June 2013


It’s kind of fun to mix things up a bit, and the weather saw to it that we had a mixed up week.  We usually use our 16’ box truck as a harvest vehicle, but this week we had to use the tractor and trailer.  The tractor was the only vehicle that wouldn’t get stuck in the fields.  We always harvest in the mornings and stay in the packing shed in the hot afternoons to wash and bag the morning’s harvest, not this week.  We did our packing shed work during the thunder and lightning crashes on Tuesday and Wednesday morning and then scooted right out into the fields as soon as the lightening ceased.  We were greeted by streams of water running across the fields.  When I came into the packing shed at 6:00 am Wednesday morning, the water was pouring in under the walls, making lakes on our floor.  A little bit out of the ordinary.  Everything got harvested, washed, bunched and bagged, just in a bit of a mixed up order.

Barb

Tuesday morning kohlrabi harvest.  We headed out into the fields at 6:45 and got much of the harvest done before giant crashes of thunder and lightning chased us out, we returned when the lightening went away.

Tuesday morning kohlrabi harvest. We headed out into the fields at 6:45 and got much of the harvest done before giant crashes of thunder and lightning chased us out, we returned when the lightening went away.

Kohlrabi harvest crew, a mix of employees and worker shares.

Kohlrabi harvest crew, a mix of employees and worker shares.

Tuesday afternoon lettuce head and spinach harvest.  Squish, squish through the mud.

Tuesday afternoon lettuce head and spinach harvest. Squish, squish through the mud.

Wednesday morning strawberry harvest.  Note the river flowing through the patch.

Wednesday morning strawberry harvest. Note the river flowing through the patch.

Did you know that eggs contain nearly every nutrient the body needs? And ounce by ounce they contain more protein than any other food. Over half of the protein is found in the egg white but most of the nutrients are in the yolk. Keep in mind that eggs are only as healthy as the hens that lay then.  And all eggs are certainty not created equal.

I purchase my eggs locally so I can ensure the hens are raised outdoors, allowing the chickens to get fresh green pasture and plenty of bugs. These hens produce a high quality egg with a bright yellow yolk (high in nutrients). Eggs that are labeled cage free, free range or organic eggs unfortunately do not ensure a quality egg. So what do these misleading terms mean? The USDA states that cage free means “the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.” Although the birds were not confined to cages their entire life, they most likely did not step foot outdoors and consumed feed containing antibiotics. Free range is not much better, meaning that the birds have access to the outdoors thought this could be a small area for as little as 5 minutes a day. If having to buy eggs in the supermarket I recommend buying the organic eggs. USDA’s National Organic Program ensure the eggs come from cage free hens raised without antibiotics and fed organic feed produced without conventional pesticides or fertilizers. But often eggs labeled organic come from chickens raised in crowded indoor conditions. So what eggs should you buy? Eggs from chickens that are truly pasture raised allowing the chickens to be out in the sunlight with plenty of space and eating their natural diet. Purchase directly from a local farmer at a farmers market. Or from a food store that supports local farmers.

And don’t hesitate to eat eggs daily. I eat 2-4 every day. You may be thinking what about the all of the cholesterol? The truth is numerous studies support the conclusion that eggs have virtually nothing to do with raising your cholesterol. You body actually produces 3 to 4 times more cholesterol than you eat. Every cell in your body needs it. It helps produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you digest your food. Cholesterol is your friend, not your enemy!

To your health,

Becky Perkins, Certified Health and Wellness Coach

http://www.yourtruebalance.com/

 

Sources: Sweat Magazine, Eggs: The Perfect Protein, by Dr. Phillip Maffetone

Eat Fat Lose Fat, by Dr Mary Enig & Sally Fallon

Not all Eggs are Created Equal, by Jennifer Bunin, Chris Hunt, Dawn Brighid, gracelinks.org

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Crustless Spinach Quiche (with or without bacon)

6 eggs, scrambled

1/3 pound spinach, tough stems removed, leaves torn in half

4-6 strips of bacon, baked and chopped (optional)

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup cottage cheese

2 whole scallions, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

1. Preheat oven to 325F.

2. Grease one 9 inch pie pan.

3. If using bacon line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Lay out bacon and bake for 20-30 minutes. Slice into small pieces.

4. Fill a skillet with 1/2 water, add spinach. Cover to steam spinach over medium heat. When spinach is wilted, strain out the water.

5. Mix all ingredients together except bacon and 1/2 of the cheese.

6. Pour mixture into pie pan.

7. Top with bacon and remaining cheddar cheese.

8. Bake for 1 hour.

There are lots and lots of people who work on this farm, planting, harvesting, weeding, washing, packing, working the soil, irrigating the crops and on and on.  In 1994 there were 5 people: David and Barb Perkins and their three children Jesse, Eric and Becky.  Nineteen years later the 5 of us are still farming (Becky is cooking for the crew), along with many other people.

2013 Crew

2013 Crew

Front row: David (most often seen on a tractor driving some implement through the fields), Brian (he’ll do whatever needs to be done), Chris (the guy to call when something needs fixing), Jonnah (organizes and coordinates all that passes through the office),  Jesse (moving irrigation, coordinating mechanical transplanting, and much else on the tractor)

Top row: Eric (keeping all that flows through the packing shed organized), Barb (coordinates the crews and keeps everyone busy), Elisabeth (patiently leading crews), Rosalyn (we expect a lot of our newest crew member), Clara (if it has to be done fast, call in Clara)

Check out the About Us page on our website for individual bios.

This crew of Cambodian Americans has been working with us for 10 years.  They work full time seasonally and have become an important part of this farm.  This group of people came to the United States as refugees after the Vietnam War.  They settled in Madison in the 1980’s.  As an agrarian group of people, working with the land and with vegetables is a perfect fit.  Many are family and all of them are a tight knit community.   Some speak English, some don’t.   They work hard, laugh a lot and get a lot of big jobs done fast.

The Cambodian Crew

The Cambodian Crew

There are 40 people who come out to the farm each week for four hours and work for their Standard Share.   They don’t come all at once but are spread out Monday through Friday, morning and afternoon.  Some are new this season, many are returning from previous seasons.  They harvest, bag, band, wash, sort, and help out with just about everything.

Worker Shares

Worker Shares

As you unpack your share each Thursday, you discover what will be on your plate for the week.  After all these years I’m still impressed with the vibrant colors, freshness and beauty of the vegetables. I love pulling out turnips and radishes with their greens still attached; a sure sign that just days ago they were in the fertile black soil waiting to be harvested. Yes, this a lovely display, but the greens should also be eaten! They are extremely nutritious.

Dark green leafy vegetables, including turnip and radish greens are a very concentrated source of nutrition. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins (including vitamins K, C, E and many of the B vitamins). They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Plant based phytonutriets help repair cell damage, help build our immune system and act as antioxidants. Antioxidants help lower the risk of chronic oxidative stress in our cells. This stress is a risk factor for the development of most types of cancer. Greens also help the body with its natural detoxification process.

To your health,

Becky Perkins, Certified Health and Wellness Coach

http://www.yourtruebalance.com/

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Your turnip and radish greens are beautiful, delicious and nutritious so be sure to give them a try! Here is a simple and tasty recipe to help you out.

Curried Greens with Golden Onions and Cashews

1 medium onion, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide wedges

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews

a large handful spinach, tough stems discarded (2-3 cups)

1 bunch turnip greens, stems discarded

1 bunch radish greens, stems discarded

2 tablespoons water

Cook onion to taste in 2 T. olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together spices.

Add cashews to onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until nuts are 1 shade darker, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon spice mix and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat.

Heat remaining 3 T oil in a large heavy pot or wok over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add remaining spice mix, stirring, about 30 seconds. Immediately stir in the 3 greens and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is evaporated and greens are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve greens sprinkled with onion mixture as a side or over rice.

Sources: whfoods.org, Turnip Greens & about.com, Green Leafy Vegetables-Nutritional Powerhouses

We have been waiting and planning for this week since last January and it is finally here!  We submitted our seed order in January, started planting in the greenhouse in February, started planting seedlings in the fields in April, have been taking care of the plants every day and finally we get to harvest and deliver the food we have worked so hard to grow!  I won’t spend too much time on the weather.  The weather is what it is and this so far this season is the opposite of last season.  We began our deliveries one week late this season and one week early last season.

The week of our first delivery is a always a burst of activity.  The crew size doubles.  As I write this we have 21 people in the packing shed washing and banding rhubarb, 3,059 pounds of it!  Since we harvest for 1080 shares each week, our volume of vegetables gets pretty large.  It takes lots of hands, strong backs and good senses of humor day after day.  We love what we do and are excited to share this farm’s bounty with you this season.  Thank you for your support and enjoy your first box of produce.  *We are still accepting share sign ups so tell your friends it’s not too late to get in on some of this wonderfulness.

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Rhubarb harvest.

It started raining so we used rhubarb leaves as umbrellas.

It started raining so we used rhubarb leaves as umbrellas.

Now that’s a pile of rhubarb!

Now that’s a pile of rhubarb!

Each year we pot up almost 2000 basil plants to deliver to all of the families that get a vegetable share.

Each year we pot up almost 2000 basil plants to deliver to all of the families that get a vegetable share.

Barb

Real Food Real Change

We are excited to include a new column in our farm news post this year.  Our daughter Becky has recently returned to the area and has offered to share wellness information on a regular basis.  She is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach; her knowledge and offerings are a perfect fit with our organic vegetables.  Hope you enjoy her columns.

David and Barb

What’s for dinner tonight? A meal you can get on the table quickly?  Or one of those meals you’ve made a 100 times. Or maybe a recipe you’ve been wanting to make for weeks. As I prepare a meal this is what goes though my head; vegetables, protein and good quality fat.

For the past several years I have been studying nutrition and paying attention to which foods make me feel the best. I now try to include vegetables, protein and a good quality fat with every meal. This way I know I’m getting lots of vitamins and minerals and  adding fat ensures that I sustain a stable energy level, keeping me content and productive.

As I’m sure you know, not all food is created equal. You have a head start! Vegetables from a CSA are some of the freshest plus local and organic. When it comes to protein and fat I believe it’s worth it to pay extra for quality. I suggest grass fed and pastured beef and poultry, organic, pastured eggs, organic butter, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. By purchasing sustainably grown produce and sustainably raised animal products you avoid an array of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides in your food.

Does the cost of these products keep you from purchasing them? Did you know that Americans spends less on food than any other country in the world? On average we spend 6% of our income on food while France spends 14% and India spends 35%.* With that said, food can still cost a lot of money. One suggestion is to buy fewer of the expensive prepackaged goods, leaving you extra money to buy quality products! My kitchen cabinets used to be filled with packaged items. Now they are filled with less expensive (and more nutritious) whole foods purchased from bulk bins and stored in mason jars. And my fridge is filled with, you guessed it; local, organic sustainable products.

To your health,

Becky Perkins, Certified Health and Wellness Coach

http://www.yourtruebalance.com/

Source:*Mother Jones, America Spends Less on Food Than Any Other Country, Feb. 1, 2012