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



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