Friday, June 27, 2014

SSP (Sugar Snap Peas -- the best, Jerry, the best!)

News from the Farm:  Sugar Snap Peas are Ready

The first "Pick-Your-Own" for CSA members will be this Saturday, June 28 from 10 am to noon.  The location of the Pick-Your-Own farm is:  397 Big Island Road, Florida, NY  10921.  There is red barn with a green roof and doors and a small blue storage shed next to the barn. 

Just a few things:

  • Make sure you wear old shoes.  (Once worn in the black dirt, they'll never be the same!)
  • There are no bathroom facilities on the farm.
  • Everyone should be careful where they walk to avoid falling in the irrigation ditches and groundhog holes (the weeds hide them well!)
  • Call 845-216-1282 in case you get lost! (Although cell service is spotty on the farm).
This year we are working with Dan & Monique Russo and their son Milo.  They live in New York City; Dan works for the Walking Dead (no kidding!), Monique is a classically-trained pianist and Milo, at age 4 is showing great potential for a career in golf.  After being members of a CSA for several years they thought, why not grow our own?  So, we're working together to grow pick-you-own vegetables for our CSA members. 

If you can't make it this Saturday, we plan to have another day next weekend (we're waiting to check the weather forecast) and more during the season once other vegetables are ready.

So, grab your hats, buckle in your kids and take a ride to the Black Dirt Region! 

Here's a few other things to enjoy while in the Warwick area:

  • Quaker Creek   Gourmet Meats & Products -- It's just around the corner from the farm and serves great lunches.  Or pick up some freshly prepared chicken sausages for the grill!  The sweet potato and German potato salads are excellent!  It's our favorite restaurant in the area!
  • The Eclectic Eye   Antique Store in downtown Warwick (nearby are some really good restaurants:  Fetch, Noble Pies, Yesterdays, LaPetite Cuisine and the Pioneer)
  • Bellvale Farms Creamery  Ice Cream -- It's worth the trip just for the view!  And it's right next to an awesome part of the Appalachian Trail with a hawk watch.
  • Lowland Farm  Our grass-fed meat partner is open on Saturdays (the kids will enjoy seeing the farm animals).
  • Pacem in Terris   A trans-religious sanctuary. (Grange, a great farm-to-table restaurant that serves meat from Lowland Farm is close by)

Hope to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bumpin' Crop...of Strawberries

Bumping Across Life

Did you notice that the days are getting shorter?  Me neither.  But they are.  I can't see it yet but I can feel it.  And so can the weeds.  All I can say is whew!  We've crossed the vegetable rubicon! The last few weeks have been intense.  But now all is well.  "I think we're going to have a really good year," I said to my husband.  "Barring any unforeseen circumstances" (such as injuries, crop failures (there will always be some but we can absorb it -- that's the good thing about not monocroppong) or death, you just never know! 

Last night I woke up during the night only to see the yard filled with lightening bugs (a Midwestern term, they're called "Fireflies" on the East Coast. Soda vs. pop.  Everything is much more fancy out here).  I was just wondering yesterday when they would appear and remembering the time we camped out in  the backyard with our kids and the tent was bright all night from the "fireflies."  And it struck me, hard.  The years are moving along so quickly, too quickly, especially with the farm. 

How many more times in my lifetime will I hear the first of the spring peepers?  Or see the first lightening bug?  Or eat the wild dandelion greens? Or grate the horseradish?  Or chop the garlic scapes for my omelet?  I'm 56.  If I live to be 86, just 30 more times.  Not enough.  I need to catch up and not always be behind trying to catch up.  I just want to have those few moments of every moment where the moment is all there is. Hear that spring peeper sing so loudly it's always ringing in my ears.  See that bright light from the lightening bug so that my mind is always bright.  Eat those bitter wild dandelion greens and make wine for the winter from the flowers to remember the first of spring. And still hear the spring peepers. And see the light.

People will sometimes ask me what I eat (Vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, Paleo, Ornish, Atkins, Zone, Mediterranean, SAD (Standard American Diet) all I can think of is, what's in the bag this week? Again?  And what can I possibly preserve for the long winter ahead?  Seasonally, I guess, would be the answer.  What I can grow?  And what can I get locally.  Because I can't do it alone.  I'm so glad that there are people around who actually like to raise beef.  And pork.  And fruit.  And bees.  And mushrooms.  And chickens.  And eggs.  And maple syrup. And buckwheat.  And spelt.  It's exhausting to think of doing all these things alone.  (I once tried, very unsuccessfully, to do many of these things.  I can still hear the cries of the chickens from a not-so friendly visit from the neighbor's dog).  It's beyond Community Supported Agriculture.  It's just life. And still a little bumpy.

Bumper Crops
Dan was right!  It is a year of bumper crop strawberries. More strawberries this week! Yum...

Mo'Pweeze Bakery
"Home of the Delectable and Divine Allgery-Free Cupcakes
Always Dairy, Egg, Nut, Gluten/Wheat, Soy Free"

Chris has turned a problem (allergic kids!) into a solution for her and others.  She will be at the CSA this week in Hawthorne with her healthy and delicious allergy-free cupcakes! 

Enjoy! 

P.S.  I cooked up some of the chicory tonight for dinner.  It was really delicious and not a bit bitter. (Although I happen to like bitter, it took me some time to acquire a taste for bitter.  If you're trying to get someone who doesn't like bitter greens (think husband  -- no offense to those men who cook! and love bitter greens! and/or kids) to eat them, add a bit of sautéed chopped apple or a tablespoon of raisins soaked in 1/4 cup of hot water).  Just a bite of bitter is better and more potent than a pill or "supplement."  (I never could get that concept. Supplement.  Why supplement when you can get the real thing?  Vegetables.  Especially greens.  Leafy greens. Bitter greens.  Local greens. Sweet greens. Juiced greens.  Just greens.  Always greens. Every day!) 

 
Vegetable List

lettuce (red leaf)
lettuce (Boston)
chicory
spinach
cilantro
kale (one of my favorite things!)
radishes
parsley
tomatoes
green garlic and/or garlic scapes


Recipes

The Crisper Whisperer (7 great scape recipe ideas!)
Pickled Garlic Scapes
Wow!  Even Smithsonian is talking garlic scapes!

It's okay to be bitter (chicory, here I come!)
Chicory & White Bean Soup
Chicory & Orange Salad with Ginger Dressing
Six Tips for Flawless Kale Chips  
Creamy Curried Kale & Chickpeas
Cilantro, it's one of those herbs you love or hate!, 22 ways

My very favorite cilantro recipe -- I eat it by the spoonful!

1 c. cashews (or walnuts, almonds or pecans) toasted lightly
6 T. of cilantro
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. soy sauce (I use gluten-free tamari)
2 t. brown sugar
1 jalapeno pepper (optional -- some like it hot!)
1 T. lime juice (and zest is always good)
salt to taste

Blend all in a food processor.  Stores well in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

 


 

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe, Mary Vegetables

Hoes & Hoes
We spent three hours on the "pick-your-own" farm hoeing. Ho, Ho, Hoeing. Three smart women.  Starting at 7 am.. (Jenny wanted to start at 6 am.  Monique, 11 am.  Me, a middle child, always the accommodator, in between, how about 7? Monique, Jenny and me. Again, three women.  Smart. At least we think we are.  We do have a lot in common.  Vegetables.  Vegetables.  Lots of vegetables. 

And Black Dirt. Black. Black. Dirt. We all could be doing something else, something more productive, at least monetarily with our skill sets, and yet here we are.  Three determined women from China, the Ukraine and Illinois (I'm the most unromantic in this gig! being from Illinois and all) in the dirt.  Black dirt.  Hoeing.  And hoeing.  And hoeing.  But this is just so important!
And that's why we're here.  All of us.  It's no coincidence (in a population of 8.5 million people and here we are...250!).  We get it. (And you do too.  Or else you wouldn't be here. In this CSA).  And some years you do get it and some years you don't. It doesn't matter.  Honestly. Our heels are dug in. To the Black Dirt.  (But you are always welcome to return to the fold.  Our prodigal suns. Even if it all turns to sh**). We are here for you. Doing what we do.  Growing vegetables.  

And hoeing.  Because that is what smart women do. Hoe. It's not pretty. And maybe it's not smart. But this is what we do.  Hoe. A row. Smart. Women. We are. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ah, yes, this is why...

Lisa Reminder: Ah, yes.  This is why you (I) do it!  
"Hi,
I just want to let you know how amazed I am at the amount of vegetables I am getting.  It is amazing! I love that I have to figure out how to use it all.  The dill smells amazing! I have never had better strawberries in my life.
I'm also having some difficulty because I'm not sure what everything is.  How exactly could I use that purple corn? I googled and saw a purple drink. Any suggestions?
Did I get collard greens or is that lettuce?  I know some is lettuce.. It feels great to learn more about what we could grow so close to home.

Thanks,
J"

 
"Hi,
I must admit I am not one to email, I just enjoy all of your veggies and tell everyone I know about you. But this week I need to email to say thank you! 
I've been very ill the past few months and was not allowed any fresh veggies. I am on the mend and when I picked up our share last week I was in Heaven.
I roasted the beets, onions and radishes. Our share included a cabbage instead of broccoli rabe, so after a quick Google search I made veggie stuffed cabbage. My husband loves horseradish; me - I thought it only came in a jar :)  Following your recipe I made fresh horseradish (cleaned my sinuses in the process) and made horseradish encrusted salmon with roasted veggies for dinner.
I have not eaten a salad since late February and I have to say the 3 of us could not get enough of the lettuce, spinach and arugula! It was delicious! 
I am so looking forward to everything else this season!

THANK YOU for all that you do! It is truly appreciated!

 M."


Sometimes, oftentimes, life comes so fast and furious that it's hard to take those few moments out of the day and really enjoy them. And there are three weeks in particular that I find really intense.  From May 15 (or whenever the last frost should be) to June 21 (make that 5 weeks, it just feels like 3).  It's the start of the CSA, the time to transplant all the sensitive plants (think of your eldest child (they're all a lot of work!) or (even-especially! )tomato, pepper, tomatillo & eggplant plants, fussy, fussy, fussy!), the beginning the fruit share (fruit is a whole other ball of wax (I now know why most fruit is waxed! Transportation. And shelf life).  

I happened to go into a Stop & Shop to buy a case of bottled water (Poland Spring -- to freeze for CSA drop-offs. It's cheaper than ice packs!) and I wandered through the produce aisles.  And I was immediately depressed.  They had containers of strawberries (CA-grown), raspberries (they looked so perfect I almost bought some!), blackberries (not so good looking), blueberries (from Florida and Georgia), mangos (not sure where they were from!) And I just wanted to throw in the towel. What's the point?  We can't compete!  Against corporate agriculture.

And then, I received these emails.  And they touched my heart.  And remind me of me and why I did this crazy thing (farming vegetables) in the first place. Ah, yes.  This is why I (you) do it. Because it is amazing. The vegetables.  The fruit.  The dill.  You and me.  Our  community.  Of supported agriculture. And popcorn.  Isn't that just the most amazing vegetable of all?  It's blue and will last for ten years. I love it! But,

I don't want to be blue and last forever. I want to be now! Arugula. Spinach.  Lettuce.  Strawberries.  I just wasn't to enjoy. The ever present.


Enjoy! I am.The Everpresent. Enjoying.  (It's not a word.  It's an experience).

Thank you!

Lisa

Fruit & Veggies...and Blue Popcorn!

Above photo is of an antique corn sheller.  We have one at the CSA in Hawthorne.  And for a machine that is very low tech (no touch screens, batteries or engines!) it still works great. In just one turn of the wheel, it strips all the popcorn off the cob.   But, it is a little dangerous.  It would never pass today's safety regulations!

News from the Farm:  CSA Reminder: Fruit & Veggies, Veggies & Fruit


Rinse, Repeat. But Please Join us. And support another farmer!

Dan just called and he said he has a "bumper crop" of strawberries (which are late this year!) Do we want to start the fruit share early?  Yes, yes, yes!!! (How can anyone say no to strawberries!) 

By the way, this is the first time we've gotten strawberries from Dan because in past years the strawberries would be ripe before the first CSA pickup.  But if there's anything I've learned from farming these past seven years, it's the absolute necessity of being flexible. (If you're a bit of a control-freak (like me) and want to soften some of those edges, take up farming!)  As much as we plan out the season (and we do...in December), order the seeds and plants, schedule the sowing of seeds and transplants, sign up members before the season begins, weed and thin seedlings according to the waxing and waning moon, or plan a nice barbeque for Father's Day, Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.  So, rather than laboring under calamity, we flexibly labor under the Honey Moon and rejoice that we are able to partake in the first local strawberry!

And so, the first fruit share will be this Wednesday, June 18.  We still have fruit shares available.  Please let us know if you'd like to join and you, too, can enjoy the first fruit of the season!

Lowland Farm Grass-Fed Meat 
Anyone may purchase grass-fed beef and pastured pork directly through Lowland Farm.  You may now place your order directly online. We will have your order bagged and ready to go in the freezer. (It's so worth the little extra cost to buy really good meat! Especially if you're looking to live a really long time and be among those who eat 7 times more vegetables than meat -- but it must be good meat!) AKA no pink slime!  Or pumped with GMO grains. Cows like to graze. Peacefully.  And so do I!

Honey & Eggs & Grass-Fed Butter
There are also local honey, eggs  and grass-fed butter available to purchase. (The butter is just in time for the popcorn or is the popcorn just in time for the butter?) There weren't too many honey takers last week.  But it's so important.  Supporting these local beekeepers. If it weren't for them and bees, we'd all be screwed.  Just six inches of topsoil, just 9 meals from revolution! 

MoGreen Juice

Did you know MoGreen Juice has now added two new kids juices?  You'll probably love them as well, so give a try to Maureen's new Orange/Pineapple/Carrot/Pear or Spinach/Apple/Lemon/Mint. (Actually, these kids juices are deliciously transformed into "adult" drinks by adding a little gin (or vodka) and seltzer!)

Homespun Chili
Homespun Chili makes great artisan chili, including John's famously popular Buffalo chicken chili- Cockadoodle Blue. Homespun Chili is a nutritious quick meal anytime, but especially when you are running late.(Spend all day on the internet and just 12 minutes in the microwave, add a few leaves of our lettuce for a salad and voila, a home cooked meal! Who said we women don't have secrets?)  We are now stocking a limited supply and taking orders for more!  Banzo Masala is my favorite!

Fruit Share 
We are taking applications for this year's fruit share.  More information about the Dan, our Fruit Man and his orchard and sign-up form can be found on our website www.hesperidesorganica.com under CSA -- Fruit List.  We will also leave fruit share sign-up forms at each of the locations. 

The number of shares is limited (in fact, we have 12 shares left!)  

P.S.  We just made a batch of  popcorn with the blue corn -- and it doesn't look so great on the cob, but in the words of my son, "(Golly, gee -- me, not him) This popcorn tastes great!"  and my other son, "Popcorn sure is a great vehicle for eating this butter!"

Enjoy! I do!

 

Thank you for joining us this season!  
 
 

First Fruit! Strawberries...

"You can't put a price on fruit that has not been dipped in wax or frozen in nitrogen (or handpicked!)" ~ Veronica -- Fifth-year CSA member
 
News from the Farm:  First Fruit!  Strawberries...

Dan just called and he said he has a "bumper crop" of strawberries (which are late this year!) Do we want to start the fruit share early?  Yes, yes, yes!!! (How can anyone say no to strawberries!) 

By the way, this is the first time we've gotten strawberries from Dan because in past years the strawberries would be ripe before the first CSA pickup.  But if there's anything I've learned from farming these past seven years, it's the absolute necessity of being flexible. (If you're a bit of a control-freak (like me) and want to soften some of those edges, take up farming!)  As much as we plan out the season (and we do...in December), order the seeds and plants, schedule the sowing of seeds and transplants, sign up members before the season begins, weed and thin seedlings according to the waxing and waning moon, or plan a nice barbeque for Father's Day, Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.  So, rather than laboring under calamity, we flexibly labor under the Honey Moon and rejoice that we are able to partake in the first local strawberry!

And so, the first fruit share will be this Wednesday, June 18.  We still have fruit shares available.  Please let us know if you'd like to join and you, too, can enjoy the first fruit of the season!

P.S.  Another email will be sent this evening with a list of vegetables for this week.  We're still picking!

Lowland Farm Grass-Fed Meat
Anyone may purchase grass-fed beef and pastured pork directly through Lowland Farm.  You may now place your order directly online. We will have your order bagged and ready to go in the freezer. 

Honey & Eggs & Grass-Fed Butter
There are also local honey, eggs  and grass-fed butter available to purchase. 

Fruit Share 
We are taking applications for this year's fruit share.  More information about the Dan, our Fruit Man and his orchard and sign-up form can be found on our website www.hesperidesorganica.com under CSA -- Fruit List.  We will also leave fruit share sign-up forms at each of the locations.  The number of shares is limited and we have sold out in past years.  The first scheduled fruit share delivery is July 2.

 

Thank you for joining us this season!  

First CSA Pickup -- Wednesday, June 11

News from the Farm:  First CSA Pickup -- Wednesday, June 11

The first pickup for the 2014 Season is Wednesday, June 11

Details for the specific locations:

Hawthorne -- 27 Utter Avenue  Hours:  2-7 pm
     There will be a sign that says "Farm Fresh Produce" in the empty lot near the entrance.  There will be a sign-in sheet for members to check their names off.  Member shares are located in the walk-in cooler.  Each black plastic crate is one share.  Members are encouraged to bring a bag to transfer the vegetables to. (We also provide plastic bags to put the vegetables in). 
Shared Shares
     For members splitting shares, the first person arriving can divide the share and place the other share on a table for "Shared Shares" with their partners name on.
Lowland Farm Grass-Fed Meat
   
Anyone may purchase grass-fed beef and pastured pork directly through Lowland Farm.  You may now place your order directly online. We will have your order bagged and ready to go in the freezer. 
Honey & Eggs
     There are also local honey and eggs available to purchase. The price of the eggs is $6 per dozen for pastured, certified organic & kosher eggs and $4 per dozen for farm-fresh brown eggs.  The honey is locally produced by my neighbor and is $6 per 1 lb. jar and $12 per 2 lb. jar.  

For the other pickup locations, the shares will be in plastic bags inside a green canvas bag  or soft-sided cooler (for outdoor locations).  Please ONLY take the plastic bags and leave the green canvas bag or soft-sided cooler behind!!!  Shares must be picked up on Wednesday because there is no overnight refrigeration available! 

Hackensack -- 685 Main Street (Tarts & Flours Bakery) 10am - 6pm

New Milford -- 685 Princeton Street 1-8pm


Pelham, NY -- 451 Esplanade (Pelham Jewish Center) 4:30-6:30pm

Ramsey -- 70 E. Main Street (Baked in a Cup) 1-6pm

Ringwood -- 16 Skyline Lakes Drive (All-State Insurance) 1-6pm

Union City -- 562 Hudson Avenue Weehawken, NJ  07086 (Please note:  St. John's Church is undergoing renovations and this will be the location for the 2014 Season).

   
Fruit Share 
We are taking applications for this year's fruit share.  More information about the Dan, our Fruit Man and his orchard and sign-up form can be found on our website www.hesperidesorganica.com under CSA -- Fruit List.  We will also leave fruit share sign-up forms at each of the locations.  The number of shares is limited and we have sold out in past years.  The first scheduled fruit share delivery is July 2.

 

Thank you for joining us this season!  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Well Begun is Half Done

Well Begun is Half Done
And so it is.  Well, begun.  And almost half done.  June 21.  The summer solstice. Half done but barely begun. Let me explain.

There are three really crazy (and critical) weeks of farming.  (At least in the North East).  From the last frost (did you even know, or care, that there are two different types of frost, advective and radiation?) usually around May 15 through the first week of June.  This is when all the tomato, pepper, tomatillo, eggplant and herb transplants need to be planted (by hand) along with planting the seeds for vegetables best grown from seed:  zucchini, cucumbers, sweet corn, popcorn and my favorite, winter squash (Anna Swartz, Thelma Sanders, Waltham Butternut, PA Dutch Crookneck, Spaghetti, Long Island Cheese, Tuffy Acorn Squash and Blue Hubbard, the old tried and true squash that lasts until the rest give up and serves as a "trap crop" (Mother anyone?) to catch the evil-doers, bugs, I mean. 

Of course, the "pumpkin planter" (it's actually a MX-12) that we had lent to someone last year was, unbeknownst to us, returned damaged. (Equipment failures and repairs are a big part of farming.  If you're not handy, buy a farm.  In one year you will either become handy or will be without a farm) So, we overnighted parts from Market Farm and Albert spent the day rebuilding the planter -- just in time to plant sweet corn and popcorn.  And this is the easy part. 

Meanwhile, we weed. And weed (cultivate is the correct term, but you know what I mean). The weed pressure in the Black Dirt is Intense.  (Yes, that's a capital eye).  Like everything, it's a double-edged sword. The Black Dirt is so fertile and so easy to grow on (all you have to do is drop a seed and bingo, it sprouts!)  I like to call it "Farming for Dummies."  But that also means that every little weed seed (and there are millions of them, literally) love to sprout in the Black Dirt. And they look so small and innocent.  Just a few leaves. And roots. But man, those roots are strong.  One time I pulled a little weed, just two-three inches. And the root was 15 inches long. Intact.  I was so impressed that I pressed that weed onto a piece of cardboard.  I like to show it off.  But I'm not sure many people really get it. How hard it really is.

Every row in the Black Dirt is weeded (and often planted) by hand at least once during the season.  And that includes even the mono-cropping onion fields. Just think of that.  As you drive by fields and fields and rows and rows of plants. Someone has been out there on their hands and knees pulling weeds. And planting.  Sometimes I'll drive by a field on my way to Shop Rite and see a team of people planting onion plants.  By the time I return, the field is green with plants. 


Well, I think, it's not only begun, it's half done.  And maybe, that's enough!



Fruit

Dan, the Fruit Man, Our Fruit Man, Is Back!
For another year.  You don't know what you have until it's gone.  Ain't that the truth?  Just last Monday I woke up with Vertigo (and that isn't my cat or my kid).  I've never had it before (well, maybe just once driving from New Jersey to Illinois) and it was a scary feeling.   What if I never recover from this?  Just the day before I felt fine.  But the next day I could barely walk.  What if this is a permanent condition?  But it's not.  None of it is.  It's all changing.  All the time.  Changing. Changing. Changing. Constantly changing.  But always the same. Scary.

And that is where the mystery (the scare) lies. 

And why we need to hold on to what we have.  At least recognize it.  And appreciate it. And so I have decided to redouble my efforts of gratitude.  And in looking over the list of the CSA members for this year, I am grateful and humbled by all those rejoin, sometimes year after year! And I really appreciate those who rejoin after being gone for a year or two or seven. (Have we really been doing at this so long?)  Shucks. Time flies.

And I am also humbled (and amazed and grateful) by those who don't really know us, but trust us, enough to send a check.  A vote of confidence.  In us. And the universe!  I would like to be so cosmic, but alas, I am not. I'm still trying to figure out the weeds. (Which ones can I eat again?)

All I know is Dan, the Fruit Man. Is back. Fruit. The perfect complement. Or is it compliment? To us. Vegetables. We missed him last year.  And I think he missed us. The CSA. (Health-wise, he's doing much better and looking forward to another year!) We changed our pick-up day to Wednesday this year, in large part to accommodate Dan and the fruit.  And I told him in no uncertain terms, "Don't worry!  We'll take whatever you have (and if we need to we will get some supplemental fruit from some other local orchards). We just appreciate you and your fruit!)

(Note:  The CSA is not for everyone -- including vegetable eaters and vegetable (and fruit) growers.  It's  what I like to call "faith-based agriculture."  Our members have faith in us that we will deliver Something, Anything, week after week. And we do, and have.  For seven years and counting!  (Although, I'm not. Counting. Each year is just one year closer to me being 94 and standing on that roof that my Black Dirt farmer-mentor did. At 94). And we (vegetable and fruit growers) have enough faith that enough people will sign up for all those plants we have planted! This year
-- more plants, less members. We would like to have more members and could certainly accommodate many more! But, if we don't, it just means we will give more vegetables away.  And we are no strangers to giving away lots and lots of vegetables.  We're here. Waiting for the world, and people, to catch up.  To good food). We're only looking for between 250-400 people in a population on 8.5 million. In the meantime, it's stressful. Our risks great. Our margins slim. Our expenses many.  And our knees sore (because someone has to do it!)  Plant those onion, tomato, pepper, herb, tomatillo plants and winter squash seeds.  And weed.  And weed. And weed.

So, if you know of anyone who would benefit in eating more vegetables every day (everyone?) or at least every week (every other one!), please refer them to us!  We deliver. The best vegetables. On earth.


Enjoy!
 

Join us...for some really great vegetables, really great fruit and a great season!


The 2014 CSA sign-up form is now posted on:
 
hesperidesorganica.com

The 2014 Fruit Share form is also posted on our website.  Look under:

CSA, Fruit List, Sign-Up Form.

The fruit shares are limited so please sign up early!

 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Chapels, Chives & Community

News from the Farm:  Chapels, Chives & Community

Last winter when we were in St. Croix, and I was trying to figure out a way of staying there permanently, I picked up a book from one of those racks where vacationers leave dog-eared, sunscreened-blotched, cheap paperbacks.  Little Chapel on the River by Gwendolyn Bounds.  Sitting on the sand under the blue sky with the blazing sun, just a stone's throw from the Caribbean blue waters, reading that book brought me back, to New York, 911 (ugh!), the Hudson River and to the Irishmen, generous Irishmen, who were my life growing up, in Illinois.

It was one of those books that you want to read slowly and savor.  It was one of those books that reminds us that it's not "out there" it's here. Right now. A barstool and an early morning edition of the New York Times picked up at Guinan's (Garrison, NY -- just a row-boat ride across the river from West Point).  It's one of those books that recognizes the heroes among us...not the movie stars, or Wall Street brokers, or wealthy men (though it could be. You just never know) just real people doing real things every day.  And not because they ought to.  Or should.  Or even for the money.  It's just who they are.  Who he (Jim Guinan) was.

I know those men.  My father was one of them.  And he was the grandson and nephew of a whole long line of Irishmen and farmers. It's a lot messier than we would like. Life and farming.  My father used to tell me of the book he read when he was little. (He read before he spoke. I have a son like that!).  In it were two farms, the "clean" one with perfectly manicured fields, straight fences, a red barn with two rows of cows ready to be milked and chickens with a 5-am rooster watching over them.  And then, the "messy" farm, the one with weeds, crooked rows, leaking roofs, cows refusing to go into the barn to be milked and piles of things that were just piles of things, just in case (this was the depression after all). He always wanted to be part of the "clean" one. But he was not. He was part of the "messy" farm. His father died of an appendicitis attack when he (my father) was just 2 years old.  And his mother, my grandmother, Marcella (don't you just love those names?  (
Her sisters were Guinevere and Isabelle) moved back with her mother, Ellen, and the rest of the Browns; Barney, Bob, Willard, Dan, John, and of course, the three girls. 

Somehow, it worked.  Those big extended families.  I wish we had it now.  I am so removed from mine and my husband is from his. We are trying to create it again.  With our kids, but it isn't easy.  And when I read that book, Little Chapel on the River, I longed, for it to be so.  Maybe I should work at a restaurant here in St Croix. That was one of my first jobs, after all. A restaurant. In Lena, Illinois. 

But then it struck me, no, it knocked me over the head, the CSA. I get it.  And it's got me. You, the CSA. This is the new family.  Our community.  It's not as big as Shop Rite. Or as pretty as Whole Foods. It's even a little  messy. The crooked rows and weeds.  I wish it could be perfect. The CSA and me.

And maybe it is.

Join us...for some really great vegetables and a great season!


P.P.S. We will have an Open House for Hesperides Organica CSA on Saturday, May 17.  Please join us!


 
The 2014 CSA sign-up form is now posted on:
 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tiny Pushes

News from the Farm:  Tiny pushes. I like that....

Not by heroes but by us. Little folk. Honest workers. I just didn't know it would be so hard, those tiny pushes,  when I planted my first seed in the Black Dirt (you may notice that I capitalize it, just like my married name is three caps VDB -- I'm all in!). To my marriage and to the Black Dirt.

And of course, the CSA. More capitals. (This is my third baby! After Jacob and Tyler). 

 
The weather is finally improving.  We, Black Dirt farmers, have quit driving our tractors on the roads and have plowed head-long into the fields.  Last weekend we planted the "pick-your-own" sugar snap peas (the good ones that taste good but aren't easy and need to be trellised) and spinach and arugula and onions and kale and lettuce.  From here on in it's...a well, I don't even know how to describe it.  A tsunami?  Maybe?
 
But each farmer knows it's coming. The onslaught of vegetables.  Fast and Furious has nothing on us.  But we need to keep our feet planted on the ground.  And ground.  And deal with all these vegetables.  And find them good homes.  And good stomachs.  And receptive ears.  (I remember the early days of the CSA when my son and I were packing vegetables and one of the bags wasn't heavy enough and I called him out on it and he called me "The Vegetable Whisperer" and I was proud!  Of him!)

And I think we've found a way. And a home. (The CSA).  We're committed.  (We have a box truck after all).  110 percent. So much so that we don't even have another way to sell them.  We're in, are you?


Join  us  for another great season!

P.S.
Dr. Brian Clement, Director of Hippocrates  Health Institute will be in Hawthorne, NJ this Friday and Saturday April 25 & 26.  If you've never seen him, he's very entertaining! He, too, is a big believer that nutrient-dense vegetables are the foundation of good health!


For information, ticket prices and availability
Call 877-234-3852 or purchase online at: www.mogreenjuice.com
150 Florence Avenue, Suite C Hawthorne, NJ 07506

P.P.S. We will have an Open House for Hesperides Organica CSA on Saturday, May 17.  Please join us!



 
The 2014 CSA sign-up form is now posted on:
 

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Vegetables and More

News from the Farm: How to Eat More Vegetables -- Join our CSA!

What do Dash, TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes), Mayo Clinic, Flexitarian, Volumetrics, Biggest Loser, Ornish, Traditional Asian, Vegetarian, South Beach, Atkins, Paleo, Low-Carb, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, Caribbean,  Zone and Vegan diets have in common?  Vegetables. Lots of vegetables.  Especially greens.  Leafy greens.  And to a lesser degree, fruit. 

My husband likes to say we are "recovering vegetarians"  (and we are! We do eat some meat.  Not much. And only (mostly) grass-fed. Lowland Farm, anyone?).  But I like to say we are "vegetabletarians."  And we most certainly are.  Until we can raise our vibration to not eat at all, (I'm a long way from that!), we eat vegetables, first and foremost.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hmmm, how many vegetables can I eat? And how can I eat more vegetables? I've been known to sauté radish greens and radishes and add an egg or two for breakfast.  Vegetables are free (well, almost) in terms of counting calories, carbs and nutrient density.  Did you know that 100 calories of broccoli has more protein than 100 calories of beef? 

And it's not just me....extolling the benefits of vegetables: 

So, join us for the season and enjoy eating more vegetables!

P.S.  There are a few stages of joining our CSA: 

Year One:  Join the CSA.  And love it!  Or feel overwhelmed with the amount of vegetables. 
Year Two:  Join again. Or quit.  (Better yet, find a family member or friend to share a share). Plant a herb garden. At least mint, sage, rosemary & thyme & lemon balm.  They winter over so easily. And a patch of horseradish & rhubarb.
Year Three:  Join again.  If you've quit, you'll be missing the lettuce and garlic scapes and will think about joining again! If you shared a share, it might be time to get your own. Plant a few easy vegetables in your garden:  zucchini and tomatoes.  Plant an apple (or pear) tree or raspberry (or blueberry) bush.  Even if you never eat an apple or berry from it, it's an investment (and vote of confidence) in your children and the future.
Year Four:  You are now officially addicted.  To fresh, local produce.  And you realize you can grow some, but not all the vegetables you would like. The CSA is the next best thing to growing your own, and a whole lot easier! (You wage a war with chimpmunks and woodchucks in your backyard). And you would like a Winter CSA.
Year Five, Six and Seven:  Our Farm is Your Farm.

Enjoy!

P.P.S.  If you have been with us for more than two years and still sharing a share, you're not eating enough vegetables! Take the challenge. And eat all the vegetables every week for 24 weeks!

Please join us for this season! You'll be glad you did...
 

The 2014 CSA sign-up form is now posted on:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Looking forward...

Looking forward to another season...and looking back to see how far we've come...
If you were a member of Hesperides Organica CSA in the early years and didn't rejoin, you might want to try us again. We've come a long way, baby!  Last year was our best. (Lots of broccoli and cauliflower).  We think this year will be even better (knock-knock on weeds).  It hasn't been easy.  I wish I could write a book (and cash out!  But where would I go? What would I do?  I love these vegetables.  And the CSA.  I truly do!) about the early years of growing vegetables for a CSA.  But I've decided to block them out. The early years that is.  It was painful.  And humbling.  I'm humbled.  To the root.

Now, I am looking forward.  Yes, forward. To another season. To a lot more seasons.  Too a lot more members.  Too a lot more veggies.  Too a lot more roots. I just love them. (Seasons, members, veggies, roots and all).  I am rooted.  Here for you. Rooting.  For you and me too.  And vegetables.

One of the vegetables  (and there were many) that I did not grow enough of was spaghetti squash.  Now that I am gluten-free (well, mostly, I never say never to anything), spaghetti squash just happens to be a great substitute for that: spaghetti.  Since I ran out (I still have plenty of butternut and Long Island Cheese), I bought a spaghetti squash from a regular grocery store (Price Chopper (and no, they don't chop prices) to be exact) (the squash happens to come from Big Chuy & Sons (who thinks of these names?  Oh, yeah, Hesperides Organica, What was I thinking?) from Nogales, Arizona. At least it's the United States. 


I didn't think much about it.  The bill was $92.07.  I felt lucky to leave the grocery store paying less than $100.  It doesn't happen very often.  And I did splurge for some scallops (shot with liquids to plump them up to pay more, whatever ...and Kind bars for my kids (I am kind aren't I?).  And then I checked the receipt. $6.76 for the spaghetti squash.  I was shocked.  And I promptly put it on my table to return  My husband just shook his head (how many fights can you fight?).

It's not the $6.76.  We can afford it.  It's the principle. Or is it the principal? (My schooling gets in the way of my freedom).

Food should be free (At least real food). Right after air (it still is, isn't it?) and water (we are now paying a lot for it.  How many Poland Spring bottles did you buy last year? I bought a lot. Too many. Now I just fill my BPA-free bottle with reverse osmosis water (how crazy is that?).  It still costs.  A lot. But food should not.

I want our CSA to be a real community. Not us vs. them. But you and me. Not Poland Spring Waters. Or  Whole Food veggies. But us. Just us. Eating and enjoying vegetables. (From some of the most awesome dirt in the United States).  Getting along. Creating strong local communities.  I'm happy with that. Are you?


Please join us for another season! 
 
The 2014 CSA sign-up form is now posted on www.heseridesorganica.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night.

News from the Farm: Looking forward to another season...
Members often ask me what I do in the "off" season. But there really isn't one. The CSA goes until the end of November and by January, we need to get going again....with updating the website (sigh), perusing seed catalogs (there is nothing I enjoy more than reading all the descriptions of vegetables and choosing new varieties to complement the true and tried from past years...and I always order too much), placing our orders with the local greenhouses, changing the oil on all the tractors and cleaning all the equipment, selling what we don't use and ordering some new stuff, updating a years worth of information into QuickBooks (I absolutely hate accounting! I don't care what I learned in Mr. Miller's 10th grade class!), pricing out farm insurance, meeting with people to see about offering new things to our CSA members and signing up members for 2014.

But this still leaves December. Four glorious weeks. Two of which I spent in St. Croix. Without a cellphone and without a computer. Every morning I would walk the beach and pick up pieces of glass. I became friendly with one of the workers in the complex next door. Every day he would bring out the tractor (did I ever mention how much I love tractors?) and a rake (I'm not as crazy about rakes) and clean the beach. It seemed like a lesson in futility. Raking the beach. And reminded me of the weeds in the Black Dirt. They all just keep on coming. He didn't mind. And I don't mind. It's just what you do.

And one morning, as we greeted one another, "Good morning," he said. They mean it in St. Croix. And are very formal about it. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night. I couldn't understand it at first and thought people were throwing us out of their stores and shops. Good night. Until I learned about proper greetings. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night. (There isn't any evening in St. Croix). He reached into his pocket and gave me a handful of glass that he had collected for me, seeing how much I loved this sea-worn glass. I was very touched.

To him, it was nothing. He does this every day. He just enjoyed my enjoyment of those little bits of glass. And I thought, I got it! (Again). The CSA. (I happen to be a little dense in these things). To me, it's fun. Growing these vegetables. Yes, it's a lot of work. But my greatest enjoyment is having our members enjoy and appreciate the vegetables. Bending down and picking up those little pieces of glass in the sand or the weeds in the Black Dirt. It's all the same.

But every vegetable grown in the Black Dirt just tastes so good. (It's not us, just the soil). I'm spoiled. And we hope to spoil you too! Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night. It's all good, isn't it?

Join for 2014! You won't be disappointed!

The 2014 Sign-Up form is posted on hesperidesorganica.com. Due to our rising costs, we have raised the price slightly and added two extra weeks!

Enjoy!

P.S. For anyone who received the Thanksgiving Share, the purple stalks (without the husks) of corn are popcorn. We didn't have a lot. Just some from a farmer-friend who got some seeds for free from Stokes. It wasn't much but it was the best popcorn I've ever had in my life. (Of course, popping it in coconut oil with butter and herbamare and watching Covert Affairs sure makes everything taste great)! Just shell it from the cob. And heat up whatever oil you deem fit and pour it in. And enjoy! 
"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward."  ~ Victor Kiam