Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 3: Certified Naturally Grown

Though today is drizzly, we have had the opportunity to get a lot of seeds and starts in the ground over this past week. In fact, the drizzles are helpful. The dry bean seeds appreciate a bit more moisture :)

There is more to plant yet, so I think I'll show off the (finally!) fully planted fields in next week's post. 

This week I'm all about the Certified Naturally Grown inspection that happened at the farm last Saturday. 

The Certified Naturally Grown program has a lot in common with the Organic Certification program. It asks growers to follow identical guidelines regarding soil inputs, allowed pesticides and herbicides, etc. 

The big difference is the inspection itself, which is peer to peer or community based. No official inspector comes out to the farm for a CNG inspection, instead the inspections are performed by other CNG farmers or, as we chose to do it this year, by farm customers.

So, five Wintergreen Farm CSA members came out to the farm last Saturday to get a behind the scenes look at our growing practices.

They spent about two hours at the farm.

Much of it at this table
going over ten pages(!) of exciting CNG provided
forms like this one.
They also got to walk the entire fields at our Wintergreen Foods location.

They listened attentively as we talked about our growing methods.
Scott isn't always a talker, but if you get him going about soil
fertility, you better be ready to listen :)
They even smelled our compost! The form said to and they dutifully verified that we truly are not spreading a big pile of raw manure on our fields. 

And in the end, one of our inspector/customers wrote this:

Reads: "Andrea and Scott care a lot about doing things in a thoughtful
manner and really display a commitment to the beneficial farming
practices outlined in this checklist--it's hard to farm in the U.P. of MI,
and they are making it work!"
Which pretty much made my day.

This week's share will include: Mesclun (it's extra spicy this week, with a bit more cress than the last two shares had), Arugula, Pea Shoots, Braising Mix, Radishes (either French Breakfast or Easter Egg--there might be a couple daikon to choose from too), Pac Choi (this is a full sized variety called Joi Choi), and a choice of Fresh Herbs.

As you can see, the shares are still heavy on the leafy greens. As I've mentioned (and you've probably noticed), it's been a cool and wet June. The weather makes for challenging planting, but happy greens!   

Hopefully members are finding delicious ways to eat all the greens that have been in the shares thus far. I've come up with a simple pasta salad recipe (which would be perfect at a 4th of July picnic, you might want to double it to feed a crowd) to add to the list of excellent greens dishes I am sure everyone has been making. 

The sharp feta and sweet cranberries in this salad pair especially well with the assertive arugula and extra spicy mesclun members are getting this week.

Fourth of July CSA Pasta Salad 

  • 12 ounces pasta (I always like bowties for pasta salad) cooked according to the package directions and rinsed in cold water to chill
  • 1.5 ounces arugula (about half of what is in the share) roughly chopped
  • 2 ounces mesclun (again, half the share quantity) roughly chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or mint
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper                                                                        
Toss together the chilled pasta, greens and herbs, cranberries, and feta.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Toss the dressing over the pasta and greens to coat. Serve immediately or chilled for up to 24 hours.

Happy 4th of July!

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