November 9, 2009

9 Nov

This week marks my year anniversary of working at Fairview Gardens. It has been a life changing year for me and I have been thankful to be a part of your lives through our CSA program. For you, this week marks the second to last week of the 2009 CSA year. I will miss being a part of your weekly routine and seeing you every week. We are starting to look forward to 2010 and Toby, the farm manager has written you a letter to explain some changes we are making for next year. I would love to here your feedback so please email or chat with me when you come to pick up. I am attaching a registration form for 2010 CSA and will also have them available for pick up over the next two weeks.

Beginning (already) to look forward to another bountiful CSA year,

Jen Corey, Marketing Manager

A message from Toby:

Dear Friends of the CSA,

We are making some changes for the 2010 CSA season and would like to share our reasons with you. The CSA model is still a fairly new way of marketing produce and we are continually looking for ways for improvement, both for you and for the farm. I have been fortunate to work for three CSA farms and have learned a lot about what worked well for each operation and what did not. We always appreciate your feedback, so please keep it coming.

The CSA model began as a way to provide the farmer with payments early in the season to help with the farmer’s cash flow. For example, we are spending $3000 this week on strawberry plants that need to be purchased and planted now, so you can receive them in your shares through out the coming summer. In the past we have set up payment plans for member, but by paying in installments we do not receive the season’s money up front and instead receive it spaced out over many weeks and sometimes not at all. Our administration cost was very high this past year as a result of needing to track down member’s that owed us money, resulting in the farm taking a huge hit, by spending lots of time, energy and thus money. Especially considering the economic realities of today, we can not afford to have any accounts receivable.

We understand the economic realities are not unique only to us and that you are greatly affected as well. We are going to offer a major discount for members that pay for the entire 42-week season up front. We understand that many of you may be unable to pay for the full year at once, so please look at the option to sign up for individual seasons as a payment installment option.

Each week we price out your share so that you receive at least $20 or $36 worth of produce, depending on whether you are signed up for a small or large share. It takes a significant amount of our time for us to plan each week’s share, write and coordinate the newsletter, set up and break down the displays, bookkeeping, etc. and these are costs that the farm has always accepted, but can no longer afford. For this reason, we are including a $15/season administration fee for those signing up for individual seasons. We understand this is a change from what you have experienced in the past and truly hope you can understand our reasoning. We are not including the $40 fee for volunteering in 2010.

Due to many staff changes this year, we did not host as many festivals and gatherings on the farm as we would have hoped for. This will change in 2010, as we would like to see us all get together more often.

When you support the Fairview Gardens CSA in 2010, you will also be supporting some other farmers in the region. Fairview will continue to grow the majority of the share, but will at times purchase crops such as broccoli, oranges, melons, apples and avocados from our friends’ farms nearby (all certified organic). This exciting new collaboration comes after many of you have shared a desire for more fruit, which we are limited with on our 12 acres. Produce that comes from other growers will be clearly labeled.

Another way that we plan to reduce our administrative costs is to switch from 4 seasons to 3 seasons, thus reducing the number of times we sign people up and take in money. Look forward to three-14 week seasons. The current 46 week season is exhausting for the staff and farm crew. By reducing the total number of weeks, we believe the quality of each share will greatly improve.

Please feel free to contact Jen (or me) if questions/suggestions/comments arise. We really appreciate your continued support and the beautiful project that we are all sharing in together.

Sincerely,

Toby McPartland, Farm Manager

Fairview Events:

What: Farm-Style Movie Night showing of “King Corn”

When: Thursday Nov. 12th at 6:45pm

Bring: chairs, blankets, dinner

Where: up by the Fairview farm house

Cost: Free!!!

What: One of our CSA members Cynthia Daddona, author, TV personality and host of RomancingTheTable.com, will be signing her #1 NY Times About.com culinary travel gift DVD “A Greek Islands Destination Cooking Class DVD” filmed in Santorini, Greece. 

Where: at CSA pick up outside the farm stand

When: Tuesday November 10th from 2:30 to 5:30pm

Why: Partial proceeds go toward Fairview Gardens. This makes a great holiday gift.

For information about the DVD signing event at Fairview: see attached flier.  

For more info on Cynthia’s work and to see a video filmed at Fairview about our farm and CSA program: go to www.RomancingTheTable.com

Pre-used Paper Needed: We could be using “pre-used” or “scratch paper.” I am asking CSA members, to collect paper at home and work that has only been printed on one side and donate it to the farm.

Sneak Peek:

Small Share

Kale

Lettuce

Winter Squash

Arugula

Radish (check out the risotto and radish recipe below)

Garlic

Bunching Onion

Herb

Popcorn, beautifully braided by Farm Crew members Cesar and Manuel

Large Share

Kale

Lettuce

Winter Squash

Arugula

Radish

Garlic

Bunching Onions

Herb

Popcorn (let’s try it again)

Green Beans

Summer Squash

Recipes:

For those who wonder the difference between winter and summer squash I thought I would let you know. Both are in the Cucurbitaceae family and grown in the warmth of summer. Those we call “summer squash” should be eaten soon after harvest, during the “summer time” and include zucchini, yellow crookneck, and patty pan. The other group called “winter squash” can be stored and eaten throughout the winter. These include, pumpkins, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and kabocha. With this being said, if you are building up with winter squash, store it and enjoy during the month when the farm is resting from CSA.

Arugula-Pistachio Pesto (Bon Appétit | April 2009 by Tori Ritchie)

Yield: Makes about 1 1/4 cup

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese (Parmesan works too)
1/3 cup unsalted natural pistachios (try cashews!)
4 cups (packed) baby arugula
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation:

Finely chop garlic in processor. Add cheese and nuts. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Add arugula, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and peel. Blend to coarse paste. Blend in oil. Season pesto with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if desired. Transfer to bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

Romano Risotto with Radishes (Gourmet | September 2009 by Andrea Albin)

Yield: Serves 8 (first course) or 6 (main course)

Ingredients:

For risotto:
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (48 fl ounces) (veggie brother works too)
2 cups hot water
3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound Arborio rice (2 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

For radishes:
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound trimmed radishes, julienned
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Accompaniment: extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Preparation:

Make risotto:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onion, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Stir 1 cup simmering broth into rice and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, 18 to 22 minutes. Thin with some of remaining broth if necessary (you will have some left over). Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoon butter.
Prepare radishes:

Whisk together vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss radishes with dressing and chives. Serve risotto topped with radishes.

Popcorn (try #2):

This corn is harvested when the kernels are hard and dry. Pop out kernels. Heat oil in a good size saucepan. If you put a few in the pan, you will know when its ready because 2 will pop and then you can throw the rest in. Cover your pan, giving it a shake regularly so it doesn’t burn. When the popping slows down, you will know they are done; about 3 ½ minutes.

Fun seasoning variations:

  1. Parmesan with cracked pepper and other dried herbs is nice and savory
  2. Sugar for kettle corn
  3. Furikake (my favorite) which is a Japanese seasoning you can get in the Asian section of the grocery store.
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