Category Archives: Student Farmer Posts

CSA Boxes

June 21st, officially the first day of summer.  We are halfway through the year and full of cheer! Why? Because the CSA box this week is bursting at the seams with flavor and potential.  The variety of basil can take you around the world and back to your home kitchen. So lets talk about what’s in the box…

Beets

CSA 6-21-2017

Have a glimpse : )

Carrots

Chard

Cilantro

Cucumbers

Dill with leaf and flower

Feher Ozon Peppers

Italian basil

Kale

Mint

Non-Italian basil

Parsley

Potatoes

Rattlesnake pole beans

Shishitos

Spring onions

Summer & winter squash

Summer greens: nasturtium, garnet stem dandelion, golden purslane

 

Post by: Shaquannah Faison

Fennel braised in tomato sauce

This recipe is great as a side dish or main course.  Cooking the fennel slowly really softens the licorice flavor and fibrous texture of the vegetable. I used tomato sauce leftover from making shakshuka which reduced the overall prep time for this dish.  The flavor of the tomato sauce is better prepared ahead of time but feel free to make this recipe to suit.

Recipe:

1 fennel bulb,  quartered with fronds removed

½ onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 T oil

Salt and pepper

2 cups tomato sauce

 

In a large pan, heat oil. Soften onion and add garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add quartered fennel, sweat about 5 minutes, frequently stirring vegetables. Add tomato sauce and simmer for about 35 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. The dish is finished when the fennel is nearly translucent and tender. The recipe makes enough for four servings; try the dish with grilled fish, a fried egg or serve with rice. Enjoy!

Variations: Add diced carrot, chopped chard stems, or toasted fennel seeds

Posted by: Shaquannah Faison

Crazy about carrots…

Our first spring carrot harvest has arrived. The strawberries are ripe and delicious again this week, and a massive kohlrabi awaits our CSA patrons.

 

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

Broccoli

Beets

Carrots

Kohlrabi (Don’t forget to grab one)

Chard

Collards

Kale

Bulb Fennel

Napa cabbage

Strawberries (Don’t forget to get a quart)

Garlic Scapes

Cilantro

Dill

Parsley

Basil!

 

 

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Grilled Radicchio

The radicchio grown on the farm has a bitter and loud taste, pair it with a hot cooking method like grilling to mellow the palate. Top with a balsamic vinaigrette for a solid match of tart sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 radicchio head, cut in half, lengthwise through the core
  • 1 T shallot, minced
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • salad oil

If you are unable to use an out door grill, the oven or a cast iron surface works just as well. Brush the grill surface with oil and allow to heat, about 10 minutes. Rub the radicchio halves with olive oil, grill until tender and seared. remove greens from heat and drizzle with vinaigrette. Enjoy!


grilled radicchio

plated radicchio with balsamic vinaigrette and lemon zest

post by: Shaquannah Faison

Winter strikes back!

It was a cold week on the farm folks!  With spring only a few days away it seems that winter has decided to pay us one more visit.  We had several nights well below freezing this past week including Wednesday nights where many farms in our area experienced lows in the low twenties and even the upper teens.  So what you ask?

Well this is a particularly sensitive part of the spring season for many farmers in our area.  Right now many farmers are planting tender transplants in the field.  These plants are carefully time to take advantage of the first soil temperatures of the season warm enough to accommodate growth at something approaching a normal rate.  So, as you can imagine a sudden cold snap can slow things down quite a bit.  More than that, a farmer that’s caught unaware of an upcoming cold snap can lose a significant portion of his spring crop.

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Young, direct seeded brassicas

Now, I suspect that the more astute among you may be saying to yourselves, ‘hey, anything planted this early in the season has to be cold hardy right?’  That’s true enough, but as with many farmers in the area we grow our transplants in a greenhouse that’s nice and cozy.  We also, like other farmers, gradually acclimate our transplants to outside conditions through a process called hardening off.  This involves exposing our transplants to more and more outdoor conditions in a mini greenhouse-like structure called a cold frame over a period of several days or a week.  Once our tender little plants have toughened up a little bit we’ll put them out into the field.  No problem right?  Not so fast.

In a situation like we had this past week our tender little transplants were hardened off and planted in fairly mild conditions.  They aren’t used .  Then we had a streak of nights below freezing before our transplants had really established them
selves in the field.  They’re sitting ducks, and it’s too late to bring them back into our greenhouse to keep them safe!  So what do we do?  We do the same thing for our plants that you do for yourself on a cold night.  We tuck them in under a blanket!  This blanket is called a frost cloth, row cover, or by a trade name ‘reemay.’

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Row cover on our spring crops

This cloth is not all that impressive compared to what keeps us warm at night, but it serves the same purpose just as effectively.  However, unlike our blankets, which trap the warmth generated by our bodies to keep us warm, row cover is designed to trap the heat absorbed by the soil during day as it is released overnight.  This little amount of heat is enough to keep plants from freezing on a cold night.

So, if you come out to the student farm, or drive past another farm and see fiel
ds covered in huge sheets of white cloth just know that these proactive farmers are protecting their plants from the cold.  Soon enough these wise and well prepared farmers will be bringing a delicious bounty of early spring greens and vegetables to market for you to enjoy.  Hopefully, like our row covers, the thought of good food and spring weather coming soon will keep you warm through these cold nights!

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Coming soon to a table near you!

Has Spring Sprung?

Has Spring Sprung?

If we can believe the Accuweather Forcast, it’s looking like spring has sprung for the month of February. No more days below freezing! The Highs for the rest of the month are looking great, from 590 (28 Feb)- 740 (24 Feb) and lows ranging from 330 (27 Feb) – 520 (23 Feb). Even the month of March is looking good.

2017

The student farm may look barren, but not for long. We have a greenhouse bursting with transplants waiting to get in the ground and grow to their full potential. Broccoli, cabbage, fennel, lettuce, cauliflower and swiss chard and that’s just for starters and early spring crops, the list will grow just like our transplants.

The hoop houses are plentiful with collard greens, swiss chard, kale, spinach and lettuce mix. We have also direct seeded in the ground and those plants are looking wonderful also. The hoop houses for season extension is an amazing thing.

Outside in the fields we have overwintered our garlic and strawberries. The Peas are planted and the trellis is up. The asparagus is getting a fresh covering of mulch and we are readying the potato beds.

Each vegetable has an optimal planting time. Plating during that time will greatly increase their chances of success, yield, better flavor and fewer problems.

There is never a lack of work to be done on the farm. We have several projects in the works and almost to completion. Thanks to James, the Farm Manager and instructor who keeps the farm running and all the other great instructors from the Sustainable Ag program along with their students who put many hours planting and harvesting, plowing and raking, digging and pulling. Farming is a never ending job! Volunteers are always welcomed to come help on the farm, experience is nice but not necessary, and you are guaranteed a great instructor.