Farm Notes – July 16, 2012

Week 3: July 16, 2012

Coordinator: Mike Rabinowitz: House Phone: Before 5:30. 895-2884
Farm Cell: 6 – 6:30 p.m., 689-7693

Mike sent an e-mail reminder to everyone the evening before. The List of veggies that are in the bag each week is posted on the car window or bulletin board at the pick up site, but not sent to Website until the evening. Any questions, let us know.

When Mike and his helper arrives at pick-up; they have already put in a full-day. The first couple of weeks, Mike tried to contact people who didn`t get there by 6:30 and waited for late comers. By the third and fourth week, we expect our members to know the routine and phone numbers. Please set up your own reminders, whether it is a text message from your teen-ager. a call from your mother-in-law or a pop-up on your google calender.

We will wait in case of emergency, but, not if being fifteen minutes late is a way of life. In general, the rule is, if we don`t hear from you before 6:30, we will take your veggies back to the farm chill room. E-mail or call to let us know when you are coming. Usually, this works out well. By the time, Mike gets back home and checks his e-mail, this or that person has dashed off the reason and when they plan to come to farm to get their orphaned vegetalbles. Remindeer. If we do not hear from you, we will make plans to pass the veggies along to other people who will appreciate the food while it is still fresh.

Snow peas are the big surprise; one group will get them this week and the other group/ next week. These are the first of the season and so precious that we have not yet let any go to the family table. There will not be many, only a handful. Snow peas are picked every day until we get enough for one group; same routine the following week, except we rotate to the other group. As soon as people know they are available, the e-mails will start coming in, explaining how for this child or that child, fresh snow peas may the only vegetable they will eat. If you want the extra bag, remember it is small and it is expensive. That is why they are rarely served to the family, except in a salad or stir fry!

Same Old! Same Old!
Most things will be similar to previous weeks – green onions, garlic scape, braising mix and lettuce mix. Each week, we try to give some ideas of what will be in the bag.

Alice, pronounced Aleese, is Mike`s helper at drop-off on Monday. She has been affilitated with the farm for many years; first,with picking and packing and working with Louis to refine the edile flowers and salad mix operation; later she managed the indoor sprout operation and helped Melba develop various protocols for food handling and food safety. Along the way, she worked with Jeremy Charles, Chef with Atlantica amd Beach house, just d own the road from the farm in Portugal Cove. Now, she works mornings with Jeremy, Co-Owner of Raymonds in St. John’s and part-time as administrative manager with us. Thus, she brings her experience as a restaurant insider to the Organic Farm, where she has now mastered the SIMPLY Accounting System with help from our long time Consultant, Dave Greene. She works on a first name basis with the Rabinowitz five, Mike, Melba, Louis amd Oz, who all have different roles on the farm and Toby who comes out to help on Saturday. Alice is also able to give arm chair advice around the whole operation.

Laura is Mike’s side kick on Wednesday. This is her first season. She started off working with Diane, who has been been helping with the CSA picking and packing on her first day six years ago. Together, Laura, a townie and Diane, who is from Bell Island and proud of it, head the picking and packing team. They get us through the day on time, whether it is a CSA day or a restaurant day. They also prep for the Farmers Market on Friday Afternoon. They have several helpers, depending on whether it is picking lettuce for salad mix, greenhouse picking, edible flowers or field crops like onions, chives or rhubarb. Even with their paid helpers and a volunteer or two, it sometimes goes off the rails, due to weather, a misunderstanding about the lists or if someone is not in. When this happens, they usually sacrifice their breaks to squeeze out the time needed to help Mike get your veggies to St. Johns on time. On a day when they get finished a little early, in time for a break before rushing to put goodies in the bags, Laura, who is an organizer by nature, puts her hands on her hips and smiles with a sense of accomplishment. When she sees this,” its not so bad, what’s the big deal attitude,” Diane laughs at her idea hat this is all there is to it. She warns, this is only the beginning, the second or third week. Wait until we have a dozen things that all have to be picked and packed the same day!

Bottom Line. When you pass the salad, please remember to tap your forks together to thank these fine women for your bounty!

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: The Scoop on Farm Notes.

When we first started the group buying set-up, it was a small group of around 30, many of them students at MUN. I wrote the Farm Notes, as a way of connecting, letting people know what was going on, not only with Vegetable bags, but also, Happenings On and Off the Farm. Anecdotes about people around town, relatives, short, short stories; sometimes recipes with stories, mostly tongue in cheek, getting my writing instinct out of my system, week by week. You see, I am a 30 year member of the Newfoundland Writers Guild, never published, except a poem or two in TV Topics and a few passionate letters to the Editor, about topics I no longer remember. It is not all regrets. Posing as a writer did provide an opportunity to hear early drafts read by some of our more well known writers; women such as Bernice Morgan, Helen Porter, Jennifer Cole -Morgan and Lisa Moore, who have gone on to greater and greater things.

Someday! Over the Rainbow!
My ideas was that maybe, someday, we might organize some project, find a theme or thread and put some of the pieces together as a collection, especially the recipes. No need to worry, everything was on the Website. In fact, if I wanted a copy of my own recipe to give someone, I would refer them to the Website or go in and print off a copy and hand it to them. What about hard copies? Hard copies were scattered here and there but never saved in a proper file, or even a binder. Now what? I had hundreds of recipes which I developed and sent out each week, to correlate with herbs, greens and veggies in the bag. For example, our favourite recipe for first zuchinni of the season which started with the story of Seattle Farmer who gave us the squash and the recipe, when we went to buy some blueberries bushes. Aunt Esther and the Rhubarb Sauce. Or at times, we passed along an unusual or exotic recipes that a member e-mailed for sharing – just because it was healthy and awesome. When the website crashed, the recipes floated into cyberspace, never to return to earth. There is a member, who is not in the country this year,. She has the password and link-in information and is trying to capture some of the jibberish which used to be the website. Will let you know if she makes progress.

STARTING OVER! Recipes for Early Season.

Braising Mix.
I grew up in Tennessee, where greens, both wild and farm grown was considered a staple, much like Newfoundland; however, our greens were always boiled and seasoned with meat, usually ham but sometimes bacon. Turnip greens were served on a shallow platter, encircled with boiled eggs cut in half and along side a small bottle of vinegar and the salt/pepper shakers. First a mess of greens, then chipped up eggs, splashed with vinegar, followed by salt and pepper. I still enjoy turnip greens prepared and served in this manner. However, steaming is the only way we cook all greens and most vegetables. .

Braising Mix was also a new dish for me; that’s why we started out carefully following recipes. One is noted this week with more to come next week. This is from Emily Sokowe. Emily and Stephen Lewis are co-owners of Georgetown Bakery and former members of the Veggie Coop. Emily and Stephen now have a garden space where they grow vegetables with the help of their three children. The first time I used Emily’s recipe, I didn’t know about nigella seeds. Eventually, I found them at Food For Thought. The second piece is a comment about braising mix from another member.

Today, at our house, Braising Mix is a mixture of many things, seasoned many ways and served with many side dishes, such as a garnish of green onions, cut fine, tomato wedges or chopped eggs.

Bangla Style Stir Fried Greens
One pound of leafy greens (endive, dandelion, chard, spinach, bok choi, etc.
3 tbsp. Veg. Oil
scant l/4 tsp black mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek and nigella seed, ground.
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
2 tsp. Minced Garlic
1 1/2 chopped onion
1/2 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
Heat oil, add spices, then garlic – 10 seconds. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes on medium. Change heat to high. Add greens and cook for 1 – 5 minutes, then cover and cook 1 minute more to steam.
Serve with rice or other dishes. ( Emily writes: I can also make this dish with pea shoots.)

Wilting Greens Salad
A couple of years ago/ we got this e-mail from another Veggie Coop Member.
“ So I was quite famished by the time my husband and I rushed home for my new addiction – fresh salad mix with apples, cheese and red onions.
I whipped it together, fried some rice and enjoyed the oddest tasting but most delicious salad . It had a bite to it and is was very crisp. About half way through, my husband and I realized we had made a great salad out of the wilting greens. It was a hit!
I can’t wait to try the real salad tomorrow as intended.
Maggie Keiley

Melba Rabinowitz

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