Week of September 16th – CSA Newsletter #15

Well, we’ve been plugging away with projects on the farm. Since this is many of the interns first experience working on a vegetable farm, we spent a few moments talking about our CSA and how the harvest works for each week. After that, we went out and split into groups to get the harvest ready for you all. One thing that I like to constantly stress to folks is efficiency and body position. All farming is relatively hard on your body but I think that vegetable farming, especially when harvesting, can be particularly taxing on the body. We spent time talking about our harvest list. I then demonstrated harvesting each crop and the importance of body position and how this allows for maximum efficiency and sustainability of our bodies. For the first time doing these tasks, I think the students did a great job. On Wednesday of last week, we finished our final field transplanting of the season by getting napa cabbage and bok choi/tat soi in the ground. There was also some time spent in the greenhouse by a group of students. These students potted on some hot peppers that will be used in our Intro to Food Preservation course later in the semester and some rhubarb plants that we started from seed. The rhubarb is an experiment for us this year. We have a small patch that we planted outside the greenhouse a couple of years ago that we have yet to harvest from. There were these beautiful seed stalks this year and I had the idea to collect some of the seeds and see if we could get them to germinate so we could increase the size of our patch and also have some for sale next year.

The start of the new semester at Tompkins Cortland also means class visits to the farm. It’s great that students have the chance to get a degree in Sustainable Farming but it’s also wonderful that the farm can be used as an extension of the classroom over at the college. The Soil Science class (which all students in the farming degree take) uses the farm for occasional labs but I also get requests from professors to come out to the farm for a tour/talk. Last week, students from Technology and the Environment came on over. We had a great conversation about sustainable agriculture and local food systems and what we do here on the TC3 Farm. I really enjoy the opportunity to be a part of the tangible aspect of what professors at the college are teaching to their students.

This week’s CSA share has some new items in the choice. There will be an Asian stir-fry mix consisting of bok choi and tat soi. The return of spinach and the first beets of the season. Also making their first appearance are tomatillos and shishito peppers. If you’re into salsa, tomatillos make a great salsa verde. We usually use a recipe that calls for roasting the tomatillos first. I find that roasting them first really brings out the flavor. If you’re super adventurous in the kitchen, I found this on Bon Appetit’s website. Now, some of you might be asking, “what are shishito peppers?”. They are a small mild Japanese frying pepper (although 1 in 10 may have a little spice). The way that I love to prepare these are to heat up a cast iron pan with olive oil and then put the peppers in whole and keep turning them until they start to blister. Once they’re done, pull them and sprinkle with a nice coarse salt. I’m not sure how much we will end up with, so the shishito’s may be with another item. The heirloom tomatoes have slowed down significantly but they are still around, as well as the beefsteaks and cherries. There will be sweet peppers, eggplant, garlic, black radishes, rainbow chard and hot peppers also this week.

Have a great week!

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