Newsletter #5 – July 16, 2014

Contents of Share10351525_857165460978784_1634085240320129395_n

  • green or yellow string beans (3/4+ pound)
  • broccoli (3/4 pound)
  • zucchini (1-2 fruits)
  • yellow summer squash (1-2 fruits)
  • Red Russian or Toscana kale (1 bunch)
  • celery (1-2 stalks)
  • lettuce (1-3 heads)
  • scallions (1 bunch)
  • cilantro (1 bunch)
  • dill (1 bunch)
  • Optional: dozen eggs or sprouts

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Hey loves! I know you were just thinking “What can I do to support the next Black and Latino Farmers Immersion at Soul Fire Farm?” Well, here you go…

  1. We need 3-4 volunteers to help prep cook from 8 AM-1 PM on Sat, 7/26.
  2. Additionally, we are looking for folks to prepare snacks, desserts, and healthy drinks at their homes and donate them to the farm.
  3. We also welcome donations of flashlights with batteries, sleeping bags, tent stakes, camping pads, and solar showers. If you want your items back, please clearly label. And, of course, money is always helpful.
  4. We calculated that it costs $380 for one person to attend the immersion and most folks can’t pay anywhere near that, so we rely on donations to make sure everyone who wants to can attend. Thanks in advance for your generous heart.

 

  • 10268525_857165014312162_5531695139186901124_nPasture Raised Chicken is now available for pre-order.  Chickens are raised on pasture, all natural, young and tender. They are $4.25 per pound. Birds dress out at 4-6 pounds. We will have 50 birds for sale ONLY ONCE this season.  They can be picked up fresh or frozen. Please sign up HERE.
  • 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 rinse 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.
  • Workday. Saturday August 16 – Chicken processing.  8-1.  1-3 Potluck.
  • 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, or come to a workday.
  • THANK YOU for the sheet donations.  We can use a few more.  If you have old bed sheets we can use them. One of our harvest secrets is that we harvest into damp sheets instead of fancy crates. This allows the crops to stay super fresh post harvest by evaporative cooling. If you have any sheets you are looking to get rid of, we will gladly take them off your hands.  You can leave them at you delivery location for us to pickup.  Thank you!
  • All of our newsletters are archived on our website, along with lots more, including educational resources and more recipes.  Thanks!

 

Recipe

Zucchini Mint Garlic Soup
makes 1 1/2 quarts
serve hot or cold

Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or high heat oil (safflower or coconut)10494630_857166357645361_3566534039412017591_n

1 onion, scallions or other farm fresh onion item

3 to 4 cloves garlic or equivalent scapes

sliced thinly 4 medium zucchini, about 1 1/2 pounds

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 1/2 cupped finely chopped parsley or cilantro

Salt and pepper

optional: add fresh mint into the blend for a fresh taste

Directions

Heat the oil or butter in a heavy 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and onions and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Keep the heat low enough that the garlic doesn’t brown.

When the onions are soft, add the zucchini and cook until soft. Add the broth and herbs, and bring to a simmer. Simmer at a low heat for about 20-40 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then blend until creamy, or transfer to a standing blender to puree. Be very careful if you use the latter; only fill the blender half full with each batch, and hold the lid down tightly with a towel.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Like most soups, this is significantly better after a night in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld.  This can be served hot or cold.


CER_1968-2Drying Herbs

Your shares have been abundantly packed with herbs this season.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed with having to use them before they go bad, try drying them so you can use them any time you want.  Or better yet, in the middle of the winter when fresh herbs are scarse.  Drying is one of the simplest and effective food preservation methods.

  1. Find a dry place out of the sun to hang your bunch of herbs upside down.  We use a thumb tack from the ceiling and hang the bunch of herbs from the rubber band.  Make sure the bunch has air all around it, ie. dont hang it against a wall.  You can also use window screen.
  2. After a few days the bunch will look as if its wilting, browning and/or yellowing.  This is normal.  Depending on drying conditions you herbs should be completely dry in 1-2 weeks.  You know they are completely dry when they easily crumble off of the stem and literally feel dry.
  3. Crumble the dry leaves off of the stem into a bowl and transfer to a container with a lid.  Try to choose a day when the humidity is lower.  Don’t do this on a rainy or super humid day.

If your herbs were properly dry and sealed and stored they will keep throughout the year, until fresh herbs are ready next year.  Drying herbs this way not only is simple, but also retains the high nutrient content of these plants.  The longer you leave them out after they are dry, the more of the nutritious (and tasty) compounds break down.  The sun also breaks down the nutritious compounds in the herbs, so make sure to keep them out of the sun.

One friend who wants to dry medicinal herbs quickly to retain as much of their healing qualities as possible, lays herbs on a window screen and puts them in a car with the windows slightly cracked.  But out of the sun.  Voila!  Urban solar dryer.  And lots of them too.  Imagine how much food we could dry in the city, and leave them smelling wonderful when we’re done.


10525665_857165750978755_6176567933742189565_nFarm News

 

The clouds continue to bless us with their rains.  The earth with her fertile soil.  The sun with its brilliance.  And the land still resonates with a new vibration left by the people that came together for the immersion, now two weeks ago.  The community we created in intention and fierce determination to re-write this story.  This change did not leave at the end of the week.  Instead, the land holds this story along with all the stories that have ensued in her patient embrace: the ones of struggle, trauma, love, reverence, prayer.  These stories are reflected back to us as we steward this land.  It is our job to hold them with respect and surrender to their lessons.

It is with that spirit that we host groups of young people on the farm throughout the season.  Close to 400, in fact, this year alone.  Last week we hosted 17 youth and staff fromthe super brilliant, radical, world-changing YouthFX crew.  They invented the word “smack-a-dow-shicle” to describe the lunch that won over even those who swore they only eat meat and no veggies. There were happy squeals as mud squelched between toes and worms handled – first experiences for some.  The “Cupid Shuffle” was had by most while others finished the last of fresh-harvested herb garnishing.  And check our this witty, FUNNY skit on healthy food.http://youtu.be/LFWueUcvPLw.  Worth the 30 seconds.  Among favorite appreciations from the youth, “I like how we highlighted what each person contributed to the meal. It made us stop and not take our food for granted…” and “It’s been so long since I touched the earth and held a snail. My grandmother used to do things like that with me, but she died, and it’s been forever that I have been wanting to get back to this.”

A few days later, Bhawin Suchak, director of YoutFX shared a few stories with us.  “They sang and laughed the entire way home in the van,” and “They generated 12 solid ideas the following day that will turn into films.”  He alluded to how unprecedented this outpouring of creativity was.  Bhawin noted how quieter students were stepping up, and the overall cohension of the group, after one week together had crystallized.  He had seen something shift in the youth throughout the day.  Young people who only one year before would not walk through tall grass and now were walking shin deep, barefoot in the mud, holding worms, caring for snails.  How the earth awakens the potential in our creativity and spirit, just by being connected.

Possibly most profound for us, one young man shared his story of taking his shoes off, touching the earth with his bare feet, and with an instantaneous rush, was flooded with a memory from his early childhood of gardening with his grandmother.  He literally uploaded the memory from the land.  This  young man will be taking this experience and memory, and turning it into a film about how young people can carry on the legacy of their elders and honor their teachings in their own lifetimes.  Several other of the youth were touched by this vision, and will be working together to manifest the film.  This one young person offers an insight into what is possible if we open to listening when we are in nature, and the vast capacity of the earth to heal our communities through returning our stories and the stories of our ancestors to us.  We can only begin to fathom the potential in this.  As Leah puts it when describing what we do when a group comes, “Here’s the land.  We just step back.”10475689_857165177645479_6986826206154505313_n