Newsletter #13 – September 11, 2013

  CER_0253-3resize  Contents of Share

  • heirloom tomato mix (5-7 or ~2.5 pounds) – pinkish=brandywine, big red=cosmonaut volkov, small red=luci, yellow-orange=jubilee
  • sungold cherry tomatoes or tomatillos or husk cherries (1 bag)
  • green bell pepper (1 big, 1 medium, 2 small)
  • hot pepper mix – Thai hot, jalapeno or cayenne (1 bag)
  • summer squash and/or zucchini (1-2)
  • edamame (green soybeans) (1/2 pound) – lightly steam and eat the beans out of the pods.  Do not eat the shells.
  • winterbor or red russian kale(1 bunch)
  • red or swiss chard (1 bunch)
  • leeks (1 bunch)
  • new potatoes (1.5 pounds)
  • carrots (1 bunch) – some of you lucky folks will get rainbow carrots, which can be purple, white, yellow, and red
  • coriander on stalks (1 bag) – coriander is a wonderful spice that looks a lot like whole peppercorns and is actually the seed of cilantro.  Pick it off the stalks and use or let dry and put in a jar on your spice shelf
  • dozen eggs or sprouts


  • If you are interested in participating in the final chicken processing of the year, September 21, 7:30am-1, followed by a hearty farm lunch, we are looking for volunteers.  Please let us know if you are interested.
  • We need volunteers to help put up our greenhouse. It arrives late this week and we need a few days from dedicated CER_0281-4resizevolunteers to get our new space up and running.  Please email or call me to coordinate. (518) 229-1339
  • We are looking for your old bed sheets. Any sizes. We harvest greens into clean, wet sheets for optimum freshness.  If you have ones you are getting rid of, we are happy to adopt them as long as they are not excessively ripped.
  • Fall Gathering for CSA shareholder and Soul Fire friends. Work morning and potluck.  Monday, October 14. This is a day schools have off, so we thought we take the opportunity to invite you and your families to the farm for a morning of helping out with a project, and an afternoon potluck.  Meet some of the other folks that our food goes to. We will send out an email shortly with more details.
  • Please RETURN YOUR BOXES.  You can leave all these items where you get your share and we will retrieve them each week.
  • WASHING YOUR VEGGIES.  We do not extensively wash veggies before delivering them to you.  We will do some washing if there is a lot of dirt on greens and we always wash root crops.  In general, this allows the food to stay fresher longer.  It also means you need to wash your veggies before consuming them.  For greens: fill a bowl with cold water.  Soak greens in water for a minute.  Drain water and repeat two more times.  Dirt will rinse to the bottom.  Bugs should float to the top.
  • We are still looking for a delivery van for next season that will accommodate our continued expansion.  If you have any leads on something efficient, in decent shape, and affordable, please let us know!
  • If you are a shareholder, you have the option of volunteering 5 hours over the course of the season in exchange for an additional week of food in the fall.  Be in touch to schedule your work with us.
  • All of our newsletters are archived on our website, along with lots more, including educational resources and recipes.

Food Justice News

Report back from Leah on the South End Community Meal at Trinity last Saturday evening.
We had a great time at Trinity strengthening community around healthy food. Please see the photos for a sense of the evening. Community chef Janet Smith headed up the kitchen with her sister Patricia as main support. Young people including Patricia, Neshima and Miss Chappell joined adult volunteers Deirdre, Jordan, Capers, and Leah to create a delicious meal of Oriental chicken, sweet potato pudding, cabbage, collard greens, salads, veggies with humus, and fresh herb tea. Most of the food had been dropped off the day before by Tim – thank you. Jonah set up projection and Alicia made the tables beautiful. Amanda dropped off backpacks for the young people with school supplies and made several runs to the store for last minute ingredients.

After the chefs were introduced, we had a demonstration to teach how humus is prepared and shared the recipe with everyone present. Shoprite explained how to take advantage of their nutritional and local food offerings and free dietitian services. We then watched a clip from “A Place at the Table” that explains how the expense of fresh, healthy foods is sometimes prohibitive and leads people to select processed foods at the expense of health. We used the clip to catalyze discussions around the table about the barriers to healthy food and what we can do to ensure that everyone in our community enjoys the right to a nourishing diet.
Ms. Janet Smith offered a grace and we served out the food. It was beautiful to see the young people coming up for seconds and thirds of vegetables! We wrapped up and sent home the leftovers with the families. Emet led the raffle of a food processor, donated by Sara Podber and the woman who won it was one of the most enthusiastic participants in the conversations about food justice that evening. Every child got some school supplies and there was a generally positive, excited, and grateful tone to the conclusion.
Madeline, Benna, and all those aforementioned pitched in to make sure the place was left clean. We opted for proper plates and forks, not disposable, so there was plenty of washing up to do and laundering of table cloths, but it was definitely worth it!
Many apologies if I left out your name – please let me know so you can be credited.
We have some thank you notes to send, so please let me know if you are interested in helping with that. Also, we should talk about how to engage the wonderful community members from both meals who said they were interested in getting involved.

RecipeSimple Potato Leek Soup


  • 3 potatoes, dicedCER_0110-1resize
  • water for boiling
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 cup seasonal vegetables, sliced
  • 2 tbsp margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in water until cooked, about 15 minutes. Drain well.

In a large skillet, sautee the leeks and veggies in the margarine or butter until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the broth and the potatoes and cook for a few more minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


Farm News

With planting for the regular season done with, we are shifting gears to the overwhelming number of projects to complete before the cold weather sets in.  First, we are finishing preparing beds for next season.  This means a final weeding, forming the beds so that the goodies that have composted in the pathways are spread onto the top of the beds, spreading nutrient amendments, and finally sowing cover crops.  We also spent a rainy afternoon this week finalizing the plans for a new mobile chicken housing in conjunction with a skill share on learning the CAD program, Google Sketchup.  We plan to start construction late this week and have it up for operation soon, as in, next week.  The high tunnel (greenhouse) company also notified us that it is on the way!  This all means that the next few weeks are infrastructure weeks.  We are planning to plant in the high tunnel no later than October 1, so after chicken housing we are full steam ahead with construction.  If you are interested in lending your building skill, muscle, or just good company, we would love to have you.  Look for a separate email with more details.capers motoing 2013

You probably don’t pay a lot of attention to this, but each week I sign the newsletter, “Jonah, Leah, Neshima & Emet.”  I do this because these are the people that are always here, rooted on this land, and whose lives are intimately intertwined with our farm. I also don’t have to think about accidentally leaving people out, or leaving people on the list once they leave, or just hurting someones feelings.  This week is different.  I am starting to sign it with our family and Capers.  You could call them synonomous.  The first thing I’d like to point out, is that many of you have met and even worked with or now know Capers well. She came here first thing in April with an interest in staying for the season and possibly longer, and has immersed herself in building community and the puzzle of workings of the farm.  She says it is the first time she has been anywhere longer than six months.  With her exotic, and very long, list of world travels, we are deeply flattered that she has chosen to hunker down at Soul Fire as a base for this part of her life’s journey.

Capers will be at Soul Fire for at least two more seasons.  In addition to having conversations about this, Capers made the big commitment to being stationary by buying a motorcycle last weekend, thus shifting some of her commuting energy from biking, to motoing.  She will assure any of us that the bicycle is still primary, and “Do not call the motorcycle a bike!”

Capers is an amazing soul.  Nonconforming to anything this world shoves her way, fiercely loving, fiercely independent, brilliant in mind and heart, and an shining example of health, fitness and strength.  Never have i met someone so deeply touched by the hardships and pain of ALL living beings, who also intentionally puts herself in the middle of the most difficult situations our world has to offer.  She shutters at the swatting of a fly, sheds tears for chickens, and weeps for the injustices of other humans.  Capers motivation for learning about the full cycles and nuances of farming is to be able to travel to post-conflict areas to offer support  to communities trying to reestablish livelihoods and land based existence on land that has been decimated by war.

Capers’ title as an intern quickly did not feel appropriate, as she took on major leadership roles and large scale farm projects.  Her role as assistant manager is far more than a title.  Much of what is happening this season has been collective decisions based on our extended capacity to plan, think big, and do.  Capers has been central to our farm’s shift to biological farming.  She has almost completely taken over management of animals on the farm.  Her photos are in the newsletter each week.  That’s not even including working as a core team member of the Albany Food Justice Coalition, doing weekly CSA deliveries, and tutoring Neshima and Emet this summer.  And, this winter, Capers, will be managing the start up of our first ever season of winter greens in the new greenhouse. We will be sending more information in the coming weeks about how to get in on this fresh food throughout the winter.  I know we are all very excited to be eating in season in the winter.
Blessings for your week!

Jonah, Leah, Neshima, Emet and CAPERS!