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

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