Farm Update 25 July 2012

It is great to feel the warmth and light of the sun shining onto where I am sitting to write this week Farm News Update; everything goes a little bit easier for me that way!  The first daffodils are showing the beautiful yellow colours and telling me spring is just about upon us.  Frank just picked up two young calves from our organic dairy farmer around the corner, and they are finding their way in their temporary enclosure near the house so we can feed them easily and keep an eye on them.  

In the house we are also working on new life; we have set up an incubator with 48 fertilized chicken eggs. Hopefully in 21 days we can say hello to our new brood of chickens. Exciting events, as we have so much demand for our eggs but also for the kids as they learn so much from these situations.

Frank mulching the new strawberry beds.With regards to the CSA, today is week 11 (out of 13) of our winter season, which means that our Spring Season is also there shortly upon us and new invoices will be sent out shortly to our current members. If you are new to our CSA or have been away for a while, you will be pleased to know that we have still shares available and you can join for a whole season, i.e. a 13 week period, or trial us for an initial 4 weeks before you join. 

A Spring Farm Fay and Event is in the making (30 September) concentrated around “Eating Food Quality, Growing Food Quality”. The Eating part is where we show you what we have been growing on our farm for you to eat; the Growing part is where we invite you to start your own garden by selling seeds, seedlings, and organic compost and soil care products.  Because we understand that while our produce is grown and harvested in the best way, your own homegrown food is still better. ”Know you farmer and know your food” it says on our brochure, so come to get to know us better and maybe take some seedlings home so you can be the farmer of you own food as well.

Picture of the Week: Frank mulching the new strawberry beds. While the weather was good last week, Frank and Matt took the chance to mulch our new strawberry beds to keep the them weed free and make them ready for harvesting from November onwards. Yum!

The Conversations Game (see we played last Saturday afternoon was very interesting and different from any game the group has played before and in a playful way it gave us all a chance to investigate why we enjoy being part of the CSA and what we can do to make it grow. Thanks Caroline and Vanessa for organizing it.

Also a big thank you to Beth Tolley and friends fromour Palmerston North group, who so kindly promoted our CSA last weekend at the Ideal Home Show as part of their ENM Environment Network Manawatu sustainable living display.  Next to showcasing top bar beehives, worm farms, and a solar operated house to name a few, Beth took samples of our shares and brochures to promote us as well. Thanks Beth, very much appreciated.

On Saturday we also started our new juice operation at the Hill Street Farmers Market. As we have a chiller full of apples and other fresh produce, a commercial juicer that was just standing there in our garage, and a market that could do with some new initiatives, we decided to juice up some healthy cocktails. It was a great success! I had to try out the machine, the mixes and quantities, so Frank and I sampled quite a few cups, and I can see it being a great addition to the market.  During the week the machine will now live in our kitchen as we felt so much better afterwards.  Our favourite cocktail was: apple, carrot, beetroot, a few leaves of kale and some mint or ginger to spice it up.

The beef meat packages seem to be popular and we have already presold a large part of the cow.  There are still some available, so be in quick. For more information see our online farm shop. We are picking them up over the weekend and will be sent out early next week.  If the advertised packets are too big for you to handle, let me now and we can bring individual packets to Hill Street farmers Market, or maybe you can share with a friend or another CSA member.

You Shares This Week:

Fruit Share: 1.5 kg apples, 800 grams of kiwifruit and 2 lemons.

Small Veggie Share: 1.2 kg of Agria Potatoes, 600 grams of Winter Carrots, a Cauliflower or a Green Cabbage, 2 Florence Fennel and 1 Sugarloaf Chicory.

Large Veggie Share: 1.2 kg of Agria Potatoes, 600 grams of Winter Carrots, a Cauliflower or a Green Cabbage, 2 Florence Fennel, 1 Sugarloaf Chicory, 650-700 grams of Beetroot, 400 grams of Turnip, 1 Lettuce, a bag of Cavalo Nero Kale, and 3 bulbs of Garlic.

Crop of the week: Sugerloaf Chicory

For those who have not yet seen sugerloaf chicory, here is a picture and some information about this wonderful forgotten crop. Society has forgotten it because we have grown to like sweet instead of bitter things. We are probably the only ones growing this heritage crop around New Zealand and we have developed a small following of mainly European consumers (Italians, Dutch and Belgium people seem to recognise and appreciate it most) at the Hill Street Farmer's market in Wellington.  While our children, and we have got 4 that range widely in age and in what they like and dislike, have started to enjoy our more adventurous cooking too. One recipe has got them all eating it and even more so, appreciating it a lot, and that is when I combine them with ham and cheese. Renske, our daughter even said that this was an unusual but very interesting as it combined so many good flavours together. "When can we have it again!"

So here it is:  Grilled Sugarloaf (or witloof) with Ham & Cheese. Realy easy too!

First blanch the sugar loaf whole for only a a few minutes. Once drained well, cut it lengthwise in 4 portions (If the sugarloaf is realy big I cut in in half as well and make 8 portions).

On a board place slices of mature cheese onto good quality cooked ham and then place the portion of sugarloaf in the middle and roll them up. Place if ovendish and grill in oven or under grill at 180C until nicely crispy browned.

Tip: you can leave the ham out of the recipe if you prefer.

We just love it!

Enjoy your week,

Josje Neerincx

CSA // Wairarapa Eco Farms // 06 304 8116