Newsletter #6 – July 23, 2014

CER_2810-3resize  Contents of Share

  • green string beans (1 1/4 pound)
  • yellow string beans (1/2 pound)
  • zucchini (1-2 fruits)
  • yellow summer squash (1-2 fruits)
  • green cabbage (1 head)
  • collard greens (1 bunch)
  • salad mix (1/3 pound)
  • baby carrots (1 bunch)
  • scallions (1 bunch)
  • cilantro (1 bunch)
  • dill (1 bunch)
  • Optional: dozen eggs or sprouts


Next week is the second Black and Latino Farmer Immersion at Soul Fire Farm. We have had such an amazing outpouring of support and offers of help.  If you are still interested in helping out, here’s a few things…

  1. We are looking for folks to prepare snacks, desserts, and healthy drinks at their homes and donate them to the farm.
  2. We welcome donations of flashlights with batteries, sleeping bags, tent stakes, camping pads, and solar showers. If you want your items back, please clearly label.
  3. And, of course, money is always helpful.  We calculated that it costs $380 for one person to attend the immersion.  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.


  • BOXES. The abundance of the season means, your shares are being delivered in waxed produce boxes this week.  and will come that way for much of the remainder of the season.  At the beginning of the season we purchase close to 300 of these boxes.  They are a big expense for us, so please RETURN YOUR BOXES.  You can leave them where you get your delivery.  If you break them down, please make sure not to tear any of the tabs, or just leave the assembled box for us and we are happy to break it down.
  • We have some extra produce for sale if you are interested in getting more with your share for a party, preserving, or you just can’t get enough.  Extras on the farm right now are string beans, kale, and green cabbage.
  • Pasture 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.
  • All of our newsletters are archived on our website, along with lots more, including educational resources and more recipes.  Thanks!


RecipeBeans, beans…CER_2858-4resize
Lots of great things to do with your string beans.


Dilly Beans

Ingredients – Makes 8 pints.  Just change recipe accordingly for your quantity.
5 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
16 cloves garlic, peeled
8 heads fresh dill
8 dried red chile peppers (optional)
1/2 cup pickling spice, or make your own mix

1/2 cup mustard seed
1 cup sea salt
6 cups distilled white vinegar


  1. Sterilize 8 (1 pint) jars in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the water, pickling salt and vinegar in a large pot, and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, reduce heat to low, and keep at a simmer while you pack the jars.
  3. In each jar place the following: 1 head of dill, 1 tablespoon of pickling spice, 1 tablespoon of mustard seed, 1 dried chile pepper, 2 cloves of garlic. Pack beans into the spiced jars in a standing position.
  4. Ladle the hot brine into jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Screw the lids onto the jars, and process in a hot water bath for 6 minutes to seal. Properly steralized and sealed jars are shelf stable. Store for at least 2 weeks before eating to let the flavors cure.

Garlic Steamed String Beans


1 pound string beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons tamari
4 tablespoons tahini
Juice of half a lemon


Wash beans, chop ends off and cut in half. Fill a pot with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place beans in a steaming basket and place over boiling water. Cover beans and steam for 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine garlic, tamari, tahini and lemon juice. When beans are done, add them to the garlic mixture. Mix until string beans are coated and serve.

Freezing Beans

De-stem and wash your green beans. Steam green beans for two minutes and then plunge immediately in pans of ice water for 2 minutes. Drain and put into freezer bags pressing out the air before sealing. Label and freeze. Stores at least one year. (Alternately, some people freeze without steaming or blanching – beans must by completely DRY for this method to work.)

Food justice News

A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seed Practices Across the United States
Rights of Mother Earth/Defense of the Commons Workgroup, U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance — Apr 2014

For too many people and communities around the world, the dominant agricultural model is causing economic hardship, the destruction of biological diversity, and the exploitation of earth’s ecological commons. It is a model based on the commodification of life. We can no longer continue the status quo that enables multi-national corporations to corner our food system and our seed commons. Every element that is foundational to life (food, water, land, air) is under threat of privatization and marketization by an economic order that seeks to profit and own our common wealth.

The growing global movement by peasants, growers, farm workers, fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, urban growers, food system policy advocates, and human rights activists has born witness to a growing trend of patenting seeds and the genetic manipulation of seeds for corporate profit. We must shed light on and uphold the rights of all of life to grow, evolve, and be present in ecology, even the whole of the Earth. Seeds are one of the foundational elements to our food system and must be defended because they affirm our lives, our very sustenance, and our relationship to place, culture, plants, and all of nature.

This report is written to examine current seed culture, saving, keeping and sharing, and seed advocacy across the United States and North America. This is an initial report of the seed survey sent out by the Rights of the Mother Earth/Defense of the Commons Workgroup of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance in summer 2013, to deepen the discussion around seeds and the rights of nature.


Read this entire comprehensive article here.

Farm News


CER_2881-5resizeWe are delighted to be swimming in so much food this time of year.  Several years into our intensive soil building practices, we are now seeing what it means to grow soil.  While picking string beans for several hours, from a planting that was expected to mature two weeks later, I found myself taking the opportunity for a teachable moment, “This is what happens when you improve marginal soil.”  Healthier more productive plants, producing more food, with higher nutritional value, all that is nutrition passed on to our farm community.  On our meager one acre of land we are feeding close to 60 families this season, 400 youth for our day programming, and 50 people for our week long immersion programs.  There is such amazing potential for small scale sustainable agricutlure to feed the world.  The lessons keep coming, and as we feed mama earth, she continues to feed us more with every passing moment.  Never taken for granted.

Despite Neshima and Emet being gone for part this week, it has been anything but quiet.  Yesterday we hosted the Roots and Rebels crew from Hudson, a farming, media youth program co-facilitated by our dear farmer friend and comrade Jalal Sabur.  The day was unique because it was the first time, though most definitely not the last, that we offered youth programming without Leah here.  Leah is our brilliant youth programming coordinator.  She has an outstanding understanding not only of how people learn, but also how to connect the work with practical life lessons, our passions as humans, and the love that surround us.  Our crew came together to offer this powerful programming, Crysbel and I facilitating the youth education pieces and cooking, and Lissa and Capers holding down the potato harvest.  The day was a beautiful one, with young people asking engaging questions as we toured the farm, harvesting food for lunch, eagerly to chopping veggies for pasta primavera, trying their hand at climbing the trapeze, and did I mention harvesting the potatoes.  they came in for lunch covered in dirt and covered in smiles.  We laughed, danced, ate great food, almost all clean plates.  After watching and analying corporate commercials for unhealthy food, the youth created commerials of their own for healthy food.  There were dance-offs to a cheering crowd, and even coined a new jingle for healthy food, “Chips are wack. Apples are a better snack!”

On that note… Have a beautiful week.