Maysie's FarmMaysie's Farm Newsletter: Fresh from the Fields
July 2008

July 31, 2008
Greetings!

Have you signed up for Annmarie Butera's cooking class at the farm yet? The first one takes place Monday, August 4 from 7-9pm and features food from the Middle East and Africa. The cost is $20 for Maysie's Farm members. Contact Annmarie at 610-466-7593 or ambutera@verizon.net to register and for further details.

Member Mishra Harris has kindly offered to coordinate volunteer efforts at the farm. If you'd like to help out in the garden for a few hours or a whole day please contact her at mishra@nutrisults.com. There will be future opportunities to help out with the Wellsprings Congregation one Saturday a month as well.

The Capitol Update with Senator Andy Dinniman about local food that features Sam as a guest is currently airing on local cable channels. Comcast Channel 78 airs it at 9pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Pottstown Cable TV shows it at 5pm Wednesday on Channel 22 and 9pm Thursday on Channel 98. I will also put a copy of the DVD in the store if anyone would like to borrow it.

This week's recipe is courtesy of member Amy Guskin. She writes the following:

This is a GREAT recipe for using vegetables that may be less popular around your home; if you sneak the turnips in, once they're cooked you can probably get anyone to eat them — and they'll be surprised to find how much they LOVE turnips!

Just use a bunch of "hard" vegetables (carrots, turnips, squash, potatoes, onions, anything else you'd like), all cut to bite-sized cubes. You'll need olive oil and Adobo, which is a popular Puerto Rican seasoning (you can find it in the Goya section of most supermarkets. If you don't have Adobo, it's just a mixture of salt, granulated garlic, oregano, black pepper, and tumeric).

Spray a lasagna pan lightly with oil. Add your cubed vegetables, as many as you like (the less you fill the pan, the shorter your cooking time). Add olive oil and Adobo to taste; toss lightly. Put the pan in an oven preheated to 400. Cook to taste — we usually like the veggies to get soft, but not burned, so we take them out in about 20-25 minutes. If you'd rather use a lower heat and leave them in longer while you're preparing the rest of the dinner, that'll work too!

See you at the farm!

~ Colleen


Think Globally, Eat Locally
COOKING CLASS SERIES
With Annmarie Butera of Cucina Verde

Join us at Maysie's Farm Conservation Center for a series of classes where we will take a journey across the globe and make dishes from various ethnic cuisines using local foods and pantry staples.

Each class $25 ($20 for Maysie's Farm CSA Members) Series of 4 classes $90 ($70 for CSA Members)

Middle East and Africa:

Fish Filet with Charmoula
Quinoa "cous cous"
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Ethiopian Collard Greens
Almond Biscuits

Monday August 4th from 7-9 pm

Mediterranean:

Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes
Green Salad with Lemon vinaigrette and Shaved Parmesan
Pasta with Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto
Wine Soaked Peaches with Fresh Cream

Monday August 18th from 7-9 pm

Indian

Red Lentil Pancakes with Mint Chutney and Tamarind Chutney
Mixed Vegetable Curry
Steamed Rice
Cucumber Mint Raita

Tuesday September 2nd from 6:30- 8:30

Southeast Asian

Lemongrass Soup
Spicy Salmon Cakes with Sambal
Sweet and Sour Salad
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Monday September 15th from 6:30-8:30

Menus are subject to changes depending on availability of produce.
Contact Annmarie Butera at 610-466-7593 or ambutera@verizon.net to register and for further details.

 
July 23, 2008
Greetings!

A few of our members have expressed interest in coming out to volunteer in the garden on weekends. There is a group coming out to work from the Wellsprings Congregation this Saturday, July 26. You are welcome to join them, along with our intern Emily. They'll be meeting by the barn at 10am, and working until about noon.

Annmarie Butera will be offering a series of four cooking classes at the farm in August and September. Each one will feature dishes from different parts of the world, beginning with the Middle East and Africa on August 4. Attached to this email is a flyer with more information on the classes. Try to take advantage of this great opportunity!

Sam was a guest on Senator Andy Dinniman's Capitol Update last week, talking about local sustainable agriculture. The program should be airing on local cable channels next week — watch for it!

This week's recipe comes from members Kerry and David Kay, who claim that for greens that are really green (and sweet!) the secret is ice:

Bunch of tough greens such as collards/kale - cut in strips
Garlic (1 or 2 cloves)
Olive oil to coat a large pan
Onions (about 1/3 cup chopped, any kind)

Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and toss in the greens, making sure that you cram them all in! Boil uncovered for 5 minutes. While the water is boiling, coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil and heat it. Sauté the onions and garlic in the pan until onions are translucent (a few minutes). Remove greens promptly from the boiling water and soak in the ice bath for a minute or so to cool completely. Drain. Add drained, cooled greens to the onion mixture and saute for five minutes, tossing the greens frequently in the pan for even cooking. Remove from heat and serve. Your collards will be bright green and have a hint of sweetness — no bitterness! Toss some toasted walnuts in at the end for added texture. Enjoy!

See you at the farm!

~ Colleen

 
July 16, 2008
Greetings!

Garlic is here! Garlic is unique in that it has to be planted in the fall for a summer harvest. You may use it fresh, or, if you're not going to use it right away, store it in a cool, dry place with ventilation to allow it to cure. It will last for quite awhile.

Sam has made arrangements with a few other local growers to buy in some vegetables — lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, stir fry greens — to supplement your pickup. This will let our beds more fully recover. If you take a walk around the farm during your pickup you'll see beds full of food that's on the way! Thank you for your patience!

The following recipe comes from member Cristie Kenney, whose family loved it! I'm sure the Swiss chard is interchangeable with other greens:

SWISS CHARD RECIPE

1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
1 small clove garlic, sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons water
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper Salt

Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk, roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan so that what was on the bottom is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another 5 minutes.

See you at the farm!

~ Colleen

 
July 6, 2008
Dear CSA Members,

Sorry for the desperate subject line, but our situation here is so desperate at this time that the best course of action seems to be to postpone harvesting our crops for a week: There will be no CSA distribution Friday, July 11th or Monday, July 14th. We will plan on extending the season an extra week in the fall, thus ending on Monday, December 1st instead of November 24th, if weather permits us to do that (which it most likely will). We also plan to "buy in" produce to supplement the distributions from the farm for the week you return from this hiatus, namely Friday, July 18th and Monday, July 21st. (I would have "bought in" produce right away, rather than postpone the two pick-ups, but it was not possible to do so.) After that, we should be returning to some sort of normalcy and abundance in our distributions.

The reason for our poor productivity so far this season is, in a word, labor, the "other" factor beyond the farmer's control. While the weather has made the season difficult for us (a cold grey spring, then a shocking heat wave, then excessively dry conditions), labor, as always, has had a much greater impact. It's well established that I need a good crew of 5 or 6 hard workers in March, April and May or the farm will be hopelessly behind as the season opens. This spring I had only one Intern, a very capable Intern who averaged less than two days a week before moving on to a great opportunity at Duke University in mid May. I had a Farm Manager who accomplished a surprisingly small amount, made some very major mistakes and then disappeared in mid April. I had various Hispanic workers put in some time until I found a few who could meet my Board of Directors requirements for legal status, finally reaching 4 full time Guatemalans only two weeks ago. And their effectiveness as workers has been slow in developing, due to both my limited command of even "Spanglish" and their lack of experience with farming - like hundreds of millions of Third World residents, they grew up in cities, totally removed from food production. I've received some much appreciated help from several former Interns and from our two "work-share" members, but have only recently been able to say that we now have two full time Interns. (Nicolas, from France, is here for his second summer, and Emily, from South Carolina, is doing a great job preparing to become an "Agricultural Specialist" in the Peace Corps in Africa this fall.)

So our work force is coming together and our productivity has improved hugely, but in agriculture it's not possible to catch up for productivity lost to disasters - like the potting soil the Farm Manager made for our cucs and zucs, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants and melons and watermelons: all those summer crops will be a little late because I had to restart them after the first plantings failed to thrive. Or the several generations of lettuces we lost to careless watering despite me having stressed, again and again, that it's necessary to use the "mister" head rather than the "shower" head on the newly seeded lettuce trays. Or the beds of lettuces and mesclun mix lost to deer and flea beetles because the row covers were not replaced after weeding, despite  me having explained, again and again, the importance of keeping the beds covered. Or the time that was lost between the demise of the old tiller and the introduction of the new one . . . .

But this is farming . . . .

And I hope you'll bear with us through our difficult times.

I apologize for our CSA's low productivity so far this season and I greatly appreciate your support of local food production.

And I'll also mention that if you have an interest in more fully enjoying the farm experience and could create some spare time, we certainly have the volunteer opportunities for you!

Thanks,

Sam

 
July 2, 2008
Greetings!

REMINDER for you Friday pickup people — because of the July 4 holiday, your pickup this week is on THURSDAY JULY 3 from noon-6pm. If you tried to change your July 4 pickup on the website and had trouble, that problem has been corrected (it also had to do with the holiday).  Thanks for your patience.

More details about the Fermentation Workshop at the farm on Sunday, July 13 from 1-5pm: We are fortunate to have renowned fermenter Sandor Katz (aka Sandorkraut) showing us the how-to's of fermentation.  (Check out his book Wild Fermentation when you stop by the farm store!!)

Fermenting vegetables through the use of lacto-fermentation was used across all cultures to preserve vegetables for long periods without the use of freezers or canning machines.  Preserving vegetables like this has numerous health advantages:

Beneficial organisms produced during lacto-fermentation produce life supporting enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances.

  • The lactic acid promotes healthy flora throughout our intestines and the digestibility and vitamin levels of the fermented vegetabes increase
  • Studies show that fermented cabbage (such as that which is found in lacto-fermented sauerkraut) has 300% more vitamin C than regular cabbage!
  • The lacto-fermentation also keeps these vegetables preserved for months and months!

Please join us and learn how to ferment the wonderful vegetables you are receiving at the farm...so you can preserve them and add valuable nutrients to your diet!  We will be sharing a small meal at the end of the demonstration — full of lacto-fermented morsels!

Cost is $35/person...children are welcome at no cost.  Please bring blankets or beach chairs to sit on.  RSVP to Annmarie Butera, ambutera@verizon.net or 610-466-7593.

See you at the farm!

~ Colleen

 
CSA memberships for the 2007 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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