From the Farmer

Week 19 – 9/17/2013

In the Newsletter this Week:

This Sunday: Farm Day and Potluck, 1 pm – 6 pm…
Farmer in Love…
All About Peppers…
Red Pepper Sauce Recipe.

Farm Day and Potluck this Weekend, Sunday 1 pm – 6 pm!

Where did the last month go?!  This Sunday is September 22, the Fall Equinox, and the Willowsford Farm Day and Potluck.  Please come this Sunday!  Our schedule of events:         

1:00 pm – Meet, Greet, Snack
1:30 pm – Farm Tour
2:30 pm – Family Sweet Potato Dig (Kids under age 6 w/ parents)
3:00 pm – Sweet Potato Dig (Kids 6+ and adults)
4:00 pm – Potluck Food Tables Open & We Eat!
5:00 pm – Farm Tour
6:00 pm – 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. And we’ll dig some sweet potatoes and listen to live music. 

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.

Sweet PeppersNot 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 a slow love, a sweet potato appreciation baked low and slow to 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, what’s she’s like on the inside, the tangibles, the intangibles.  I like someone who has good taste, who is sweet when sweetness is needed, who has nice shoulders like a Rose de Berne tomato and who smells so good 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 and stuff.  Good for picking rocks.

During harvest on Friday I realized that 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 the week of the red pepper and you will undoubtedly see Carmen in your share.  These are great peppers – flavourful (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 Peppers and her recipe for red pepper sauce.  We’ll feature them in your box and there will be more available at the Stand if you’d like more to put by.

Be well, be great, and see you this Sunday at Farm Day and Potluck,


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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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