Monday, February 10, 2014

A favorite New Haven discovery-- New Haven Farms

An organized campus-wide volunteer day this past fall brought me into the loop about an organization that works to address food deserts and public health via CSA, gardening and cooking classes, and an awesome network.  Check out what New Haven Farms is up to-- and if you're in New Haven, come learn more about the organization and getting involved!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Food Links & Wendell Berry at Yale

Ever more scholarly research is happening about Food Systems, Food Security, and Sustainable Agriculture-- here are some resources tracking that work:

New Entry's Farmer's Resource Library is striving to serve as a clearinghouse for publications that are useful to Farmers:

Wholesome Wave's Research of Interest page

Mr. Berry with Professor Mary Evelyn Tucker

And finally, one of the highlights from last semester was a visit with Wendell Berry, who filled to capacity the Schubert Theater in New Haven.  If you find yourself with an extra hour and twenty minutes and a need to re-center thinking on food systems, this one's for you:
Click on "Event Video" in the upper right corner.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bringing back the blog

Okay, small but loyal Green Peak Farm readership-- the blog updates are back!

As most folks know, Green Peak Farm is on indefinite hiatus as a farm operation, as many wonderful life changes have happened (marriage, relocating to Middlebury, and heading back to school-- as a student!)  But, the small-scale growing continues at an even smaller scale in Middlebury, and the mental garden also continues to expand and be cultivated in New Haven.

Flower growing is on hold, but I hope to keep arranging and using local flowers this summer.  Here are a few more work shots from August with flowers from GPF, 3 generations of Brakeleys, and Elmer Farm.  I'm compelled to post these equally because I just love the flowers, I adore and can't help but share the photography of two awesome Vermont pros, Jesse Schloff and Heather Dahle, and because Liz and Wil are one heck of a handsome couple.

 (photo credit Heather Dahle)

 (photo credit Heather Dahle)

  (photo credit Heather Dahle)

 (photo credit Heather Dahle)

 From Liz and Wil's big day
 (photo credit Jesse Schloff)

  (photo credit Jesse Schloff)

   (photo credit Jesse Schloff)

My favorite model!
(photo credit Jesse Schloff)

  (photo credit Jesse Schloff)

  (photo credit Jesse Schloff)

  (photo credit Jesse Schloff)

  (photo credit Jesse Schloff)

The gorgeous couple-- Congratulations, Wil and Liz!

While I would not recommend to most folks that they grow, harvest, and then arrange their own wedding flowers, it was a pretty amazing to walk down the aisle this summer to meet the man I love with a special bouquet in hand.  Mine was made entirely of flowers that I started as seedlings in March or harvested from friends' farms or three generations of family gardens, and was wrapped in part of my mom's veil and a hanky embroidered by my great, great grandmother.  So many factors go into making a wedding special, textured, and nuanced.  What fun!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A winter meditation

It's hard to pull just one of Maurice Manning's Bucolics from the collection, but here's one for the season.


when I chop wood you warm me twice
you send a wind then send the cool
behind it Boss we work together
side by side when I drop the share
in the dirt you make it sing you give
a song to turning dirt we keep
some big irons in the fire don't we
Boss we keep it stoked there's wood
in the wood box there's a kettle on
the stove there's a whisper coming from
the kettle whenever something's doing
there's always something else that's just
the way it is side by side Boss
just like I said O one plus one
is too as in also Boss always
also O one thing also then
another that's the way you are
the way you always are I think
your favorite number Boss is two

Here's to the darkest days of the year!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 12 CSA - Thanks for a great season!

Week 12 - Final CSA share-- In your share this week:
quart cherry tomatoes
winter squash: butternut, delicata, and pie pumpkin
quart yellow storage onions
quart red storage onions
1 head garlic
2-3 green pimento peppers (sweet)
2-3 serrano peppers (smaller, cylindrical -- hot, classics for Thai cooking)
1.5 lbs green/purple/mix beans
loose carrots
bunch kale
herbs: lemon basil, genovese basil, bronze fennel, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley
flowers: TONS of statice (white and "sunset mix"), white and lime zinnias, white ageratum (flossflower), craspedia (drumstick flower - yellow balls)
 Bronze fennel and tomatillos
 Toms.  Heads up on these - I have found some burrowing bugs inside, that are immediately apparent when you husk and then halve the tomatillos.  Worth doing before roasting for salsa or stir-fry.
 (These are actually photos from last week's share... No summer squash or cukes this week.)
 Again, from last week.

 Pumpkins and butternut squash this week, hooray!  With tonight's frost, it really feels like fall.
 And after a few unsuccessful plantings of carrots, the final fall planting has finally made it through.  Yum!
 Your special blend of cherry tomatoes.  Good old Sungolds, a delicious red grape hybrid, and black cherries (the darker purple color.)

 One monster-- the first of the season.  BLTN...
Better late than never!  Heirloom tomatoes the size of your head-- wahoo!

My deepest thanks to you all for your participation in this year's Community Supported Agriculture.  It was a pleasure for me to supply you with bountiful local produce, and always a joy to get to visit with you for weekly pickups.  Here's to a great summer, and a beautiful fall!  Thanks!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

A few more flower photos

Here are a couple more shots of flowers I created for Katie and Rob's wedding
 Photo credit goes to the talented Stacey Hedman at the West Mountain Inn in Arlington.  
Thanks again to Katie and Rob for providing me with this opportunity!

Friday, August 24, 2012

CSA Week 10

In your share this week:
1 hot pepper (serrano)
head cabbage
1.5 lbs potatoes
bunch beets
bunch kale
cukes (slicing and picklers)
summer squash, zukes, and patty pan
onion (red and yellow) and shallots (pink on the outside)
head garlic
green and purple mixed beans
1 bag lettuce mix
Herbs: fennel (bronze, foliage), parsley, thyme, dill, basil, lemon basil
your lettuce is loving these cooler nights
flowers: statice (mixed colors and white), white ageratum/flossflower, white and green zinnias, bunch of 3 large sunflowers

Some other notes this week:

No chard!
 It took a little bit of figuring (and mostly just keeping myself aware), but I've found the chard-eating culprit!  (I am sad to say that they won-- and that, over the course of the weekend, the culprit tag-teamed up with the local deer population, who is getting more brazen as fall comes on.)

  The mystery was this: normally, when you have a severe pest infection that is decimating a crop, you can quickly identify the pest due to its plentiful quantities-- aphids, green stink bugs, tomato hornworms, japanese beetles-- these are our region's types of bugs capable of such destruction, and that thrive in large numbers.  Alternately, you can do some simple tracking to eliminate deer from the lineup-- our clayey soil does a good job holding their prints.  However, in this case of mystery chard infestation, I could see no evidence of insects.

Another unusual characteristic was that on any given plant, the larger, more sturdy leaves were the ones being decimated entirely, while the smaller, more fragile and young inner leaves appeared to display no evidence whatsoever of the pest.


Well, I had also been revelling that this seemed to be a particularly good year for birds-- we had great populations of bobolinks early in the summer, as well as redwing-blackbirds and lots of sparrows.  And, notably, the late summer migration of goldfinches, who are easy to spot for their shock of yellow, their cheerful song, and... their swarms.  Aha!  Seems that the goldfinches were landing on the ribs of the larger, more structurally sound chard leaves, and chowing down.  The smaller leaves were too pliable, and not able to support their weight-- thus the size discrepancy for the "pest".  And, I had certainly noticed that when I went down to the field, they'd cheerfully clear out of the scene-- leaving no evidence of bug infestations!

For all the good that they do in mitigating real pest/insect populations, some sacrificed chard plants seem to me like a square deal.  In the meantime, the deer moved in and munched the remaining inflorescences down to mere nubs-- and so, we'll have to settle for beet greens in the meantime.  That is, until the deer discover the similarity of the chenopods' leaves...

In more broad-scope news, to follow up on a recent post about The Gleanery: they have reached their Kickstarter crowd-funding goal!  Hooray!  Can't wait for this operation to continue moving along, and looking forward to opening day!

Also, here's a link to an excellent clearinghouse of information for folks interested in small farms and sustainable farm systems-- the Farm to Plate initiative by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund:
This is an impressively comprehensive listing of whatall's going on in Vermont Sustainability.

Finally, it's back to school for this farmer.  Students arrive tomorrow, and then Sunday we start off and running with a hike up Stratton, swimming and getting to know this year's student body.  Monday: Classes begin!  Our remaining two CSA shares will continue as normal, and occasionally, you may need to retrieve part(s) of your share from the mini-fridge in the workshop.  I'll keep you posted with notes on the table.  Our final share will be either Thursday, September 6, or Tuesday, September 11.  Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Good ideas...

Gleaning (i.e. mindfulness, waste minimization, being resourceful, treasuring ephemeral abundance, thinking ahead while putting the time in now, etc. etc.) is a good idea.  Check out this new project idea, a gleaning restaurant/reprocessing kitchen in Putney, VT, which you can support if you like:

Talk about commitment to valuing local foods, all year long!  Putting food by is not for everybody, sure-- but making that work available to a broader range of folks and more eyes in the community-- Brilliant!  Good luck, The Gleanery!