“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
From the Field
The farm is bustling with activity and produce! Our third succession of tomatoes, which includes some new heirloom varieties like Pink Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter, is starting to pump out large lucious fruits. The cherry tomatoes planted all the way back in December are towering above us - some reaching up to eight feet - loaded with bunches of tiny fruits. The younger crops in our upper terraces are growing along nicely - we have a thick patch of green onions, whose baby bulbs are starting to take shape, rows of beets whose deep red shoulders are poking out of the ground, and a field of vigorous winter squash with many small pumpkins and squashes. We did our final planting for the winter CSA last week - arugula, radish, turnip and other seeds are germinating and will be ready to harvest in just a few weeks!
Even with all of the successful production we have setbacks - the lively colony of white-tailed deer that reside in the rainforest love to feast on our okra! Thankfully they've avoided most of the other crops, but it is a constant struggle to try to keep them away from the vegetables. Birds are also enjoying the bounty, but they are just nibbling in comparison to the deer. The weather is on our minds constantly - wondering if it will rain or if we'll have a break from the hot, dry weather that has been so ubiquitous. We do our best to conserve water - we use drip irrigation, which bring water right to where the plants need it, and use mulch on the soil surface when we can (hay, woodchips, plastic, grass and/or other organic matter) to conserve moisture.
This week we harvested an heirloom variety of kale for you called Lacinato, which also goes by other names - cavolo nero, Tuscan, black, Italian, and my favorite, Dinosaur! It has crinkly leaves, but is actually very tender and doesn't require that much cooking. It can be sauteed, made into kale chips, or massaged into a raw salad! Kale is in the family Brassicaceae, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, arugula. It is a rich source of cancer-fighting glucosinolates, whose properties are activated by crushing, cutting, chewing, or cooking the leaves. Try out the recipe below for Sauteed Kale.
Claudia & the Ridge to Reef Farm Crew
View from the CSA Upper Fields after a momentary rain shower on Tuesday.
2-3 medium-sized eggplants
1/2 cup tahini (roasted sesame paste)
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon chile powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
a half bunch picked flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 375F . Prick each eggplant a few times, then char the outside of the eggplants by placing them directly on the flame of a gas burner and as the skin chars, turn them until the eggplants are uniformly-charred on the outside. (If you don’t have a gas stove, you can char them under the broiler. If not, skip to the next step.)
Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re completely soft; you should be able to easily poke a paring knife into them and meet no resistance. Remove from oven and let cool. Split the eggplant and scrape out the pulp. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth. Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Chill for a few hours before serving. Serve with crackers, sliced baguette, or toasted pita chips.
Storage: Baba Ganoush can be made and refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving.
Recipe courtesy of Trusted Earth Farm & Forage CSA
Sauteed Kale with Garlic
1 bunch Lacinato kale roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic sliced thin
Splash of good olive oil
Splash of white wine or water
Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
Squeeze of lemon
Heat a large pot with a lid over high heat until very hot. Add a splash of good quality olive oil and then the garlic.
Saute the garlic for a few minutes until lightly browned and fragrant.
Add the kale, a small splash of white wine and the salt and pepper and stir. Lower the heat to medium low, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
Adjust seasoning if needed and serve with some lemon juice squeezed on top.
Recipe courtesy Marc Matsumoto at his blog www.norecipes.com
FARM-B-QUE w/ LIVE BLUEGRASS
~A Stress-Free Event~
at Ridge to Reef Farm
under the waxing moon
w/Seven Handle Circus
Kiki and the Flaming Gypsies
Chef Jamison Pollitt
Crucian farm-raised "steam pit" pig roast & vegan farm fresh dishes!
Sunday, March 24, 2013
A Fundraiser for the VI Community Supported Agriculture program!
$20-30 suggested donation at door (volunteer positions also available)
WHAT: A cookout and concert on the lawn to support our activities as a farm! Our organic farm has a 97 shareholding members and growing in our Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA)! We are delivering fresh organic food territory-wide for families and top restaurants. The off-grid solar powered farmstead is a great place to escape the city lights and enjoy the moonlight with sweet bluegrass from Seven Handled Circus, a group of guys who simply kill it! Also Kiki and the Flaming Gypsies will be by the Fireball lighting it up! Chef Jamison Pollitt and Troy Hollebeke will be serving up some tasty eats right out of the garden! This evening is a donation event to support our CSA program.
WHEN: Arrive as early as 6pm to tour the farm, buffet-style food and music starts 7pm, island time, come a little earlier to help out or walk around.
HOW: Suggested $20-$30 donation for entertainment, local BBQ and all organic farm fresh salad, and organic farm trimmings (vegetarian & vegans included)!
Bring blanket or folding chair for the lawn, and a re-usable cup for your beverage of choice.
We provide compostable plates that will go in a special receptacle for compost materials
If you bring your beer, please bring cans so they can be recycled:) Pack it in, pack it out!
WHERE: Ridge to Reef Farm, Community Center Lawn
Our road is in decent shape (bumpy pot holes) and we suggest coming up Creque Dam Road from Frederiksted by the waterfalls! Directions:http://www.ridge2reef.org/map--directions.html
WHAT ELSE: We will have a pre SIGN-UP list for our Spring/Summer 2013 COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE (CSA) program, spaces are limited! Tomatoes, calabash craft, and other farm products will also be available for sale.
WHO: The Band, the farmers, and YOU (family friendly)
*RAIN or SHINE (We hope for rain!!!),
Please return this Email to RSVP:) not required, but helpful so we know how much food to harvest;)
See you here,
Ridge to Reef Farmers
Ridge to Reef Farm / Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute
2011 EPA Environmental Quality Award Winners
This Week's Harvest
Turnips - hakurei
Eggplant - italian and/or asian
Basil - genovese
Kale - lacinato (dinosaur)
Cherry Tomatoes - sungold &/or black
Tomatoes - heirloom
Tomatoes - slicers
Parsley - italian flat leaf
Free Farm Stay for CSA Members! (A $125 value!)
Do you ever wonder what life at the farm is like? Well, we would love for you to experience it with us! Please take this opportunity to volunteer in the gardens, join us for a community dinner, and retreat to your private cabana after dark...
Call us at 340.220.0466 to make your reservations. See you soon!
THANK YOU HOSTS!
Gifft Hill School
St. John 4-6 pm Thursday
Havensight, St. Thomas 11 am -1 pm Thursday
Christiansted, St. Croix 3-5 pm Saturday
Frederiksted, St. Croix 2-4 pm Saturday
FARM WISH LIST
Got some things laying around that we can re-use in the CSA?
Last season we received egg cartons, more reusable bags, a blender, some garden hoses, a trash bin, and other great things that we use and were saved from going to the landfill or rotting in a shed. THANK YOU!
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).