Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Rainy November Day

The chickens look more like ducks today, wandering in and out of their "Coop de Villa", while Adam, the young rooster, reminds them that , yes, he is in charge. He's a gentle leader, firm and kind, so far. There are puddles all over the chicken's area. Everything is dripping this morning, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

We finally had to ask our webmaster, Cathal, to make the announcement that we can't take any more names for the CSA waiting list for 09. There are so many people who want fresh, local organic food and our farm is only so big. We are harvesting greens these days, and the young chickens should be laying any minute now, so we may have eggs for market soon.
But it's been frustrating to get emails and calls from folks who are so excited they've found a local farm when we can't meet all their needs. Even Mattawoman Creek Farms on the Eastern Shore has a huge wait list for next year. And we are still holding the idea of selling this farm so we can buy another.
It's more on pause as the winter sets in.
The word is out that fresh and local is the best you can eat, and I only hope that in time, we can provide that to our community. So, in one way, I am thankful for this year, for the third season of CSA and our fabulous committed members, and I am also hopeful that we can do more.
Mostly, I am thankful to John, whose vision opened the whole thing- and to all the farm laborers and CSA helpers who made this year feel easier than we had imagined at first.
And as I cracked enough pecans from one little tree on the farm for a butternut squash cake for Thanksgiving- I was also thankful for the things that come of age on their own, abundantly invested with their own purpose in life. Let's hope more things work like that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Late Fall on the farm and Edible Chesaopeake magazine

It's nearly Halloween on the farm. Nick, Melissa, Chris and John are digging up sweet potatoes today and the temps are in the low fifties. The chickens have grown and it turns out we have one young rooster- we're calling him "Adam" ( first man?) and his crow is still developing. He sounds like a rooster with a speech impediment at the moment, more a " ur-uh-urrrr" instead of the true " cock-a doodle-doo".

John is still distributing produce at The Heritage, Virginia Garden and the Norfolk Farm Market. The lettuce is amazing and the greens are gorgeous, collards and kale are ready to pick and eat.

This fall, I still mean to put together a CSA survey to distribute to our members online. Members- look for it in the next week or so.
I've been spending more of my time writing than ever before, now from my upstairs office, where I have a beautiful view of the farm. It's a dream come true!

Speaking of dreams coming true, I have will have two articles in the winter edition of Edible Chesapeake magazine, produced up in the DC area. One is a short piece about Croc's Bistro-a little place with a big green heart- and another is a first person essay about being a farmer's wife. This is great news for me as a writer because Edible Chesapeake has a large distribution from Northern Virginia all the way to Tidewater! It's a beautiful magazine, with lush photography, great writing and delectible recipes, a great addition to the side tables and kitchens of our CSA members. We have a box of the fall edition here at the house if any CSA members want one. They are also available at Virginia Garden and The Boot and some other area locations.

Here's a photo I sent to the magazine. I'm usually the one who takes the pictures at the farm, but I stooped to shameless self-promotion just this once! The apron belonged to Margie Zentz, my daughter Skye's grandma.She was a great cook and a loving woman.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week 20 (September 27, 2008)

After the rain, red was the color of the day ...

In this week's share: basil, bok choy (2), eggplant (4-6), garlic (3-4), leeks (2, 1 lb), okra (pint), parsley (bunch), peppers (1.5 lb), potatoes (2.5 lb).

Don't forget that many of the recipes from the last three years can be found at the New Earth web site.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Week 19 (September 20, 2008)

In this week's share: basil, edamame, eggplant, garlic, okra, parsley, peppers, choice of green beans or tomatoes (shown), choice of bok choy (shown) or tatsoi

Missy trims a fine strand of edamame

The ephemeral okra blossom

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Week 16 (August 28, 2008)

In this week's share: basil, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, long beans, lettuce, peppers (green and jalapeno), tomatoes

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Week 14 (August 16, 2008)

In this week's share: basil, cucumbers, eggplant (japanese and globe), garlic, leeks, peppers (jalapeño and green), tomatoes (juliet and slicing), one of: green beans, edamame, okra, pattypan squash

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Week 12 (August 02, 2008)

In this week's share: basil, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, onions, pepper, parsley, tomatoes, yellow squash, with a choice of chard, green beans, okra or more tomatoes.

As you can see, this week's share had a lot of cucumbers, so the recipe of the week is Cucumber and Black-Eyed Pea Salad from It requires 4 cups of cucumber.

A massive writer spider adjacent to the out-building.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Week 11 (July 26, 2008)

In this week's share ... basil, cucumbers, garlic, eggplant, leeks, lettuces, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, choice of beets or chard.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Carry it home in Your own Cooler

Hi, to all the regular CSA Bloggers and to the world of blog visitors!

Last Saturday morning we had a minor crisis-there were 10 boxes for 26 CSA members. It called on our sense of making do and using larger boxes for the moment, but it also pointed to a flaw in the box situation.
The farm purchases the heavy, waxy boxes each year, knowing that they can be used over and over again many times. Yet, the ideal situation would include members packing their produce into coolers or other containers so that the boxes don't have to travel back and forth to the farm.
Core member Daniel O'Leary belonged to a CSA which used heavy canvas bags- which could work in short trips during cool weather, like a trip from your local store to your house. But if the produce is to arrive at your home with a bounce in it's step, so to speak, it's better if it's cool.
Some CSAs use paper bags. Some require a " box deposit". We're working on this as we go.
In three years of doing a CSA, last Saturday was the first time we were short on boxes. Maybe everyone will return their boxes this weekend and we will be just fine.
We don't have a cooled room to keep the produce fresh, and occaisonally, we can turn on the cooler in the barn for a member who's picking up a little later ( if we know ahead of time!)
Maybe some other members have ideas? We'd love to hear them!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recipe of the Week - Week 9

Here's how the gratin came out for us ... It looks good, anyway.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Week 10 (July 19, 2008)

In this week's share: basil, cucumbers, garlic, leeks, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, zucchini and yellow squash ...

... and a choice of beets, eggplant or tomatoes.

Volunteers packing boxes.

Phoebe, with gloves on for dirty work.

Will these boxes ever come back?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Week 9 (July 12, 2008)

In this week's share: cucumber, garlic, leeks, onions, potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, choice of chard or kale

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Women and Local farms

This is a shout out and thanks to all those women who have been sharing time, energy and support of our CSA over the past three seasons. Members who help prepare our share boxes, members who weed, members who make muffins and breads and Beet Soup- we are so grateful.
One of our newest farmers is Melissa Guingona,( in the photo on the left) age 19, who carries herself so beautifully in the field- and made breakfast for the crew on the Saturday John and I were away at a family wedding. Melissa is organized, hardworking and kind, and a great asset on our farm- a testament to the younger generation who will be farming and producing food on the planet.
Gina from Virginia Beach Friends School looks relaxed on a tractor. She may be another one of the women who makes sure that healthy food continues to grow.
I'm getting ready to host an event- along with the board members of the Friends of Women's Studies- at The Boot in Norfolk celebrating Women and Local Food- growers, store owners, community organizers, writers, chefs- so many females who realize the strong sense of connection with the earth, our bodies, our commuties, our families and loved ones. And thanks to the men who inspire us, partner with us and share their gifts side by side. Acting locally is really the best thing we can do!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Week 7 (June 28, 2008)

In this week's share: basil, carrots, garlic, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, pick 2 from beets, bok choy, chard, tatsoi.

Field Notes:




Zinnias (Envy)


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Week 6 (June 21, 2008)

In this week's share: basil, carrots, lettuces, onions, radishes, tatsoi, and a choice of bok choy or broccoli.

Freshly pulled, freshly washed carrots.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The CSA and the Next Generation

Tristan wants to drive this tractor NOW!Melissa, Farmer John and Nick

As John and I prepare to take a short trip for a family wedding in St. Louis, we are leaving the CSA in the hands of a great young crew. And I have no doubts that they will do just fine.

This week we have had a wonderful opportunity to see the dynamic abilities of the new farm staff here. We are luck to have with us a young couple, Nick ( age21) and Melissa( age19) who have great attitudes and work habits( you may have seen them at the Leaping Lizard or the Bayville farms vegetable market), plus a recent transplant, Chris Towne, who has not one but two great -great-great-women in the past who were tried as witches in New England. Chris brings a great energy and this week, he brought his lovely dog, 8 year old Boston bull terrier "BO".

We also hired a young farmer-in-training, 10 year old Daniel Greenspan, who is featured in our newsletter. Daniel is learning how it feels to get dirty and have fun at work.He arrives early in the morning when it is cool, and this week, it has been absolutely lovely.
Teacher Sandy picks flowers while Daniel and farmer John work .

The Friends School Bird Camp came for a short field trip this week as well. And our 6 brave hens- the survivors of numerous fox attacks this winter and spring- are delighted with the new hay in their nesting boxes. We love to share the farm with small groups of children.

Perhaps, one of them may work with us in a few years!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Week 5 (June 14, 2008)

In this week's share: arugula, beets, garlic scapes, onions, radishes, tatsoi, zucchini

Saturday, June 7, 2008


If anyone has any ideas for what to do with kale, they would be greatly appreciated. Post them in the comments! Has anyone ever tried roasting kale?

Week 4 (June 7, 2008)

In this week's share: arugula, beets, dill, kale, lettuce, turnips.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Be An Author On The Blog

If you want to be an author on this blog (that is, be able start a new topic) write to me at cathalwoods at gmail dot com and I'll add you. (Becoming an author also requires registering with google - something well worth doing: their e-mail has excellent spam filtering, and you should also check out google groups (discussion fora), google reader (newspapers and blogs), picasa (photo sharing)). 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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Week 3 (May 31, 2008)

This week's share includes: arugula, dill, kale, lettuce, spinach, turnips, garlic scapes or radishes or lamb's quarter, strawberries

John and Nick had some helpers this weekend ...Ella and Nathan

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


All of our spinach (the second half of week 1, and all of week 2's) went into this spanikopita, along with week 2's turnip greens.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Week 2 (May 24, 2008)

In this week's share: Arugula, Kale, Lettuce, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips, Strawberries

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

1 lb of spinach.

So what are you doing with your pound of spinach? We put half of ours into a torta (potato base and sides, eggs and feta filling). If you have any good spinach ideas, please add them in the comments!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gas Prices and Food Shopping

Kathleen asks this question ...

Is the price of gas affecting your food buying decisions?

A recent Newsweek article looks at the effect of gas prices on Americans' food shopping habits. Many of the people in the article lament that in order to save money, they have been choosing to buy produce from local farmers who farm with chemicals. There is a school of thought that "organics is the private school of the food industry", with higher prices making it hard for ordinary folks to stay true to organics. What do you think?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Week 1 (May 17, 2008)

We're off and running! In this week's share you'll find kale, tatsoi, spinach, lettuce, a few radishes and a choice of either garlic scapes or baby red onions.

The brave, the few. (Only 6 hens remain after the flock was attacked by foxes.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

The UN and King Corn

Last week a UN-sponsored four year study on the global food crisis concluded. The resulting report calls for a departure from "business as usual" agriculture. Less reliance on GM-foods and a return to sustainable, diverse, small-scale agriculture. Could this be the beginning of something? Biotech companies pulled out of the list of contributors to the study becuase they felt their views were being ignored....brings a smile to my face.

Also last week, the documentary King Corn debuted on the PBS series "Independent Lens". It follows two recent college grads who become concerned when they learn that their generation may be the first to have a shorter life span than that of their parents. Feeling that food is the cause, they set about to grow an acre of corn to try to follow it from field to plate. They grow their corn the same way as the majority of the corn in the U.S is grown: with Genetically engineered herbicide-resistant seed that produces corn that must be processed in order to be edible. The farmer they are renting land from refers to it as the worst quality junk ever grown. Check listings online, it should be re-aired several times.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Growing Your Own Garden ...

... to change your mind. Michael Pollan at the NYTimes.