From the Farmer

Week 1 – 5/19/2015
Potluck, Newsletters, First Week of CSA, And Looking Forward…
 
Welcome and Welcome back to the Willowsford Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Through CSA, you and the Farm can deepen our relationship with each other, with the food we eat, and with the land itself. 
 
This is the first newsletter of the season and you can expect one each week. You’ll read updates from the Farm, discuss topics of interest (rain much?), and otherwise share what is happening at the Farm.  We also provide recipes and information about our produce – what it is, how to store it and how to use it.  
 
This year we are again going to focus on cooking techniques rather than specific veggies.  Past "All Abouts" are archived on our website, so you can still learn more about kohlrabi and Swiss chard, and about making pesto with arugula or chervil.  We enjoyed this change last year and look forward to more.  I think we’ll see that cooking is less about the ingredients themselves and more about putting different kinds of ingredients and tastes together in a certain way; using universal techniques with whatever is available on a given day.
 
This Sunday – CSA Potluck, 4 pm – 7 pm.  
 
Join us at the Farm this Sunday for a Spring Farm Potluck.  Farm tour, food, and time to relax and meet your CSA neighbors. We’ll eat, we’ll socialize, we’ll climb on stationary tractors, and walk the Farm as you like. As last year, this is a casual event: make or bring a dish, make or bring your family and friends, and make or bring a game or musical instrument if you like. Please don’t make or bring pets. Rain or shine.  This year we’d like to try sharing recipes – if you like, bring yours.  We can compile and share with the CSA after.
 
RSVP!  Let us know if you plan to attend – what you think you’ll bring (main course, side dish, dessert, drinks, etc.) and how many of you in children and adults.  Drop us a line at farm@willowsfordfarm.com, or call the farm hotline:  571-297-6900.
 
Directions: The Farm is located behind the Farm Stand on Founders Drive. Please park across the street from the Farm Garden in the pool lot.  The Farm Loop Trail takes you past the garden and up to the Farm.  If you need to park closer or drop off something heavy, the Farm driveway is off of Founders at the bottom of the garden – take your next right turn and follow the gravel up to the barn.  However, the road has washed out in the recent rains, so please park and we’ll send a vehicle down to load the heavy things into.
 
What to Expect Each Week
 
We’ve begun thinking about our vegetable shares in terms of kinds of vegetables and nutrition.  Think of what you eat in terms of health assurance.  Food is medicine, and we’ve learned that a diversity of colors and types of plants and animals contribute to optimal nutrition.  Most weeks, a large share will include the below items while a small share will include a selection of the below items:
 
Cooking greens – versatile and nutritious, full of cholorphyll, fiber and nutrients.  Each more leafy greens!
 
Salad greens – tender leaves that add fiber and carry other foods well as a salad.
 
Roots – radishes, turnips, beets, carrots… earthy, high in vitamins and minerals, and fun to cook with.
 
Alliums – this is the onion family: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, scallions.  Alliums add flavor to any dish.  The same sulfur-based compound that gives us that flavor has also been linked to reduced risk of cancer and increased cardiovascular health.
 
In-season fruiting and standard vegetables – these really start in summer and include squash and zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and more.  We catch other standard veggies in this group, too, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and the like.  
 
Starches – these also start in summer and last through fall and winter.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash are the main season crops, but vegetables like kohlrabi and celeriac might be included here, too.  
 
Herb or spice – for flavor, but herbs and spices also contain compounds that are unique and vital.  Herbs might include cilantro, dill and fennel; Mediterranean herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano; dried or fresh hot peppers; and in fall fresh ginger and turmeric.
 
In Your Box 
 
In your box this week are the first of the spring things. Spring boxes will undoubtedly be “lighter” than later on in the season, this is a natural part of CSA and this year a function of a long, cold winter.  Greens, salad greens, herbs, bok choi… after a winter of storage crops and long-distance shipping, we start craving fresh chlorophyll. Boxes will start getting more robust as things warm and the strawberries come on in the next weeks (quite soon we expect). This week we also have a little bit of last fall, our own veggies fermented into a Harvest kraut by our friend Rachel at Sweet Farm Sauerkraut.
 
Bok Choi – verging on the Hulk from the Lou Farigno.  You’ll see bok choi and kohlrabi regularly through spring and the first part of summer, as they grow quickly and like the cool spring weather.  Bok choi is especially good for chopping up into stir fries.  Not sure about it?  Add it to a smoothie, for reals!
 
Spring broccoli – you may see tender sprouting broccoli or the more common standard broccoli.  We love them both.
 
Spring garlic – smell deeply, a favorite time to harvest garlic.  Spring garlic is young, fresh, and tastes earthy.
 
Herb of the day – chives, garlic chives (great for warming up salads), or cilantro.
 
Rhubarb – not just for dessert, but can you go wrong making strawberry-rhubarb crumble?  Strawberries are just starting and will be coming to a share near you.  In the meantime what we have will be at the Farm Stand.
 
Harvest kraut – a true Kraut of the Fall Harvest, with our own cabbage, carrots, turnips, radishes and even beets. Rachel has been fermenting this all winter.  People have been fermenting vegetables for thousands of years, and a real, fermented sauerkraut is full of the enzymes and probiotics that unlock a great level of nutrition.  You will feel energized!  And it tastes awesome.
  
That’s all for now – thanks for reading!  Next week: Farm Team introductions, the Farm Stand, and more.  
Until then, be great.
 
Mike
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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

Phone: 571-440-2400

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Willowsford Farm Stand

23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

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