Signs of the Times
This week is one of the most active weeks in VISFI history at Ridge to Reef Farm. This past weekend we welcomed 34 Danes to stay at the farm several weeks for an experience in personal growth while living on a working farm. Tomorrow we feature two dishes in the Taste of St. Croix, one really hot, and one really cold. Then on Saturday we have the Virgin Gourmet Premier featuring Chef Theo Gumbs and a full-out concert! Not to mention our three weekly CSA pickups and VI Locally Grown markets this week, we are truly busy bees.
Sometimes I wonder how we get it all done, and I instantly think of the amazing crew we are lucky enough to have here. We ask a tremendous amount from them, and they deliver in a range of tasks and creative projects that most farms would never venture into. Of course we are all here because of the efforts and hearts and souls of the many people who created VISFI, many of whom still help out, such as Joe and Ben Jones, John Vining, Stewart Weiss, Mallory Jenkins, Chad Sheraw, Jay Bost, Kate Lincoln, and the list goes on. Our course our community is who sustains us -our members in VI Locally Grown and now the CSA... to you all we send a heartfelt message of gratitude!
While some areas of business locally are struggling, our line of work is becoming more and more important every day. We plan to expand -we must expand to offer the enhanced opportunities for our staff and island community need. We are glad to be increasing the size of the CSA season II and hope you continue to join us in these times of growth.
Of course, the biggest indicator is the farm. The fields are at new levels of production and some of our slower crops are coming in, like tomatoes! They are benefiting from the netting and good weather for growing, and to see their beauty come forth brings much joy to our hearts!
Please, if you see a member of our farm give them some big ups for their colossal efforts. If you don't see them, or even if you do, pass along the notion to all the other farmers, chefs, promoters, restaurants, and everyone else in the territory working their butts off to make this a better place.
The times they are a' changing. We've been asking for this day, and now it's time to deliver.
PS Tickets are on sale at Polly's, Starfish Patisserie, and Riddims for Saturday's food & music jam!
West Indian Locust: The energy booster - packed with iron and calcium.
WTF (What's That Food)?
This week's strange food item: West Indian Locust
After having hung nine months on the tree the locust finally is falling down, so you can enjoy it.
West Indian Locust is widely spread in the Caribbean, Central and South America and due to its seed pods' appearance and smell also well-known under the name "Stinking Toe", "Old man's toe" and "stinktoe"...
Even though the smell is not the best for everyone, the pulp in the seed pod is deliciously sweet. As Nate puts it "when the crisp, pungent smell hits a stinking toe veteran's nose, it activates the salivary glands". We hope you enjoy it, it is a specialty!
How to use it:
We selected two wonderful recipes to use the Locust pulp. Chef Tahirah also suggests it as an additive in your morning cereals, milkshakes and smoothies.
Meet the Farmer...
Nate Olive, farm director
Also known as trail name “ Tha Wookie”, Nate spent years hiking and writing about the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and the American West Coast Trail in the last decade when not in St. Croix helping start the programs at VISFI. He definitely had enough time to think about everything, about the past, the present and future adventures [and food]. I wonder whether at this time he had pictured himself being here on St. Croix, sharing the rainforest with his wife, a loving crew that describes him as a “charismatic visionary,” as do many animals and farm guests from all over.
Nate is the soul of Ridge to Reef Farm. He is a teacher, a mentor, a friend and a caring father of our small farm family. If you believe his facebook page, what he does all day long is digging holes and praying for water. Whoever has come up to the farm and driven our roads (currently being re-surfaced), knows where he could have been digging.
However, from our point of view his job description cannot be reduced to digging and praying. Nate takes on the challenges of management and at the same time helps out in the fields wherever and whenever he has the chance to do so, putting in administration and "dirt" time every day. As if this is not enough, he is currently also putting energy in writing his doctoral thesis on sustainable geotourism development in insular areas called "Islands without Pyramids".
When he is not working for the farm, there is a good chance that you'll find him playing banjo, singing his song "Paradise is never easy" or taking awesome pictures of the world around him. If you are a lucky snorkeler, you might be able to discover his red hair blinking under water amidst colorful fishes and sea turtles from time to time. If not, have a look on the beach Volleyball field next to his wife Shelli. Still not lucky? I guess, then the "Wookie" doesn't want you to find him.
Nate, wherever you are, we definitely are thankful for you as a supporting friend and the work that you do for your family, the farm and the world.
From the field...
This week we welcome 64 additional helping hands on the field. Claus Marquart Jorgensen, director of the danish folk school "HÖJSKOLENDK", arrived on the farm with with 32 students in the age of 18 to 30 for the second time this year. They are here for personal growth and at Ridge to Reef Farm learn about sutainability through voluntary services like making compost, gathering mulch and harvesting.
Beside this exciting arrival last Saturday, the farm crew is still competing with the brids on who keeps the tomatoes.The netting is becoming more and more.
Gaia garden is now full, so that we started to further expand there and in the swales.
Passion fruits can be found in various stages at the moment. In the form of a flower, green little fruits and the first ones are even starting to fall.
Mango trees are doing funny things, only approximately half of our trees are fruiting. So we only expext a small flush of mangos pretty soon and hopefully a bigger later in the season.
Isn't spring time a wonderful time?.
~ Nadja, former apprentice, staff
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
31 Danish girls and 1 Danish boy on the fields with Patrick.
The Week's Harvest
Pole Beans or Okra
West Indian Locust
West Indian Locust Parfait
by Chef Tahirah Abu-Bakr
2 ½ tablespoons flour
2/3 cup cane/ natural sugar
1/3 cup locust Powder
2 ½ cups coconut milk
2 egg yolks – beat – (set egg whites aside)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Combine flour, sugar, locust powder and milk – stir – add and cook custard over double boiler – over boiling water – stir constantly – add beaten egg yolk – continue to cook until it thickens – now whip egg white – add salt and then fold together into the mix – set to cook. – put in freezer trays or bowl until frozen – serve in tall glosses.
Topper: whip cream, grinded chocolate, or fresh fruit.
West Indian Locust Juice
3* West Indian Locust (unshelled)
1 cup brown sugar
1 gallon water
Blend stinking toes with one gallon water. Add nutmeg and brown sugar. Serve with ice.
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).