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, 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 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!

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

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