Thursday, August 28, 2008

Week Twelve: Happy Labor Day!

Well, we finally got some rain at the Farm, which is a great relief. We could certainly use some more, but the farmers and plants are relaxing a bit after the tension of the drought!
It's been a good week. On Monday my friend Emily came out to help us dig potatoes in the morning and regaled us with tales of her CSA on St Croix in the Virgin Islands! We're in the midst of a long-term project weeding the fall brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale) in the farm's most remote field. The rain has softened the soil and made that project a lot easier. Harvest this week is incredibly bountiful and varied. You're going to enjoy your first (and possibly only for this year) taste of sweet corn. Farmer Paul tells me that it's been a disasterous year for the corn, meaning that circumstances just came together in the worst way for corn (wet spring delayed planting and impacted germination, dry summer caused the plants to not create as many ears). So enjoy these ears as a reminder of how sweet corn can be and look forward to getting more another year. On the other hand, Farmer Paul says this is the best lettuce we've had at this time of year in a long time, so enjoy even more bountiful, sweet, crispy lettuce! Also, we've begun to harvest the main crop tomatoes, so look forward to enjoying the juicy tastes of summer even as many folks head back to school.
This week's harvest:
Potatoes - 2 lbs
Hot peppers - 4
Basil - 7 tips
Parsley - 1 bunch
Sweet peppers - 2
Yellow tomatoes - 3
Eggplant - 1
Swiss chard - 3 leaves
Summer squash - 3
Lettuce - 2 heads
Corn - 6 ears
Melon - 1
Tomatoes - 5 lbs

And the menu:
Zucchini Basil soup from Gourmet Magazine, July 2008 (thanks to Elaine!)
Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Basil from The Boxing Clever Cookbook p. 120
Baba Ganouj (Eggplant spread) from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 71
Spicy Summer Vegetable Stew mostly made up by me based on Moosewood p. 118
Fresh melon
Fresh sweet corn
Solidarity Forever Lettuce Salad (in honor of Labor day)


Photo explanations: 1. Sunflowers by the barn 2. luscious lettuce 3. Rainbow chard 4. CFK's share of peppers and summer squash 5. Melons! 6. Angela shows off the gorgeous eggplants.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Week Eleven: Drought Continues

Hello everyone! I'm back from a very relaxing vacation with my family. We had a great time in Ontario, including "Inviting Ontario Home for Dinner" at a local farmer's market and of course relaxing on the beach.
I hope everyone's been enjoying the wonderful food that the CFK workers prepared in my absence. It looks like it was really a fabulous menu and I really appreciate having such great workers that I can go off and relax for a week in high season!
At the farm, things are going well but we're still desperately needing some rain. It's very interesting because it looks like this year's harvest will have exactly the opposite strengths and weaknesses from last year, when we had a drought in July. This year's drought is having a bad impact on summer fruit crops such as sweet corn, tomatoes, and melons. Although we'll be getting some of those crops, we'll won't see the abundance of previous years. Instead, thanks to plenty of rain during germination in July and ongoing irrigation, the fall root crops (carrots, beets, turnips, etc.) and brassicas (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) are looking really good. This is all part of being in a CSA, of course, and I hope you'll enjoy all the veggies we get!
With that in mind, this week's harvest is:
Yellow cherry tomatoes - 2
Baby Oriental greens - 1 lb
Swiss chard - 3/4 lb
Parsley - 1 bunch
Sweet peppers - 2
Summer squash - 2
Lettuce - 2 heads
Cucumber - 3
Hot peppers - 2
Baby squash - 1
Basil - 13 tips
Melon - 1 piece
Tomatoes - 1 1/4 lb
Radish - 1

Gazpacho (house recipe)
Gold Medal Chinese greens with carrots and radishes stir-fry from Greens Glorious Greens p. 112 (renamed in honor of the Olympics!)
Gratin of Greens from
Sarah Haggett's Zucchini Orzo salad (recipe learned at Pendle Hill)
Lighting Bolt Salad with lettuce and radishes and whatever else is still around at the end of the day--cucumber? green pepper?
Fresh tomato

Photo explanations: 1. Mary and sisters sailing on the Georgian Bay. 2. Good harvest at an Ontario farmer's market 3. Mary relaxing while CFK workers work overtime! 4. Community Farm tomatoes getting washed at the Kitchen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Week Ten: Ready for Rainfall

Without wet weather, this week's share is less plentiful then of recent. But fear not, while Mary's on vacation,  we've dreamed up a thrilling menu for this week rich in squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes:

Zucchini Crusted Pizza
(Community Farm Cookbook)

Mashed Rutabaga Potato Supreme
(Farmer John's Cookbook p.298)

Tomato Basil Soup
(Michelle's own recipe!)

Marinated Cucumber Salad
(Farmer John's Cookbook p.98)

And of course, Lettuce!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Week Nine: Sailing away!

This week has been busy with preparing everyone for me being away ALL week next week! I'm leaving the Kitchen early this Friday to attend the wedding of my sister's best friend and then we're leaving for a sailing vacation in Georgian Bay, Canada. It should be a good, relaxing time since I know the lovely CFK ladies will pull off an awesome week in my absence. Cynthia, Nora, and Claire all helped plan this week's menu so they'll be all set to plan the menu next week. Out at the Farm we're still experiencing a drought which means that some of the summer crops are not going to be as prolific as in past years. However, with irrigation things are still looking ok and we keep hoping it will rain soon. Also, Anne tells me that the fall crops are looking GREAT, so that's something to look forward to. The heat has meant we've had some shortened work days, but we're reaching the peak of the season and there's a lot less to do with planting and thinning--mainly we're working on harvesting and weeding these days.
So, this week's harvest was:
Potatoes- 2 lbs
Hot pepper - 1
Tomatoes - 1 box
Gladiola flower - 1
Carrots - 6
Swiss Chard - 1 lb
Garlic - 2 bulbs
Summer squash - 4
Lettuce - 2 heads
Parsley - 1 bunch
Cucumber - 4
Basil - 15 tips

The menu for this week will be:
Pesto from Moosewood p. 74
Greek-stuffed Zucchini from Laurel's Kitchen p. 217
August Soup from The Community Farm of Ann Arbor Cookbook p. 59
Spicy Cucumber Salad from From Asperagus to Zucchini p. 69
Lazy Days Lettuce salad
a fresh tomato and some raw potatoes for your home cooking pleasure!

I also wanted to share with you all this note I got from my friend Meg who's in the Peace Corps in Mali. She's trying to raise interest and funds for a women's collective garden project. Read all about it:

Thursday, July 31 2008
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from Mali! I hope things are going well in the US and you're enjoying the summer weather. The weather here has been hot as usual but bearable, since things cooled down a bit with the beginning of the rainy season in June. I've now been serving in the Peace Corps in Mali for over a year, in the village of Feremuna in the Sikasso region. For the moment, things are pretty busy around here. I've been spending my days helping to weed my host family's fields and assisting the Feremuna women's organization in their garden. This year they're growing beans during the rainy season and will begin vegetable gardening once the cold season comes.
In addition to working in the fields and in the garden at Feremuna, for the past few months I have been working with another women's organization in Station N'Tarla, a small settlement down the road from Feremuna. It is with this organization that I plan to base the remainder of my 2008 work, a garden project that will increase the yearly income of the women's cooperative.
The women's cooperative of Station N'Tarla, Badenya Ton, has been in existence for over ten years. Since becoming a state-sanctioned cooperative in 2005, their activities have included farming two hectares of corn, millet and beans during the rainy season, the profits from which are used to support each individual woman's small commerce activities during the rest of the year. Every three months following the growing season, women are able to take small loans of 2500 to 7500 CFA (about 6-18 USD) to buy materials for their small businesses, which range from buying and reselling rice to preparing refrigerated drinks to sell in market. In addition to these activities, the women have recently begun literacy training, which took place during the hot season from March to May of 2008.
For the past year and a half, the women have also been planning a community garden project in hopes of increasing the financial power of the cooperative. At the time that I first met with the cooperative, in December of 2007, they had already begun preparing the garden for work in 2008, obtaining permission for the use of a 1 hectare parcel of land from the village and a donation of wire fencing from the French NGO Fondation Pour L'Enfance. From March to May of 2008, they commissioned the digging of two wells in the garden space and are currently growing rainy season crops of corn, beans, rice, and peanuts.
My work with Badenya Ton will focus on preparing the garden for vegetable gardening during the 2008 cold season, including the installation of the wire fencing to protect the area from roaming animals and the digging of two more wells to ensure adequate water for the area. I also plan to conduct a series of trainings on gardening techniques I have studied during training with Peace Corps. The project will be executed through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, which allows me to raise funds directly through family, friends, and interested parties in the US. Our goal is to raise $1958.75 out of a total project cost of $2621.25. Badenya Ton will contribute the equivalent of $662.50 (about 25 percent of the total project cost) to cover the cost of labour for digging the wells and installing the fencing. We hope to raise the funds before the beginning of the cold season in October so the area will be ready for a full season of vegetable gardening.
I believe this is a worthy endeavour and I hope that you are interested in helping the women's cooperative of Station N'Tarla to expand their activities and grow as an organization.

To make a donation, go to , enter the amount you would like to give (any amount is greatly appreciated!) and click Donate. Your contribution is completely tax deductible, and Peace Corps will send you a receipt. If you cannot make a donation yourself, please forward a copy of this letter to anyone you think would be interested. If you have any questions please email me and I'll get back with you as soon as possible.

If you would like to see some pictures of the Badenya Ton at work, I have posted some at
Thank you, merci, i ni che from myself and the women of Station N'Tarla.
All the best,
Meg Munroe

Photo explanations (mostly from last week's cooking): 1. Nora frittering away the afternoon. 2. Nell adding some parsley to the cucumber soup 3. Mary up to her elbows in potato salad. 4. Women of the Badenya Ton cooperative working in their field.