Monday, June 30, 2008

Infarmation: Politics of Food

On the radio today was an interview with Paul Roberts who spoke about his book The End of Food. The material is a little doom and gloom but a very worthwhile ear-opening listen. 

Find Out:
> How much Americans pay for food compared to the rest of the world, and why
> How a food shortage made the English army shorter
> Why South Korea is wrong
> What percentage of food costs goes to marketing and advertising
> Why food from China is cheaper and why it is scary

The interview is a half-hour long, listen here:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Update: Beets

Farmer No.2 admits that he blew it with this one. Now we know that the chioggia beet seeds that we planted have another few weeks before they are ready to be harvested. When mature, these beets have red and white stripes on the inside.

Farm Boxes No1 and No2

The farm recently purchased Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomen. And while Mel does overly state his accomplishments (the originator of gardens in a box?) and he writes in the third person, this book does have worthwhile information about building boxes for plants. We like the aesthetics of the boxes but they are also practical for controlling soil quality and temperature. We bought 400lbs. of soil and manure to fill the boxes and also mixed compost from Kimberly in there as well.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Update: Red Peppers

Update: Cucumbers

The cucumber seeds that the farm planted mid-May are up and looking to climb. If it works out like last year, these plants yield freakishly large cucumbers. The seeds came from cucumber plants that Nick the Farmer gave us last year. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Update: Kimberly the Composter

Kimberly, our fat little composting bin, has been hard at work since March 1. The compost should be ready but it has been a learning process on how to get the balance right between green (living/nitrogen) and brown matter (dead/carbon). Right now, between the farm waste and kitchen scraps there is so much more green waste than brown so we've been using shredded newspaper as the carbon source.
Farmer No. 2 cuts up the expired broccoli to feed to Kimberly. Chopping up the waste speeds up the process by exposing more surface area to micro-organisms. 

Operation Slugs

There have been slug sightings on the farm. These critters bore holes in the plants which make them more susceptible to rot and disease. We have only seen two of them so far. If there are more, we'll refer to this helpful and safe list of different ways to get rid of slugs
Slug trivia: They are hermaphrodites.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Food: Beans and Baby Bok Choi

Beans planted from seed harvested yesterday…
and steamed with butter.
Last night farm friends helped us consume recent harvests. The Bok Choi was prepared with shiitake mushrooms, garlic and sesame oil.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cucumbers fly coach to Colorado

Cucumber seedlings that we planted a few weeks ago made the journey to Colorado. We have farmers taking care of them in Colorado Springs who will keep us updated on their progress.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Harvest: Sugar Snap Peas

We've counted about 20 of them so far with more on the way. The pea shoots on the left are also good.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Harvest: Arugula and Basil

We inherited the arugula. It requires practically no maintenance. 
And it tastes great chopped up with farm basil, grape tomatoes, smoked mozzarella and olive oil.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Vitamin C and Soluble Fiber

Steamed broccoli with basil (ours too) and garlic. Oh, and butter…to make sure we are not on a diet.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Baby Bok or Pak Choi or Choy

The baby pak choi is ready. In the past week, like the broccoli, these plants started to show flowers which is a sign that it is time to pull them out. We started these from seed which adds a high level of satisfaction.
We weren't sure if baby pak choi replenishes itself like swiss chard so we harvested all the plants. Hopefully we will be able to think of more than one way to cook these.

Broccoli Just in Time

In the last week Brooklyn weather has been hot with temperatures in the 90s. We've been away so farm friend Patrick tended the rows by watering everyday. The broccoli in particular did well.
So well that the buds have flowered. Two days ago would have been the perfect time to harvest.

It still tastes good. The broccoli was devoured today by coworkers of Farmer No. 1.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Broccoli Soon

The past couple weeks has made the broccoli quadruple in size. Each plant (we have seven) produces one large stalk of brocolli in the center and later, two or three smaller ones to the side.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Brooklyn Farm's First Flower Post

Green beans
Sugar snap peas
It is possible for each flower on these plants to produce a fruit (scientifically speaking each of these is a fruit). Of course to produce a fruit, each flower needs to be pollinated by a bee… fingers crossed. We have seen bees flying around which is a good sign. If it all works out, fruit will grow out of the flower opening. The green beans and sugar snap peas are particularly satisfying because they have grown from seed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cuteness vs. Cayenne Pepper

A year ago there was only one black cat in the backyard area of our block. This year there are no less than 10 stray cats roaming the yards and doing as they please. Farmer No. 1 heard a tip about using a cayenne pepper mixture to repel cats from backyards. The mixture was sprinkled everywhere, effectively turning the dirt red. Soon enough, the cat noses were all red and sneezing. So it does work, although the sneezing made Farmer No. 1 feel guilty. Also, if it rains or when the plants are watered the mixture is rendered useless. Cuteness wins for now.

Farm Food

Some of the crops are plentiful enough to consistently harvest. The rosemary was used to add a little something to grilled shrimp, the dill with grilled potatoes. and the swiss chard was sautéed with onions nutmeg and dried chilies.