Field Notes: Volume 16, Number 5
This Week’s Harvest
While we strive for consistency at the Ecosystem Farm, we ask that our SHAREholders please keep in mind that Friday and Tuesday harvests will not always be the same.
For your convenience, an exact harvest list will be posted in the packing shed.
It sure has warmed up over at the Ecosystem Farm! With the warm weather some trying experiences for the farm staff have emerged, from tilling the soil, to irrigation system management, to pesky squash bugs, every day is an adventure! Understanding the soil at the farm has been a learning experience for everyone here. We worked with the rototiller this week and found that this clay-like soil needs to be tilled a bit deeper than most. After a few adjustments to the rototiller (and some help from former farm manager, Shane), it looks like we are up and running to have the soil ready to get some fall crops in the ground.
Our spring crops are winding down and we are gearing up for summer, which means that the U-pick strawberries are still available but not for too much longer. So, please feel free to come by and pick some while they last! Also, if you have pre-ordered eggs please be sure to pick them up every week or at least let us know if you will not be taking eggs that week. When you do pick up, be sure to ask us about the meats we have available from Hard Bargain Farm. Along with eggs and meat for sale we also have local black locust honey from Jose ($15 for 3 pounds), and Sam and Sarah Carts will be selling their delicious assortments of breads on pick-up days.
While I think we are going to plan a CSA member potluck for the fall, be sure to attend the Members only Summer Solstice Event on June 21st at 5pm at the Education Center lawn. There will be refreshments, games, music, and guided tours of the Ecosystem Farm. See you there!
Up Close With Chervil
This week the Ecosystem Farm will have its first harvest of chervil, which is a parsley-like herb. Although it’s used in many kind of gourmet cooking (especially French), it is also known to be a medicinal herb to help with digestion, blood pressure or, when infused with vinegar, to cure hiccups.
Chervil can grow to a height of up to 24 inches and grows back annually. It generally grows in a shaded place and prefers a cool and moist location—otherwise, it will rapidly go to seed. To prevent this, it needs to be harvested regularly. Although it is often called “the gourmet’s parsley,” it is a more delicate herb and has a faint taste of licorice.
To get our SHAREholders started, we’ve included a simple recipe for a spring chervil soup later in this post.
Below, photos from this week on the Ecosystem Farm. Click images to enlarge, or view them on Flickr.
This Week’s Recipe: Chervil Soup
Recipe from Mariquita Farm
2 lbs potatoes 2 cups water 1 generous bunch fresh chervil ½ cup creme fraiche or sour cream 2 tablespoons butter salt and pepper to taste
Peel and wash potatoes, then cut into thick slices. Cook in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, wash chervil well, shake out extra water and chop well. (Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.) Puree the potatoes using a hand blender or food processor, using the cooking liquid to keep it soupy. Return soup to pan (if you’re using a food processor, with a hand blender your soup is still in the pan!) Add the chopped chervil and leave to infuse for 2 minutes. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the butter and creme fraiche over a very low heat. Serve as soon as the butter has melted. Serves six.
National Trails Day and Captain John Smith Geotrail Kick-Off: Saturday, June 4, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park: Celebrate National Trails Day with a geocaching adventure! In collaboration with volunteer geocachers, the Chesapeake Conservancy, and the National Park Service, the Accokeek Foundation will host the launch of the Captain John Smith Geotrail with a kick-off event featuring geocaching demonstrations, bonus caches, and activities for kids. A geocache (pronounced “geo-cash”) is a hidden treasure that one locates by using a GPS device. A geotrail is a series of geocaches linked by a common theme or topic. The Captain John Smith Geotrail is a unique journey across Chesapeake landscapes evocative of the scenes and stories experienced by Captain Smith 400 years ago.
Local Food Forum: Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Education Center: The Local Food Forum is a monthly meeting of producers and consumers interested in local food. We discuss locally-grown fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat—from where to find them to how to make them more available.
Ecosystem Farm Volunteer Day: Thursday, June 9, 2011 (Recurring, Second and Fourth Thursdays), 1 to 4 p.m., Ecosystem Farm: Volunteers will join the farm crew in their work and, in the process, learn about organic and sustainable agricultural practices. Please wear appropriate clothing, including long pants, sturdy shoes or boots, sunscreen, and/or a hat. Bring snacks and a refillable water bottle. Work will vary depending on the weather.
Organic Gardening Workshop: Weed and Pest Management: Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Education Center: Controlling weeds and pests can be a gardener’s worst nightmare. This course—part of our season-long Organic Gardening Workshop Series geared toward backyard gardeners—will provide you with the information needed to identify several common weeds and pests, as well as the most effective ways of getting rid of them. We will discuss both biological and mechanical methods of control. Feel free to bring along a problematic plant or an unknown insect for identification by our instructors.