Genuine Faux News of the Farm
Vol 3 Issue 8 - August 2007
As a part of our learning about the business of growing, selling and distributing food, we have subscribed to various magazines that have widely differing agendas. One such subscription is to the Vegetable and Fruit Grower, a rag that is clearly meant to be a vehicle for the sale of chemicals, large equipment and other items for larger farms than ours. But, rather than write off the magazine as a lost cause, I read most of the articles to get a feel for how things work in on the larger farms in the produce industry.
Hybridization, genetic modification and plant cloning are used to increase the productivity of plants and the salability of their fruits. For example, research shows that most consumers want a round, red tomato. As a result, tomatoes are being developed to meet this requirement (and the requirement that they are easily shipped for 1500 miles without bruising).
You might notice that Red Delicious apples are rarely seen for sale as trees (or fruit) any more. Research and experience showed that the consumer tends to choose redder (and larger) apples. Hybridization focused on those aspects with great success. There was only one problem. They forgot the 'delicious' part of Red Delicious. These apples fell out of favor once the taste quality became inferior to the appearance.
The process of hybridizing is a time honored tradition and is not inherently a bad thing. However, our seed banks are being controlled by a small number of companies and the diversity we have had in the past is only maintained by a minority of growers. For example, you will find that most sweet corn growers are offering a variety called Bodacious this season. It's a relatively new offering and tastes just fine, thank you. The issue here is not the variety itself as it is the lack of VARIETY in the varieties.
With your support, we will continue to try to do our part to maintain crop diversity and find tasty options for your (and our) consumption. We often select open pollinated varieties of produce and we rarely have only one type of any vegetable. During our 2007 growing season, we have 26 different varieties of peppers, 26 varieties of tomatoes and even two varieties of okra.
We believe that this approach helps ensure that you will receive at least some of every vegetable we grow, regardless of the weather. If all varieties produce, we are able to provide you with a variety of tastes that is likely to please you. For example, even if you have tried eggplant before, you might want to make sure to try a Rosa Bianca eggplant before writing them off entirely. Yes, it is still an eggplant, but it differs enough that it may appeal to some who don't like a more traditional purple eggplant.
Are you interested in some pork? If so, contact us immediately for a chance to enter into a cooperative buy. We have reserved 1.5 hogs and it is currently at the Spillville Locker. It should be ready to pickup around August 20. Go here to read about the pork buy.
John and Jodi Berlage raise these animals using humane and sustainable methods and use the award winning Spillville Locker to process the meat. We have been very pleased with the results over each of the last few cooperative buys we have facilitated through them.
We will not facilitate share of the hog less than 1/8
of the hog. This typically provides 2 brat packages, a 1 or 2 bacon packages,
2 chops, a roast, a ham.
Anticipated prices: 1/8 hog will be $48, 1/4 hog is $90. Every 1/8 additional beyond a quarter is an additional $45.
We will handle the contact with John and Jodi and the locker. We will contact you regarding pickup. We ask for payment only at time of delivery, but we do need payment promptly at that time to help us pay the producer and locker.
Contact us regarding this buy. All reservations are first come, first served. Any additional reservations beyond the 1.5 hogs will be put on a list and we will attempt to facilitate a second buy as soon as we can for those who aren't in this grouping.
Vol 3 Issue 8 - August 2007
By the time this is published, Beth and Scott Fullwiler should be back in the States with newly adopted daughter Adelisa. Congratulations!
Amy and Mike Strydom welcome Noah to their family this month. Congratulations are also in order for them.
We were pleased to hear the dulcet tones of Chris Tripolino as some of his music was played during the show 'Down on the Corner' on KUNI recently. Chris performs under the name Christopher Stephens.
August is the beginning of the end in many ways. Mistakes made are simply tallied as losses at this point. Time is spent either picking or distributing produce. The truck gets very difficult to load on market days and the containers continue to get heavier and heavier to lift. But, this is what we've been working for all year!
August is also a transition period for us as Tammy begins gearing up for the school year at Wartburg College. We also have to begin looking at projects that must be done before weather gets too cool. For example, any exterior painting needs to be done while temperatures stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rather than try to write on this more, allow me to summarize a typical August starting on the 1st day of the month:
Of course, there are variations to this theme - and all is not work. We try to go to movies at the 99 cent theater in Sumner, Rob plays baseball on Sunday afternoons and the occassional farm gathering provides much needed breaks in the action.
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Any book by Barbara Kingsolver is easily a recommended read. Her writings are fictional, but each one carries poignant and important messages about how we live in harmony and conflict with the environment. Prodigal Summer explores the role of predators through separate but related story lines. Kingsolver's book has encouraged us to rely more on natural predators to control pests in our growing plan.
The story lines are very good and character development is excellent. And, you will be surprised by how much you learned by reading one of her stories.
August and September are certainly months of plenty in the CSA. We would like to encourage all of you to take the time now to get the most of your shares and/or the bounty that can be found at farmer's market.
One case in point, zucchini is currently abundant in your CSA shares. But, did you know the typical high productivity period for zucchini plants is only five weeks long? Our first planting is now fading quickly as bugs and disease take their toll. We do have a second planting that is just firing up. As a result, you can get FRESH zucchini for 9 or 10 weeks of the year from us. But, what about the other 42 weeks? Take the time to freeze some for chocolate zucchini cake in January!
Cucumbers typically peak for six weeks, tomatoes for five to six weeks and beans for five. So, what does this mean for us? It means we have the opportunity to really have fun with new recipes. We can try veggies on the grill we hadn't considered before.
We would like to encourage all of you to take your whole allotment and consider what you can do to extend your own season and get the most value out of your share. Some members have purchased a large share and immediately freeze or can half of the produce upon receiving it. As a result, they enjoy produce all year. Other members have shared excess with their neighbors - not a bad way to build a friendship! Other members share their produce with nursing homes, child care facilities and other worthy causes.
We will do our best to support you in any efforts to can, freeze or use vegetables in new recipes. Even if we can't get every recipe or set of instructions out on the internet, we will happily respond to questions. We are also quite pleased to receive and pass on suggestions. One of the best things about this CSA is the opportunity for all of us to learn. We certainly learn a great deal from all of you.
Be prepared! Beans are just starting to peak. We will have opportunities for you to buy more beans for freezing. Tomatoes are starting to gear up - tomato sauce, here we come! Salsa makings are coming in force. Is this great or what?
3 Issue 8 - August 2007
Anticipated content in your shares for August are as follows:
by Ima Turkey
A recent foray into the pasture found a variety of produce prepared by our local farmers at the Genuine Faux Farm. I was, at first, rather skeptical given the presentation. A scruffy looking guy in a red hat was just tossing things over the fence! To make matters worse, our usual chef (Tammy) neglected to provide us with our usual delectable mix of organic grains. Of course, there was nothing for it but to inspect the items provided, even though I was sure it was just an incredible hoax.
First up was a yellow summer squash, which I later learned was the variety known as Sunburst Patty Pan. I found the squash to be firm and moist with seeds that were still quite soft and easy to consume. This was followed by a zucchini of the Raven variety. The skin on this zucchini is a solid greenish black and the flesh is less stringy than other zucchini. All sizes of this zucchini maintained an excellent taste. I suspect they would be good in things like breads and on the grill, but why ruin good produce by cooking it?
Dessert was a few ripe, red tomatoes. My fellow patrons were quite rude, however, as a game of rugby broke out the moment the first tomato crossed over into the dining area. Yours truly was eventually able to get a taste and found it to have a fine quality that inspired me to enter the fray, despite the fact that this was quite uncivilized.
In short, we found the dinner to be quite acceptable despite the atmosphere. While Tammy is much better looking, the scruffy guy should feel free to reappear at any moment.
There are a limited number of part season shares available for the second half of the season. If you missed the pre season deadline or you know someone who would like to join for the second half of the season, please pass their contact information to us or have them visit us at market.
To freeze zucchini, simply shred or cut into rounds. Place in freezer bags and put in the freezer. Use them in stir fry, soups or to make bread.
And here's another way to use some zucchini:
Cut up Zucchini into chunks and toss into cooked Marinara (tomato sauce with garlic, basil, anchovies). Cook 15-20 minutes until soft. (thanks to Roy Ventullo)
Refrigerator Pickles – Fast and Easy!
6 c. sliced cucumbers
Mix salt and cucumbers. Let sit for 15 minutes. Add rest of ingredients. Stir to mix. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator, covered. The pickles will look too dry at first. Don’t fear – they will have plenty of liquid by the next day.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Easy vegetable dish for breakfast or dinner. Experiment with additional vegetables, spices or meats. This is REALLY GOOD!
Sautee vegetables in skillet with oil until tender (use 2-3 T water to help steam veggies). Add chopped basil and stir. Don’t over cook vegetables. Make sure some oil remains in skillet so eggs won’t stick.
Whip eggs until fluffy. Add shredded cheese. Pour into skillet, cover and cook approximately 5 minutes over medium heat or until eggs fluffy and cooked through.
Vol 3 Issue 8 - August 2007 page 4
We were able to find someone who could resurrect our truck within the budget constraints. The truck is a little less blue with a flashy red trunk. But, since the wood side panels are red, it actually looks kind of good. We are grateful to have "Grover" back on the job. We are also thankful for the use of Denis' truck while Grover was convelescing. Thank you also to Randy and Nancy Pfile for helping us navigate the insurance side of things. The loss of a truck to a small produce farmer can be a serious blow, but, we were able to weather that loss more easily with all of the support shown us.
As of August 11:
A big thank you goes out to many people who have come to the farm and helped us with various tasks! The combined efforts of Denis Drolet, Chris Haymaker and Cynthia Bane have resulted in covers for lettuce. A direct result has been/will be lettuce the shares for the week of July 30 and August 6. The granary looks much redder with paint applied by Ed Westen, Denis Drolet and Jette Irgens. The tomatoes can be traversed and searched for ripe fruit after efforts by Jo Foster to remove some of the giant weeds that moved in. The turkeys are well fed with old produce with the help of Rose, Neil and Lara Martinsen-Burrell. And, of course, the peppers are much happier after some weeding by Eileen and Catherine Faux. The tractor runs better after some TLC by Jim Faux. Tanner Kline has been very helpful in our efforts to control unpaying and destructive critters on the farm. The Jystad clan arrived for a few days and helped us take down some old doors and put up one new one (thanks Steve!). Turi helped us to prepare and handle markets, Torger mowed (lots!) and Inge helped us pick 101 cucumbers.
There is always much to be grateful for on the farm!