First day of CSA, starring kale!

June 22nd, 2012, 9:13 pm

Today was the first CSA pick-up and we have been looking forward to this day and to seeing you! In your share this week, you will find lettuce, kale, green onions, parsley, and spinach… a very GREEN week indeed! People picking-up today also had the option to help themselves to some beet greens which we put on our surplus table. They were meant to be part of your “official” share but we had a bit of a hiccup with our fridge which was hibernating all winter and has a new (much quieter, did you notice?) motor. Things got a wee bit too cold in there after we turned it on and those poor tender beet greens froze a little bit, so they weren’t looking quite as glorious as when they were pulled out of the ground. Still, they are delicious cooked, we just had them for lunch in a spanakopita (beet-okopita) and it was quite tasty! We took filo pastry and filled it with the steamed beet greens, Appleton goat cheese, and a couple eggs, easy as pie! Here are the beet greens as they looked at their prime, a few moments after harvest.

Things on the farm have been busy and we are all relieved to have a break from the rain. Sadly, some of the potatoes that the Waldorf school students so kindly helped us plant a few weeks ago rotted in the ground because of all the rain. But many survived, and we’ll be planting more. Those that made it and whose green tops are starting to poke through are already dinner for the frisky potato beetles, who are mating like crazy and laying their eggs under the leaves. So we have been doing the rounds, picking beetles left, right, and center. As we do this, Tom reminds us how easy it is to enter into a “war mentality” with these critters, and that we should strive to find our Buddha nature even though we are pulverizing the little buggers (and usually while they are caught “in the act”, at that! …though it’s not a half-bad way to die as Amanda pointed out.) After all, we human beings can be so possessive, and the potatoes, the soil, the air, none of it belongs to us, and all creatures deserve a tasty dinner. But our goal here is also to make YOU, dear shareholders, also have a tasty and healthy dinner on your plate. So in trying to find my Buddha nature, I have been pondering what is the least painful way to die for a beetle. I don’t like squishing them because the juicy crunchiness of it all makes me feel kind of queasy, so I spent yesterday afternoon putting them in a bucket trying to conjure up how to commit my crime in the kindest way possible. I opted for the boiling water method, which I figure is a fast and relatively painless way to die, but which Tommy said is a bit sado-masochistic. If any of you out there have any other ideas, tips, please let me know in the comments section below. I hear a local farmer gets them with a vacuum cleaner. Yikes. Sounds very ghostbusters. Next week, MOFGA’s apprentice workshop is on ecological pest control, hopefully, I’ll learn a few new tricks!

Aside from the massacring of potato beetles, we have also been transplanting cukes, basil, brassicas, peppers, trying to keep weeds under control in the turnip, leek, and brassica beds, trellising peas and favas, trying (desperately) to get the large hoop house finished, and most exciting, getting the flower beds ready. In fact, we did this on that insanely hot day. We were almost delirious by the end of it. Except Tom. He was quite a sight to see, in full artistic concentration mode, because as Tommy says, he is like a painter at work: the tray of flower seedlings is his palette and the soil his canvas. I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see the colourful picture he has painted!

Before I bid you good night, and since kale seems to be the star of this week’s share, I wanted to share a couple kale recipes with you. One of my personal favourites, and one I posted on my blog last fall, is for massaged kale salad, which you should try because it is delicious and super healthy (the kale is raw but it is “cooked” by rubbing it in lemon juice, sea salt, and olive oil). Click here to see the recipe. Another one which Tom recommends is kale chips or roasted kale. Click here for a fabulous recipe from one of my favourite bloggers.

Don’t forget our first potluck date has been changed, it is no longer June 29th but has now been moved to July 6th. We hope to see many of you there!

Enjoy your greens everyone!

2012 CSA Greetings

June 13th, 2012, 9:08 pm

Greetings 2012 Hope’s Edge CSA member,

Here at Hope’s Edge Farm the vagaries of Mother Nature (perhaps abetted by human activity) have left us feeling a bit schizophrenic with regards to our farming activities. First, the unusually warm and dry months of March and April had us anticipating an early spring and an early start to our 2012 season. But, then May arrived wet and cool teasing us here and there with a few consecutive days of sun and warmth only to turn cool and damp once again. Now, early June finds us stymied by the recent record setting rainfall which has left the soil a bit oversaturated (a bit of an understatement). This bipolar weather pattern is perhaps not so unusual for late spring in Maine but the number and intensity of rainfall episodes does seem to be more extreme than we normally experience. One storm in early May dropped over 5.5 inches while the most recent storm left us with over 6 inches.

Despite the adverse weather conditions we have continued to “farmer “ on; managing to keep to our planting schedule and staying one half step ahead with regards to soil preparation and weed control. More importantly, the seed germination rates seem to have been unaffected by the cool damp soils and the transplanted seedlings are established and so far they are holding their own, awaiting the warmer days of mid-June.

May also was our lambing month.

Eleven ewes delivered a total of twenty lambs all of whom are growing rapidly and adding to the cacophony of voices heard during morning chores. In addition to all of the aforementioned tasks we are also trying to finish erecting the greenhouse structure that we had begun last fall. This new house will be home to our tomato crop and in addition will house some greens over the next winter.

This season, Tommy and I have been joined by a crew of part-time helpers. Dakota and Aube will be helping us 4 days a week each and Amanda is with us for 2 to 3 days a week. Together we will do our best to keep you nourished.

The first market day of this 2012 season is scheduled for Friday, June 22nd, followed by Monday the 25th and Tuesday the 26th. The season will run for 19 weeks ending on Tuesday, October 30th. At the top of this letter is printed the day you have selected or that has been assigned to you as a pick-up day. This will be your pick-up day for the entire season. I hope this day works for you. If not, let me know as soon as possible and we will try to work something out.

The following information is IMPORTANT so please take note.

TUESDAY AND FRIDAY SHAREHOLDERS: The pick-up time is from 11 AM (please DO NOT come earlier) until late evening. If for some reason you cannot come on your assigned day, your share will still be available for up to two days later. After that, your share will be recycled. PLEASE LET US KNOW IN ADVANCE if you are unable to pick-up your share on any given week. This way we avoid over-harvesting and wasting food.

MONDAY SHAREHOLDERS: The Monday shareholders have the option of picking up their share in Rockland on Tilsen street near the water treatment facility between 10 AM and 10:30 AM. Alternatively, you may pick up at Avena Botanicals in Rockport if that is more convenient or if you are unable to get to the Tilsen street location during the short window of time that we will be there. However, whatever location you choose, I am encouraging Monday shareholders to pick up your share as soon as possible, as neither site has refrigeration facilities. Any share not picked up by Monday evening will be donated to hungry farmers. You will be notified when cut flower, strawberry, cherry tomato, and pea-picking seasons are upon us. It will be up to you to come to the farm for these items.

At the end of this letter is a schedule of potluck get-togethers for the season. These events offer you an opportunity to meet other participants and a chance to enjoy the farm in a relaxed and convivial way. Please post this schedule and try to come to one or all of these events. We also invite you to visit this blog regularly since we will be posting recipes, stories, photos and videos to keep you up to date about what is happening on the farm throughout this growing season.

Directions to the farm for those of you who have never been here are given below. Follow Morse Road past a pair of corrugated metal buildings. On your right you will see yet another building with brightly painted murals on the doors. This is the pick-up shed. Come on in. Welcome to Hope’s Edge CSA. I am looking forward to seeing many of you again or to meeting you for the first time. We are looking forward to feeding you food and beauty during the coming months.

Sincerely,

Your Farmer Tom

POT-LUCK SCHEDULE

Friday June 29th 6 PM

Tuesday August 7th 6 PM

Friday September 14th 6 PM

Saturday October 27th 4:30 PM

DIRECTIONS

FROM CAMDEN VIA 105 Take 105 into Hope Center, continue two miles past Hope General Store. Turn left onto Ludwig Rd. Travel one quarter mile to Morse Rd on the left.

FROM APPLETON/SEARSMONT VIA 105 Travel approximately 3miles from 105/131 intersection. Turn right onto Ludwig Rd. Continue as above.

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