Great Song Farm Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 11 Week of August 15, 2011

Great Song Farm Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 11
CSA Week 10, week of August 15th
Tuesday Pickup August 16th 4 - 7pm
Saturday Pickup August 20th 1:30 – 4:30 pm
Egg Week!
For Sale from Threshold Farm – Apples and Pears!
This Week's Selection
Cabbage, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Melons, Collards, Kale, Swiss Chard,
Dandelion Greens, Parsley, Broccoli, Basil, Tulsi/Holy Basil, Thai
Basil, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, PYO: green beans, cherry tomatoes, flowers
For Sale from Threshold Farm – Apples and Pears!
From the Farmers
Greetings Friends and Neighbors!
Another rainy Monday afternoon, one I purportedly have spent writing this letter to you.  Mostly, though, I’ve been catching up on oil spills (Exxon-Mobil in Montana last month), eminent domain claims and folks trying to hold their land safe from potential oil spills (TransCanada condemning folks’ land to build a pipeline from Canada to Texas), and home-remedies for flea bites/infestations.  Quite honestly, I’d rather be vacuuming my house, seeking to rid the place of any and all flea eggs, ending this itchy madness once and for all, than reflecting over the week, the news, our community.  The internet can be maddening, if I stay here long enough!
Luckily, I had something to pull me away from the computer this evening.  The latest big thing on my rainy day priority list, now that most seeding in the greenhouse is winding down – tonight I visited Yong and Jeana of Et Cetera Farm in Harlemville.  They mostly grow vegetables for local markets, and sell some vegetables wholesale, while also growing most of their own food otherwise – raising goats, chickens, and 300 lbs of rice!  I met Jeana once last year, at a farmers’ market in Philmont, and was highly surprised that she remembered me when I showed up on their doorstep tonight.
Yong was on their back porch, cleaning cured garlic for their markets, one of those projects that piles up until you get a real good rainy day – one of those things that really needs doing, but how can you possibly choose such an indoor task on a sunny day, when you could be working outside?!  But even being in the middle of garlic bunches, Yong was happy to meet a new farmer, especially one interested in growing his favorite crop, rice.
Walking through the light drizzle, he talked me through seed soaking, germination, timing for starting the plants in the greenhouse, heat and water needs before and after transplanting, tillering (many branchings from one seed), flooding and irrigation, harvest and post-harvest handling, and their post harvest equipment (thresher and de-huller).  They grow several different varieties, wetland and dryland, short and medium grains, Central Asian and Californian varieties.  We talked about constructing the rice paddy – they have one that was dug with a backhoe, which was difficult because the machine kept getting stuck in the wet ground, and one dug by hand, with a pick-axe, shovels, and wheelbarrows, which was difficult because, well, that’s a lot of heavy work, even without counting how many stones to dig out and haul off, or how many tree roots to untangle your way through!
We talked through dinner, which did include rice, as well as a delicious fresh cucumber kimchi (I’ll share the recipe in our cooking advice section), and a slew of other dishes featuring lots of zucchini in differing manifestations, all delicious.  Yong went to Korea in his 20s, which helped inspire his interest in farming and growing grain, and Jeana’s parents are farmers in Korea, though the couple came to farming only a few years ago, after having children and a successful computer business in Los Angeles. 
Their incredible generosity, opening their farm, their food, and their expertise to a strange rain bedraggled woman as soon as she mentioned she’s a farmer just boggles my mind.  As often as I run into farmers’ willingness to meet and teach other farmers, it seems so distant from how the majority of the world works.  Imagine, a stranger showing up at your doorstep around dinnertime asking for a tour of your property, and advice on whatever it is you grow there – and imagine readily giving it. 
How do we get there from here?  How do we all become less of a stranger, and more of a neighbor?  Who can you teach your passion to, what new passion can you learn from someone else?  Hopefully we are on the way, joining together as we are, having the opportunity to meet someone new who lives down the road or over the hill.  There was talk last week of farm painting en plein air (erm, spelling?), and a movie night when night gets earlier later this fall, and flint knapping.  And I’m sure the list of possibilities goes on. 
In learning, and kimchi
Jen and Anthony
Preparatory reminders for CSA Distribution at Great Song Farm
Please remember bags to carry your produce home as well as small bags
for small loose greens (arugula, mustard mix, lettuce mix).  The bags
we provide are strong enough to be reused several times and it pains
me to watch so many plastic bags go out the door and end up who knows
where.  A simple habit to get into!  If there is interest we could
bulk order organic cotton greens bags to keep them well in the fridge
and move away from plastic altogether.
Check out the film Bag It, a documentary about plastic bags evolved
into a wholesale investigation into plastics and their effect on our
waterways, oceans, and even our bodies. I was screened last week in
the area and might be around otherwise, keep your eyes open
Please check the large blackboard standing against the stable when you
arrive.  There are many important notes on it that we sometimes don't
have a chance to pass onto everyone.  We don't want you to miss an
opportunity to pick some cherry tomatoes, or take some extra kale.

The egg shares are in the fridge in our kitchen area with a check in sheet
on the refrigerator door.

Please enter and exit the driveway slowly as it is only wide enough
for one car. Watch for folks walking and the undulations of the
parking area.

 When parking, be aware of the large rocks at the entrance of the
driveway and please do not drive where the grass is not short as there
are outcroppings and rocks lurking.

If you will not be coming on your regularly scheduled pick up day,
please let us know, even if you will not be switching days so we know
how much to harvest and whether or not to expect you.

Summer Reds (such a lovely shade)(cooking advice!)
The time is growing ripe for bountiful preserves – the recent 50
degree nights have reminded Anthony to look for his long johns before
heading to sleep, and the later and later dawns and earlier dusks add
an extra motivation to keep our daylight hours productive.  Of course,
now that it’s a rainy day, I’m looking for things to do inside, and
turn excitedly to one of my favorite books – The River Cottage
Preserves, by Pam Corbin.  It’s like an adventure story, inspiring me
to keep an eye out for crab apples, haws, and elderberries, as well as
taking on a handful of delicious ways to preserve tomatoes.  Here’s
the Tomato Passata, and roasted herbed tomato paste, that I enjoy
quite a bit.

Another way I’ve been enjoying those delightful fresh garden globes,
particularly on a day like today, is in a traditional Italian tomato
bread soup.  Also works quite well with canned tomatoes, so save this
one for December as well (thanks Debbie, for reminding me of this

Pappa di Pomodoro
3-4 cups tomatoes, chopped (peeled and seeded, if you like)
Onion, sliced
Olive oil
Garlic (to taste, I put in 2-4 cloves, depending on my mood)
3-4 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, beef, mushroom, whatever you’ve
got) or water
½ loaf of bread (good French or Italian bread works well; I also like
a whole wheat sourdough peasant loaf)
Basil (chopped, for garnish)

In a sizable pot, slowly cook the onions in olive oil until softened,
and starting to brown, over medium heat.  Add garlic and tomatoes.
Cook another 10-15 minutes, until tomatoes soften and break up,
stirring occasionally.  Add stock and bread, and simmer for another
minute or two.  Let sit until bread has soaked up the tomato soup.
Serve warm topped with basil.

And Betti handed me this recipe, one for the warmer days, when you
want your soups chilled:

Summer Harvest Gazpacho (from Gigi Trattoria)
Basically any summer vegetable – 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell
pepper, ½ a jalapeno (seeded), 1 garlic clove, 1 red onion, 1 large
cucumber (peeled and seeded), 6 large ripe tomatoes (peeled and
seeded), fresh basil, cilantro, and parsley, 1/3 cup sherry vinegar, 2
teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon
cayenne pepper, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 green onions/scallions
with white and light green parts thinly sliced, and salt to taste

Prep vegetables – coarsely chop peppers, garlic, onions, cucumbers,
tomatoes, and herbs.  Combine in a large mixing bowl with the vinegar
and spices.  Puree, in batches, in a food processor or blender;
transfer blended soup to a large bowl in between batches.  When
pureeing the final batch, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the
feed tube while blending.  Stir the scallions into the mixing bowl
with the Gazpacho and season to taste.  Serve chilled.

Jeana’s Cucumber Kimchi
Cucumber, salt, garlic chives, onion or shallots, cayenne pepper powder
In a large bowl, quarter cucumbers into 3-4 inch long sticks, and sprinkle salt, toss it, taste it, and make it salty to your taste.  Let sit for 15-30 minutes.
Was and drain garlic chives, cut into 2 inch long pieces.  Slice shallots or onion.  Add both to cucumbers.  Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and mix all together.  Eat fresh or let it sit 1 or 2 days to ferment; eat with rice or by itself.
A little something else
In Distrust of Merits (excerpt), by Marianne Moore
Strengthened to live, strengthened to die for
            medals and positioned victories?
they’re fighting, fighting, fighting the blind
            man who thinks he sees, --
who cannot see that the enslaver is
enslaved; the hater, harmed.  O shining O
firm star, O tumultuous
ocean lashed till small things go
as they will, the mountainous wave makes us who look, know

depth.  Lost at sea before they fought!  O
star of David, star of Bethlehem,
O black imperial lion
of the Lord – emblem
of a risen world – be joined at last, be
joined.  There  is hate’s crown beneath which all is
death; there’s love’s without which none
is king; the blessed deeds bless
the halo.  As contagion
of sickness makes sickness,

Contagion of trust can make trust.