Seeds of Hope Farm CSA Newsletter, Week 7, September 4, 2012

• Collard
• Green Beans
• Sweet Peppers
• Potatoes
• Tomatoes
• Mustard or Eggplant
• Cucumbers
• Onions

Next Week You Might Find:
• Potatoes
• Zucchini
• Garlic
• Tomatoes
• Okra
• Greens
• Garlic

From Your Farmers
Last week’s dinner was a delicious time for all who attended. We enjoyed a how-to on veggie quesadillas and a fresh made salsa. We want to give a big thanks to Leslie Bertsch and Operation Food Search, Pastor Paul and Bethany Peace for their continued support and leadership of the monthly gatherings.
Let it rain rain rain. The gray weekend was a three day sigh of relief, a moment of rest leading to new growth. We had plenty of drops this round to get the garden looking like fall is near. Beds of seedlings are up in neat little rows while jumping weeds try to take the lead. A few giant tomato plants are now falling to the ground. Some of the sunflowers have succumbed to age, resting their heavy heads down to pass on their seed.

Healthy Soil, Healthy People
While on the subject of renewing life, one of our foremost goals at the farm is to continually improve the health of our soil. Like plants and animals, soil is a living body. The healthier the soil, the healthier the plants that grow out of it. Most problems in the garden, whether pest, disease, or nutrient deficiency, can be prevented by a healthy soil. The idea is that as we take the bounty offered, we must give back, following the composting patterns of Mother Nature. So far we’ve amended our soil with trucked in compost and a bit of alpaca manure. We are in the process of creating our own compost and this is where we could use your help. Returning compostable materials is a step on the way to make our CSA replicate a living system, full of continuing exchanges, enabling future health and growth. Kitchen scraps (from your shares hint hint), leaves, yard wastes (without chemical treatments or fertilizers, seed, or invasive plants) are all ingredients for great compost. We would be thrilled to see pepper tops and cucumber ends showing up with you when you pick up your shares. A way to keep this process clean and simple:
Freezer compost: keep a large bowl or lidded container in the freezer designated for kitchen scraps. Peels, unused produce, rinds, coffee grounds, the bad spot in that apple, etc. etc. can go in the bowl. On share pick-up day, bring it along, or dump it into one of the already used plastic bags we wrap your produce in, and deliver when you pick up your share. If the bowl in the freezer isn’t enough room, let us know. We have 5 gallon buckets with sealing lids you can have to store your compost until you bring it to us. Leaf bags and grass clippings are also great for our compost, and would be happy to take them off of your hands. Thank You!
Mark your calendar! If you or someone you know would like to support and help ensure continuance of the farm program, see a segment of our press release below. Proceeds from the event will go toward our farm, garden, and food pantry programs. This will be a fun and eventful night.
The Community Action Agency of St. Louis County is presenting “Seeds of Hope,” a benefit event on Thursday, September 27, 2012, 6:30-9:30 PM at the Trolley Room in the Visitor Center in Forest Park. News Channel 5 anchor Kelly Jackson will be Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. Festivities will include an exciting evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The event features live entertainment, a silent auction, interactive displays, and live cooking demonstrations by television culinary expert Chef E. To purchase tickets please call (314) 446-4465 or visit our website at seedsofhopefarm.org

Food For Thought…
We are again offering cucumbers this week. Remember to peel and avoid that heat-induced bitter skin. Try the refrigerator pickles mentioned in the previous newsletters.

Fewer tomatoes: what happened? June, July, and August temperatures with a drought happened. Many plants, even heat-loving plants, tend to lose their blossoms at high temperatures, especially sustained high temperatures. The plants can also go dormant above certain temperatures. Many of the tomatoes that would have been blooming and developing during July and August would now be ripe and did not due to blossom drop and a period of dormancy. Another reason: humidity causes tomatoes to split on the vine. Current humid conditions induce splitting and hence a lesser harvest. A third reason: quality over quantity. The bulk of our tomato stand is made up of heirloom varieties.
**On occasion the tomatoes we place in your share may have a light split. This is ok, as we put only splits that are healed and will store for a number of days. We don’t put anything in your bag that we question will hold up.

heir•loom noun \ˈer-ˌlüm\ is defined by merriam-webster.com as a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals

Heirloom varieties tend to be older and bred for flavor, not shipping, shelf life, and uniform appearance. Hence they are full of color and appealing texture, not white and mealy, and don’t resemble plastic. Heirloom varieties often don’t hold as well on the vine either, as they are often more prone to splitting than hybridized and GMO varieties. What we lose in yield we gain in flavor, nutrition, and safety assurance.
Generally, heirloom is thought of as something important, of real value passed down from generation to generation. Seeds produced by heirloom varieties can reproduce, like nearly all plants have done for eons. Hybridized seeds don’t generally produce true to type, and GMO seeds can be engineered to not reproduce. Heirloom is a way of empowering people for future production of their own food without dependence on others.

This Week’s Recipe

We are happy to make our first offering of green beans for the season! We suggest a simple preparation that highlights their fresh flavor. Steam until they turn a light and vibrant green color, and toss in butter.
One of the great aspects of cooking with whole, fresh foods is exact measurement is often unnecessary, as illustrated above. Garden food is good food. To sample our green beans this weekend I boiled them for less than a minute, drained, and added them to a sauté of softened onions. I threw in a few handfuls of cubed and steamed butternut squash and sautéed for a couple minutes more. Just before pulling off the stove I seasoned with turmeric, curry, and salt. I’ll have it again tomorrow.

Mustard greens can hold up for quite a while in the fridge compared to other greens, like lettuce. Mustards are a great way to spice and bulk up a salad. Tear the leaves small and toss them in. Done. In Southern cooking they are often boiled down with a ham hock and enjoyed as a side dish.

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