Week 4 MILLSAP FARMS Summer CSA NEWSLETTER

Farm News: Why we choose to use organic practices

May 30, 2017

A few words about why we choose growing organic practices over synthetic chemical production.

When we got started in farming eleven years ago, we had an important decision to make; we could use synthetic chemicals like petroleum based fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicides,  or commit to using only organic practices to fertilize, control pests and weeds, and build our soil.

Sarah and I considered four things in making this decision;

  1. We both love the outdoors, floating on rivers, swimming in creeks, hiking in the hills, camping in the woods.  We value clean water, air, and soil for recreation and are concerned about the trend toward greater and greater degradation of these resources.
  2. Synthetic chemicals in our food concern us;  we would rather have our kale without a side of carbaryl (the active ingredient in Sevin).  These chemical pesticides have been presented to us as completely safe by those selling them, while the research has consistently shown that a diet which contain neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors is bad for us…
  3. We are convinced that we have been entrusted with the stewardship of this little piece of Creation by the Creator, and as his loving servants, we want to  steward in a way that builds diversity and resilience, which is the theme of organic agriculture.
  4. Finally, we have always wanted to live in such a way that our children can participate fully in our daily work and living, in line with our philosophy of parenting, which starts from the foundation that we hope to raise adults who know what it is to do valuable and noble work.

Taking all of this together, the choice to go organic was clear to us.   This of course has implications beyond these four considerations;  it sometimes means we don’t have easy solutions for conditions brought on by difficult weather (for example, the fungus and bacteria which killed our outside tomatoes in the summer of 2015).  It also means that weeds are our constant nemesis, so our weed management strategy must be much more diverse, complicated, and labor intensive than Round-Up.  On the other hand, it means that the water in the creek where we swim has fewer agricultural chemicals than it would if we were using synthetics, and it also means that sometimes we get treated to a swallowtail butterfly cruising through our carrot beds, laying a few eggs so there will be more swallowtails next season.  Is this a good or bad trade?  Good stewardship leads to more diversity and beauty, and so I’ll trade a few carrots for more splendid butterflies for my members and children to enjoy.

Thanks,
Farmer Curtis

What’s in your share?
Full Share:
Garlic Scapes
Cucumbers
Summer Squash
Carrots
Head Lettuce
Radishes
Herb choice (basil, dill, cilantro, etc)
Radicchio
Cherry Tomatoes
Salad mix
Kale

Bread Share:
French Bread by Emma and Anna Millsap

Half Share:



Garlic Scapes
Cucumbers
Summer Squash
Carrots
Head Lettuce
Radishes
Herb choice (basil, dill, cilantro, etc)

Sampler Share:



Garlic Scapes
Cucumbers or Summer Squash
Carrots
Head Lettuce

Fruit Share:



Blueberries (conventional) from Caston Orchard Onia, AR

Notes & What do I do with….

Radishes:

  • Radish butter – grate the radishes, squeeze out the extra water, add melted butter, salt and pepper.  Add lots of radish butter to bread and enjoy! (or carrot sticks or cucumber slices)
  • Quick pickled radishes – super tasty and holds in the refrigerator for a while
  • Radish and cucumber salad – add some feta cheese and chickpeas too.

Garlic Scapes

  • Garlic scapes are the flower buds of the garlic.  when they are curly, they are tender and delicious.  Once they straighten up they get hard and stringy.
  • Stir fry them in a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper.  (think asparagus)
  • use like green garlic or green onions
  • make pesto! (pesto will hold for a couple weeks in the fridge if you have a nice covering of olive oil on top –  or freeze it)
Balsamic-Grilled Radicchio with Shaved Pecorino 
Serves 4

  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon (packed) finely grated orange peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 large heads of radicchio, each quartered through core end
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese shavings
  1. Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, orange peel, and crushed red pepper in large bowl. Add radicchio and toss to coat. Marinate 15 minutes.
  2. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Drain marinade into small bowl. Place radicchio on grill; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill radicchio until edges are crisp and slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer radicchio to serving platter. Drizzle with reserved marinade and sprinkle with cheese shavings.
Bacon & Squash Saute
Serves 4

  •  Bacon strips, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 small yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (can substitute garlic scapes)
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove to paper towels. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings.
  2. In the drippings, saute the zucchini, yellow squash and onion for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with bacon.
Thanks for choosing us to be your farmers!
~Millsap Farm Crew
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