Sunday, July 8, 2012

Farm Talk: Dealing with Drought

Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Update:
Up until the glorious rains of Friday night, it had been many weeks since we'd had a good rain. On the farm, we minimize the amount of irrigating we do, not only to reduce water waste, but because there is nothing quite as beneficial to the health of our plants as a natural rain. In addition to depending on the rain to irrigate our crops, we also mulch our crops heavily (covering our beds with straw to maximize moisture retention). Of course, when rain is sparse, we do water our crops. However, not only has it been a dry start to the summer, but we had a very dry spring, and minimal precipitation this winter as well. In order to irrigate, we draw upon water from the pond on the farm. Sadly, due to the lack of winter, spring, and summer precipitation, the pond is almost empty(!), so we can only irrigate on a limited basis. How is the lack of rain affecting our crops? The good news is that the plants still look very healthy, and are not generally showing signs of distress. However, production is slowed by the lack of water. The Cuke, Zuke, and Melon plants are growing more slowly than usual. The Kale and Swiss Chard leaves are smaller. The 2nd timelines of Salad Mix and Asian Greens got stunted from a lack of moisture, and will not produce. Our first timeline of beets never germinated. On the whole, things have been working out so well for us on the farm this year, and I sense they will continue to. All of these challenges are part of the new reality of farming in a world dealing with climate change. We can no longer count on spring rains, or predictable frost dates. Unpredictability in farming is the new normal.

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 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: Field Cucumbers, Head Lettuce, Rhubarb, Onions, Garlic Scapes, Snow Peas, Kale, Radishes, fresh herbs (tbd). The cukes and lettuce were outsourced from other local, organic farms.

Shoresh Wild Raspberry Summer Festival:
There is a quarter acre of wild raspberries about to ripen at the Kavanah Garden! You are invited to join in harvesting and enjoying these delicious delicacies at Shoresh's Summer Festival. Celebrate the bounty of summer with storytelling, music, garden crafts and of course, wild raspberry smoothie making on a bicycle blender. Everyone is welcome! Bring friends, family, sunscreen, hats, water and a picnic lunch to enjoy. Date: Sunday July 15, 2012. Time: 12:00 PM-3:00 PM. Location: Shoresh's Kavanah Garden, 18 Lebovic Campus Drive. Cost: $6/person or $18/family. Contact for more info.

Recipe: Noodles with Kale and Spicy Rhubarb Sauce (from Erin Alderson's Blog "Naturally Ella")
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup green onion
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 cups rhubarb
1/2 teaspoon dried chilies, crushed
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt
4 oz udon or soba noodles
2 handfuls of kale
cilantro and lime wedges for topping

  1. In a sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onions and ginger, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Next, stir in rhubarb, water, honey, and chilies. Let simmer until rhubarb has broken down and sauce comes together. Add a pinch of salt and taste to adjust seasonings (if you want it sweeter, add more honey or if you want it spicier, add more chiles.)
  2. Prepare noodles according to directions, drain, and set aside.
  3. Shred kale and place in a large bowl. Once noodles and rhubarb are done, toss with kale to slightly wilt. Top with cilantro and lime wedges to serve.
That's all the news from the farm for now. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

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