Signs of the Times
Dear CSA Summer Season members,
We are thrilled to bring you a consecutive season of Community Supported Agriculture here in the Virgin Islands!
Here at Ridge to Reef Farm, we work very hard every week to make sure you get a taste of what local organic food is all about. Our main mission here is quality: for you, for our shared environment, and for our communities on all three islands and as one Territorial family.
This CSA is different than most, as you will certainly see this summer, because not only do we have seasonal veggies, but we have fruits and roots and much more to make your kitchen a place of flavor and freshness.
You will see a variety of things every week, and I promise the more you volunteer with us the more you will see! Check out the volunteer opportunities on the right-side column of this newsletter and come lend us a hand for a half day. The phrase "many hands make light work" never made more sense than on our permaculture farm.
Although eggplants might not be too unfamiliar to most, it's our WTF item this week because we grow many of the heat tolerant varieties, which tend to have more flavor than those you see in the supermarket. Not only are the varieties choice, but they are still cooling from the sun, just picked for you.
Remember, the CSA is a shared-risk investment, and we expect there to be losses as well as new fruits from our labors. Already, there has been one casualty -tomatoes. A late spring blight has already reduced them to withered stems. We had our doubts already, but this confirmed that this year is a tough year for certain diseases on nightshades. However, the eggplants are doing wonderful!
This is the first ever CSA in a summer season for the Virgin Islands, so we embark on a journey together toward new frontiers of local food as a community! Without you, this would not be possible.
We wish you and your kitchen the best CSA season, and we hope you remember to share trying our weekly recipes on people. Tell them it's local and organic, and that there will be a lot more of it coming the in the future, due to the fact that you are supporting it today. Trust me, Frandelle knows what to do with eggplant! Her recipe below is a winner that always has us coming back for more when she brings her dish to us at the farm:)
Thank you for being a food lover and advocate. We were pleased to have so many returning members and the new ones we will get to know. The waiting list is deep, and already we are thinking of how we can make the CSA meet the needs of more Virgin Islanders!
How do you think we all can make this happen?
to the health of all we,
Eggplants are a source of folic acid and potassium and they are rich in nicotine. On average, 20 lbs of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.
WTF (What's That Food)?
This week's strange food item: Eggplants
Also known as aubergine, melongene, brinjal or guinea squash (Solanum melongena), eggplants are part of the nightshades family. It is closely related to tomatoes as well as potatoes and is native to India.
The eggplants that you are holding in your hands have already been planted in January and now they have been harvested just for you.
We are growing four different varieties at the moment. They are called "Traviata", "Rosa Bianca", "Black Beauty" and "Listada di Gandia".
How to use it:
It is used in many Asian and Eurpean kitchens. So there a multiple ways to prepare them. Eggplants can be sliced and deep-fried, then served with or without yogurt as in the Turkish cuisine.
It can be roasted in its skin until charred, so the pulp can be removed and blended with other ingredients, such as lemon, tahini, and garlic, as in the Middle Eastern dish baba ghanoush.
The fruit can also be stuffed with meat, rice, or other fillings and then baked.
Salting, rinsing and draining of the sliced fruit (known as "degorging") reduces the amount of oil absorbed during the cooking.
by Frandelle Gerard
2 lbs eggplant, peeled, cut into 1inch pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup diced red pepper
4-6 basil leaves - thinly cut
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup itallian bread crumbs
1 tsp butter
1-2 large tomatos thinly sliced
salt to taste
Steam eggplant until tender, drain and mash. Add butter, scallions, pepper and basil. Mix well then add eggs and bread crumbs and mix.
Butter a baking dish, line pan with sliced tomatoes, add eggplant mixture. Top with sliced tomates, top with cheeses.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 min or until cheese is lightly brown. Serve and enjoy.
(This receipe is inspired by The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas 1972 - no copyright infringement intended.)
Meet the Farmer...
"Hello my name is Sarah Waffle Woofer Feather Foot. I am a Buff Pullet Bantam. My ancestors came from a province which was known as "Banten Province" and was once a seaport in Indonesia. Europeans liked our size and just took us with them on their sail boats. And now you see, I ended up on St. Croix on a farm with a few others of my sort. I am a trader now: I exchange my eggs for food.
So, if you receive any small eggs, they came from me! Remember it comes from by far the cutest of all the chickens on the farm,... and one of the smallest. "
~ Jess, farm staff
From the field...
The crew is constantly removing weeds and vines from the fruit trees and vegetables that are grown on the farm. Nate gave and is still giving the farm property a hair cut on the tractor while it is nice and sunny.
Cowitch or also known as Mucuna pruriens (scientific name) tries to take over the farm property. Pruriens is a Latin word and means "itching sensation". For a reason; Its seed pods grow little hairs that fly through the air and produces itchiness on contact. Even though it can have great medicinal value we are trying to ban this invasive plant from the valley.
Apart from weeds, there are also animals and bugs that we are dealing with at the moment. Pest pressure is high and deer is getting through our fencing to have a snack here and there. Mongoose are still stealing eggs and attacking chickens from time to time.
Some plants are thriving nontheless. Passion fruits and mangoes are ripening every day. Eggplants and peppers are fruiting and beautiful flowers are covering the farm. The weather is perfect for working in the fields and on the tractor.
~ Nadja, former apprentice
PO Box 2903 - Frederiksted USVI 00841 - www.visfi.org - firstname.lastname@example.org - 340 220 0466
Ridge to Reef Farm @ the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute
Farmer of the week
Jess our master of the kitchen and landscaping in the process of getting bedding for our lovely chickens.
The Week's Harvest
We need your help, we need your hands!
Volunteer at Ridge to Reef Farm
Farming with a small crew trying to provide organic and local food for a big community isn't always easy. You can help us by joining our VOLUNTEER days every Saturday from 7:30 am to 11:30 am. A group cooked lunch with mostly ingredients from the farm will be the reward for hungry farmers and gives the opportunity to lean back and relax.
Bring your family, bring your friends and enjoy spending time in nature, having fun by being part of a great vision. We gladly welcome every person who finds the way up to the farm!
THANK YOU HOSTS!
Polly's at the Pier Frederiksted, St. Croix
Barefoot Buddha Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Thurs 11:30am-1:30 pm
Miriam's Restaurant Christiansted, St. Croix
Sun 4 -5:30pm
M2M (member to member)
We invite you to take part in the creation of our weekly newsletters.
Share your recipes and pictures, your experiences with the R2R Farm or your thoughts on sustainable farming matters.
We then will do our best to fit it in and share it in one of our upcoming newsletters.
We look forward to your responses!
Got some things laying around we can re-use in the CSA
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).