Maysie's FarmMaysie's Farm Newsletter: Fresh from the Fields
August 2006
August 29, 2006

First, an important message for Monday pick-up people...because of the Labor Day holiday, your pick-up next week will be on TUESDAY, September 5. Then back to Mondays for the rest of the season.

Have you noticed that despite our serious staff shortage the farm has been mowed and trimmed? Member Steve Chytla and his lawn care company showed up out of the blue last week and took care of this for us. He's coming again to help us prepare for the big party on Sept. 16. THANK YOU, Steve! We still have plenty of volunteer opportunities available, both for the party and in the garden in general. I should also mention that we are seriously seeking volunteer assistance with development work. If you have any experience with fund-raising and/or grant-writing and can spare some time, please let us know.

As you know, a potluck dinner is a big part of the Sept. 16 party. If you're making a dish for that night, and especially if you'll be using ingredients from the farm, email me your recipe and I'll include it in an update. It's a lot of fun trying all the different foods that arrive at our potlucks, and it would be nice to share those recipes!

When I was in the barn today, I noticed that some people were unfamiliar with tomatillos. They are related to tomatoes, and can be used in salsas, sauces, bruschetta, etc. You need to remove the papery covering (they're a little sticky underneath) before using them. I boil them for a few minutes before chopping them into whatever I'm making. Try making your own salsa with our tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, onions, creative! Or if you're not feeling as adventurous, here is a good recipe from Cooking Light magazine:

Avocado-Tomatillo Dip

5 tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon finely chopped hot pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2 ripe peeled avocados, seeded and coarsely chopped

Discard husks and stems from tomatillos. Place tomatillos in a small saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature. Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro, pepper, and salt in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add sour cream and avocado, process until smooth. Serve with pita chips.

And since we STILL have so much zucchini, here's a recipe from a recent Philadelphia Inquirer:

Marinated Zucchini (8 servings)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 medium zucchini (mix of green and yellow), trimmed and cut
lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1. In a deep saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until just smoking. Add 5 or 6 zucchini slices and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining zucchini.
2. In a small bowl, gently stir together the garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, salt and pepper until well mixed. Line the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate with 1/4 of the zucchini slices. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 of the herb mixture and drizzle or spritz with 1 Tablespoon of the vinegar. Continue layering the remaining zucchini and herb mixture with the remaining vinegar. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

See you at the farm!


August 19, 2006

Just a short update this week, as I'm trying to pack for one last summer trip to see family in New England. Although our CSA season is only about halfway over, we're getting ready to end our summer activities and get back into the school routine.

By now you probably received the invitation to the CSA's 10th Anniversary party. We hope that many of you can attend this special event. We're looking for volunteers to help pull this off. Please respond to this email if you can help with set-up (including mowing and weeding the week beforehand), set-up that day, parking, helping with children's activities, clean-up, etc. As always, we never turn away volunteers! But even if you can't help, please still come and enjoy the party; there will be a sign up sheet in the barn so that we can get a rough idea of how many people to expect.

Aren't those tomatoes great? To me, the epitome of summer eating is the fresh tomato/basil combination. You can toss them with pasta, put them on Italian bread with some mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar, or just eat them plain. And here's another eggplant recipe for you (from Cooking Light magazine):

Grilled Soy-Glazed Eggplant

Slice 2 eggplants crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Combine 1 1/2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, and 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, brush evenly over both sides of eggplant. Place on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 1 minute on each side or until tender.

See you at the farm!


August 11, 2006

Ahh...what a nice relief from the heat and humidity of last week! Trey and the interns are especially appreciative of the break in the weather!

I hope you're enjoying the bounty of squash, cukes, peppers, and tomatoes. While you're at the farm, don't forget to take some time for the pick-your-own crops listed on the board, especially when the weather isn't so beastly. Also, don't forget to help yourself to the 'seconds' table. The vegetables that make it to that table are still very edible, they just might be a little bruised or not as fresh as the others. As most of you know, every Friday after the CSA pick-up, a representative from the Chester County Gleaning Program comes and takes whatever is left and distributes the food to needy people in the county. It's nice to know that the food isn't wasted and is enjoyed by less fortunate folks.

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, September 16 (raindate: Sunday, September 17) for the annual CSA picnic. This year will be particularly festive as we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Maysie's Farm CSA! It all starts at about 3:00pm with swimming and games, followed by the potluck dinner at around 6:00 and a square dance under the stars at around 8:30. Come for part or all of the party, and bring family and friends!

I have two recipes for you this week. The pickle recipe came from Family Fun magazine (I think!) many years ago. It's a winner! The eggplant recipe is from the Philadelphia Inquirer, either last year or the year before. Enjoy!

The World's Easiest Pickle Recipe (makes 32 to 48 pickles)

4 medium cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (or less!) sugar
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dill weed

Wash the cucumbers and cut them into spears. Mix the cucumbers and salt in a medium-sized bowl and let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Next, stir in the sugar, onion, pepper, vinegar, celery seed, and dill. Cover the bowl, refrigerate overnight, and your pickles are done.

Grilled Eggplant with Tomato Salsa (6 servings)

2 large eggplants, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon, salt, divided
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 to 2 teaspoons lime juice

1. Place the eggplants, oil, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large, self-sealing plastic bag. Seal bag and turn to coat the eggplant well. Refrigerate for 1 hour, turning occasionally.

2. To make the salsa, in a small bowl combine the tomatoes, basil, cilantro, lime juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Place the eggplant slices on a hot grill, saving the marinade. Grill, turning once and brushing often with marinade, until golden brown and tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Serve warm with salsa.

See you at the farm!


August 5, 2006

By now you have received our Summer Appeal letter in the mail, and some people have already responded (thank you!). We are most extremely grateful for your support, as the money raised from this appeal helps fund the programs sponsored by our nonprofit conservation center. The CSA is a part of this, but as you know our mission encompasses more. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Interns Bridget and Charlie have now left, and Dani and Deirdre are part-time. Trey and Michael need more help! If you know of anyone who might be interested in being an intern, please send them our way. We offer housing, food from the garden, and a small stipend. Thank you to Cindi Aubert, Luanne Gates, Karen Barnett, and other members who have generously given their time to help out. We'll never turn away volunteers!

For this past Friday's distribution we had the help of 6 day campers from the Brandywine Valley Association Summer Camp, who spent their last day at Gardening Camp helping out at our CSA. They helped process carrots, beets, onions, squash, and cucumbers. They were hoping to do some weeding too, but they just didn't get to it. This is a familiar story, especially now when we're shorthanded. There are beans to be picked in Field 2, but you have to hunt for them among the weeds. If you do trek out there for the beans (they're worth it!) feel free to pull up a few weeds too!

Our rescheduled Children?s Workshop (for ages 6 and up) will take place Thursday, August 10, and there are still openings. It runs from 8:30-2:00, and the kids will seed trays, transplant seedlings, and harvest vegetables for a big salad for lunch. We also play some garden games and tend to get wet with the hose! Cost is $30/child ($25 for members). Contact us ASAP if your child can attend.

If you?re looking for a different way to use all those cucumbers, member Marge Miller sends along this recipe for cucumber soup:

Cucumber Summer Soup

3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 scallions -- or I've used onion instead
6 cucumbers -- peeled and seeded
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 cup sour cream

In a blender, pulse vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Add three of the cucumbers and scallions until pureed. Combine puree with milk, sour cream, salt & pepper.

Coarsely chop remaining three cucumbers (I sometimes add a carrot for color) and add to soup mixture. Chill at least two hours and serve topped with dill weed.

And in last Wednesday's Food section of the Philadelphia Inquirer, I came across a recipe that can be made almost entirely with vegetables currently available at Maysie's. What I usually do with these vegetables is slice them, marinate them together in oil and vinegar, and grill them -- simple and delicious! But I'll be trying this recipe soon!

Roasted Ratatouille Couscous -- 12 servings

Nonstick cooking oil spray
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
1 zucchini, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
1 large bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch squares
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked couscous

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat 1 large rimmed baking sheet (or 2 medium sheets) with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onions, and tomatoes. Add 1/3 cup of the oil and salt and pepper to taste and toss the vegetables to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, keeping the vegetables in one layer.

3. Roast until tender and just beginning to brown, 60 to 70 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes and turning the pan midway through to ensure even cooking. Transfer to a large serving bowl and set aside.

4. Prepare the couscous according to package directions. Add the cooked couscous and the remaining 2 Tablespoons oil to the roasted vegetables and stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

See you at the farm!


As we get into the busy spring season, there's a ton of work to be done! The interns do a great job at growing the vegetables, but there are lots of other jobs around the farm that are begging for volunteers. We've come up with the list below, and hope that these spark an interest for some of you. Notice that some of these jobs are ongoing, while some are one-time efforts.

  • Establish and maintain the culinary herb beds (these were a disaster last year because they were not tended to!).

  • Restore and maintain the Children's Garden (ditto!).

  • Landscape an "island" behind the new barn office (after trenching for solar electric lines is completed). Take down the mulberry tree.

  • Establish native ground cover in full sun along the rock wall on the southern side of the hoophouse.

  • Construct a bio-diesel processing facility (instructions and examples are available).

Once again this year, we also put the call out to members to volunteer some extra time on their pick up day to act as Distribution Managers in the barn. No experience is necessary, and their presence helps the distribution go much more smoothly.

To volunteer for any of these jobs (or if you think of others...weeding, mowing, etc!) call Sam at 610-458-8129. Thank you!

CSA memberships for the 2006 season are going fast! Spread the word about Maysie's Farm to anyone you think may be interested in joining, and register BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

Wish List
Looking to get rid of any of the following items? Maysie's Farm will put them to good use! The first three needs are for our new "office," which is (still) under construction in the old "staff room":

• Wooden file cabinets
• Small electric range/oven
• Sink base, under-counter cabinets, wall cabinets and a short length of countertop material
• Picnic table(s)
• Large outdoor canopy
• Solar powered walkway lights (ideally to match the two donated by Martha Thomae)
• Straw bale chopper (for mulching large areas)
• Assistance building a bio-diesel production system or a compost tea brewing system
• Diesel station wagon or delivery vehicle for use as our produce hauler (for the Farmers Market and our Farm and School partnership) that we could run on bio-diesel or vegetable oil
• Housing for potential Farm Manager
Please contact Sam at (610) 458-8129 if you can donate any of these items.

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