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!)

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

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