Earth Day

Earth Day Flag

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since there is no official governing body over Earth. The flag holds a photo transfer of a NASA image of the Earth on a dark blue background. Although the flag was originally copyrighted, a judge ruled that the copyright was invalid."

First, a little history lesson (from Wiki):

Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth‘s environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970.[1] Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Earth Day Network, a group that wishes to become the coordinator of Earth Day globally, asserts that Earth Day is now observed on April 22 on virtually every country on Earth.[2] World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 in a different nation every year, is the principal United Nations environmental observance.[3] Many communities also celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of environment-related activities, the first of which occurred in Philadelphia in 1970 (starting April 16 and culminating on Earth Day, April 22.)[4]

Now, what can we do to help planet earth? Lots of things and if you’re reading this blog, you probably do many things to help out. You may be eating locally, supporting your farmer’s market or neighborhood CSA, or even growing your own food. There’s lot’s we can do and the site 50 Simple Things has a great list with tons of information. If you think you’re doing all you can, check out this list and see what more you can do.

My favorites, because they tie in with the farm:

# 2. Go Organic
#13. Think Globally, Eat Locally
#17. Grow a Green Marketplace
#21. Support Fair Trade

The list is all good and gives us ideas of what we can each do a little more to make a big difference. Right now, we save the water in gallon jugs when we are warming it up for the shower; we don’t use pesticides; even though we grow organic veggies, we also purchase what we can’t grow; we support other local farmers; we use organic soaps, toothpaste and detergent; we combine errands, to use less gas; we support our local businesses, especially the new organic coffee shop nearby; we’re going to use the sun for cooking and dehydrating this summer; we reuse, reduce and recycle. I bet you do a lot of these things too. Check out the list and all the info, but beware, there is so much there, you may stay on the computer for a long time.

In closing, let’s do a little more than we do now to celebrate Earth Day and every day.

Asparagus

Fresh picked asparagus

Fresh picked asparagus

I’m a little late to be writing about asparagus. It’s been growing for a couple of months now. Our plants are 5 or 6 years old now and I want to move them. I have to investigate if we can dig them up and put them in a better spot. The last couple of years, they haven’t produced as well as I think they should, and part of that, I think, is the caverns the gophers have dug under them.

Ends of asparagus for compost

Ends of asparagus for compost

Another interesting thing that was brought to mind, while I was washing and cutting the asparagus; how much waste there is when processing the veggies to market. A lot of veggies are tossed if they don’t look a certain way for the produce section. It doesn’t have to be that way, but we as a society have been “trained” to only want the “perfect” veggie.

Asparagus growing tall

Asparagus growing tall

Tomatoes for example; How many varieties do you see in the store? And the ones you do see are mostly very similar to each other in color and size. That’s because these tomatoes have been bred to travel long distances, to all look the same, picked green and tasteless… my opinion, about the taste. But it’s what we are used to seeing, so something new or different “can’t be a tomato, let alone taste good”.

One of our main jobs at the farm is to educate. We grow a variety of tomatoes and other veggies that you will be familiar with; you’ll know they are tomatoes, or cucumbers, but they will be a different variety, something you may never have seen before.

Timber asparagus

Timber!

People who join CSA’s get to experience new tastes and new veggies. It’s exciting.

Do me a favor, and yourself this season; if you have never had a home-grown tomato, go to a farmer’s market, your neighbor’s house or grow your own. Then buy a store-bought tomato and do a taste test. You will never want a store-bought again, I promise.

And if you’re asking yourself why you don’t see varieties in the stores; it’s because we accept what they sell us, so the stores think your happy. Let them know what you want. Vote with your fork and your dollar.

Boy, how did I get from asparagus to that? ;)

If you are going to eat veggies or fruit, eat local, buy from the farmer’s market, get to know your farmer and eat better tasting, nutritious food that will feed your body.

Ok, so I owe you some facts and my fav way to prepare asparagus… It’s the least I can do after my mini-rant. :)

From Wiki: Asparagus is low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is very low in sodium. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutinniacinfolic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus, the asparagus plant being rich in this compound. Particularly green asparagus is a good source of vitamin C.[10] Vitamin C helps the body produce and maintain collagen, the major structural protein component of the body’s connective tissues.

Particularly green asparagus is a good source of vitamin C. Purple asparagus differs from its green and white counterparts, having high sugar and low fibre levels. Purple asparagus was originally developed in Italy and commercialised under the variety name Violetto d’Albenga.

To learn everything there is to know about asparagus, check out the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. An amazing fact: Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period. (I swear, you can watch them grow. su)

Recipe: If you know me, you know I like easy and simple. This is my favorite way to prepare asparagus. Layer a row of asparagus on a cookie sheet with sides. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon pepper and broil for just a few minutes. YUM!!!! We also eat it raw. I don’t know if I’d suggest that with store-bought, but with home-grown, it’s sweet, tender and tasty.

The Color Purple….Veggies, that is.

Purple Broccoli Plant

Baby Purple Broccoli

If you’ve been around for a while, you already know I like to plant purple veggies. I love the color anyway, and I find it unusual in the vegetable kingdom. We plant purple broccoli, radish, beans, cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes and even tomatoes.

Purple Basil

Purple Basil, pretty; not as good as green

In the past we have planted eggplant and purple basil, but probably won’t this year. The eggplant still has a chance in the garden, some people like it and it’s a pretty plant with nice flowers; but the purple basil, although pretty, just doesn’t compare to the Genovese basil everyone likes.

Purple Carrots

Purple Haze Carrots

In my research of purple veggies, I found an interesting blog, Straight From the Farm, discussing the nutritional benefits of purple veggies. They say:

“What’s so interesting about PURPLE fruits and veggies is that they carry more anthocyanins and phenolics than any other color of produce.  These two antioxidants (that are ultimately a result of a purple crop’s phytochemical signature) have been at the heart of much of the hype over berries, particularly blueberries, as cancer-fighting agents.  Evidence from recent laboratory tests suggests that anthocyanins in particular can noticabely slow the growth of colon cancer cells.  But it’s not just berries… any purple (or blue-ish) produce has a powerful punch of these antioxidants, which are also proven to help urinary tract health, memory loss, and the general effects of aging. “

Colorful Salad

Who could resist this beautiful salad with it's rainbow of colors?

And who could resist this salad? It was almost too pretty to eat. Everything in this salad was grown at the farm. We have sungold tomatoes, watermelon radish, orange and purple carrots, lemon cucumber, and yes, there’s lettuce in there somewhere, you can see it poking through the other veggies.
The colors always amaze me. This is nature painting in the garden, and we have the pleasure to bring that to our shareholders. Nothing could be better?

For more info on veggie colors and the nutrients they bring, click here for the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables.

2010 Shares Available Now!

Sorry, I couldn’t wait. I know I said shares would be available on Sunday… so I  jumped the gun by a day.

Click here, Who is ZF 2010 Share Season, to download the PDF with all the info.

We are a micro farm, so to speak,, shares are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis. In the event you send in your info and do not get a spot, we contact you to discuss if you’d like to be put on the waiting list.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog. It’s easy and you automatically receive the latest news, tips, info and recipes from the farm. It doesn’t matter if you are a paying share holder or not, we love to share info, and everyone is invited. (See subscribe button, top right.)

Eat Local, Support Your Farmers

Brandywine tomatoes

Beautiful Brandywines

Lately, the big buzz is about eating local. So what does that mean exactly and why should you?

LocalHarvest.org says it best:

Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.

We can only afford to do this now because of the artificially low energy prices that we currently enjoy, and by externalizing the environmental costs of such a wasteful food system. We do this also to the detriment of small farmers by subsidizing large scale, agribusiness-oriented agriculture with government handouts and artificially cheap energy.

Cheap oil will not last forever though. World oil production has already peaked, according to some estimates, and while demand for energy continues to grow, supply will soon start dwindling, sending the price of energy through the roof. We’ll be forced then to reevaluate our food systems and place more emphasis on energy efficient agricultural methods, like smaller-scale organic agriculture, and on local production wherever possible.

Cheap energy and agricultural subsidies facilitate a type of agriculture that is destroying and polluting our soils and water, weakening our communities, and concentrating wealth and power into a few hands. It is also threatening the security of our food systems, as demonstrated by the continued e-Coli, GMO-contamination, and other health scares that are often seen nowadays on the news.

These large-scale, agribusiness-oriented food systems are bound to fail on the long term, sunk by their own unsustainability. But why wait until we’re forced by circumstance to abandon our destructive patterns of consumption? We can start now by buying locally grown food whenever possible. By doing so you’ll be helping preserve the environment, and you’ll be strengthening your community by investing your food dollar close to home. Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen. Cut them out of the picture and buy your food directly from your local farmer.

WOW! I emphasized that last sentence. I knew, and you probably did too, the general idea, but I never knew the money figure.

We have tried, in the past, to sell to markets. Typically they will only give us half the cost of what they sell the veggies for and because we are not certified organic, even though we grow like we are, we only get prices for non-organic veggies. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to become a CSA and sell directly to the customer.

Working the farm as a CSA is a lot more work than packing everything up and selling it to a store or restaurant, that’s for sure. But if we did that we’d miss out on so much; we love our shareholders and we meet the most interesting people; we see how appreciative our shareholders are and how much they love the veggies; we get to share gardening and recipes, tips and they share with us and it’s just more fun.

Bottom line: Michael Pollan says we have 3 chances a day to vote with our fork, and by doing so we support our local farmers, make new friends, try new veggies and eat better, more nutritious food. Vote today!

Garden Tips

We just created a new page, Garden Tips, on this site. We are asked tons of questions and wanted to share some of the things we do to make gardening easier. Check out the new page to learn, or be reminded of some easy ideas we have found that work well in the garden.

First tip is about garden knee pads. You know those little ones they sell for about $20 that might fit your knees if you squeeze them together (your knees) and don’t move much. We have a solution. Check it out on the Garden Tips page. More to come, we’ve got lots of ideas.

Plus, if you have any tips, please share. We’ll post your ideas too.

Shares Available March 28!

On your mark, get set…. GO!!! Well, almost.

Shares will be available starting Sunday, March 28. We will send an email with our 2010 Q&A’s to everyone on our Yahoo email list. We will also post the 2010 Q&A’s here, on the blog, on that date as well.

We sell our shares first come, first serve, which means, the first order forms that arrive with payment get shares until we are sold out. We are keeping it small again this year, so the shares are very limited.

We had mentioned working for a share and we are still playing around with the idea. We need to discuss this further and talk to those interested.

Who could resist this beautiful salad with it's rainbow of colors?

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