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Farmstead Fermented and Fresh Specialty Produce

22 Mar '16

PRINT forager and company

Posted by madalyn warren
Aprile Ferrer, WWOOFed on the farm for a couple weeks last season and returned to work at Print recommending my veggies to Print's forager, Meghan Boledovich, who started ordering with me right away.  Like all good foragers, Meghan has visited the farm a few times and on the last trip she made the trip with a couple of co-workers, including Print's new Pastry Chef, Amy Hess.    We ate biscuits, maple syrup dumplings, big salads, tomato soup and drank hot toddies with hemlock tea.  They all helped me clean up last seasons' black plastic laid out for melons, set up the chicken's summer house and seed some brassicas in the greenhouse.   Meghan also helped me cope with a problem weed growing out in the field, chickweed. Chickweed has been a challenge for me to deal with being the first to germinate and seeming to have a freaky ability to stay buried alive without photosynthesis.  Meghan told me Chef Charles at Print loves chickweed and sent me a link to an article Chickweed: A Delicious and Nutritious ... Weed
Im not impressed with the flavor but the leaves offer a succulent snappy texture for oral pleasure and the plant is LOADED with nutrients and minerals well suited for a woman's body.  I consider it to be a well balanced plant, perfect for a few seconds in my mouth then feeding my body for the hours and hours traveling through my guts.   Im not exactly sure how the new appreciation for chickweed will help me control it in the field, but replacing disdain with affection is a good start.
13 Mar '16

Mid March Improv

Posted by madalyn warren
I know its only the middle of March and there will be plenty of cold nights ahead of us but once again,  Im met with a set up circumstances that inspire me to look way beyond conventional wisdom.   Warm soil,  dry field, rain in the forecast, tractor and rototiller in good shape, piles of seeds.. to me these combined elements are irresistible.  My first thought was to get out there and just start prepping land and as this was in motion,  I remembered that I had 100 pounds of winter rye seed in the barn.  I thought to myself, if Im planting winter rye in October wouldn't it do even better in March?  YES!  So in the process of getting the rye seed loaded and broadcaster bag together,  I remembered that I have a big bag of golden turnip seed from 2 years ago.  I thought to myself,  if Im tilling up all this nice fluff and the rain is coming I better see if I can grow a couple of crops for early spring sales.  Golden turnips, Black Spanish Radish and Rutabaga was what I managed to grab cause I left the tractor running.  There was no turning back with an hour before sunset I convinced myself that my selection was fantastic kimchee material and the rutabagas would come through for chefs who like the roots combo of turnips, rutabaga and tates.   Improvisational.
11 Mar '16

PEAS are ahead of the season

Posted by madalyn warren
Fresh seeds, warm temperatures, dry soil and rain in the forecast was a combination I was completely unable to resist, even on March 10thMarch 10th. I have heard of a St. Patricks day seeding of peas, but here at 1600' with long cold winters,  I hadn't been able to sneak a pea into the ground before April 1st.  Hedging my bets, I seeded just enough for a satisfying amount to pick for the first market day May 14th.   Cascadia Snap, Lincoln Shell and Giant Oregon Snow peas. 
27 Feb '16

Planting seeds off the farm

Posted by madalyn warren

Earlier this week I met with Tabitha Gilmore Barnes, local fiber artist who is also in charge of providing cultural enrichment activities for 6-8th graders for the after school program at Roxbury Central School. We managed to plot out a garden strategy for the spring, planting a pizza garden, salsa garden,  succession plantings for the salad bar and of course more strawberries.  There was an OP-Ed piece in the NY Times, about the hidden costs of introducing new food to children and how parents on a tight budget can't afford to experiment with food given the average number of times it takes a child to really accept a new food, 8-15 tries!  Every home has a unique dinner table culture, but I know in the garden that if a student is able to grow it themselves, they will eat it. Snapping brussels sprouts and popping them into their mouths,  nibbling on chives and kale leaves, its awesome!   This spring and early summer, my steady hours at the RCS school garden are Tuesday morning 7-8 and Thursday afternoon 3-5pm and Im open to meeting parents and students at other times to get to work. 

With Farm Catskills, I am participating in a Market Readiness Training program
sponsored by American Farmland Trust/Farm to Institution New York State to help farmers sell to institutional markets such as daycare centers, schools, colleges, hospitals.  The project has inspired me to reach out to a local institution to develop a long term plan to incorporate local ingredients into the kitchen.  Consumers are making the demands and many in the food service industry respond with knee jerk reactions with a call to a local farm to find out 50 pounds of tomatoes are not available in March.  Kitchens these days are often ill equipped with efficient storage and equipment for ingredients to cook from scratch,  employees are under-skilled and the food budget cafeteria managers have to buy with can only work with the crutch of USDA food subsidies, cheap CAFO beef,  canned mushy veggies, etc.  The Wellness Committee from the Mountainside Hospital and Residential Care Center approached me last year about a CSA share which I wasn't able to satisfy without GAP certification.  BUT this interest drew me back there this week to explore the possibility of developing a long term plan for their kitchen.   The meeting went really well and Im looking forward to meeting with the Mountainside food services director in the near future. 

Farm Catskills is planning a big year!  We had a Board Meeting on Thursday and so far our season is jam packed with farm to school action; Cow to Cafeteria launching at Stamford Central School with the guidance of Board members Cathy McKenna and Pam Benson,  Harvest of Songs with Story Laurie going to 8 more public schools in the county, brewing innovative projects to trickle more and more local food into schools.   Its been an honor to be on the Farm Catskills Board and Im so grateful we have an organization like this connecting farmers, students, artists and institutions to work together to fuel our lives with local food! 


AG Literacy Week is coming up March 14-18.  This years book is about apples.  Above:  Tabitha is reading a book about bees to 2nd Graders at RCS, Im disguised as a beekeeper, this was part of Ag Literacy Week 2013.