Sunday, June 24, 2012

Farm Talk: In the Zone

Hello Farm Folk,


Farm Update:
Following two grueling farming seasons which included lousy harvests, financial peril, and burnout, we continue to revel in how well things are going this season. This week CSA members will receive, among other crops, carrots, snow peas, snap peas, and Swiss chard. This is the earliest we have ever been able to provide our CSA members with these four crops. We generally are not able to harvest chard and peas in substantial qualities until early-mid July, and carrots even later. However, cooperative April conditions allowed us to get our peas in early, and the plants have thrived ever since. The chard we started from seedlings for the first time this season (as opposed to direct seeding), which is allowing us to harvest it almost a month ahead of usual. Being able to provide carrots in June is a special accomplishment, made possible only by our greenhouse, where we planted the carrots in early April. Of course, the heat wave of last week made for challenging working conditions, but our amazing interns, volunteers, and staff persevered through it, harvesting for our 6 CSA locations & 2 farmers markets, while weeding our current crops, and planting new ones (salad mix, carrots, beets). And the downpour we received on Thursday was just the gift we needed. When things are going well --- on the farm, or in life --- it is important to be able to recognize it, and enjoy it. Farming is demanding as always, but We're In The Zone and Loving it!

The Cutting Veg in the Media:
• A fun article that was featured in several York Region publications: http://bit.ly/NO7in3
• And the Rabbi & Farmer job-trade article getting lots more coverage: http://bit.ly/NQfhPw, http://bit.ly/NrW85g

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 let her know 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!

Produce this week:
This week CSA members can expect to see the following items at the pick-up: Snap Peas, Carrots, Snow Peas, Chard, Salad Mix, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Mushrooms. The mushrooms were outsourced from a local, organic farm.

That's all the news from the farm for now. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

P.S. While we work hard at growing veg for the community, we would love your support to grow our CSA membership. Members can join at any time during the season, at a prorated cost. If you love what we do, please tell your friends, bring them to the CSA pick-up, or give them some of your veg to taste. Or send them this link: www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA. Thanks for your support to grow our membership.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Farm Talk: June on the Farm

Hello Farm Folk,


Farm Update:
Over the course of the farming season, there are no light weeks --- no down time. Yet, June is certainly the most demanding month of the year on the farm. While we continue with planting our crops, the weeding needs also increase, and we must integrate harvesting and vending at our CSA locations & Farmers Markets. We look around the field and see the plants being crowded out by the weeds...but we often can't do anything about it, because we need to focus on harvesting. This past week on the farm was both very stressful, and very rewarding. We have the problem every veggie farmer hopes to have --- so much veg to harvest! Finding time and energy to weed our 11 acres of mixed veg, while so much of our time goes to harvesting, is the big challenge we face now. Thank goodness we have such a dedicated team. Our phenomenal volunteers, interns, and staff give so much of themselves to ensure our crops thrive, and the weeds are pulled. The stresses of June are a reality of veggie farming, but in spite of the challenges, the farm and farmers continue to thrive.

Veggie Heroes: Introducing the 2012 Intern Team
They're up at 5am, riding their bikes to the carpool leaving at 6am. They're in the fields from 7am-4pm, planting, weeding, harvesting, and cleaning veg as they endure heat, rain, and exhaustion. They are the heroes that I am blessed to spend my days with --- the 2012 Intern team: Erick Gamez, Erika Wilson, Jackie Gamble, Jessica Reeve, Julie Nowack, Karen Singh, Lucie Pekarek, Paolo Lavalle, Sarah Lin, Tova Kardonne, and Zandra Zalucky. Why do they give so much of themselves? Because they want to learn to grow their own food. Because they want to practice sustainable living. Because they care so much about this planet and our community, that they're ready to do whatever it takes to make it better. These are the heroes with which I am blessed to spend my days. Thank you 2012 Intern team for making such a big difference in the community!

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 let her know 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!

Produce this week:
This week CSA members can expect to see the following items at the pick-up: Apples, Rhubarb, Potatoes, Kale or Chard (tbd), Salad Turnips, Salad Mix, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Arugula. The apples and potatoes were outsourced from other local, organic farms.

Recipe: Apple Potato Soup (from www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
3 medium apples, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes
Salt and Pepper

Add 4 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the bouillon cubes. Mix well.
Throw in the diced apples and potatoes (and any spices you like). Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Mash the soup using a potato masher, or throw in the food processor to get a smoother consistency.

That's all the news from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

Daniel

P.S. It's not too late to join our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at a pro-rated cost. More info at www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Farm Talk: Happy Plants and Planters

Hello Farm Folk,


Farm Update:
The crops are continuing to thrive on the farm. The peas, kale, chard, and greenhouse carrots are all flourishing, and should be ready for harvest with the next few weeks. Our newly planted perennials --- the strawberries, asparagus, chives, and oregano --- have all taken root, and look great for future years. The heat-lovers are all looking strong, particularly the tomato plants, which are vibrant and growing rapidly. Of course, not every crop is a success --- the spinach has been a bit of a flop, and the germination on our first timeline of beets has been poor. But on the whole, we are thrilled with our crops, and Farm Manager Paul and I find ourselves doing a happy dance about our veg almost daily.

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 let her know 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!

Produce this week:
This week CSA members can expect to see the following items at the pick-up: Apples, Mushrooms, Salad Turnips, Cilantro, Salad Mix, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Asian Greens, Arugula. The apples and mushrooms were outsourced from other local, organic farms.

Recipe Database:
Be sure to take advantage of the delicious recipes available at www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes

Radish and Salad-Turnip Salad
Several small radishes, thinly sliced
Several small salad turnips, thinly sliced
1 bag Asian greens mix, cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoon chopped green onions
coarse kosher or sea salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir gently but thoroughly to combine and coat all the veg. Taste and season with salt.

That's all the news from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

Daniel



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Farm Talk: CSA starts this week!

Hello Farm Folk,
Farm Update:
Sometimes farming can be harsh and cruel (see 2010 & 2011). And sometimes, it's pure joy and satisfaction. The crops are thriving, the team is happy, the weather has been kind. As we walk through our 11 acres of mixed veg, we can't help but feel good. The pea plants are abundant and flowering, and the kale & chard are big and luscious. The cilantro & dill are vibrant and healthy, and the tomato plants in the greenhouse are really starting to take off. The beans, melons, cukes, & zukes are all germinating beautifully, the sunflowers, garlic, & onions all have a healthy glow, and the transplanted peppers, eggplant, basil, & tomatoes are all looking very strong. Every crop seems to be thriving so far! Funny how two seasons can be so different. Last year we worked just as hard, but the results were a huge disappointment. The difference? The soil. It's all about having the right growing medium, which is nutrient rich and a nice texture. Whereas our soil at our old farm in Brampton was a heavy clay, the soil at our new farm in Sutton is a sandy loam. Great soil = Happy plants. Happy plants = Happy farmers. After two seasons of disappointment, I am falling in love with farming all over again.

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 let her know 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!

Produce this week:
This week CSA members can expect to see the following items at the pick-up: Salad Mix, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Asian Greens, Radishes, Arugula, Dill, Rhubarb, and Potatoes. The potatoes were outsourced from another local, organic farm. CSA Members with any questions can contact Kirsten, our CSA Manager, at kirsten@thecuttingveg.com, or 647-964-2653.

Farmer D's Veggie Tips:
After a winter of living off preserves and store bought produce, what a joy to be eating our homegrown veg again. It's a "Greens-Lovers-Heaven" on the farm, with salad mix, arugula, and Asian greens mix all featuring. And soon the spinach, Swiss chard, and kale will be ready as well. Local green vegetables are precisely what our bodies need at this time of year, following a winter without fresh greens. While our arugula and Asian greens mix make fantastic salads, they are also excellent to cook with. They can be sautéed with green onions and green garlic as a side dish. Or tossed into a stir-fry, soup, curry, etc. Arugula Pesto is also pure bliss (see recipe below). Enjoy your greens!
  • Asian Greens Mix: Great as salad, or cooked
  • Green Garlic: Use as you would normally use garlic. Cut off the roots, and you can eat the entire plant!
  • Rhubarb: Stewed, or in a crumble --- YUM!
  • Arugula: Great as salad, or cooked
  • Potatoes: Store in a kitchen cupboard
  • Storage: With the exception of potatoes, all your veg will keep best in a sealed bag in the fridge 
Recipe: Arugula Pesto (for more recipes, see thecuttingveg.com/recipes):

This weeks recipe comes from Stephanie Frisch, at Sensible Wellness (http://sensiblewellness.ca/)

2 cups arugula
2 tsp garlic paste or 1 green garlic plant
4 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup grated parmesan, or romano (optional)

Put all ingredients into a chopper or food processor. Chop/blend, until smooth. Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Will remain fresh for a few weeks.

 What to do with the pesto? In addition to using with pasta, try adding a couple tablespoons with vegetables (green, red, yellow peppers, zucchini, onions) that you can grill on the bbq or roast in the oven. Another great option is rubbing the pesto on salmon and adding a layer of feta cheese - you can BBQ this or bake it in the oven. The flavouring of the pesto bakes into the salmon providing great taste throughout.

That's all the news from the farm for now. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

The Cutting Veg Farm Team

 P.S. If you haven't already joined our CSA, you can still do so in time for week 1 at www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA.