peppers; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add whole garlic cloves, sweet peppers and drained eggplant; cook over medium heat, stirring to mix well, for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and salt; mix well. Add mushrooms, green beans, tomatoes breaking up, wine and tomato paste; bring to a boil, stirring, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes or until garlic is very tender and chili is thickened. Stir in corn, chick-peas and lima beans; cover and simmer for another 15 minutes to blend and heat through lima beans. Stir in half of the cilantro. Garnish bowls of chilli with remaining cilantro.

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

Daniel


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Farm Talk: Join us for the Garlic Planting!

Hey 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!

Global Garlic Planting this coming weekend:
Please join us on the farm in Sutton on Sunday, Oct. 9th, and Monday, Oct. 10th from 7:30am-3:30pm for the garlic planting. This will be the 1st time we are planting our crop at the Sutton farm. In addition to planting our staple favourites, including Persian Garlic, Tibetan, Korean, Israeli, Sicilian, etc, we are adding 4 new varieties to the mix this year: Portuguese, Hungarian, German, and French Pink. In all, we will be planting 20 varieties, originating from all over the world. Our goal is to plant 40,000 cloves this fall, which will turn into 40,000 bulbs next summer! If you would like to join us for this annual event, please email 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).

Farm Update:
With the onset of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, it is a time for self-reflection and introspection, looking back over the past year. Whether you are Jewish or not, Autumn lends itself to self-reflection. In the process, our relationship with food may receive some attention: Do I make it a priority to sit down with loved ones for meals regularly? Do I grow my own food, or support those who grow sustainably? Is my diet based in whole foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables? Do I teach others how to grow, cook, or eat healthy foods? Do I support an organisation that advocates for policy change around food issues (through my work, volunteering, or financially)? Do I preserve local, organic foods -- through canning, drying, freezing, or storing? In other words, do I bring intention to my relationship with food and am I using this relationship as a tool for personal and community development & transformation? None of us have "got it right", but all of us do have the opportunity in this year to come to deepen our own relationship with food, thereby making a difference in the world. If the purpose of dipping apple slices into honey on Rosh Hashanah is to bring about a sweet year, then it follows that it is preferable for us to eat apples that were grown in a way that is "sweet" for all living creatures. One of my greatest pet-peeves is seeing apples from New Zealand, Africa, and South America in the grocery store. In Southern Ontario we have an ideal climate for growing apples. Thank you for choosing to eat local, organic foods, thereby supporting an eco-system that truly is "sweet" for all.

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: APPLE POTATO SOUP (from http://www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
3 medium apples, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes
Spices of choice (optional)
  • Add 4 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the bouillon cubes. Mix well.
  • Throw in the diced apples and potatoes (and any spices you like). Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Mash the soup using a potato masher, or throw in the food processor to get a smoother consistency.

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

Daniel

P.S. Hope to see ya on the farm in Sutton for the garlic planting!