CSA Newsletter #15 – October 5, 2012

Contents of Share This Week

  • summer squash (2-3) or snap or snow peas (1/2 pound)
  • green tomatoes (a lot) – Some of the softer ones you can let ripen, or you can fry them all! (recipe below)
  • red or swiss chard (1 bunch)
  • green cabbage or cauliflower or broccoli – We are very happy with our fall brasicas.  We think you will be too!
  • carrots (1 bunch)
  • lacinato kale (1 BIG bunch)
  • lettuce (1 head)
  • tatsoi or chinese cabbage (1 head)
  • bell peppers (1-2)
  • hot pepper mix (8-12 jalapenos, 2-4 Hungarian hot wax)
  • dozen eggs or sprouts (brown lentil, mung bean, zesty mustard mix)


  • PLEASE keep returning your boxes.  Thank you for the outpouring of box returns these last few weeks.  We are catching up.  They are the most important thing you can return.  The other stuff egg cartons, and clean, clear plastic bags is secondary. If we ever have a box shortage, we will deliver your shares in brown reusable shopping bags that we would also need to get back.
  • Remember that you are always welcome to visit socially and/or to volunteer. Give a call to schedule a time.  Thank you so much!
  • All of our newsletters are archived on our website http://www.soulfirefarm.com/?cat=3
  • Pasture raised, whole chickens for sale (around 5 lbs). We can deliver with you shares.  Order here.

Food Justice

I was going to send this out as an urgent action that needed attention, but we were informed just last night that this went through.  A great victory for organizers, farm workers, and ultimately all of us to live in a more just world.


DENVER, October 4, 2012 – Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker-based human rights organization, have reached an agreement that brings Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable food to the CIW’s Fair Food Program.  The agreement, which will improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for Chipotle, comes in advance of the winter tomato-growing season, when most of the nation’s tomatoes come from growers in Florida.

The Fair Food Program provides a bonus for tomato pickers to improve wages and binds growers to protocols and a code of conduct that explicitly include a voice for workers in health and safety issues, worker-to-worker education on the new protections under the code, and a complaint resolution procedure which workers can use without fear of retaliation.  The Program also provides for independent third party audits to ensure compliance.

“With this agreement, we are laying down a foundation upon which we all – workers, growers, and Chipotle – can build a stronger Florida tomato industry for the future,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW.  “But more than this, today’s news marks a turning point in the sustainable food movement as a whole, whereby, thanks to Chipotle’s leadership, farmworkers are finally recognized as true partners — every bit as vital as farmers, chefs, and restaurants — in bringing ‘good food’ to our tables.”

“Chipotle has an unmatched track record driving positive change in the nation’s food supply and is continuously working to find better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use — sources that produce food in ways that demonstrate respect for the land, farm animals, and the people involved,” said Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle. “We believe that this agreement underscores our long-standing commitment to the people who produce the food we serve in our restaurants.”

Chipotle becomes the 11th company to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which is designed to create a sustainable tomato industry through respect for the rights and concerns of all involved.  The Fair Food Premium paid by participating buyers like Chipotle is used to help participating growers improve wages and working conditions for Florida farmworkers.

About CIW
The CIW (www.ciw-online.org) is a community-based farmworker organization headquartered in Immokalee, Florida, with over 4,000 members. The CIW seeks modern working conditions for farmworkers and promotes their fair treatment in accordance with national and international human rights standards. The CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food has won unprecedented support for fundamental farm labor reforms, through the Fair Food Program, from retail food industry leaders. The Fair Food Program taps the unique powers of all the elements of our country’s food industry:

  1. of consumers, to demand the highest ethical standards for food production;
  2. of food retailers, to use their tremendous buying power both to demand higher labor standards of their suppliers and help raise farmworkers out of poverty through a price that supports sustainable production;
  3. of growers, to continuously improve their operations and meet consumer demand, keeping pace with an evolving marketplace, and,
  4. of farmworkers, to help expose and fix the worst abuses and apply their unique knowledge toward modernizing, and humanizing, our farm labor system.


Published on Sunday, September 23, 2012 by Al Jazeera

Myths About Industrial Agriculture

Organic farming is the “only way to produce food” without harming the planet and people’s health

read the full article here: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/23-4


Reports trying to create doubts about organic agriculture are suddenly flooding the media. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, people are fed up of the corporate assault of toxics and GMOs. Secondly, people are turning to organic agriculture and organic food as a way to end the toxic war against the earth and our bodies.

At a time when industry has set its eyes on the super profits to be harvested from seed monopolies through patented seeds and seeds engineered with toxic genes and genes for making crops resistant to herbicides, people are seeking food freedom through organic, non-industrial food.

The food revolution is the biggest revolution of our times, and the industry is panicking. So it spins propaganda, hoping that in the footsteps of Goebbels, a lie told a hundred times will become the truth. But food is different.

We are what we eat. We are our own barometers. Our farms and our bodies are our labs, and every farmer and every citizen is a scientist who knows best how bad farming and bad food hurts the land and our health, and how good farming and good food heals the planet and people.


Fried Green Tomatoes (as promised)
Serves 4 as a side dish.


  • 3 medium, firm green tomatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal (fine white cornmeal is ideal)
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Directions1 Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning (if using), milk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.

2 Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the milk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then milk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain.

News on the Farm

Not a week goes by without an abundance of ways we connect to each other, our community, our work, and land without deep love, appreciation and intention.  This week was definitely one filled with all of that.  If you haven’t noticed.  It has been raining.  Someone once said asked me, “You know what the difference between a farmer and a gardener is?”, and answered, “A gardener sips hot tea and watches the rain fall through the window.  A farmer never gets to finish their tea.”  There have been a lot of half full cups of tea around here this week.  Some soggy clothes and boots caked with mud.  If you have never had the experience of having enough mud stuck to your shoe so that each step is accompanied by about 5 pounds of earth, you are definitely missing out on what life has to offer.

The rain has been a blessing for a dry season.  Replenishing our aquifers that supply us with clean mountain water.  Water to irrigate with.  But also the dampness means some crops just wont last much longer.  Thus, you are getting green tomatoes this week as the final installment of what we like to think has been a great tomato season.

We spent the day in the rain yesterday pulling the last of the tomatoes, bell peppers before taking down all of the trellises, rolling up the plastic mulch, and neatly stacking everything into piles that will soon be covered with snow.  It was a joy to spend the day with interns Sindhu and Dane (who will be leaving tomorrow) and Tia, a fabulous new helper from Greenfield, MA who will be spending 3 days a week with us this fall.  The rain fed us all, though hot lunch was greatly welcomed.

Leah also attended two Healthy Hearts on the Hill meetings this week.  One in the South End and the other in Arbor Hill in Albany.  There are some powerful connections being made as what seems to be a coalition is emerging to address issues of food sovereignty in these neighborhoods.  This starts with access to good food, but extends to true systemic change.

We are excited and honored to be working with such a passionate and motivated group of people.  And bring ALL we do to the table.  Not just veggies, eggs, and chicken, but educational opportunities for youth and adults, connection to land, putting a face to farmers, and moreso, perspective and language on this issue that is more than service, but about dismantling this oppressive system that has resulted in such disparities.  There is a larger meeting coming up in a few weeks that will draw together a more regional group.  I will post the details as they arise.

This week I’ve also had a blast growing lots of sprouts.  (You know I’m committed when I say growing sprouts is fun.)  I had a great response form many of you asking to alternate sprouts with eggs for the remainder of the season.  I can still do more if anyone else is interested.

Tuesday, we put up the whole greenhouse frame.  Totally unexpected.  It was a day of setting very short, near-sited goals.  “Let’s get a few stakes in the ground.”  Followed by, “Hey, let’s see if we can put a few hoops up.  That would be really cool.”  Followed by, “Hey, you wanna just finish?”  Until, voila! greenhouse frame complete by the end of the work day.  Not bad considering all of the factors, like: we have never done this before, it is totally from scratch (no pre-fabed parts), and its on a slope.  Very encouraging and very affordable when compared to expensive kits.

I also had a blast this week receiving pictures of your potatoes.  I got some beautiful interpretations of what a heart can look like.  Even anatomically correct heart potatoes.  I could not help but laugh out loud in the middle of a conversation when I got a text message with a picture of a potato.  I guess this is what my life has become.  And of course, congratulations, to our share holder winner, Nicole Gallo.  You can see her heart-potato on our facebook page, which you should also like if you like us.

Coming up this week…  Wow, Im getting tired just writing this.  This Saturday, Leah and I will be the first farmer presenters at an 8-week Farm Beginnings course.  This is a training for new farmers being held at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY for about 40 people.  The theme of our week: setting goals and visioning.  Very appropriate I think.  We are excited to be sharing everything fomr our finances to logistics to passions with people from a wide array of backgrounds.  Young farmer apprentices, black farmers connected to the Black Urban Growers in NYC, ranchers, and more.

Monday we will be hosting the Produce Project, a youth farming program in Troy that we hosted earlier this spring.  We are looking forward to strengthening our connection to them on a personal level, but also as they grow and transition under new leadership.

And if that was not enough, after a soaking afternoon harvest yesterday the sky brightened, and a full double rainbow glowed across the backdrop of the dark clouds.  Framing the farm perfectly so I could take a picture and include it in this week’s newsletter for you.  Now, if only there was a unicorn flying across the sky…