From the Farmer

Week 18 – 9/13/2016
FARM POTLUCK, This Sunday, 4 p.m. – Dusk.  
This Sunday is September 18, nearest the Fall Equinox, and the Willowsford Farm Fall Potluck.  Please come this Sunday!  Our schedule of events:         
  • 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Hang, Learn about bees, butterflies, and bats, Kids’ crafts
  • 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. and later: Eat!
  • 6 p.m.: Evening tour 
  • 7 p.m.: Clean up, to the compost and recycle bins!
Farm tour, food, and time to relax and meet your CSA neighbors. We'll eat, we'll socialize, we'll climb on stationary tractors, 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 make or bring a game or musical instrument if you like. Please don't make or bring pets. Rain or shine.
Refreshments, utensils, and seating will be provided and attendees are asked to bring a dish to the barn to share.
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, 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 to 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.
TBT: Sweet Peppers—Not the Kind Deb Talks About
It can happen so many different ways, can’t it – chance meetings on another farm, hiding between the tomatoes and the basil, or in a kitchen over dinner; blind dates, names and numbers given by friends; online catalogues.  How long do these things take?  Sometimes it is visceral, immediate; sometimes it’s slow love, a sweet potato appreciation baked low and slow into caramelized sweetness for someone who is steady, supportive and reliable; it might take just a season, it might take many years, you might know it right away. Indeed, a farmer falls in love for many reasons: what she looks like on the outside, what’s she’s like on the inside, her tangibles, her intangibles. Good taste is important, sweet when sweetness is needed, nice shoulders like a Rose de Berne tomato and smell that makes you fall in love again when you open the cooler.  And of course there are a few characteristics that help with life on a farm: resiliency, ability to handle stress and changing weather, adaptability, fecundity.  This is a farm after all and high reproductive rates come at a premium.  High post-apocalyptic value stuff.  Good for picking rocks.
I am in love with a sweet pepper named Carmen.  This isn’t the wanton love I have for Sungold cherry tomatoes, I knew I needed them in my life when I first met them baked hot in an oven with garlic and olive oil and right then wrinkled like out of a bath and too-hot sweet and acid on top of a fresh garden pesto.  Whew.  Carmen is there with me, an All-America vegetable variety, from Maine and hardy and good, Hemingway-good, and steady.  She is Italian in style: a tapered body, not round like a traditional bell, but easy to chop up and her blemishes only make her more attractive.  Carmen is productive and a most beautiful shade of red.  She is not needy; she doesn’t require copious amounts of fertilizer.  And she seems to like it here, seems to like the way I farm.  She just wants me to be the farmer I am.  Sweet sweetness. 
Not that blemishes are a big deal.
This is a week of the red pepper and you may well see Carmen in your share.  These are great peppers – so flavourful they need an extra vowel in there; few if any blemishes – not that these are a big deal, right; easy to use in the kitchen be it for chopping or using whole.  They freeze easily.  Check out Bonnie’s All About Sweet Peppers and her recipe for red pepper sauce at the All About webpage.  More available at the Stand if you’d like more to put by.
New in your shares this week, Delicata Squash
Sure seems early but mid-September, since when is that early?  Well here comes fall, with grass dried and burnt from a hot summer, trees turning from drought, school days and decreasing daylight.  Before you know it they’re going to save the daylight.  So this week we find the first broccoli and winter squash.  Fall squash, really.  While most of the hard-rind squashes fall into the “Winter Squash” category, a few of them are really more appropriately called Fall Squash.  And since this farm is for kids maybe we should be appropriate.  So I’m telling you that the Cucurbita pepos like Acorn, Delicata, and Spaghetti are Fall squash.  They don’t keep long like kuri, kubocha, butternut or hubbards, and they don’t require curing like those, either.  They’re generally ready right out of the field.  So here they are, your first fall squash, Delicata.  This little zeppelin is one of the greatest things invented, on the same list as Tromboncino, Carmen and Sungold.  Cut ‘er open lengthwise, scoop the seeds and smell deep, add butter and brown sugar and bake at 350°F.  Serve with baked chicken or bean-based protein, side of black beans (from the Farm) and corn (at the Farm Stand), amaranth cooked in sesame oil, cornmeal pancakes with red and hot peppers and garlic, maple syrup and lettuce or salad greens with a maplesweet garlic dressing.
Be well, be great, and see you this Sunday at Farm Day and Potluck,
Mike, Deb, Al, Lex, Jennifer, Anya, James, Christy, Tyler, Kay, Sonya, Julia and Kelly, Bella, Radish, Goats x 12, Camilla x 452, dinner chicks x 999 in the freezer, Roscoe RIP and Popcorn, running the 5K and judging the Baked Goods, Canned Goods and Tomato Products with his boy Coy “Luke” Perry (also known as who? Email us back for a shout out in next week’s newsletter) at the Fredericktown Tomato Show.
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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

Phone: 571-440-2400

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23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

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