The weather on the Ecosystem Farm continues to feel like fall, with air that is so much less oppressive than it was just a few short weeks ago. While we know that the month of September in this still new to us region can be a bit brutal, we look forward to what the future—one of shorter days and cooler nights—might bring.
With this change in weather comes a change in work and in staff. We have shifted our focus even further toward those fall crops that are beginning to grow and those that still need to be put into the ground; beets, radishes, and a few other root crops are on the “To Sow” list for next week. And we have bid farewell to one of our staff, as Molly leaves the farm for the University of Maryland. Hers has been a season of hard work, but a season of time well-spent.
Even as we part with some, we continue to meet new members of the farm-and-local-food community. This week, Jose staffed a table at the Crossroads Farmers Market in Langley Park, Maryland, which works to increase access to fresh and local food in this and another under-served neighborhood. While the Ecosystem Farm might not have had extra produce to sell, we do have outreach to offer, and consider ourselves fortunate to have had this chance to introduce others to the good work of the Foundation and this farm.
U-Pick: Tomatoes and Figs
As our final planting of tomatoes begins to come on—and come on strong—we have opened up several rows of tomatoes for SHAREholders to harvest. Open rows will be marked with white flags, and include all of those tomatoes that are growing in the New Field (the fenced-in area next to the gravel drive that leads to the packing shed), as well as one stand-alone row of cherry tomatoes located just beyond the fig trees. Varieties available in the New Field include New Girl, Big Beef, and Pink Beauty, as well as the ever-popular Sun Gold. Please do not forget to clip the entrance gate to the New Field closed when you leave.
For those interested in a few extra figs, please feel free to harvest them on the afternoon of your pick-up day or during the day that follows. In other words, those SHAREholders who are scheduled to pick up their produce on Fridays can harvest figs on Friday afternoon or Saturday. Those SHAREholders who are scheduled to pick up their produce on Tuesdays can harvest figs on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday. We hope that this U-Pick schedule will allow all of our SHAREholders to enjoy this delectable summertime treat.
Reminders: Checking Names and Skipping SHAREs
Please remember to put a check-mark next to your name on the sign-in sheet when you come to pick up your SHARE. And if you know in advance that you will be unable to pick up your SHARE, please let your farmers know; a wasted SHARE is a waste of time and resources. SHAREs that are not picked up will be forfeited.
Below, photos from this week on the Ecosystem Farm. Click images to enlarge, or view them on Flickr.
This Week’s Recipe: Potato, Tomato, and Green Bean Salad
Recipe from Epicurious.com
1 1/4 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 pounds small potatoes, quartered
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley or basil
8 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons drained capers
- Cook beans in pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Drain, and transfer to medium bowl.
- Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons orange juice and 2 tablespoons vinegar; toss to coat. Cool to room temperature, occasionally stirring.
- Add green beans, tomatoes, and parsley to potatoes. In small bowl, whisk to blend remaining 6 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon vinegar, oil, and capers. Add dressing to salad and toss to combine.
Note: This recipe can be made up to two hours in advance. Let stand at room temperature.
Monthly Foodways: Melon-choly Days: Saturday, August 20, 2011, Noon to 1:00 p.m., National Colonial Farm: Join us for a kitchen table conversation as we introduce you to the epicurean delights of colonial Marylanders. Learn how our tastes and the food itself have changed over 300 years as we explore the “receipts” (recipes) and meal preparation for everything from peas and pottage to food traditions for which Maryland is known. This month’s menu will include The Anne Arundel Melon, pickling melons, and melon mangoes.
Ecosystem Farm Volunteer Day: Thursday, August 25, 2011 (Recurring, Second and Fourth Thursdays), 1 to 4 p.m., Ecosystem Farm: Volunteers will join the farm crew in their work and, in the process, learn about organic and sustainable agricultural practices. Please wear appropriate clothing, including long pants, sturdy shoes or boots, sunscreen, and/or a hat. Bring snacks and a refillable water bottle. Work will vary depending on the weather.
Beekeeping Workshop: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 10 a.m. to Noon, Education Center: Join Jose Castillo of the Ecosystem Farm for an introduction to beekeeping, a wonderful pastime that is well-suited to our area and greatly beneficial to our local environment. This course will address the what, where, and how of basic beekeeping throughout the seasons. Participants will spend time both in- and outdoors. Registration required; click here to register.