12/1/17 - Week 25 - farm vision


THIS WEEKS HARVEST: Floriani Red Flint Cornmeal, Wintersweet Kabocha Squash, Delicata Squash, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Cured Cabernet Red Onions, Azur Star Purple Kohlrabi, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Assorted Cabbage, Purple Top Turnips, Loose Mixed Beets, Celery, Bolero Orange Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli Spigarello, Rainbow Chard, Komatsuna, Dandelion Greens, Spinach, Red Butter & Baby Romaine Head Lettuce

U-PICK in the GARDEN: 

  • Shishito Frying Peppers
  • Padrones & Jalapeños
  • Strawberry snacks (Due to the warm weather, the strawberries are putting out a little December flush)
  • Lemongrass, Lemonbalm,Lemon Verbena, Anise Hyssop, Sorrel,Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Tarragon, French Culinary Lavender Chocolate Mint, Julep Mint, and Peppermint


This week we will be distributing Floriani Red Flint Cornmeal. Floriani is an heirloom variety from Northern Italy, bred for the delicious and beautifully red-speckled polenta it makes. Our cornmeal is special in that it is fresh: Harvested in October, ground on Thursday, and kept frozen to preserve the germ. Grain this fresh is hard to find nowadays. We think you'll notice a difference.

Basic Polenta

  • 1 part cornmeal
  • 4 parts liquid: This can be a combination of water, milk, or stock. We usually do half milk, half water. The more milk you add the brighter the color the final dish will be.
  • Salt
  • Olive oil or butter (lots of butter is good!)

Bring the liquid, salt, and butter or oil to a boil. Once you have a rolling boil, whisk in the polenta meal slowly. Turn the heat down low and continue simmering either as long as you have time for or until the polenta reaches a creamy consistency. If you cook for 20 minutes or longer, you may wish to continue to add a little liquid as it absorbs. For variations, add crushed garlic, sundried tomatoes, or Parmesan. Pour any leftover polenta into a shallow pan and refrigerate. After it sets, this can be sliced and pan fried.


Don't forget to check out the Bramble Tail Creamery for more add-on to your share: Beef raised 100% on Green Valley pasture, Hands Full Farm eggs, Parade the Land Whole Chickens, Bramble Tail milk and cheese (herdshare members only), herbal remedies by Aubrie, and Firefly chocolate. Hawk Hill Sourdough Bread loaves will be available in our barn this week.


A Vision for the Future at Green Valley Community Farm

“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say "It is yet more difficult than you thought." This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course... The impeded stream is the one that sings.” 

“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives." - Wendell Berry

This year, as a community, we shared the inherent risks of agriculture; we shared the labor and the fruits. Kayta and I feel it is only fitting we share a vision as well. Here, two weeks away from the end of our 2017 CSA season, we thought we might share with you our vision for the future of Green Valley Community Farm.

Of course, the fate of the farm and the exact shape it takes are beholden to myriads of unknowns. But as a community we have the reigns; we have the power to steer a course, to outline a shape, to work on building something needful together. This is the true spirit of Community Supported Agriculture -- to involve a community of eaters in the life and growth of a farm.

First, let's recap.

This year, we cultivated about 2 acres. The harvest from this land was focused toward the CSA program, which reached 30 shares (households), while two summer Farmer's Markets (Forestville and Occidental), a little bit of wholesale, and donations to the CERES Community Project captured the overflow. The year was challenging in the ways we expected it would be as we established our systems and tried our trade on this land for the first time. In the end, it was a very encouraging year -- especially the CSA program. Having you all here interacting with the farm reaffirmed our love for this model of agriculture and our vision for the farm.


What of the future?

Buoyed by this year, we'll increase the size of the CSA to around 50 shares next year (tell your friends!) while dropping the Forestville Market. We'll plant about the same acreage, refine our systems and our crop planning, and plant our first fruit trees. We're excited for the raspberry canes and the strawberry patch to experience their first true spring. Otherwise, next year should look much the same this one has, with its own unique terroir and it's own story.

As the years role on, as the CSA grows by word-of-mouth, as the perennials grow, and as Kayta and I grow as farmers, we envision Green Valley Community Farm as an exclusively CSA farm supported by around 200 shares. At 200 shares, couple farmers can start making a living, and this number is around what we feel our land base can support while allowing us to rest fields in the summer... an important part of keeping things sustainable here.

We envision perennial fruit in the share with fruiting trees, shrubs, and natives contouring the hillsides above the fields and quilted alongside and possibly within the lower fields, providing three dimensional, continuous habitat and refuge for wildlife... and people. We envision more shade structures, more seating areas, and pathways on the farm and connecting the fields to Green Valley Creek.

We envision more animals in the mix. Already there are whispers on the wind about bringing in chickens next year. Next year, or whenever they arrive, chickens rotating on fallow fields and on adjacent hillsides will enliven the soil, the landscape, and our omelets. As soon as we get a big enough swath of resting summer cover crop, we hope to commission some of Bramble Tail's Jerseys to lend their services to the soil.

We envision more farmers in the mix! We're looking forward to introducing you to our friend and farmer extra-ordinare Elliot, who'll be helping us out next year! As the farm grows we envision welcoming the gifts of fellow farmers to this land, perhaps an apprenticeship program someday when we stop being disciples.

Whatever obstacles and challenges the future holds for this farm, if the vision shapes up to be half as fun as this year, the future looks bright. 

See you in the fields,