ShopTalk - Regular Season
a home Base For Shareholders
August 18, 2018 - Distribution week #11
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just scroll below for our .pdf archive)
what's new this week
Batavian Lettuce: After Zoe noticed the first bite, Karen built us a nifty (and quick) deer fence. Now we have some tasty heads of late-summer crisp lettuce. A bit tangier than spring lettuce, but holds up to the heat a lot better. We hope to have this for a few weeks.
Toscano Kale: This dark green crinkly cooking green is also called "Lascinato" or "Dino" Kale. For many it is the tastiest treat of the late summer and early fall as its leaves make a great addition to stir frys and other dishes as well. Use it like any other cooking green - steam or fry and eat it while it's hot! This crop looks good!
Garlic: Our garlic is all "cured" now, so if you don't eat it this week, leave it in a cool dry place and it will last for months. We have a delicious German White this week.
Sweet Italian Parsley: This flavorful and versatile herb is in the same family as carrots, cilantro, and dill. We have a good crop which should be available through November.
what's on the way
$1 / lb
$3 / dz
$2 / lb
to purchase bulk produce:
in the farm shop:
just come on in and see the farm shopkeeper
in the Boston area:
visit Bulk Produce Shop on our website:
Cherry & Paste Tomatoes
Check here for updated picking info
FOOD PRESERVATION Tips
Now's the time to make use of the abundance of tomatoes on the farm. We have tomatoes in bulk and this is just the early crop! So now's the time to get ready for winter. The traditional way is to put them up in glass canning jars. This is a tasty way to have tomatoes all year long. They taste great fresh out of the jar. Use a good reference like “Putting Food By” to get the scoop on how to do it right. This method is somewhat time consuming but yields the best product. For those who want a quicker and simpler way, just put them in plastic bags and into the freezer they go. When you thaw them they can be used for cooking, but they are too mushy to be eaten fresh. The taste is great and for cooking they are ideal.
Sauce now, smile later. Put your tomatoes in a big pot and add just a little bit of water. Bring them to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer (don’t let them burn - that’s the trick!). After they’ve cooked for a lot of hours (like, all day) put the whole thing through the Foley Food Mill (to take out the skins, etc - You can also drop the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute before saucing them to take the skins off, if you don't have a food mill). Don’t add any onions, peppers, garlic or nothing. Just tomatoes. All tomatoes. All the time. Put this brew in yogurt containers (leave an inch of head room) and into the freezer. Defrost this winter when you want to be happy. You can put this in jars as well, but make sure you follow the directions carefully since the risk of botulism is high with canned tomatoes. It’s not hard to do, just do it right. Either way, you'll be happy with your sauce!
REcipe of The Week
SHOPTALK - OLD SCHOOL
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just click on the week for a .pdf to print)
What's happening at the farm
Pic of the week
HOW WE FARM
The Weeder Crew
Every year, the weeds grow. We plow the earth. Plant the seeds. And then the earth plants a few billion more. Deep down she's a very modest being - doesn't like to be naked at all. Wherever there's a clear spot.....Pop, goes a weedie! It's tempting to think that we could just coexist on the earth, that all living things can just "get along" together. We could grow plants. The earth could grow weeds. We could get our crops out. The earth could make a few more weed seeds. And we could all live in the sweet ever-after. Heck, we could even stop working so hard and maybe take a few months off in the summer to sit under the tree and ponder our existence. Just doesn't seem to work out that way. If left to their own, the weeds would grow and grow and choke out all of our crops. All of our human aspirations at survival would be choked with them. And we'd be left eating rough pig weed stems or hunting for wild boar.
Of course, this is what has brought us the industrial agricultural chemicals of our time; They are immensely useful. Imagine planting a field of onions. Then seeing some weeds emerge. Then spraying the crop once and seeing all of the weeds die while the onions magically live on. Now that seems like good magic. It's just that the earth doesn't usually let such force just go "unanswered." There usually is a balancing force that has another, unintended effect. For instance, you may kill the weeds, but also leave carcinogens that cause rampant cell growth in other beings - causing unintended harm.
On our farm, we try and find a balanced approach. Plow the earth. Plant a seed. Cultivate the rows (with a small 13 hp tractor). And that's where the weeder crew comes in. After we are done with the primary cultivation of our plants, we "crawl" the fields. Plucking (not so gently) all the remaining weeds that have emerged to compete with our plants. This can be very difficult (like when the August rain swamped our peppers), but mostly the weeds are in a very concentrated area (about 2" around the crops). Still, when you've got to keep 27 acres of vegetables clean, it can take a little while. 27 acres of crops, one row at a time, comes out to about 343,000 feet of row. You try crawling 64 miles! That's why we need an entire crew.
Every year, we hire some folks who want to work hard, be outside, and help us produce food that's good for you to eat! We're very fortunate to have lots of eager high school & college-aged people around who fit the bill. We only have them work from 8am to 12pm so that they can do other things with their time, and not get burnt out from too much of a good thing. You should know that these folks work their tails off for your food. We all simply couldn't be eating all of this without them.
We open our jobs to anyone who wants to apply. We pay competitive wages to other summer jobs. And we have a good old time on the farm. This year has been not too different. Oliver, Sydney, Augusta, Sam, Emilia, Ryan, Caleb, and Lukas returned for another season and they were joined by newcomers Jaden, Amalia, Orion, Spencer, James, Hayden, Emma, Ethan, Annie, and Leija.
They have kept our farm clean and abundant all summer long. Starting at the end of May, they've come and crawled the beets and carrots, yanked nutsedge in eggplants, and left the winter squash looking mighty fine! It was a mostly wet summer, with some very hot spots here an there. Didn't matter - they came and they pulled, tugged, plucked, and just kept moving around the farm staying ahead of the earth's urge to wipe us out! And so far, doesn't look like there were too many lasting side-effects for them or for us. Next week is their last as they will finish the fall brassicas, next years' strawberries, and finally the rutabagas. So if you see them around the farm, give them a shout and say thanks for the cucumbers. The carrots. The kale. The melons. The onions. Couldn't have done it without them.
PARTNERSHIP IN Farming
Enter The Trug
At our on-farm distribution, we have always been looking for ways for you to measure out your share of produce that didn't involve the time-consuming scale. For many years we used the "roll bag" as our basic unit of measure. That worked great, except for all of those pesky, not-really-re-usable-plastic bags.
Enter the trug. (why is called a trug? we don't know!). This is the handy, reusable plastic tub that has virtually the exact same volume as the roll bag. So we have purchased a bunch of them, hoping that when you go to measure out your share, you can substitute the trug for the bag and still get a quick and accurate size without needing to use the plastic bag. And then we can use these trugs for years and years. We are happy about this change and want to know how it's working for you - let us know!!