Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DTF Gives Back Program

In looking ahead to a summer filled with big adventures (wilderness, the company of loved ones, the newness of unfamiliar trails, the miraculous production of food or music from what was just bare soil and hands, the electricity of catching fish) in small packages (backpacking overnights, dinners at home, gardens,wildflowers, creeks I've rubbernecked past daily in my commutes) I am always amazed at the rich feast of opportunity southern Vermont has to offer.

Here's one more offering: Dorset Theater Festival Giving Back Promotion.  In this program, community members (firefighters, EMS workers, farmers, teachers, etc.) receive discounted tickets to the DTF's summer series-- give a click to the above link for more information.  They've got a great lineup of shows, and it's a joy to have the chance to experience something like this poem by Lisel Mueller describes.

photo courtesy Brendan Condit

Here's to the arts, great and small, light with play or heavy with solemnity, public or private in the quietest moments of our days.  Cheers!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First CSA notes...

I'll add a link here to some recycled, hopefully helpful notes about what to expect if this is your first CSA share with Green Peak Farm.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions.  I'm pleased and honored to grow with you this summer, and your feedback is always welcome and appreciated.  That's what Community Supported Agriculture is all about-- a two-way exchange, and lots of questions!  Thanks for checking in.

First CSA 2012

Welcome to your first share of the year!
In your share this week:
1 lb baby turnips
1 bunch radish
1 pint sugar snap peas
1 pint snow peas
green garlic
1 bag mixed leaf lettuce 
1 bunch each cilantro, thyme, mint

 This week we have four types of lettuce: the deepest and most curly red is a Lollo Rosso, the lightest green is Black Seeded Simpson, and a Romaine type and a red/green hybrid. 

A few notes on your lettuce, and produce in general: everything from the farm has been field-washed, and despite my best efforts, you may find an occasional insect or bits of sediment in your produce.  Please be sure to give everything a good wash/rinse before you plate it up! 
Down in the field, the garden is moving right along.  Leave it to two days of ninety-degree heat, plus ample irrigation to get things pumping along.  Above, we've got winter rye acting as a windbreak and as habitat for beneficial insects.  Hay cutting is imminent, and as has happened the past several years, we go from Edenic, lush green microclimate to green garden in the middle of a parched, sere field.  This year, I hope the rye will help mitigate that situation, and we'll see if I can save the ordering in Winter Rye seed for the fall.  I've also noticed the ladybugs seem to love it, and I've yet to see anyone bad lurking on the stalks.
 Letting the cover crop grow and mature also provides grain/seed for eating (rye berries, anyone?) and a nice stalks for mulching.  The root systems are impressively compact and shallow growing, which  makes for easy removal when the time comes, and good winter weed smothering.

Interestingly, rye can act as host to the ergot fungus, which causes "ergotism" in humans and animals.  Some symptoms include hallucinatory visions (comparable to the effects of the drug LSD) and manias-- and it has been suspected that ergotism may have been a factor in the Salem witch trials.  Hmm.  Don't worry, the infection is easily detectable, and we'll keep it calm in the cereal grains department this summer.
 Plus, Burt's on ergot patrol, tough guy that he is.
 We've got shallots, a new type of Italian red onion, and good old Copras coming in strong.  Winter rye in the background
 Summertime = joy.  And, the sugar snaps are taller than I am = double joy!
 There's just something about pea flowers and their tendrils twining away that gets me and my shutterfinger every time.  Add the golden, backlit rye swaying on impossibly slender stalks in the background, layered on top of the Taconic ridge (that's Equinox and the saddle to Mother Myrick in the deepest background) and I'm sunk.

 2 types of mustard greens and arugula are in the wings
 Thyme flowering away.  I've been following Koala's lead and making lots of hummus-- simple, quick, inexpensive, filling, great for breakfast, lunch and dinner-- and dumping in the fresh herbs, which changes the character completely.  Thyme has become my "desert island" herb.  It can blend and augment other flavors, or carry its own tune with a kick, plus you've got the compound thymol to keep your respiratory system happy!  Fresh beans, olive oil, thyme = done.  Canned beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, a tiny touch of maple syrup and sage, and as much mint/thyme as possible + cuisinart = hummus among us! 
 A cuke's eye view from under the reemay floating row cover
 view south, Equinox on the right.  Notice the the visible row of peas, sugar snap and snow-- the snows come in a week earlier than the sugar snaps, despite their compact plant size.  They are less than half the height of the sugar snaps, as you can see above.
 Gotta love the soft, dry, silty-clay soil in Vermont's valley.  Today saw direct seeding of pac choi, mustard greens, yarrow, nasturtiums, cilantro, chives, scallions, gypsophilia, and more...
 Hoophouse!  This year's hoophouse is up as of Tuesday afternoon, much sturdier, straighter, and with better clearance than before.  Purlands, ridgeline, better support, check, check, and check.  Thank you, Gus, for your masterful, cheerful help!
A happy dinner concoction of turnips, snap peas, green garlic, the last of the garlic scapes, thyme, and some shredded sundried tomatoes in white wine/butter sauce over tortellini.  Yum!

I'm pleased as ever to help you enjoy a summer full of fresh, locally grown produce.   Thanks for providing me with this opportunity!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The end of school/The start of summer

Whew!  With the ups and downs of our recent temperature swings, 
the garden is shaping up.  As we wind down the end of the schoolyear, the rainy days have been perfect for transplanting and cooking, too...
Students from Environmental Science at SMS came down to the farm to help transplant cucumbers and three types of summer squash.  Mollie and Ezra powered through the job, setting out 150 starts, laying drip tape irrigation, and covering them with Reemay in an hour.  Great work, team!
 Mollie driving the big rig back up the field.
Getting cleaned up to head back up the mountain to school, smiles all around.  Thanks, guys!
Waist-high peas, turnips/beets/cilantro, and the freshly transplanted cucurbits to the left under cover.
In Spanish class, we made sweet and savory tamales, platanos fritos, and guacamole to wind down class.

At school, classes ended Friday, and this week students are busy with exams.  We teachers are wrapping up with our final meetings, grades and comments-- the end is in sight!

And... in the few free moments of spare time, we've gotten in some good tastes of summer.  The fishing up the mountain has been off the hook (sorry, can't help myself) and I have easily fallen for the charms, sneaky holes, and runs of the West River...

Don't know who's more excited about this big 'bow, Burt or me!
  Gus casting into the reservoir above the falls in Weston-- gorgeous!
Beautiful, big brookie from the West.

Sunday I transplanted 300 brassicas out (broccoli, romanesco cauliflower, red, green and savoy/cone cabbage) plus some early flower starts, chard, cilantro and dill, and set up the drip irrigation.  The garden is in great shape and coming right along for this erratic, strange early summer.  I pulled about 120 garlic scapes already, much earlier than last year (they were in your first and second CSA shares last year.)  Mint and thyme are welcome additions to homemade hummus, and add a nice, fresh zing. 

Farm shares start a week from this Thursday on June 21st.  It looks like the scapes will have passed you by already, but expect the likes of green garlic, turnips, radish, lettuce, mint, thyme, sage, chamomile and cilantro.  Can't wait to start the farm shares up again, stay tuned for more details.

Hello, Summer!