Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Eating Local at Thanksgiving

Here's an article of links from WorldChanging on eating local at Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fall Produce For Sale - November 3rd

This Saturday (November 3rd) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the farm will be open (to all comers) for fall produce - probable produce includes sweet potatoes, kale, lettuce, arugula, bok choy, mustard greens, collards, and cilantro. Directions to the farm can be found on the web site.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Organic = Healthier?

New reasearch from Europe, supporting the claim. At the BBC.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Nitrogen ... Smaller Yield?

At least in the long term. Interesting news, via EurakAlert.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall Produce For Sale - October 27th

This Saturday (October 27th) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the farm will be open (to all comers) for fall produce - probable produce includes sweet potatoes, kale, lettuce, arugula, bok choy, mustard greens, collards, and cilantro. Directions to the farm can be found on the web site.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Beets Will Keep

It's sometimes a challenge to use all your veg before it goes bad, but beets will keep. This beet soup is made from beets we got in July shares.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Grist series on Food & Farming

Grist is currently running a series - Sow What? - on food and farming. Here's an interview with Michael Pollan on his follow-up book to The Omnivore's Dilemma. From here, you can find the other entries in the series.

What's In Store for the CSA ?

Here we are at the end of the CSA season- yet the farm is still vibrant and green. Twenty-one weeks of growing, harvesting and packing boxes has ended. As the cooler fall evenings settle over the beds, our lettuces and kales are doing so well. You can find them at the Heritage Store and Virginia Garden at the VB Farmer's market. The battle with heat has subsided - yet we are still ready for a good rain!

Over the fall and winter, we'll be firming up our list of sharers for next year, receiving deposits and hopefully, forming our Core Group. These folks, members of the CSA, will help us set policies and guidelines for next year. They'll look over the end-of-season surveys that so many of you kindly completed.

For those of you who discover this web blog and are not members, we have a long waiting list and are not opening to new members at this time. We'll have to see how many of our 2007 members are returning and how many folks from the waiting list we can invite to join the farm.

In the meantime, think about growing some of your own fall or spring vegetables. Call us at 427-6515 and leave a message if you need some plants or soil amendments to get your garden started.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

End of the 2007 CSA Season

Earlier this week, John was stretching to get those last fabulous okra on plants that withstood the heat and drought this summer. ( I know it appears that he's trying to chop off the top of the birdhouse- trick photography!)
It was a warm October morning. Kristen, Andrea, Jonathan, Craig and John gathered the produce with CSA member Ted Call to fill the boxes one last time this season. It felt good to see everyone and hand out the newsletters one more time, and wonderful to see how much green is showing in the field as the fall crops take their places of honor on the farm.
Yet, it will be quiet the next several months as we get used to a different kind of Saturday on the farm. John will , of course, be distributing produce to the Heritage Store and Virginia Garden as usual- and Gringo's is going to use more of our produce this fall.
Yes, there will be homes for the vegetables, but we won't have our wonderful breakfast gatherings and get the latest news about Paul and Lori Barnhill's newly married daughter, or how Debbie's new job is going, or how well Ted has learned to Tango! We hope folks will keep in touch. And we wish everyone with fall gardens great success!
For those who wanted to join the CSA and were told we were full this year- there will only be a few openings in 2008 and we'll go straight to our waiting lists for those. But for the 2007 folks, thank you so much for another chance to share the harvest!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autumn's green beginnings

Tanya Banks holds a bottle of Green Light Fire ant treatment.
Unfortunately, her little boy, River, stepped in a fire ant mound and got several stings. We treated him with ice water , Sting-Stop and monster tatoo bandaids. It's a shame we have to deal with these imported visitors to the farm.

Here we are nearly at the end of the CSA season with a good crop of Kale. It should be hardy through the chillier days and nights to come.

These little bok choy plants give the impression of new beginnings- which sounds redundant. But on the farm, autumn heralds the Return of the Greens. Last week, volunteers planted many kinds of greens and this week, with cool weather, watering and a little raing- they're thriving.

There's an excitement on the wind as the farm continues to thrive.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Week 17 (Sept 15, 2007)

Field Notes:

Burgeoning Celeriac Root

James, Kristen and John working on transplants.

This Week's Share: Arugula, Basil, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Peppers, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Squash

This week's squash comes to us from Farmer Patrick. These are delicata squash.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Value of Volunteers

Another beautiful Saturday morning at New Earth Farm. The temperature is about 75 degrees, and our farmers are being assisted by Kristin and Andrea, farm volunteers, and Tom Baker and Ted Call, CSA volunteers. I'm in the kitchen slicing cantalope and peaches, checking the coffee and turning off the rice/millet combo. Our Norfolk group driver, Glinda and her daughter, Kylee have called in from London Bridge Road- arriving early to help. Before 8:30, the farm is moving with helping hands.

We've been doing some thinking about the relationship of volunteering to the CSA. It seems that most CSAs require volunteer hours, and some CSAs allow a lower fee for those who do more volunteer hours. Some people think that a CSA is about " getting a box", while others come to walk in the fields and ask what's coming up, what got eaten by not-so-good bugs and so on. For these two years, I've felt the lingering appreciation for the folks who come of their own good will to help turn "produce" into vegetables that will turn into meals. They say " it takes a village " to raise a child, but it also takes lots of willing workers to make the CSA be much more than a food buying club.
Folks who want Organic Food any way they can get it- can get it- online, in big stores like
Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. But the people who want to be connected to a farm do their best to find a CSA near them. Sometimes they have to get on a waiting list. Sometimes a member invites a friend to share the share. It works.

Membership in a CSA isn't like getting married- but it is about staying with it through the season, even when you're tired of okra or eggplant. You hang in there because you belong to a farm.

Today, Farmer John was feeling really tight in his muscles-as a hard working farmer, carpenter, he counts on his body for all his labor. We talked about all the wonderful healers who are members of our CSA, and I suggested that we ask Stephanie or Chris Wall about a massage. Stephanie said she'd be glad to help. When John asked about her fee , Stephanie said, " John, you're my farmer." Of course John intended to pay for his massage, but it was her response that moved me. How many people can say " You're my farmer"?

I want to thank all CSA volunteers anywhere. If not for CSAs many farmers would have given up the thing they love most- growing food. If not for volunteers, there might not be so many CSAs.

Muchas Gracias, Volunteers!

Week 16 (Sep 8, 2007)

In this week's share:
  • basil
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • okra
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • swiss chard
  • lamb's quarters
  • this share also has garlic

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Buzz at New Earth Farm

A week ago Farmer John took a few of us over to look at the beehives. He told us fascinating things regarding bee behavior (bee-havior?). Apparently, if the hive gets too crowded the worker bees (females) will grab up a few drones (males), take them to the entrance of the hive, pull off their wings and kick them to the curb--(metaphorically speaking - I don't believe bees have the ability to kick, although I vaguely remember an old saying involving 'bees knees'). In addition, when mating time comes around the queen flies out of the hive and heads straight up towards the sun. The drones follow her racing to be one of the few to successfully mate with her. The irony being that those who do mate then fall tragically to the ground...dead (sorry fellas). The bees can even sense when the queen is sick and will begin to raise another queen to take her place.

This amazing behavior inspires one to research more about the world of the apiary and also brings to mind Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). I am sure most of the people reading this post have heard about this, but for those who haven't, CCD is the recent discovery that bees are leaving the hive and not returning. They are not turning up dead in hives or near them, they are just disappearing all together. There are many theories about the cause (increased cell phone signals, GMO's and others) and anyone wanting to learn more can research it on the web.

The issue, though, deserves to be more widely noted in mainstream media. If bees go, not only will we lose a fascinating part of nature, but the key to our food pollination as well. There is a quote attributed to Einstein: "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." The validity of this statement could be debated, but is a world without pollinators really a world be want to live in?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Week 14 (Aug 18, 2007)

In this week's share ...
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Lambs Quarters
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomatoes

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Organic", "Cage-Free" and Other Labels

Today's Grist includes a brief article on certifcations other than "organic". Indeed, if you're like me, you'll look at this picture and wonder if these "cage-free" hens are much better off than their caged counterparts.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What a Community!

Hello all CSA Blogreaders!

The CSA pickup on Saturday the 11th of August was one of my favorites this season. Part of the reason may be that I was away on retreat at a Cistercian Monastery for four days, and returning to the farm confirmed for me the good work that is being done here- how farming serves so many people, physically and spiritually. When we formed the CSA, we couldn't imagine the feeling of warmth and community that was being created. Each week, John, Jonathan and Craig are out in the fields by 6 a.m., harvesting. Volunteers arrive a little later and help pack the boxes- this week we had Kristen, Tanya and Olga( from Columbia). Then as soon as Cathal shows up, he's got his hands busy helping, taking photos, assisting with sharers' arrivals. The more the merrier, they say, and in the case of a Saturday morning at the farm, the axiom couldn't be more true!
We have such wonderful families who are members of the farm as well, and the kids are kind, curious and lovely. And let's not forget to mention the canine members of the farm- Dee's dog, Sasha( a miniature dachsund) and Scott's dog Fletcher( the Portuguese water dog). It seemed that this Saturday was filled with energy and joy. I was also surprised by the arrival of another teacher, Ruth, who works with me at All Saints Day School, with our member Kate. We had a grand tour of the farm, snacking on purslane, lamb's quarters and sungold tomatoes along the way
I hope to read more of your thoughts here. The blog is for us all. See ya next time!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Week 13 (Aug 11, 2007)

In this week's colorful share:
  • Cucumbers - Market More, Suyo Long, Boothby's Blonde
  • Eggplant - Globe, Japanese
  • Green Beans
  • Okra
  • Parsley - Italian
  • Squash - Yellow
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomatoes - Sungold, Juliet, and slicing tomatoes including a few hierlooms.

Field Notes:

Friday, August 10, 2007

Craig Daly - Media Sensation

Click here for an article in this week's Portfolio mentioning our very own Craig Daly and his summer job on a certain "organic farm in Virginia Beach". It's worth picking up the print version, however, as it includes a centerfold shot charming photo of Craig. Expect to have to wade through throngs of admirers to get to your box on Saturday ...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Organic Tomatoes

In my experience, the difference in quality between CSA and store-bought produce is nowhere more evident than in tomatoes. But does the improvement in taste and texture translate into nutrition? A new study finds that organic tomatoes are more nutritious.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Organic Trumps Local?

Here's an article from today's NYTimes on "food miles". I thought the conclusion was going to be "eat local AND organic/grass-fed", but the author has a different suggestion - hub-and-spoke food production. In other words, (if I understand rightly) main-stream agriculture like we have now, with all our spuds coming from Idaho, all our lamb coming from NZ, etc., but organic/grass-fed and (possibly on a somewhat smaller scale to mitigate the cruelty and environmental costs)?

UPDATE: Here are some more, one (from the Times) about food production vs. transportation and two more on the varying costs of how food travels, here and here.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Frittata with Swiss Chard

The recipe for this Frittata with Swiss Chard comes from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook entitled World Vegetarian. It calls for 3/4 lb swiss chard, which was a great use for all the chard we received in our box this week. Both leaves and stems went into this dish. The white splotches you see are feta cheese that I added (not part of the recipe). What is your favorite frittata recipe?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

High Summer- Great Produce

Okay now. The daily temps are rising and the produce continues to roll in! John soaks several shirts a day and everyone who works has to hydrate regularly.
This is the time of year when having a volunteer or two or three makes it possible to get farm chores done. Thanks today for Kristen, Ted, and Rich who helped weed the sweet potatoes - completely! John, Craig and Jonathan carried on till 2 p.m., and John continues to make compost with the heaps of ingredients that have gathered beside the barn.

Thanks to all of the CSA members who are bringing positive comments and ideas for using the produce! We had some lovely visits with members this morning, including Daphna Sonenthal, who shared that the CSA membership has enabled her and her children to have deeper experiences of cooking and planning meals! Lori Barnhill offered great words about our eggs, veggies and recipes. We both loved the Thai Basil Cucumber dish.
Hope y'all are enjoying everything that the Farm team is providing!

Week 12 (August 4)

Two photos from Saturday's pick-up ...

Field Notes: On the farm this week, some peppers were planted, and earth is being readied for fall seeding next week. Other vegetables, such as parsley and peppers below, are coming on.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Week 11 (July 28)

Some photos from Leah.

This week's share ... carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, okra, potatoes, squash (yellow and zucchini), swiss chard, tomato

Craig is holding his 'garlic staff'.

Cleaning garlic ...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Farm Bill

Kathleen just wrote to folks about the Farm Bill. Here's a link to Michael Pollan's recent article which investigates why junk food is so cheap.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Countess Kathleen

Here's a great photo that Jacob took ...

Just add water

Field Notes: Remember this plot that John planted back at the end of May? Now (July 21st) it looks like this ...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nearly Halfway through the season

I don't know how many of you have checked in at this blog, but we have gone nearly halfway through the CSA season and the boxes are still overflowing. John and Craig have done an incredible job of seeding and planting produce, and our volunteers on Saturday have made filling the boxes a less time consuming job than we thought.
From my vantage point, we are seeing one significant difference in the CSA this year- more of the members stay and visit, and there are always extra folks here on Saturdays to see what other produce we have for sale. It makes Saturday a productive, busy day.

We know there are lots of folks who are just finding out about the CSA at this time of the year- when produce is bouncing off the vine. All over the world, it seems, people are discovering the health benefits of local and sustainable agriculture. If you know people who are interested in this CSA, you'll have to tell them that we are full for the moment and they'll have to wait till the fall to get on a waiting list for next year. We want to serve the folks who want to do this, but there is a rhythm to the seasons. Many CSAs require that their members pay before the season begins, rather than during the busiest time, and there are always exceptions. It just makes sense for everyone to begin together, like camp or school.

I also want to thank Cathal Woods for his dedication in keeping this site updated and in order.
It took the will of the universe to get the website together- but it took Cathal to move us through the door.
I hope some more folks will get inspired to write...

Monday, July 2, 2007


We got basil in the share for the first time this year, so I thought I would post this advice on storing basil from the vegetables page of the web site:

Very short term: put a handful of cut basil in a jar of water and keep it fresh inside the house; snip with a pair of clean scissors.

Long term: To freeze: strip the leaves (tops can be left on the smallest stems) and place into a container with just a little force from your hand.

(This advice comes from Todd Ewen at the Heritage Store on 314 Laskin Road, down at the beach.)

if you have any other advice about storing or using basil, please add your comments.

Week 7 - June 30, 2007

This week's veg - basil, beets, bok choy, cucumber, red kale, toscana kale, lamb's quarters
parsley, squash (yellow and zucchini), swiss chard. (Sunflower sold separately!)

Tom Ferrebee with Craig Daly.

Leah Ferrebee

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Monday's Dinner

Here is the dinner that we made Monday from our most recent haul from the farm. On the left is a salad with the lettuce, beets, carrots, and sauteed radishes. We added some goat cheese and a sort of dijon vinaigrette. The other dish is sauteed kale, endive, and garlic, as well as some white beans, cous cous, and a few other veggies that we threw in. I thought the beets and the endive were the standouts of their respective dishes. Everything tasted great!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Summer CSA weekend June 23- Week 6

Surprise! Farmer Mark Shean still had beets for the CSA Boxes ! Fabulous Bounty!Skye Zentz and Tanya Cuffee smile and visit with CSA members and young Jordan Daniel, 5 months old this week.

John and Boone Ferrebee choose some lovely lavender for a special spot in Boone's beach garden.
For the first Summer Weekend, Tanya Banks made several arrangements of our summer flowers, including marigolds and Zinnias and strawflowers.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

How it looked on 16 June...

Les and Jager visit the farm with God-Mom, Chris Birdsong. They picked up 9 boxes for our Norfolk members. It's a great way to share the transport and fuel!

Another Saturday on the farm

Hi, y'all,

How about a period of weather in mid-June with low temps in the 60's and highs in the 70's?
It makes for a beautiful morning picking produce, welcoming CSA members and in general,creates the feeling that all is right with the world.
We are still delighted when members bring children and dogs to the farm. Sam, Lee Ellen Knight's son, and his friend Max came today and went right to the young chickens for their visitation and human-orientation class. Ella Earp brought Farmer John a golden dot to put on his head. Scott Van Gilder's Portuguese Water Dog, Fletcher, brought smiles and joy, and Dee Murdoch's dachsund, Sasha, was on alert for larger mammals and walked on the leash, longing for a run. Barbara Gardner's granddaughter , Deja, was introduced to the glory of squash bloosoms. Chris Birdsong brought godson Jager and his dad, Les for a walk around the gardens.

Living on the farm, one can become complacent at times, feeling that this is a place of work for John, Craig, Jonathan and our wonderful volunteers- including New Orleans visitor Aurin , Skye's friend. Yet, on Saturday mornings, when the farm becomes a well loved destination, where children and dogs romp and the wonders of nature become enchantments, I remember that at least one creation story started in a Garden. I realize that the folks who come to visit get to breathe the fresh farm air, walk among the growing things and feel thankful that somebody has a farm where some of their food starts. Thank you all!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sweet Potatoes Going in the ground/ Blueberry plants arrive!

Hi, all you sweet potato lovers-

Farmer John just got in several varieties of sweet potatoes: Japanese,Beauregard, White Yam, Nancy Hall , Vardeman, Georgia Jet, and Vineless PortoRico which are being planted in the morning. Some folks think they are among the most perfect of foods- and to think, I didn't even like them as a child! I think it was when I worked at the Whole Foods Co-op in Norfolk that I learned to love sweet potatoes. We would heat one up in the microwave, open it up , slather it with fresh, Amish butter and then sprinkle it with cinnamon. Oh, my goodness, I thought- this is what all the hoopla is about!

John also picked up 100 blueberry plants from Finch Nursery in Bailey, NC, near Wild and Wonderful Wilson. They'll be available for sale-however, you may want to know they were not raised with organic methods. Talk to John on Saturday if you'd like to try a few bushes.

That's all for the evening! Enjoy the cool nights and lovely days.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Week 4, plus: Be an author on the blog!

Here are a few pics from week 4. A few more can be found on the web site.

If you want to be an author on this blog (that is, start a new topic) write to me at cathalwoods at gmail dot com . Becoming an author requires registering. If you don't want to be an author, remember that you can still leave a comment on an existing post whenever you want without registering. You can comment anonymously, or, click 'Other' and type your name.