Category Archives: Farm Events

Weather conditions affect harvest

Weather challenges greet us toward the end of this season’s CSA. Infrequent temperatures changes have affected a few crops, and some were completely lost (tomatoes, cucumbers and squash). We will completely harvest crops like spinach and salad mix to have as much to offer as possible in the CSA boxes in the final week. Some of the crops like collards, carrots, and beets have winter hardiness and are able to withstand temperatures below 20 ° F. We will see.

Post by Shaquannah Faison

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CSA for 11/15/17

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This week in your CSA box you will find a few new items! These include chicory root, turmeric, kohlrabi, carrots, and 2 varieties of sweet potatoes. Please note that there will not be a CSA box next week due to Thanksgiving break.

Chicory root is a source of prebiotic fiber that assists the good bacteria in your gut, boosting your immune function. The root can be consumed raw or cooked, prepared similarly to dandelion root. Can also be dried, ground, and used as a coffee substitute. Additional resource: https://www.livestrong.com/article/371906-medicinal-uses-of-chicory-root/

Turmeric is part of the ginger family. It has digestive, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. Some common ways to use turmeric is to grate it in to smoothies, soups, curries, and rice dishes. It can even be used as a toothpaste! Note that the golden (orange) varieties of turmeric may stain skin. Additional resource: https://www.livestrong.com/article/135303-the-benefits-raw-turmeric/

Kohlrabi is a member of the Brassica family and is similar in taste and texture to a broccoli stem– though has a bit more crunch. My favorite simple preparation is to slice as thin “steaks” and roast in oven or grill. It can also be eaten raw as a slaw (but make sure to slice very thin and marinate to soften).

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To extend the life of your carrots, top immediately before storing in fridge. Tops will continue to transpire, which will cause the roots to wilt. Carrot top pesto is a farm favorite, and easy to prepare– all you need is olive oil, garlic, salt, walnuts, and tops. Blend and enjoy with your next grilled cheese!

The smaller varieties of sweet potatoes in the CSA box this week are best eaten sooner rather than later, cooked while the skin is still thin. When aged, the skin becomes more tough and may be more challenging to peel and remove.

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Thanks for your continued support, and enjoy the bounty!

–CSA FARM TEAM

 

9/13 All Farm Things

With the first day of fall just around the corner, fields are getting prepped for a new fall planting! Hurricane Irma sent some additional rain our way (but fortunately not much else), so everyone is drying out and moving on with production. Look forward to lettuces, brassicas, fennel, carrots, radishes, turnips, rutabaga– and so much more! collards tomatoes.jpgPictured are collards and tomatoes hardening off outside of the greenhouse before planting (to avoid transplant shock). 

It may be too early to bring out your sweaters! We had a week of cooler temps, but it seems like the 80’s are coming back (gratefully, sans sweatbands and leotards). So while you may not want to pack away your shorts and T’s yet, the appearance of pumpkins in this weeks CSA remind us that it will soon be time to get ready for costumes, candy, and delicious new recipes. But for now, continue exploring trying new things with peppers and eggplant! Or slice ’em and roast ’em again and again. Simple can be sweet.

pumpkinsPumpkins present in this weeks CSA

Indoors, in the Sustainable Ag classroom, students continued learning about the principles of propagating by cuttings– considering such things as the time of year it is, the health of the plant, and the ideal growth stage.

In the selected topics course, class has been reviewing all things trees– from IDing, to creating agroecosystems, to learning the importance of urban forestry. Guest speakers Tony Mayer, Ben Bergmann, and Barbara Fair shared their expertise and love of trees. There is now less mystery about what is an odd bipinnately compound leaf structure– another Jeopardy question solved. (post by Laura Maule)

leaf-structuresImage from here: http://www.tuninst.net/MP-TAXON/criteria/criteria.htm

Post By Laura Maule

Out With Summer Favorites, In With Fall Seedlings

This week, enjoy some of the season’s last week of summer favorites as we move towards planning and planting fall crops.

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Here is what you will find in your CSA box this week:

Okra

Assorted eggplant

Sweet peppers

Purslane

Shishitos

Sweet potato greens

Holy basil

Parsley

Pinto Gold potatoes

Red Ichilleum garlic

Gladstone onions

Please note that red shishito peppers can take on a spicy, hot taste unlike the green version of the pepper.

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The Gladstone onions should also be consumed soon to preserve desired freshness.

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Our last summer CSA…

This week will be the final summer CSA. The fall CSA will begin again after a 3-week hiatus. Thank you for all of your support during our summer  growing season!

This week you will find the following items in the CSA box:

Sweet potato greens

Early jalapeños

Red chiles

Banana peppers

Hungarian wax peppers

Basil

Parsley

Cabbage

Mixed new potatoes

Sweet peppers

Carrots

Beets

Talon onions

German Stiffneck Garlic

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Yes, Your (Purple) Majesty

Look for Purple Majesty potatoes in the CSA boxes this week. These antioxidant-rich potatoes are purple on the inside and out.

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Please note that the garlic has already been divided into cloves this week. It has been cured, but the rainy weather has negatively impacted the durability of the garlic requiring that it been broken up to salvage.

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This week’s box includes:

Cucumbers

Summer squash

Rattlesnake Pole Beans

Shishito peppers

Winter squash

Chard

Jalapenos

Summer greens (Purslane, Dandelion, and Nasturtiums)

Copenhagen or Capture cabbage

Ichilleum Red garlic

Carrots

Beets

Purple Majesty potatoes

Purplette onions

Kohlrabi

Parsley

Cilantro

Basil

Mint

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What’s happening on the farm

 

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Bring on the salad!

This is a busy time on the farm.  We are already preparing for the spring season even though we seem to be in the depths of winter.  The fields still have a few overwintered brassicas that we are getting a harvest off of, but one of our hoop houses has already transitioned to spring crops with the early alliums and some salad mix already popping up.  Meanwhile our greenhouse has already started to fill up with trays of spring seed germinating and sprouting ahead of outdoor spring planting.  Last week we seeded trays with a variety of brassicas including broccoli, kale, and cabbage.

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Our new Poultry Palace

There are several other winter projects coming to fruition right now as well.  These would include new (to us anyway) gravel around the greenhouse, storage shed, and wash stations, a new and improved mobile chicken coop that is nearly finished, and a hugelkultur bed that is almost ready to transition from cover crops to cash crops.

In years past this time might have been a quiet time of rest and reflection for the piedmont farmer, but increased competition at markets has changed all that.  The increasing number of small vegetable farmers has created an arms race of season extension.  With the first and last crop to market commanding a premium price it seems that nearly every successful small farmer is continuously pushing the envelope to get his crop in earlier than the farmer down the road.  Likewise we’re all trying to extend our harvest later and later such that our fall crops are being harvested into the spring.

There are a couple of factors facilitating this escalating competition.  Seed companies are developing new varieties that are more heat and cold tolerant all the time, and this increasing diversity is one factor that helps us stay competitive.  Another is the increasing availability of season extension and new and innovative techniques that allow crops to survive extremes of temperature that would’ve ended their production a decade ago.  Yet even with these new varieties and practices farmers today are facing more and more challenges from unpredictable weather, high fuel costs, and drought or extreme rain events.  As the effects of global climate change continue to manifest in new and different ways the farmers that succeed will be those that stay curious, adapt quickly, know their markets really well, and invest in flexible infrastructure that help to buffer their crop against the outlier weather that is becoming the norm.  So the next time you pick up a bunch of kale in January or a clamshell full of cherry tomatoes in April take a moment to reflect on the skill, expertise, and experience that made that minor miracle possible.

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Beds prepped and ready for trellised peas