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.