The fall crops are getting ready for harvest! There are also late summer crops still coming: winter squash and sweet potatoes among them. This week, greens make a comeback to the share.
Note from an Apprentice
by Blake Grigsby
Hello, CSA members. My name is Blake Grigsby and I am a senior with a major in Forestry pursuing a minor in Sustainable Agriculture. A lot of my peers were interested when I started to pursue a minor in sustainable agriculture, seeing as I have barely any farming background and have lived in the city my whole life. On top of that, a lot of people were quick to point out that most farm operations have little to no trees on them, which was all my major was about. To be honest, I myself was a little perplexed as to how I would ever utilize both of my degrees without completely blocking one out. Thanks to this class and some good connections, I learned the fine art of arboriculture through Dave Leonard, a local arborist. This profession turned out to be useful in both the farming and forest worlds. Unlike traditional forestry, arboriculture mainly deals with individual trees and how they react to non-forested environments. While not all foresters consider themselves arborists, many arborists will consider themselves urban foresters. The science also deals with maintaining these trees for not just aesthetic purposes, but also legal and safety issues.
Many tools are used in the field and help with problems from the roots to the crown. One of the most interesting, and messy, tools to use is the soil air knife. Essentially, it is a gun connected to an air compressor that is used to blow soil away from the base of the tree. I found out that this is used because most trees are planted way too deep, resulting in irregular root growth. When the soil is blown away, I perform root collar excavations, where I would remove any root that was growing circular around the trunk or in binds with other roots. This prevents the tree from being choked out by its own roots.
Supersonic air knife
Unfortunately, that is not the only problem facing trees. Besides being planted too deep, trees can be attacked by fungal, bacterial, or pest infections. I used a handful of different organic chemicals to kill off these hazards, such as when treating ash trees for the increasingly big threat of emerald ash borer. These treatments could be used to spray at the soil base of the tree, on the bark, and foliage, or even pumped straight into the cambium of the tree via drilling.
Sometimes the threat isn’t at the soil or base level, and you have to get up in the crown of the tree to remove deadwood and interfering branches. To do this, arborists will use climbing gear to safely climb a tree and prune branches using anything from pole pruners to hand saws and up to chainsaws of all different sizes.
Cutting in the crown is necessary to remove any dead or damaged limb that could be a potential hazard or legal issue. Some customers will also want you to thin out the canopy to raise it in order for branches to not be at level with a persons height, or lower it to reduce interference with anything above the tree, like a power line.
Between the arborist job and the apprenticeship on South Farm, I now realize that trees have a lot more to do with farming than I could’ve imagined previously. A lot of farms will have trees that need to be cleared out for farmland, or removed to reduce hazard or end a dispute with property lines of adjacent farmers. These processes could also be used to simply just make a tree look prettier on a farm, and useful for any farmers that are cultivating fruit-bearing trees. Licensed arborists are not the only people that can do basic pruning and I encourage any farmer or landowner to look into proper pruning methods and local arborist companies for help on preserving their lush tree landscape. Some links are provided for anyone that happens to read this and need assistance or information on tree care. Enjoy!
What’s In Your Share
For September 5th, you’ll find:
+ Braising Mix
+ Green Leaf Lettuce head
+ Sweet Corn
+ Sweet Peppers
+ Hot Peppers
+ Kennebec Potatoes
+ Amethyst Radishes
The following crops are available for U-Pick:
+ Cherry Tomatoes — These little ones are still bursting in our fields.
+ Purple Beans — These are a new addition to our U-Pick this week. Ask a staff member to locate them. They will be further down the grassway on your right, in between the growing pumpkins and two rows of corn.
+ Pole Beans — These beans are in the same field as the herbs, cherry tomatoes, and flowers. These beans are over a foot long!
+ Roma Beans — The Roma Beans are located in the same field where the strawberries were planted. The field will be on your left before you get to the organic parking lot.
+ Okra — You want to cut the okra pods when they are 3″ or less, if you find a larger okra pod, do everyone a favor by cutting if off the plant to encourage more pods to grow.
+ Basil — Basil is located by the pole beans and is also located in a different field, down the grassway and on your left. Pinch off the tops of the plants to encourage more growth.
+ Some of you may have noticed a worm or two in the tip of your Corn last week. This is a corn ear worm. This little bugger is not controlled easily with organic methods. So to avoid the added protein in your diet, just cut off the tips of your corn!
+ The Braising Mix in your share may have holes where a little bug may have gotten a snack. As the weather is still warm, the bugs are still out to play. These greens can be eaten raw in a salad, but they are spicy. To tame their flavor, cook them. They work well sauteed.
+ The Potatoes in your share are Kennebec. These have tan skin and a white flesh. They are thin skinned, and can be eaten with the skin or peeled. These potatoes hold up a good texture for whatever purpose you use them for; they are great mashed, baked, roasted, and fried!
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski
Approximately 20 radishes, cleaned and ends trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Generous pinch of salt
Pinch of cracked black pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In the meantime slice your radishes approximately a 1/4 inch thick, adding them to a microwave safe bowl. When you are done slicing, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the microwave for about 40 seconds to soften them up. Remove the plastic wrap, drain any liquid, and add them to a larger bowl.
Add the olive oil, and seasonings. Mix well to coat all of the radishes. To a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add the sliced radishes. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, then take out and flip, reduce the heat to 225 and cook for another 20 minutes.
Keep an eye on them and check the texture. You will notice they will begin to shrink in size and crisp up. This is what you need. Remove from the oven, plate and serve.
Fresh Corn Salsa
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski
4 sweet corn ears
4 tomatoes medium sized – seeded and diced
1 onion medium sized – diced
3 jalapeños – seeded and diced fine
1 lime – juiced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cilantro – fresh and chopped
Husk and boil the sweetcorn until desired doneness. You could also grill the sweetcorn if you prefer.
When the corn if done, set aside to allow it to cool.
Dice the tomatoes, onions and jalapenos and place them in a mixing bowl.
Cut the corn from the ears and add it into the mixing bowl.
Add in the juice from one lime, salt and garlic powder.
Chop the cilantro and mix all together.
Can be served immediately or covered and refrigerated until ready to use.