Thursday, November 20, 2008

Season Retrospective

Well, we're finally done with the cooking for this year. It's time to look back over the season and look ahead to next year. It's been a fabulous season: thank you, everyone, for all your support and love. I'm going to post some pictures from the last two weeks of cooking and transcribe this message from Farmers Anne and Paul about how the season went out at the farm.

Some Sums of the Year
One of the most frequently asked questions this time of year is "How was the year?" so here are a few condensed summations of our 2008 growing season at the farm.
1. Our cows turned 10 and 12 years old and were again praised by the vets on the good care and homes we provide them, and the other farm animals.
2. Milkweed patches were saved and we saw monarch butterflies emerge.
3. Bumper crops outnumbered weak ones.
4. Drip irrigation (a great water saving system) was a must and was responsible for many of the successful crops.
5. Our praying mantis population has increased as we spotted them and new insects. This is a good sign (diversity). As well, we had a good frog year on the farm (a good insect control).
6. The bees swarmed a number of times, helping to assure their sustainability. This means new bee queens began new families on the Farm.
7. We hosted about a dozen school field trips, teaching children farm chores and exciting them about the prospect for them to become future farmers.
8. The solar tractor project was completed: the tractor was built, the solar panels were erected, the wires hooked up, and the tractor pulled hay wagons, cultivated the fields, and helped harvest fall crops.
9. As a farm we published our second book, an inspiring outreach tool (and a happy true story!).
10. Hope was born. Mama chicken Jessica hatched our first home-grown chicken in 21 years, who we now call Hope.


Thank you. Thank you all for your support in keeping this farm going. Your financial support brings one level of this farm vitality, but the deeper level, one that comes from our hearts and returns to the heart of the farm, that is the most important. There are so many hidden chores that you all do that keep this farm vibrant. Whether you've cleaned sheets, baked goodies, brought in boxes, carried wagon loads of weedy feasts to the chickens, recorded share payments, moved rocks from the new picnic area, repaired hay wagons, or weekly cleaned the composting toilet, we thank you for the work you have done. Thank you.

Reserving your Spot
For the first time in a while, this year we had more people who wanted to join than who we could serve, so we formed a waiting list. Now openings for next year are available to the entire public. We have not had this situation for a while so you may not be used to needing to do this. So for now, if you want to ensure a place in the farm for next year, you can fill out a reservation form. This actually helps us plan for the upcoming growing season.

Don't Say Goodbye!
With the trees as our walls, the sky as our ceiling, touching the earth as our daily task, that we will miss. The smiles on the children's faces as they pop fresh berries (chemically-free) into their mouths or the fascinations of folks as they stare into the eyes of our cows, that we will miss. The stories, the recipes, the updates of your lives, that we will miss. But every morning, no matter how much snow falls or how tired we are, animal chores must be done. That is the pattern of our life. Every morning and every evening we will be at the farm. But there is more to our lives. Every Wednesday and Saturday until January 1 we will be at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market selling wares. When January 2 comes we mend clothes, read books, take walks, and give love to our neglected friends. In February this year, Paul will go to California for a month of meditation work. When he returns he will present a meditation program at Friends Meeting House in Ann Arbor. To learn more about that, visit
I hope to help out at a Thereputic Retreat at the Rudolf Steiner Theraputic Center in Ann Arbor. Then it will be warm, at least in our greenhouse. Seeds will arrive and be sown by the 10th of March. And all begins another year of joy, excitement, learning, and sweat. Much the same, a lot new and if we are lucky, we'll see each other again. So we say, not goodbye, but "See you later!"
With much love and peace to you all,
Anne Elder and Paul Bantle, farmers at the Community Farm of Ann Arbor

Photo explanatiosn: 1. Romanesque cauliflower 2. Colorful cauliflower and broccoli 3. Claire, Michelle, and Amanda processing rutabagas 4. Rutabagas: peel and chop! 5. CFK Employee Appreciation Day: a Carrie Newcomer concert!! 6. Grand Finale Share pt. 1!! 7. Claire bags up the stuffed squash 8. Claire, Becky, and Michelle with vibrantly colored butternut squash and beet salad. 8. Grand Finale Share pt. 2!!
I hope these pictures give you a sense of the joyful spirit in which all of the Kitchen food is processed. Thanks for a good year.... reserve your spot for next year TODAY!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Grand Finale!

What a day! Saturday was absolutely gorgeous--balmy and sunny. We spent the morning bringing in the last of the greens--kale and oriental greens that are best harvested fresh. At 11 am the members started to arrive and the festival atmosphere kicked in. Amanda, Michelle, Becky, and Cynthia all came out to help me gather the 14 CFK shares, which was so great. As you're about to see, we got a LOT of food. We basically filled the back of my minivan and Michelle's SUV. It would've taken me all day to pick it all up by myself. I'm so lucky to have such dedicated folks working for me! Anyhow, there were tons of people at the farm: children running around, people carrying squash hither and thither, everyone eating cookies and ice cream and swapping recipe ideas and pre-winter hugs. It's hard to say goodbye to a beautiful year, but here at the CFK it feels like the work is just beginning!

The Final share was:
Radishes (black or daikon) - 1
Beets - 1 lb
Rutabaga - 6 lbs (!!)
Garlic - 10 bulbs
baby Leeks - 8
Mei qing choi - 2
Kale - 5 plants
Assorted oriental greens - 1 bunch
Broccoli or cauliflower - 1
Parsley - 2 plants
Brussels sprouts -2 stems
Napa cabbage - 4
Bok choi - 1
Big leeks - 4
Butternut squash - 6
Green or orange squash - 2
Acorn squash - 2

The Grand Finale menu will be split up over the next two weeks. This is just an initial menu; there will be some extras (hot sauce, dried hot peppers, garlic, etc) that we'll figure out at the very end. This menu contains a lot of old favorites as well as food ready for storing through the winter. Enjoy! :-)

Katharina's Green Sauce (house recipe)
Tabouli from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 104
White Bean Kale Soup from Greens, Glorious Greens p. 172
Miso Soup from Sundays at Moosewood p. 408
Choi Salad with fruit and creamy poppyseed dressing from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 78
Pumpkin Bread from Simply in Season
Stuffed Acorn Squash from Simply in Season p. 208
Mashed Rutabagas (house recipe)
Beet dish TBA
Marinated Radish Salad from Simply in Season p. 48
Potato Leek Soup from The Community Farm of Ann Arbor Cookbook p. 53
Golden Stew from The Community Farm of Ann Arbor Cookbook p. 60
Rutaloaf from The Community Farm of Ann Arbor Cookbook p. 35
Napa and Choi with peanut sauce from Simply in Season
Creamies from The Community Farm of Ann Arbor Cookbook p. 39
Kim Chee from Anne Elder's recipe
Kale for the freezer
Broccoli and Cauliflower for the freezer
Parsley cubes (frozen parsley suitable for use in sauce and soup)
Fresh Brussels sprouts
Butternut squash
Green Salad Mix

phew. we're going to be busy this week!!
See you Friday!

Photo explanations: 1. CFK workers and the final harvest!! 2. Michelle's car full of veggies 3. Mary's car full of veggies 4. A mountain of Napa cabbage 5. Goth caterpillar