Monday, October 22, 2012

Farm Talk: One Special Little Clove

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update from Farmer Daniel
The garlic planting is complete! We set a goal of planting 50,000 cloves, but we hit 50,000 last Monday, and just kept on planting! In the end, we've planted approximately 57,000 cloves, which will become 57,000 bulbs next summer. All of our garlic is mulched with several inches of straw, which performs several functions. The straw will suppress weeds, reducing competition (and our workload!) The mulch will also help with moisture retention, ensuring a constant source of water for the garlic plants. Further, the straw will eventually decompose, providing organic matter to enrich the soil. Finally, the straw insulates the garlic from a mid-winter-thaw. If we have a warm stretch in the winter, the garlic could start growing, and emerge from the ground. This would be a disaster, as when the cold returned, all the garlic could be killed off. The mulch will ensure that this doesn't happen. For those interested in growing their own garlic, it's not too late to plant. Garlic growing instructions here: Having started the Global Garlic Project with 100 bulbs in 2005, it amazes me to think we have grown our crop to 50,000+. My passion for garlic seems to multiply as our crop does. Too bad I can't convince my wife Terri to name our child-to-be Garlo. Or, Garly if it's a girl.

Why are the Garlic Bulbs Small?
CSA Members will have noticed that the garlic they are receiving is on the small side. This is because we're trying to reduce the number of smalls the farm produces, by planting only large cloves. Large cloves tend to produce large bulbs, and small cloves tend to produce small bulbs. This year, we haven't distributed any of our larger bulbs, because we want to replant them all. By planting cloves from only larger bulbs, we will see a significant increase in the size of the bulbs we produce in future seasons. If we had brought our large bulbs to the CSA this year, we would have had to replant the small bulbs, and the cycle of producing small bulbs would continue. Those receiving our garlic will see a significant increase in the size in future years. In the meantime, we hope you are loving the flavour and incredible health benefits of eating our fresh, local, organic garlic as much as we are!

Produce this week
This week members should expect to see, from The Cutting Veg: Garlic, Carrots, Arugula, Radishes, Parsley, Kale. From Zephyr Organics: Beets, Broccoli, Eggplant.

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!

Preserving Garlic
Follow the link for ideas to preserve your garlic:

Recipe: Spicy Kale and Chickpea Stew

• 1 1/2 cups chick peas
• 10 cups water
• 2 large onions, chopped coarse
• 3 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 green bell peppers, chopped coarse
• 1 1/2 pounds kale, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and chopped
• 2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes including the juice, chopped
• 6-ounce can tomato paste
• 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 tsp each dried thyme, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, and sugar
• 1 bay leaf

In a large saucepan simmer the chickpeas in the water, covered partially, for 1 hour, or until they are tender. In a heavy pan cook the onions and the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden, add the bell peppers, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas with the cooking liquid, the kale, the tomatoes with the juice, the tomato paste, the chili powder, the thyme, the orégano, the red pepper flakes, the cumin, the sugar, and the bay leaf, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the stew, stirring ocassionally, for 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf, season the stew with salt, and serve the stew on the couscous or rice.

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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