Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Farm Talk: Looking back on the 2012 Season

Hello Farm Folk,

Thank You for your Support
On behalf of The Cutting Veg team, we would like to thank you for your incredible support this season. Whether it was your kind emails or words at the CSA, your help on the farm or with the CSA pick-up, the recipes your shared, or your financial support, your actions have made a HUGE difference this season. For local, organic farming, for the health of our soil, for your health and family, for our community, for future generations, for our six different donation partners and the communities they serve, for the ecology.... Thank you for putting the "Support" in Community Supported Agriculture, and for taking action to make our world a better place.

Reflections on the 2012 Growing Season
I wish that I could say that it was a wonderful growing season, but it wasn't. While a few crops were fantastic, I would estimate that the farm produced only 1/4 - 1/3 of what we had hoped for. No big mystery --- the lack of rain + inability to irrigate. The pond from which we irrigate was dry due to little winter, spring, and summer precipitation and this had serious effects on many of our veggies’ growth/development.

I wish that I could say that I felt thrilled about what we provided our CSA members with each week, but I didn't. I am happy that we were able to provide very good quality, quantity, and selection each week. However, I hoped to provide more --- diversity and volume. Yet, to be an organic farmer, and a member of a CSA, is to accept that we cannot control the outcome of the harvest. While I wish the 2012 harvest had been more abundant, I do feel great about our efforts. The team worked their butts off all season --- in all kinds of extreme weather conditions --- and we fed our community to the best of our ability.

In spite of the challenges, it has been heart-warming to see our members respond with so much support for the challenges farmers face. Beyond their weekly supply of veg, we've seen more and more members caring about the wholeness of what we do: the weekly donations, the caring for the soil, the training of new interns and future farmers... Further, I am happy to say that in spite of the disappointments in veggie harvests, I have absolutely loved farming this season. It’s easy to be happy when things are going well, but it’s an accomplishment when one can respond to failures with joy. So, while the amount of veg we have produced and provided this season has not met all of my hopes, my ability to enjoy the season regardless, and the support witnessed from our members toward the farm and the food system as a whole have been huge and humbling victories.

Accomplishments
A list of some of the accomplishments from the 2012 season, that we, as a community, can feel great about:
• Organic produce donations to 6 community partners weekly, all of whom serve vulnerable populations. A total of 132 different donations. An additional 15-20 donations were made following our farmers markets.
• Collaborated with Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs, Park Road Healing Arts, Temple Sinai, Holy Blossom Temple, Elm Grove Farm, and Shaar Shalom Synagogue to facilitate 6 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs weekly, from June to October (22 weeks), feeding 385 member families each week.
• Provided over 60 different veg varieties to our CSA members over the course of the season.
• Trained and guided 10 interns in the basics of organic farming, while supporting them with their personal and professional development, as well as their relationship with food.
• Supported 100+ new volunteers to develop farming skills and knowledge.
• Teamed up with garden educator, Jane Hayes, to guide the residents at two different condo buildings in the installation of new gardens, and to train residents to manage the gardens independently.
• Hosted a special education class from Sutton High School on the farm.
• Launched a new line of Organic Pesto (more to come in 2013)
• Participated in the Sorauren Farmers Market, and the Wychwood Farmers Market throughout the season.
• Put infrastructure in place at our new farm, including a 24ft x 144ft greenhouse, new tractor, deer fencing, cold storage, electricity, water, tilling up 11 new acres, etc.
• The addition of perennial crops to the farm, including 1.5 acres of asparagus, 1/4 acre of strawberries, and some oregano, chives, sage, lavender, and rosemary.
• Planted 60,000 cloves of organic garlic, which will be harvested in summer, 2013.
• Added 300 yards of compost to our soil, and further enriched our soil through cover-cropping with oats and forage peas.
• Co-created an on-farm sacred space for the team to meet daily to share intentions, personal insights, and gratitude's.
• Fostered deep connections to self, each other, the earth, and the present moment, while working in the fields, markets, and at the CSA.

Superstar Crops
While it wasn't the bumper crop season we hoped for, a few crops stood out as Superstars:
• Tomatoes: The best tomato crop we've ever had. The greenhouse tomatoes were spectacular, and the outdoor tomatoes produced well also.
• Arugula: Several timelines of this spicy crop flourished, keeping us nourished with green goodness throughout the season.
• Kale: Best kale we've ever grown. Quantity and quantity were excellent.
• Beans: Two strong timelines of green, yellow, purple, and dragons tongue beans.
• Zucchini: In spite of the drought, the first timeline of zukes produced well, and the 2nd timeline was fantastic.
• Snow and Snap Peas: A couple weeks of heavenly flavours in the spring.
• Rhubarb: Our very first perennial crop, planted last spring. Although we harvested it lightly this year we had an abundance, and look forward to even more in the years to come.
• Swiss Chard: Many weeks of these tasty, multi-coloured, delicious bouquets.
• Leeks: As it was the first time ever growing this crop, we only did one week's worth. But they were excellent, and we will do much more next season.

Looking for Local, Organic Food over the Winter?
Farmers Markets are an amazing place to source your food. The quality is fantastic, you are supporting small businesses doing good work, and they're just plain fun! Many of our farmers markets in the GTA run year-round. For a list of farmers markets in the GTA, visit: http://bit.ly/RssThz. Another great option is FoodShare's Good Food Box. They have depots all over the GTA and can be found at: http://bit.ly/W7JHlH. Winter's approaching, but we can Keep Livin' on the

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team



Monday, October 29, 2012

Farm Talk: Putting the Farm (and Farmers) to Bed


Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
The garlic is planted and mulched, the fields are fertilized. Most of the plants have withered and died, and our soil is blanketed with cover crops, straw, fallen leaves. One more week of harvesting, and some clean-up to do, before the core of the farming season comes to an end. Of course, there will be some farm tasks to do in November, like organizing the barn, and mulching the strawberries. And, planning and visioning will begin for 2013, with several key questions being addressed: What are our goals for 2013? What will we grow and how much? How will we distribute our veg? Who will the team be? But the pressure is off, and a slower pace can take root. For all of us, there's a mix of relief, joy, and sadness, knowing that after this week, the farming season is over. Yet, shockingly, I haven't yet heard a single complaint about the winter hiatus from 5am wake-ups.

Veggie Tip: Massage Your Kale!
Whether it's for roasting, a salad, or making chips, massaging your kale with a little bit of olive oil is a great way to bring out its flavours. It also makes sure to create a great texture for your finished kale dish: perfectly crispy kale chips or softened, easy-on-the-tummy leaves for a raw kale salad or slaw. Just add a few drops of oil to the leaves and use your fingers to work it in to each leaf evenly. No need for excess oil or dripping, just use enough to reach all of your kale. For a raw salad, let the kale sit for 20 minutes before eating to absorb the oil (and any other dressing) and soften up. Your body will thank you for all the delicious kale-y nutrients!

Produce this week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Turnips, Arugula, Garlic, Kale. From Zephyr Organics: Potatoes, Spinach, Green Onions, Peppers. From Sharon Mushroom Farm: Mushrooms

Recipe: Potato Kale Pizza with Rosemary & Red Onion (from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/)
Your favourite pizza dough
2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced, about 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, for seasoning potato slices and onion
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon, freshly chopped rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place potato slices and red onion slices in a bowl and toss with 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for about 20mins, or until potatoes are soft and tender. Make sure you turn them once during the 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the pizza dough.

2. Turn the oven to 500 degrees F or as high as your oven will go. If you have a pizza stone, place the pizza stone in the oven to get hot. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough, using a rolling pin. Roll it out to about 3/8 of an inch. Place the pizza dough on a pizza peel or pan that has been generously coated with corn meal. Lightly brush the dough with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil. In a small bowl, toss the kale with balsamic vinegar. Top the pizza dough with mozzarella cheese, potato slices, kale, red onion slices, and fresh rosemary.

3. Place the pizza in the oven-directly on the pizza stone, if using one, or on the oven rack. Bake for 10-15 mins or until pizza crust is golden and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before slicing. Slice and serve warm.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team



Monday, October 22, 2012

Farm Talk: One Special Little Clove

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
The garlic planting is complete! We set a goal of planting 50,000 cloves, but we hit 50,000 last Monday, and just kept on planting! In the end, we've planted approximately 57,000 cloves, which will become 57,000 bulbs next summer. All of our garlic is mulched with several inches of straw, which performs several functions. The straw will suppress weeds, reducing competition (and our workload!) The mulch will also help with moisture retention, ensuring a constant source of water for the garlic plants. Further, the straw will eventually decompose, providing organic matter to enrich the soil. Finally, the straw insulates the garlic from a mid-winter-thaw. If we have a warm stretch in the winter, the garlic could start growing, and emerge from the ground. This would be a disaster, as when the cold returned, all the garlic could be killed off. The mulch will ensure that this doesn't happen. For those interested in growing their own garlic, it's not too late to plant. Garlic growing instructions here: http://bit.ly/L6rn6g. Having started the Global Garlic Project with 100 bulbs in 2005, it amazes me to think we have grown our crop to 50,000+. My passion for garlic seems to multiply as our crop does. Too bad I can't convince my wife Terri to name our child-to-be Garlo. Or, Garly if it's a girl.

Why are the Garlic Bulbs Small?
CSA Members will have noticed that the garlic they are receiving is on the small side. This is because we're trying to reduce the number of smalls the farm produces, by planting only large cloves. Large cloves tend to produce large bulbs, and small cloves tend to produce small bulbs. This year, we haven't distributed any of our larger bulbs, because we want to replant them all. By planting cloves from only larger bulbs, we will see a significant increase in the size of the bulbs we produce in future seasons. If we had brought our large bulbs to the CSA this year, we would have had to replant the small bulbs, and the cycle of producing small bulbs would continue. Those receiving our garlic will see a significant increase in the size in future years. In the meantime, we hope you are loving the flavour and incredible health benefits of eating our fresh, local, organic garlic as much as we are!

Produce this week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Garlic, Carrots, Arugula, Radishes, Parsley, Kale. From Zephyr Organics: Beets, Broccoli, Eggplant.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Preserving Garlic
Follow the link for ideas to preserve your garlic: http://bit.ly/

Recipe: Spicy Kale and Chickpea Stew
(http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spicy-Kale-and-Chick-Pea-Stew-11641)

• 1 1/2 cups chick peas
• 10 cups water
• 2 large onions, chopped coarse
• 3 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 green bell peppers, chopped coarse
• 1 1/2 pounds kale, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and chopped
• 2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes including the juice, chopped
• 6-ounce can tomato paste
• 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 tsp each dried thyme, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, and sugar
• 1 bay leaf

In a large saucepan simmer the chickpeas in the water, covered partially, for 1 hour, or until they are tender. In a heavy pan cook the onions and the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden, add the bell peppers, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas with the cooking liquid, the kale, the tomatoes with the juice, the tomato paste, the chili powder, the thyme, the orégano, the red pepper flakes, the cumin, the sugar, and the bay leaf, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the stew, stirring ocassionally, for 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf, season the stew with salt, and serve the stew on the couscous or rice.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Farm Talk: The Importance of Long Underwear

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
The strength and resilience of plants never ceases to amaze. It's been frigid outside, so how is it that the arugula is so damn tasty, the kale has never looked better, and the carrots are slowly but surely sizing up? "It's cold," have been the two most popular words on the farm over the last week. This is the first year of farming for most of our interns & volunteers, who are learning the hard way how important touques, thermal underwear, and extra socks are in the fall. While working in the cold can be challenging, I just love how farming connects us to the seasons. I love how we started working outdoors in the cool of March, went through an absurdly long heat wave, and now we return to the cold. I love how I can vividly recall the relentless heat of 2005, and dripping with sweat before even reaching the field at 7am. I love remembering how we always seemed to get rain when we needed it in 2008 and 2009. I love knowing precisely what time it gets light in the morning, and when it gets dark at night. I also love how you don't need to be a farmer ---- just having a relationship with a farm deepens ones connectedness to the seasons as well. Our CSA members could tell you in detail about the weather of 2012 including the heat wave, the rain (or lack thereof), the first frost, etc. Every job has its gifts and challenges, and in organic farming, working in all kinds of weather offer both. Yet another reminder how, in farming and in life, challenges and blessings are often a package deal.

Sutton High Visits the Farm
On Friday, October 5th, we were thrilled to host a special education class from Sutton High school. They sent us the following delightful thank you card. http://on.fb.me/SUfwKJ.

Veg Tip of the Week
Not sure if you'll use up your oregano before it goes bad? Dry it to keep it longer! Drying your own herbs can be done very simply by dividing them into small bunches, binding each bunch with a twist tie or elastic, and hanging them somewhere warm and dry in your house. Alternatively, you can spread the oregano out on newspaper to dry. When they are completely dry and crispy, remove the leaves from the stems and crunch them up a little. Store them in an air tight container or jar in a dry, dark pantry and use as you need in your cooking. Yum!

The Get Well Stay Well Guide
Check out the Get Well Stay Well Guide offered by Borden Communications, which is loaded with fantastic, common sense wellness tips to keep us healthy through the fall & winter: http://ow.ly/epfT6

Produce this week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Garlic, Oregano, Arugula, Kale, Onions OR Potatoes. Outsourced Veg: Broccoli, Rainbow Carrots, Leaf Lettuce, Onions.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: MUSHROOM FALAFEL BURGERS (from www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
1 can (540 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1⁄4 cup mushrooms, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper
Salt
4 burger buns
4 lettuce leaves
Sliced tomato
Sliced onion

Spread chickpeas out on a kitchen towel. Use another towel on top to remove any moisture. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, mushrooms, 1 Tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt. Pulse until a crumbly paste forms.Taste the mixture and add any additional spices if needed. Pulse again. Form four burger patties, about 1 cm (1⁄2 inch) thick. In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining oil on medium heat. Add the burger patties and cook for a few minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Place each burger on a bun and top with lettuce, tomato and onion. Serve with tzatziki sauce, homemade ketchup, or cabbage slaw.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Monday, October 8, 2012

Farm Talk: Autumn on the Farm

Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
It's a special time on the farm these days. The fall colours tantalize us as we dig potatoes. The temperate autumn air intoxicates, as we thin the carrots and turnips. Cardinals, Blue Jays, Geese, and the occasional Heron visit for their last times before winter comes. We are savouring the last month of the season on the farm. The final month of the physical work that we love. The last weeks to enjoy the magical on-farm community we have developed and nurtured. And the last days to delight in eating our local, organic veg! Of course, anticipating the end of the farming season excites as well. (Only a couple dozen 5am wake-ups left!) But, for now, we are rejoicing in doing the work that we love, for people that we love, with people that we love.

Stories From the Field
Hi! My name is Erika and I am an intern this year at The Cutting Veg. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to try working on a farm but growing up I never thought it was realistic. Only real farmers could work on a farm! Then one day I stumbled upon The Cutting Veg website. The internship information told me I could be on the farm and still live in the city. I thought, “This is it! This is for me!” Ever since then I have been going up to the Elm Grove farm twice a week and loving every minute of it. While it wasn’t initially as important to me, since being at The Cutting Veg, the act of farming or growing my own food has become a ‘must’ in my life going forward. Daniel, Paul and the rest of the Cutting Veg team, as well as the other interns have taught me and inspired me so much that it’s something I can’t imagine not incorporating into my seasonal year in the future to some extent. It would be ridiculous not to!  While some days it may rain on the farm and other days it may be too hot, nothing can beat the good company of my fellow farm workers, the fantastic feeling of helping to provide healthy food, and of course, nothing can be more satisfying than the feeling you get from pulling a nice juicy beet from the soil.

Veg Tip of the Week
While the frost may harm some crops, it actually enhances others. Some plants, like kale, react to the cold and frost by producing extra sugars, making them sweeter than before. Try this week's kale and see if you can taste the difference! Other crops revelling in the cold include leeks, brussel sprouts, chard, parsnips, and cabbage. Yum.

The Garlic Planting Continues
It's been a great start to the garlic planting, and we continue to march towards our goal of planting 50,000+ cloves this fall. Please join us on the farm on Sunday, October 14th, between 7:30am & 4pm to help us continue this process.Please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com, and mention if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving from the Bloor and Christie area at 6am.) See you on the farm!.)

Produce this week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Kale, Winter Squash, Chinese Garlic, Salad Mix, Another item TBD. Outsourced Veg: Potatoes, Bean Sprouts, Cabbage

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: ASIAN KALE STIR-FRY
• 1 bunch of kale, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small bunch of green onions, chopped
• 1 cup green peas, pods removed (or frozen)
• 3 medium carrots, cut into thin long strips
• 2 medium red peppers, seeded and diced
• 3 Tbsp sesame oil (or any other vegetable oil)
• 3 Tbsp soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
• 1 Tbsp ginger, minced (optional)
• 1 cup bean sprouts to garnish

Preheat oil in a large wok or skillet. Add garlic, carrots and ginger. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add kale, onions, green peas, and red pepper. Stir well. Add soy sauce and sesame seeds, stir. Cook on med to low heat for another 10 minutes. Serve hot on a bed of rice or egg noodles. Garnish with bean sprouts and fresh green onions. Serves 4

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Monday, October 1, 2012

Farm Talk: Our 8th Annual Garlic Planting

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
A severe frost hit the farm in Sutton on Monday, wiping out our tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and other heat lovers. While it's always sad to say goodbye to some of our favourite crops for another year, we are grateful that the frost came 12 days later than last season, allowing for an abundant September. While many folks associate the start of the school year with the end of the summer, veggie farmers often consider it summer until the heat lovers are done. If we're still harvesting tomatoes and basil, it must be summer!

With the changing of the seasons, we turn our attention to our last major farm projects of the season: Continuing to fertilize our fields with countless loads of compost, and the garlic planting. As an organic farmer, nothing satisfies me more than nourishing our soil by carting compost into the fields. Feeding the soil feeds my soul. Further, we'll be planting at least 50,000 cloves of garlic over the next month...one at a time. Sounds daunting, but I love planting garlic so much, some Octobers I feel like we could plant 500,000 cloves! Between the soul nourishing work of adding compost to our fields, and the joy of planting garlic, October looks to be a very rewarding month on the farm.

Stories From the Field
Hi, my name is Kat and this is my second year as part of The Cutting Veg staff team. I joined the team last year with an interest in building upon my gardening experiences and continuing to explore ways of growing community through food. I’ve enjoyed the variety of roles I’ve played this year whether it be at the farm, market, CSA pick-up spot, one of our two community garden sites or at my computer and, most importantly, have loved the people I’ve been able to work alongside. Food represents this wonderful “nexus” point where we can all connect. It offers us a reason to come together, join our energies and co-create something of great value. I’m currently doing an MA in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE. I’m exploring the transformative learning that arises from deepening one’s relationship with food and, subsequently, the relationships this connection stirs up, including one’s relationship to self, to community, to our environment, to something larger than “me.” Perhaps as we shift these relationships, we’ll be able to change the food system into a more equitable one.

Veg Tip of the Week
Want to take optimal care of your mushrooms? Refrigerate them as soon as you get home in a dry paper bag. Mushrooms keep best away from moisture so it's best not to keep them in an air tight plastic bag where condensation will build up. When you wash them, use a damp paper towel to wipe mushrooms instead of soaking them completely.

Join us for the 8th Annual Garlic Planting
It's time for The Cutting Veg 8th Annual Garlic Planting! Staring with 100 bulbs in 2005, we have grown our crop into the tens of thousands, with the goal of planting 50,000 cloves this fall! Please join us on the farm on Sunday, October 7th, and/or Monday October 8th, between 7:30am & 4pm to help us begin this process. Please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com, and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving from the Bloor and Christie area at 6am.)

Produce this week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Salt Spring Garlic, Swiss Chard, Chives or Asian Greens. Outsourced Veg: Carrots (Zephyr), Lettuce (Zephyr), Green Peppers (Zephyr), Rutabaga (Zephyr), Mushrooms (Sharon Farms)

The Cutting Veg in the News
Check out this article in the Globe & Mail about the role of volunteerism within the local food movement: http://bit.ly/ULD3j4

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: Rutabaga with Carmelized Onions (From www.epicurious.com)
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
• 1 3/4 pounds onions, halved, thinly sliced
• 2 1/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
• 2 tablespoons honey

Melt 5 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until brown, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add rutabagas; sauté until heated through, about 10 minutes. Drizzle honey over. Gently stir in onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Rutabaga Oven Fries:

• Rutabaga
• Sea Salt
• Olive Oil
• Herbs (I recommend rosemary and thyme)

Peel rutabaga. Cut into fries. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, and herbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Toss every 10 minutes. Remove when they are brown and look delicious.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Farm Talk: Our Favourite Problem

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
This past week we were faced with our favourite problem. Too much veg to harvest! We were scrambling all week long to get the veg harvested and ready to send out to our beloved CSA members. But neither the volume of harvesting, nor working in the rain, nor the fatigue that comes with a long farming season, could get us down. How can you be upset when you have so much veg coming on? In a season which has been often disappointing from a production perspective, September has been good to us so far. Our current batch of zucchini are stunning. The tomatoes just keep on coming. And the leeks and potatoes are finally ready! Who knows what the rest of the season will bring? A heavy frost could come tomorrow, and wipe out our tomatoes, summer squash, eggplants, peppers, beans, and so forth. But for now, we're frantically harvesting our butts off. And loving it.

Stories From the Field
Hi ,we are Hans and Loes Pape, owners of Elmgrove farm, home of The Cutting Veg. Elmgrove farm is located in the township of Georgina, just south of the village of Sutton. This property of 50 acres is nestled between two forested areas. About two thirds of the land is open fields used by The Cutting Veg and the rest is taken up by several acres of Spruce and Fir trees, planted and grown by Hans to be sold for Christmas as well as landscape trees. Near the road is our house (building in progress) and barn.

More then ten years ago we were very lucky to be able to buy this farm from our good friends and neighbours, Berta and Wilto Schortinghuis. They in turn had owned this property since 1949 and for all the years have never used any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Besides running one of the first landscape businesses in the area, they also supplied part of the community with fresh vegetables, which were, of course, organically grown .

When we took over the property, it was very important to us to keep it organic. Hans started with planting and growing the evergreens and a few years ago, through our son Justin and friends, we started with a small market garden, selling organic veggies at a farm stand.

We had some enthusiastic customers and interest was growing, but Justin and his friends decided on doing some long distance travelling and closed up shop. We actively looked for some young new farmer in need of some land, contacting Farm Link and Farm Start (organizations that bring landowners and new farmers together). Unfortunately we were not able to find anybody, mostly because of lack of accommodation.

Then one fine August day, in drops Daniel and his wife Terri, just curious about our little business, being an organic farmer himself. They were in the process of purchasing a house in the area, but not looking for any farmland to use. Too bad, because those few minutes of talking with them gave us the impression that Daniel would be the perfect person to have here on the farm.

Next spring, through Justin and friends, we learned of Daniel's problems with wet clay soil down near Brampton, not being able to start his spring seeding. "Tell him to come over”, we said, “we have a whole area ready to be used, well drained sandy loam”.

And he did.

Daniel did not come on his own. He brought with him field manager Paul and a group of enthusiastic interns and volunteers.

Now that, finally, we live on the farm (still in a camping trailer) it is great to see all the activities every day and of course to see all that bounty being brought in from the field. Sometimes somebody will walk over with a ripe melon or some cobs of corn ready for the pot.

It is also great to be part of the farm team, when I, Loes, host the Tuesday Elmgrove CSA. To be able to meet our local CSA members every week and send them off with shopping bags and baskets filled with fresh organic produce.

Life is good at Elmgrove farm!

Veg Tip of the Week
Ever wondered how to best store your potatoes? Potatoes don't need to be refrigerated and in fact, will keep best in a paper bag or box in a cool, dry, and dark place. If potatoes are damp when you get them, let them dry before you put them away. They should also be stored separately from onions as the two spoil quicker when left in close proximity!

Produce this Week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Tomatoes, Potatoes, Leeks, Winter Squash, Garlic, Zucchini, Salad Greens One other item TBD. Outsourced Veg: Golden Beets (from Zephyr Organics)

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: Leek and Potato Soup (From www.epicurious.com)
2-3 medium sized potatoes (about 1/2 pound)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large leeks (white parts only), halved lengthwise, sliced thin crosswise, and washed well
2 1/2 cups broth of choice
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley, sage, or tarragon leaves

Peel potatoes and dice fine. In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart saucepan cook garlic and onion in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add potatoes and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in broth and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, or until potato is very tender. If desired, in a blender purée soup in batches until very smooth, transferring to another saucepan. Stir in cream, fresh herb, and salt and pepper to taste and heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team










Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Farm Talk: An Ode to Volunteers

Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Update from Kirsten
At this time of year, we’re gearing up for the final leg of our marathon season and looking to our Fall crops for abundance these last seven weeks. Our workload on the farm won’t be letting up any time soon but there is a feeling of reassurance in the air: we have made it this far, our crops are in good hands. This is the same feeling that washes over me each week as I drop off our veg and hand over the day to our incredible CSA volunteers.

At every one of our six CSA locations, we have been blessed with the most wonderful individuals who have come forward to volunteer their time and make our CSAs a reality. These individuals are, without exception, kind, generous, and committed to making each week an enjoyable one. Just as much as our farm relies on the soil, the sun, and the timely rains, we rely on our community of interns and volunteers.

I hope you will join me this week in thanking our volunteers—for the schlepping, the stocking, the planning and preparing, the conversations, cooking tips, and the smiles that you bring to the CSAs each and every week. For all that you do, we thank you.

Stories From the Field
A message from Marilyn Cukier, Temple Sinai CSA Member and member of the CSA Social Action Committee:

As I walked around the farm, it was overwhelming to see how large of a plot you have cultivated and the work that you and your Staff and Interns are doing is vast. The fields are in full throttle. Some plots have been harvested while others are ready for picking and every step in between. The variety of crops is extensive. The asparagus and strawberry patches look great and I can hardly wait to taste them in the years to come.

I had the opportunity to meet a few 2012 Interns and reconnected with Tom, this year a beekeeper. I heard stories of how these varied individuals found you and what their “story” is. How does a city guy/gal take the time from a busy life and dedicate 2 days a week to hard labour? What keeps him/her here and on task and shuffling the already full city life? You have inspired many wonderful people to grow and reach beyond who and what they are.

How wonderful it is that Tom is learning the honey trade from the bottom up. I look forward, as well, to tasting the honey that is produced from his hives.

Another realization was that the experience was not the typical come to the farm, buy a pumpkin or pick an apple experience. In fact, there were far fewer children than I thought. There were many adults who were milling around the fields, learning or picking crops. These people have all been touched by The Cutting Veg in one way or another. The young adults from Temple Sinai were engaged in the many aspects of the farm. It was wonderful to connect with them as well.

Once again, thanks for the day and a beautiful sunny one at that. How lucky I was to come and share a day on the farm with you and yours!

Veg Tip of the Week
Haven't used your acorn squash yet? Don't feel bad! Winter squash are best after being cured for a couple weeks. Keep them in your kitchen or somewhere warm and dry before cooking them and they'll be even tastier than before!

The Cutting Veg Presents FarmDate: 100% Certified Orgasmic
Do you want a relationship with someone who is as passionate about a healthy lifestyle and caring for the planet as you are? Then, Farm Date is for you! Follow the link for more info: http://shar.es/797hT.

Produce this Week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Tomatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Swiss Chard, Summer Herbs, Summer Squash, Beans or Beets. Outsourced Veg: Mushrooms (from Sharon Farms), Cabbage (from Zephyr Organics)

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: CHICKPEA CHARD SOUP (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
3 cups (750 mL) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 ½ cups Swiss chard leaves, stems removed and chard sliced
1 Tbsp rosemary
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (or use your own fresh ones with a little red wine or vinegar to help break them down!)
Salt
Pepper

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Stir frequently.
Add the Swiss chard leaves and stir. Cook for another 4 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and 1½ cups chickpeas. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down to a sauce consistency.
Puree the other 1½ cups chickpeas with 1 cup of water.
Add the chickpea puree to the tomato mixture and simmer for a few minutes. Add extra seasoning, if needed.
Serve with warm toasted bread on the side.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Updates from our Donation Partners

Each week, The Cutting Veg donates fresh produce to 6 different community organisations. We asked them how our produce donations are impacting their communities, and here is what they told us:

Elm Grove CSA

Sutton Food Bank:

“We really look forward to this time of the year - when we can distribute fresh garden vegetables to the people who use our services. We are certainly blessed to be able to give our families, produce, and local organic produce no less, which is picked at its prime of growth. Our families are certainly very grateful for these contributions.”

Holy Sprouts CSA

Wychwood Open Door:

"Wychwood Open Door is a day-time drop-in centre that has served homeless and socially isolated people in Toronto's midtown St. Clair West community since 1986 in the basement of St, Mathew’s United Church. Wychwood Open Door provides members with a safe warm environment where they find guidance, food, friendship, and support. We serve a hot breakfast and lunch three days a week and in 2011 served over 14,500 meals. Wychwood is a registered charity, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

HOW THE CUTTING VEG ORGANIC FARM HELPS

The fresh organic vegetables we receive from your donations are used daily in our meals. They enhance them by providing health and nutrition without the pesticide worry. We usually serve our lunch with a plain salad but the Swiss Chard, kale, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers you have provided have allowed us to make phenomenal stir fries and other exciting new side dishes. The garlic and onions have been roasted and added to other dishes we make, which enhances the flavour and taste of the food that we serve.

Over the last couple of years, we have found there has been an increasing presence of vegetarians coming to the Centre and having your donation assures that they get a meal that helps support their dietary needs. This year, our staff and volunteers have made eggplant Parmesan, squash soup, stuffed peppers, amazing vegetable soups, and so much more. Some vegetables get used as our main for the meal for all to benefit from. And at the end of the day, if we find that there is more than enough for us to cook, which often happens, we give what we can to our members to take home so they can continue to eat nutritious food when Wychwood is not available to provide it. Having the variety and quality of vegetables that you donate to our kitchen has encouraged everyone to be more open to trying new and different foods, and healthy ones! It opens a world of new tastes experiences for our members, the volunteers and staff and allows an atmosphere of pleasure in both creating the meals and eating them at Wychwood Open Door.”

Pri Adamah CSA

Eva’s Place:

"Eva's Place is home to 32 youth at any given time, providing them with not only shelter and programming, but also with nutritious meals. The weekly donations made by The Cutting Veg help Eva's Place ensure that our youth maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Your generous donations of produce provide the backbone for many of our meals and help us meet Canada's food guidelines. With the price of fresh produce continually increasing, your contribution helps to offset this essential cost. Getting organic vegetables is even more of a treat for us and something we couldn’t otherwise afford.

Every Thursday at Eva’s Place, after receiving your donations, youth are engaged in a program called Lunch and Learn, where our chef teaches them a new recipe using the items donated that week. They then share this meal with other clients and staff, proudly explaining to all what they cooked that day. Your invaluable support works to keep youth at Eva's Place healthy, happy, and well-fed.”

Shalom Harvest CSA

Bikur Cholim:

“Thank you for spearheading this wonderful Community Supported Agriculture Program and for including Bikur Cholim as a donation partner for your veggies. Through the efforts of your community, we have been able to use the fresh, locally grown produce in the soups, salads, and side dishes we prepare for vulnerable individuals in the Greater Toronto Area. With your veggie donations, the health of our community is thriving.

It is extremely heartening to Bikur Cholim as a community organization that we are able to partner with other endeavours to bring aid and succor to those in need. Your initiative and commitment has made this possible, and for that we thank you!  We wish you a safe, healthy, and happy summer.”

Kavanah Garden CSA

Update from Ve'ahavta:

“Each Thursday, your donated CSA shares, extra veg, and whatever was harvested from Shoresh's Kavanah Garden that afternoon, are all donated to our tzedakah partner, Ve'ahavta. Ve’ahavta, The Canadian Jewish Humanitarian and Relief Committee, has been working with those living in poverty within the City of Toronto and abroad for 14 years. Our Homeless Outreach Van has met with thousands of peoples from all walks of life – all with a story to tell and many with pain in their hearts. Ve’ahavta works to alleviate this pain by providing essential services to empower them and move forward from their hardships and obtain personal success in any form they choose.

Our partnership with the Kavanah Garden CSA has been one we are most honoured to be a part of. Every week during the spring, summer, and autumn months, the Kavanah Garden CSA generously provides us with fresh produce, which we then bring to one of our partners, Evangel Hall Mission. Evangel Hall Mission has been in operation since 1913 and has served as a drop-in centre for the homeless and near homeless. Evangel Hall uses these veggies to make fresh soups and foods to serve at their community breakfasts, lunches and dinners which they serve 7-days a week. The number of people touched by your donations is countless!

Thank you everyone for the impact you have made. Your participation in the Kavanah Garden CSA is helping to get healthy and delicious food to folks in our community who really need it. You are all vivid examples of the best that comes out of the community.”

Park Road Organic Harvest CSA

Church of the Redeemer:

Dear our friends at The Cutting Veg,

Here at Church of the Redeemer, our drop-in meal program sees 100-120 people every day. Many of our participants live on the streets or in the shelters, and our space offers a safe, welcoming space to all who enter our doors. Here in our program, we offer a hot breakfast and lunch, medical services, one-on-one counselling, legal services, and housing and employment assistance.

The other day, I had a conversation with one of our participants named Fred. ‘I come here and I feel like I have a fresh start,’ he told me. ‘This food, it makes me feel like somebody, it’s not someone’s leftovers in a McDonald’s bag. The vegetables today reminded me of home.’

Since our partnership with The Cutting Veg, our participants have noticed the ample amount of amazing quality vegetables we have and have been thrilled by it. It means a lot to our participants to feel like they are ‘worth the good stuff’, and the vegetables have made it possible for us to offer a larger variety of high quality and healthy foods. Our volunteers are always excited to see such wonderful veggies to work with. The vegetables from The Cutting Veg bring our community together, and let our participants know that good quality produce is meant for all.

Thank you so much for seeking us out as a community partner during your 2012 harvest season. It has been a pleasure working with all of you- each staff at The Cutting Veg embodies welcoming spirit and a compassionate heart. Thank you for going out of your way to deliver these vegetables to us and in turn the marginalized community in Toronto. I look forward to hopefully working with you again in the future.

Sincerely,

Angie Hocking
Outreach Coordinator
Church of the Redeemer

Monday, September 10, 2012

Farm Talk: Celebrating Abundance

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Paul
Perhaps the best way to begin this Epistle is by introducing myself, I’m Farmer Paul the Field Manager at the Cutting Veg. This is my second season in this position working alongside Farmer Daniel. It is a pleasure to provide this week’s Farm Update for you.

To say I enjoy my work would be an understatement; to say I feel incredibly blessed to work with Daniel would be an even greater one. I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. Each day on the farm is full of blessings, surprises, challenges and rewards. For the purpose of this update I want to share some of the surprises that I have experienced lately on the farm.

Farming is one of those vocations that you never really quite master, you gain experience, your skill level increases, but you can never really say you’ve perfected it. Just when you think you might have it all figured out you discover a delightful surprise that you didn’t see coming at all. The arugula that made its way to our CSA’s this past week was one of those surprises. Originally we sowed salad greens, Asian greens and arugula in a section of the farm known as the “barn field”. We sowed these crops just before the drought that most of Southern Ontario experienced in July and the early part of August. Although we managed to irrigate right after the sowing, our pond went dry shortly after this and with it our young plants shrivelled and died. Or so we thought. Two weeks ago when we took off the row cover, so that the field could be tilled and a cover crop planted, we discovered that not only had the arugula survived but it was thriving! Don’t ask me why or how? This was just one of those wonderful farm surprises that we were able to pass on to our members.

The other big surprise for me is that this coming week all of the veg at our 6 CSA’s will be 100% Cutting Veg planted, grown and harvested - that’s right it’s all ours! This is a double surprise for me. First because at the beginning of the season, in my naiveté, I actually thought that it would be pretty easy to grow enough volume and variety to supply 350 individuals/families + 2 Farmer’s Markets with vegetables every week. Wow was I wrong! The second surprise was that when I eventually woke-up to the reality of just how difficult this would be, the rains came in a timely manner, the sun continued to shine, and here we are! It is now September and we have never seen such abundance in our fields. What a wonderful surprise it was this week when Daniel and I discovered just how much veg we had waiting to be harvested. With this in mind I will bring this update to a close – the fields are calling!

I hope you discover the surprising flavour and vitality of our vegetables at a CSA or Famer’s Market near you in the coming week. And, as Farmer Daniel says that you “keep livin’ on the veg!”

Stories From the Field
Hi, my name is Julie and I'm an intern this year. I'm a grad student at OISE/UofT studying adult education and community development, with a focus on food issues. I was drawn to this internship because I wanted to have the opportunity to learn more about food outside of the classroom and gain the hands-on practical experience and skills to be able to grow my own food and ensure I have access to healthy, local, organic produce (and hopefully also be able to help others do the same in both my professional and personal life).

There is so much about this experience I am enjoying! The biggest personal enjoyment has been seeing an improvement in all aspects of my health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, professional): the physical labour has strengthened my body; eating copious amounts of fresh, organic veggies has energized me; the work and fresh air have helped my mind become more clear and calm; deep discussions while working in the field have helped me be more open with my emotions; connecting with the land has rejuvenated my soul spiritually; I have made beautiful friendships; and I have established more clarity about future career decisions. Not only have I made amazing new connections with the other interns/staff/volunteers on the farm, but also at the farmers' markets and our CSA locations where I have had the opportunity to help out and engage with community members (perhaps you've seen me with markers and chart paper asking you to draw, or with another fun activity).

My favourite farm task is hand weeding. While it may seem monotonous and slow, I find it very meditative. Whether in dialogue with others around me or in silence on my own, I find moments (or even hours) of hand weeding to be beautifully calming and peaceful - often what I need when much of my daily life in the city is the antithesis of calming and peaceful!

Produce this Week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Tibetan Garlic, Eggplant, Tomatoes , Summer Squash, Parsley, Kale, Asian Greens or Chives, Winter Squash, Beans. Outsourced Veg: Nothing! All of this week's veggies come straight from The Cutting Veg.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: WARM PARSLEY & BEET TABBOULEH (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
1 med bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped
1½ cups Swiss chard leaves, spinach, or kale (ribs removed and thinly sliced)
2 large red onions, finely sliced
2 small raw beets, grated
½ cup quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper

• Add quinoa to 1¼ cups water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 18 mins, covered.
• Remove from heat and leave to stand for another 5 to 10 mins to fluff. Do not remove the cover.
• Heat olive oil in a deep, wide saucepan. Add the onions and stir. Cook until tender (10 mins).
• Add balsamic vinegar to the onions and allow to bubble. Remove from heat.
• Add the rest of the ingredients (except the greens of choice) to the saucepan, and mix.
• Serve the tabbouleh on a bed of Swiss chard, spinach or kale leaves.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Monday, September 3, 2012

Farm Talk: Feeding the Soil


Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update
We are blessed with a beautiful sandy loam soil on our farm. Having worked with clay exclusively during my first decade of farming, I find the sandier soil to be a joy to work with. There is something very therapuetic about running one's hands through our sandy growing medium while planting, or weeding. And while our soil gives us so much --- the joy of working with it, and amazing food! --- we do our best to give back. This is what makes an organic farmer an organic farmer. A deep commitment to, and passion for, caring for the soil. How do we do this? In addition to being 100% chemical free, we are very proactive in feeding the soil organic matter. Straw, manure, compost, worm castings...all of these offer vital nutrients, ensuring long-term health of the soil, healthy plants, and nutrient-rich veg. Feeding the soil --- spreading wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load of compost onto our field --- is one of my favourite farm tasks. It's a simple, mindless activity, but one that serves not only those connected to the farm, but future generations, and the ecosystem as a whole. While we can't control the bounty of our harvest, we can ensure that our soil gets richer and healthier each year. During August, we've amped up our efforts to enrich the soil, by adding yards and yards of compost to the farm, and by growing cover crops (oats, buckwheat, etc.) Over the last 2 months of the farming season, feeding the soil will continue to be a major focus for us, and hopefully for all you home gardeners as well!
 
Stories From the Field
Hi! My name is Zandra and I'm an intern this year. When I am not on the farm, I can be found managing the weekly Leslieville Farmers' Market, going to a yoga class, a long run along the lake, or, my favourite... preparing a new salad creation with all the beautiful veg from the farm!! I was drawn to the internship to learn about growing organic veg, but even more so, to deepen my connection with nature and Nature (in other words, the physical and spiritual world we inhabit!). I enjoy most the inspiring conversations that naturally happen while working in the fields. As Daniel says, TCV is not only about growing veg, but helping to grow people into realizing their true potential. So with all that good energy floating around, no wonder our veggies taste so darn good! :) Bon appetite!
 
Join us for CSA Members Day
Come visit us on the farm for CSA Members' Day on Sunday Septemer 9th. Come for some farming, taste testing, story-telling, crafts, and fun for the whole family! Pick up your apples and honey for the holidays! Please join us on the farm from 1:30-4pm, at 535 Catering Rd. Directions from Toronto here:http://shar.es/7ziZZ. Look for the CSA Members' Day flyer with details at your CSA this week. See you on the farm!
 
Produce this Week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Korean Garlic, Swiss chard, Fresh Herbs, Onions. From Zephyr Organic Farm: Carrots, Eggplant, Golden Beets.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!
 
Recipe: CHUNKY RATATOUILLE (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
1 large eggplant, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 large zucchini, cut into chunks
2 medium red peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
2 medium yellow peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
1 lb (450 g) cherry tomatoes (or large tomatoes, cut into 4)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 Tbsp olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 475 F.
  • In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Marinate all the vegetables in the olive oil mix. Make sure the vegetables are coated evenly.
  • Transfer the vegetables into a shallow ovenproof dish and put into the oven. Cook uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and browned at the edges.
  • Tear a few basil leaves for garnish.
  • Enjoy with cooked millet or buckwheat.
That's all the news from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!
 
 The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Register now for FARMDATE: 100% CERTIFIED ORGASMIC

Do you want a relationship with someone who is as passionate about a healthy lifestyle and caring for the planet as you are? Then, FarmDate is for you!

What is FarmDate?
Come spend a day on an organic farm, doing farm activities as you meet other singles.

How will it work?
In the speeddating style. You will be paired up with a member of the opposite sex for a few minutes, as you do a farm task together (eg, harvesting beans, weeding carrots.) Every few minutes, participants will rotate tasks, enabling numerous "dates" in a short period.

Who is Farm Date for?
This event is geared towards heterosexual women and men, aged 20-40.

Where and when will Farm Date occur?
At Elm Grove Farm, the home of The Cutting Veg. This is 1 hour from Toronto, at 535 Catering rd., Sutton, ON, L0E 1R0. Sunday, September 30th, 11am-3pm. Potluck lunch to occur from 12:30-1:30pm.

What is the cost and how does one register?
$25/person. To register, contact Daniel at 647-388-7444.

Looking forward to sharing in a fun day on the farm with you, and here's to hoping you meet that special someone!

The Cutting Veg Farm Team



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Directions to the Farm from Toronto


535 Catering Rd

  • 401E to 404N
  • 404N to Davis Drive (near Newmarket)
  • East on Davis Drive to Hwy 48 (about 7 minutes on Davis Drive)
  • North on 48 (for about 15 mins) to Ridgeview (this is just after the town of Baldwin)
  • Left on Ridgeview
  • Follow Ridgeview, and it will turn into Old Homestead Rd
  • Turn Right on Catering Rd.
  • Turn left into 535 Catering rd.
647-388-7444, if you have any troubles.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Farm Talk: Reflections on this Farming Season

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update
April/May rocked! Tons of seeds and seedlings planted in the ground. CSA Membership is at an all-time high. Staff & Intern team are phenomenal. Volunteers coming in droves. A lack of precipitation throughout, but a couple well-timed rains keep us happy. 8 crops look to be ready to go for the first week of June, when the CSA is to start. From the perspective of The Cutting Veg boss, I couldn't have been happier with the season to this point.

June/July started well. Great harvests for the first couple weeks of the CSA and farmers markets. Members are happy. But some of the key early summer crops aren't doing well due to a lack of rain. The zukes and cukes aren't germinating. Multiple timelines of beets, carrots, salad greens, and Asian greens are lost as well. Most of the crops we were counting on for July and early August never produce. Summer drought + a winter & spring without precipitation = empty pond = inability to irrigate. Amazing how things can turn from great to lousy so quickly on an organic farm.

August finally brings some rains. But is it a case of too-little-too-late, or just-in-time? Lots of reason for optimism. Eggplants, peppers, winter squash, sweet potatoes, melons, and the second timelines of zukes and cukes are all looking healthy. But they're all delayed due to the drought. The big question: when will the first frost be? If it is as early as last year (the first frost came on Sept 12 on Elm Grove Farm), it will be a huge disappointment. But, if the frost holds off until late September or early October, we could have a late summer bounty. Those of us who pray are sending regular messages...

We're proud we've been able to provide 8-10 items of super-nutritious, local, organic produce to our CSA members each week --- in spite of the challenges we've faced. And time spent on the farm has been a huge highlight for volunteers, interns, CSA members, and staff alike --- amazing connections, great learning, and significant character development for many of us.

How late-summer and early-fall go will determine how successful a year we have from a production perspective. In the meantime, we're doing our best to continue our successful intention to stay-in-the-moment, and remain hyper-focused on our calling of "Growing Veggies, and Growing People."

Stories From the Field
Hola Amigos, my name is Erick and I am a dude from Mexico. In the spring I became part of The Cutting Veg family. I have a bachelor in Graphic Design and Photography. I am currently working in an organic and raw juice bar, which has been a big turning point in following a more healthy life style. Why did I decide to become a part of The Cutting Veg community? Well, I have always dreamed of living on a farm, waking up in the early morning by the sound of a roster, and spending the rest of my day with a peaceful mind, doing meaningful work with like-minded people.

However, one day I realized that I was too far from this dream. I found myself, doing things that I didn't like, working only for money and a social status, and without a clear idea of how I could fulfill my dream. Then, last summer, I heard a good friend talking about The Cutting Veg, and the passion that she had while describing her experience made me very interested in doing the internship myself.

Working at the farm with soil, with food, with nature has made me feel that I can be more myself, that I can share who I am, and, in the process, I've found people who want to connect in the same way. This feels like a gift. I love the simplicity and honesty in the conversations that come up, and the many metaphors that the farm presents.

Now I feel that doing this internship, has been the first step towards fulfilling my dream. Thank you to you all, for creating such an amazing place.

Produce this Week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Salt Spring Garlic, Kale , Onions , Beets or Winter Squash. From Zephyr Organic Farm: Corn, Red Peppers, Leaf Lettuce.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: ZUCCHINI LASAGNA (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
3 large zucchinis, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 cup tomato sauce (home made is even better!)
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup canned lentils
¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Layer the bottom of a shallow baking dish with a few zucchini slices.
Cover with a thin layer of lentils and tomato sauce.
Add another layer of zucchini slices.
Throw some more tomato sauce on top, and mozzarella cheese.
Add the last layer of zucchini slices.
Top off with another layer of tomato sauce, basil and finally cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese melts.

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



Monday, August 20, 2012

Farm Talk: Cultivating a Landscape

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Catherine
After a week that brought us a perfect mix of sunshine, rain and moderate temperatures, our crops are looking happy and healthy. A few highlights: our tomato crop is bountiful, our zukes, beautiful, bright and full of flavour and our basil crop; so fragrant that it inspires a pesto-making marathon with just one whiff! We've been sending our eggplant and bell pepper crops love and encouragement to grow abundantly all week, and took the first harvest of these two crops to Wychwood Farmer's Market this past Saturday! As we wait patiently for some of our other crops to pop, we tackled a number of weeding projects, including our Asparagus patch and our two Kale patches, some of the team sneezing and sniffling from the invasive rag weed that lays in our fields. As we snapped off the dead Kale leaves, making more space for new growth, we found ourselves talking about some of our most destructive habits, which then led us to draw another parallel between the process of clearing and weeding out what may need to be let go of within ourselves. One of the most wonderful aspects of this work is the exchange between the energy of the land and ourselves and the way in which this relationship invites us to draw the connection between our external and internal landscape. With just over 2 months left in the season, we look forward to continuing to cultivate our environment.

Stories From the Field
I’m Tara and last year I became an intern with the Cutting Veg to escape my claustrophobic, 2-level-below-ground computer lab.Being on the farm is always blissful: feeling the refreshing morning dews on my hands and feet, invoking the inner-child when working in our sandy-loam soil, indulging in the cuteness of bunnies with their little white button tails, watching red miniscule spiders crawl on my finger, being up-lifted by the same wind with which blue and yellow butterflies soar...All that goodness plus the though-provoking conversations with inspiring people who are more than friends, makes this farm a haven. I always feel so connected with nature and the divine when I’m on the farm. That’s why I got hooked! That’s why I am with the Cutting Veg this year; to assist them and also to try independent farming on a section of the farm.Ramadhan (Muslim’s month of fasting) is coming to its end. Being asked about fasting 17 hours a day and farming, I started reflecting. For sure, farming has significantly honed my physical strength, perseverance and tenacity. It has also changed my functional belief: an organic farmer must observe and listen; it is nature that dictates the next move. It is only when you tune in and listen deeply that curtains get parted and you get to see a different world...or really the same world but in a clearer way. Farm is my haven and only a little “e” separates it from heaven!

Produce this Week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Tomatoes, Basil, Persian Garlic, Chard/Kale, Onions. From Zephyr Organic Farm: Broccoli, Melons. From Sharon Mushroom Farms: Mushrooms

CSA Members Day: Save the Date
Come visit us for CSA Members' Day on the farm Sunday Septemer 9th. Come for some farming, taste testing, story-telling, activities, and fun for the whole family!

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: SUMMER BASIL PESTO (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice

Rinse the basil. Leave to dry for about 5 minutes.
Puree all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Serve on toasted baguette slices, or as a sauce in pizza or pasta.
If you have any leftovers, store them in a tightly covered container in the fridge.
Lasts for up to 3 weeks.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Farm Talk: Joys and Disappointments

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update
To be an organic farmer is to get used to a steady diet of joys and disappointments. And we're getting loads of both these days! The joy of completing the garlic harvest (28,000 bulbs total). The disappointment that the peppers and eggplants are taking so long to set fruit (slow recovery from the drought). The joy of ongoing rains! The disappointment of having to outsource veg for our CSA, due to crops that haven't worked out (again due to drought). The joy of physical farm work, and the incredible people we get to farm with each day. The disappointment of aphids eating our greens. And the pure joy of fresh tomato, basil & onion salads! Both the joys and disappointments offer gifts. As the dog days of summer continue, it's the little daily joys that keep us happy and motivated. Yet, it's the daily disappointments that help us to grow as farmers and as people. The crops that haven't worked out have taught us lessons on how to be better farmers. And dealing with disappointment is helping us to grow spiritually, as we learn to keep an even-keel, and practice gratitude for all that is going well. We need the joys to keep us going. We need the disappointments to keep us growing and learning. I LOVE FARMING SO MUCH --- it is just so cool how growing veggies teaches us key life lessons!

Stories From the Field
Hi, My name is Jessica Reeve and I am an intern at The Cutting Veg this year. I am in the middle of a two year Masters of Environmental Studies program at York University focusing on food systems and community activism. I am also currently gaining experience as an intern in an urban agriculture CSA in Toronto as well as doing some food policy and food advocacy work.As I have come to learn more about the food system and the importance of local food production it made more and more sense to learn how food is grown in addition to knowing the theory and practice around food production. Having that knowledge will also support the more sustainable lifestyle that I intend to lead. The Cutting Veg provides this opportunity in a part-time format that is easy to fit into most schedules. They also ensure that everyone is supported and is getting everything that they can out of this experience. I love going to the farm and getting my hands dirty. Having your hands in the dirt is a really calming and satisfying experience. After being stuck in a classroom all year it feels amazing to get outside and do something really practical. I am learning new things every day and am developing a new appreciation for the amount of work and love that goes into growing food organically. Every single person working at The Cutting Veg is amazing and I can't think of better people or a better way to spend the good part of the year.  My favourite farm task is harvesting rainbow chard. It is so fun to make sure that each person receiving that bundle gets a variety of colours in a nice bouquet.

Produce this Week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Chinese Garlic, Kale, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Onions, Parsley. From Pfennings Organic Farm: Eggplant, Purple Peppers, Corn.

New this Week, at Your CSA
We want your feedback! The good, the bad, and the ugly - we'd like to hear what you think about your CSA experience so far. Drop us a note in the feedback box provided at your CSA this week. Also this week - recipe cards! Keep an eye out for a new recipe each week, using the veggies in your share. Have a recipe you'd like to contribute? Drop it in the feedback box too! We would be thrilled to pass it along.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: SUMMER GAZPACHO SOUP (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
1 1/2 cups ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup cucumbers, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
¼ cup yellow pepper, diced
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 large ripe avocado, diced
1 cup tomato juice, low in salt
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper or black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, mix basil, tomato juice, olive oil, garlic, lime & lemon juice, cayenne & black pepper, and salt. Blend in the food processor. Pour the mixture in a large saucepan. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill before serving.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Monday, August 6, 2012

Farm Talk: Welcome to the Garlic Zone

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
With the onset of the garlic harvest, we begin one of my favourite phases of the year. The Garlic Zone. We enter The Zone at the beginning of August, and don't exit until the end of October. It starts with the harvest. We started with 100 bulbs in 2005, and, thanks to exponential growth, we are anticipating a harvest of approximately 35,000 bulbs this season. Once the bulbs are harvested, we hang them in the barn to cure for a month. This curing process allows the garlic stalks to send its final energy into the bulb, ensuring maximum flavour, nutrients, and storability. Once cured, the bulbs need to be cleaned and labeled according to their variety (eg, Persian Garlic, Korean, Italian, etc.) When the bulbs are cleaned and labeled, we start distributing them (although CSA members will receive bulbs immediately, starting with Israeli this week!) Meanwhile, we start preparing for planting. This includes setting aside the number of bulbs we want to plant, and then separating them into cloves. We also need to prepare beds for planting, which means adding countless loads of compost, and tilling. Finally, come mid-October, it is planting time. We are aiming to plant 75,000 cloves this year. Once the garlic is planted, we need to mulch the beds with straw, which will ensure consistent moisture levels, suppress weeds, and protect the garlic plants from a mid-winter thaw. As a mixed veggie farmer, I have a lot of crops that I love to grow. But none of them come close to garlic. The taste, the medicinal qualities, the joy of planting & harvesting, the 20 different fun varieties we grow. Garlic bliss. Welcome to The Garlic Zone!

Spread the Word! The Cutting Veg Summer-Fall Share
We are currently offering a Summer-Fall CSA Share Special for the remainder of the season: 13 weeks of produce for the price of 12! You can register now at www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA, and choose the 12 week option to take advantage of this offer. Some of the best heat lover and Fall crops are still to come!

Stories From the Field
Hi, my name is Lucie Pekarek and I'm an intern this year. I am also doing a Masters in Environmental Studies at York University and work as a site animator at the Welcome Desk at Evergreen Brick Works. When I first read about Daniel and The Cutting Veg I knew I wanted to get involved. I didn't know how or when but years ago I just knew I would be part of the team one day. That opportunity arose this year in my program at York, and I jumped at the chance! I knew the internship would be transformational on so many levels, and I'm now experiencing the first changes. Being a mature student for over 4 years, I wasn't nearly active enough. I'm giving my body the much-needed attention it desires through work and incorporating clean good food into my once really bad diet. Our team of interns/staff/volunteers are some of the most amazing people I've met and I am enjoying their support, love, and advice in the fields--even under the heat of the sun. So far my favorite tasks have been planting the asparagus, harvesting the garlic scapes, and eating the peas during harvest! I also get a lot of satisfaction in pulling the weeds, as our soil is like gold which makes them really easy to pull out.

Produce this Week
We started with green garlic, then came the garlic scapes, and now finally, we've got bulbs! We grow approximately 20 different varieties of garlic on the farm, each with their unique flavours. You will get to try and compare several of them over the course of the season. First up: Israeli garlic this week! This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Garlic, Onions, Beets, Swiss Chard, Zucchini, Sunflowers. From Pfennings Organic Farm: Eggplant, Purple Peppers, Corn.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested
in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: BORCHT SOUP (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
4 medium beets, diced
4 medium potatoes, diced
5 medium carrots, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 small can of tomato paste
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
8 cups water
Heat oil in a medium pot. Add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir until a uniform mixture forms.
Add water to the pot and mix. Bring to a boil and add beets, potatoes and carrots. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Add the parsley at the end. Mix.
Serve warm or chilled with sour cream.

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team










Monday, July 30, 2012

Farm Talk: When it Rains, it Pours (HOORAY)

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
When it rains, it pours. And that's a good thing! The farm team has been euphoric over the past week, thanks to the multiple inches of rain we've received. I'm not sure what has been louder --- the sighs of relief from the team, or the sound of the plants gulping as fast as they can. It seemed that within minutes of the first rain, the kale had grown several inches. The eggplants burst to new heights. The zucchini plants responded by gifting us with 100 zukes within 24 hours. The first cantaloupes started to emerge. The basil quickly bulked up. The hot pepper plants seemed to double in size. Of course, we're not the only farmers dancing in the fields, as much of Ontario received rain this past week. Conventional farmers, organic farmers, produce growers, livestock producers...we're all so thankful for the long awaited precipitation. Now, if we could only order up another inch or so, every 3 or 4 days! And only between 8pm and 6am please --- when we're not in the fields or at the markets. :)

The Garlic Harvest
It's time for the annual garlic harvest, and we've got 35,000+ bulbs of Persian, Korean, Italian, Tibetan, Israeli and 15 other varieties to harvest and hang in the barn to cure! Please join us for the garlic harvest on Sunday, August 5th, and/or Monday, Aug 6th (Civic Holiday) from 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping with the garlic harvest, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and let her know which day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from the Bloor & Christie area). Looking forward to harvesting garlic with you very soon!

Stories From the Field
My name is Jackie Gamble and I'm an intern on the farm this summer. In the spring, I started a juice cleanse which entailed drinking 4-6 quarts of vitamin rich, organic green juices every day. As a result, I needed to seek out a source for all of this organic veg I was consuming. I quickly realized how expensive organic produce is and figured that if I could grow it myself, I could cut my costs considerably and feel good about my small contribution to healthier local food systems. Except there was one problem...I had no idea how to grow food and I lived in a basement apartment. I have done many things but I have never grown my own food, so I thought it was high time I learn how. Serendipitously, it was around this time that I first heard about the internship at the Cutting Veg, and I knew it would be a great fit. I am currently employed as a flight attendant, which means I spend a lot of time inside airplanes and hotels. I wanted to do something this summer that would ensure that I got outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. Mission accomplished and then some!! I was also looking for a more direct connection to my food source and to meet new people who have similar interests in healthy food systems, healthy living and urban agriculture - Check! Check! And Check!  My favourite part of the internship is first and foremost the people that I have met and come to love over the course of the past months. There is a strong sense of commraderie and common purpose that binds us all together as we go about our daily tasks, rain or shine, on the farm. We encourage each other in ways many of us have not been encouraged in our daily interactions at school, at our jobs or even in our families. We share our stories and dreams, we laugh, we curse at insects, and while all this is going on, we learn how to plant, care for, and harvest the healthiest, tastiest food imaginable. The benefits of such an undertaking are, in my eyes, endless and invaluable. Of the many tasks that we do on the farm, the one I enjoy the most is harvesting green onions. There is something so satisfying about plucking them from the ground and hearing the roots tear. You have to be quick but gentle, so as not to break the green onions. In fact, I love the whole process, including cleaning them up and making them shiny and appetizing for the CSA drop-off!

Produce this Week
This week membeCSA members can expect to see most of the following items:  Garlic Scapes, Green Onions, Kale, Beans, Zucchini, Sunflowers, Potatoes, Red Leaf Lettuce, Mushrooms.  The Potatoes, Lettuce, and Mushrooms were outsourced from other local, organic farms.

Volunteers Welcome
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interestedin helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Bloor & Christie
area).  Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Healthy Bulk
Introducing this week, The Cutting Veg's Healthy Bulk Order Form! The Cutting Veg has teamed up with an organic foods wholesaler in order to provide CSA members with a direct connection to organic bulk foods. Look for the form and more details on the ordering process at your CSA this week! You will also be receiving an email about the Healthy Bulk program.

Recipe: CHILLED ZUCCHINI SOUP (www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)

4 medium zucchinis, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic scapes, chopped finely
1 Tbsp dill, chopped finely
Salt
Pepper

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
Chill in the fridge before serving.
Tip: to add colour and more nutrition to this soup, leave on the zucchini peel. Enjoy!

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

Daniel

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Farm Talk: Skydiving Without A Parachute

Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Update:
There's a skydiving company near the farm, and a few of us were recently enjoying watching parachuters float through the air after leaping out of a plane. Suddenly, one of the jumper's parachutes burst. We watched in stunned silence as a man fell through the sky, hurtling toward the ground. I've never been skydiving, but I imagine the feeling of falling through the sky without a parachute must be similar to the feeling of having 11 acres of mixed vegetables and no way to water them. At least the skydiver had an emergency parachute, which opened long before the jumper reached the ground, much to our relief. Sadly, the farm's back-up 'chute --- irrigating from the pond --- isn't working, as it is empty following 3 consecutive seasons of minimal precipitation. No rain, no water in the pond, no way to irrigate. Yet, this past week, I decided I was weary of worrying and of being disheartened from the lack of moisture. Instead, we are focusing on what we can control. Weeding to reduce competition for moisture. Mulching with straw to maximize moisture retention. And personally, I am focusing on bringing joy to my work --- how lucky I am that I get to spend my days working outdoors with amazing people, and amazing plants! It's easy to be happy when everything is going well. The challenge is to keep an even keel when times are tough. Fortunately, organic farming --- working with the earth --- has a stabilizing effect on one's spirits. Falling through the sky ain't so bad when you have two feet on the ground.

The Cutting Veg in the Media:
Check out this blog post from The Cutting Veg CSA Member Jennifer Bartoli on her experience of being a CSA Member: http://bit.ly/O6Nl6R

Cooking with Kavanah:
In partnership with Living Wellness Kitchen and Delicious Knowledge By Marni Wasserman, Shoresh is pleased to announce the Cooking with Kavanah (CWK) series. CWK aims to teach and inspire Kavanah Garden visitors and Kavanah CSA members to use fresh produce in creative and healthy ways in the beautiful Kavanah Garden. Classes will be held the last Thursday of every month from June-September. Date: Thursday July 26th with Delicious Knowledge by Marni Wasserman. Times: 4:30 PM and 6:00 PM. Location: Kavanah Garden, 18 Lebovic Campus Drive.

Grow your own Sprouts:
Interested in learning to grow your own edible, organic bean sprouts, lentil sprouts, and more? Cathy's Composters has a very affordable and excellent sprouter available: http://bit.ly/OKvSUo. Sprouting is a great way to participate in the growing process, while increasing the nutrition in your diet. And it's so much fun!

Volunteers Welcome:
Each week we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 7:15am-4pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week or next, please rsvp to catherine.j@thecuttingveg.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 Bloor & Christie area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Produce This Week:
While there will often be last-minute, unanticipated changes, this week CSA members can expect to see most of the following items at the pick-up: Broccoli, Bok Choy, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Lettuce, Beans, Garlic Scapes, Swiss Chard, a Herb, and Green Onions. The Broccoli, Bok Choy, Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Lettuce were outsourced from other local, organic farms.

Recipe: Mediterranean Bean Pate (from www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
1½ cups beans
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 - 4 sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup black olives, pitted
Salt
Pepper
Fresh basil, mint, or parsley for garnish (optional)

Steam the beans, until tender. Let it cool.
Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until a thick, chunky paste forms.
Chill in the fridge before serving

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

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Former Cutting Veg Intern Launches Website for Growers

Distribution Platform And Operations Tracking For Agriculturalists: ExtraShare
Hi there, my name is Paolo and I'm a graduate of The Cutting Veg's intern program. While on the farm during the 2011 season, I was inspired and motivated to grow my own garden at home, and, with the knowledge I gained, was very successful. I was so successful, in fact, that I ended up with more than my family and I could consume! This led me to begin a search for ways to get these vegetables in the hands of hungry people near me. I started by giving them to friends and neighbours, but, when I still had leftovers, I turned to the internet. I started looking through sites like craigslist and Kijiji, but none seemed to be touching the food space, so I built a solution.

ExtraShare (http://ExtraShare.org) is a web application that enables gardeners to track their growth and map out extra stuff for distribution to community members. You can plot out markers, like seedlings, vegetables, space or even knowledge, on the public map, or log in and create private maps for your inner circle. I started one for my family and I. The latest feature, "My Grow Ops", helps users add pictures of their backyard gardens and indoor oases. It's been fun seeing how everyone's plants are progressing!

In addition to building the website, I've been helping out community spaces and getting involved with education programs for new participants. My main goal is to help push food security work forward, so we can ensure that tomorrow's generation has access to a clean environment and equitable food system.

Paolo Granelli