Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Acupuncture Happy Hour

Colchester provides nourishment for the body through more than food.

“All the relaxation, none of the hangover,” that is how Holly Arbuckle, L.Ac., M.A.c. advertised her recent introduction to Five Elements Acupuncture, called Acupuncture Happy Hour, held in the community building at Colchester. In addition to providing her audience a basic introduction to the theory behind Chinese Five Elements Acupuncture, Holly also provided a basic detoxification treatment.

The detoxification treatment that was included in Acupuncture Happy Hour differs from Holly’s regular practice. The happy hour treatment is a general treatment which is appropriate for everyone, but, in her practice, Holly uses an individual’s physical and emotional state to determine what the right treatment is. Although Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of ailments, according to Holly, “Acupuncture helps to restore the body’s balance, stimulating self-healing and heightens awareness of how an individual can make lifestyle choices to maintain that balance.” Holly forms a partnership with her patients in order to help them get back on the path of personal wellness.

Holly’s office is located in Galena, MD. For more information or to set up an intial consultation, she can be reached at (410) 648-5290. Holly will also be continuing to host Acupuncture Happy Hour, so check the Colchester calendar.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Rot

Ick! The tomatoes look all red and juicy from the top, but sometimes when you go to pick them off the vine your thumb goes right through the bottom. The culprit is Blossom-End Rot or, as I like to call it, The Rot. Theresa says this is quite common in our first round of tomatoes. According to NC State University:

"Blossom-end rot of tomatoes is a physiological disorder caused by a lack of sufficient calcium in the blossom end of the fruit. This disorder results in the decay of tomato fruits on their blossom end. Dry brown or tan areas the size of a dime, that grow to the size of a half dollar, characterize this disorder. This disorder is usually most severe following extremes in soil moisture (either too dry or too wet)." (

As many of our CSA members are aware, a number of our crops have suffered set backs this season due in part to adverse weather conditions. The early spring was extremely wet, and we have now suffered a major dry spell. We continually irrigate all our fields, but, unfortunately we have still lost some of our tomatoes to The Rot.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Veggies...what are they good for?

The eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal (Solanum melongena) is a plant of the family Solanacae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. As a night-shade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India and Sri Lanka.

Baked Eggplant Slices
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup minced greed onion
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Peel eggplant and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt, let drain 3o minutes then pat dry. Combine mayonnaise and onion. Spread on both sides of eggplant slices. Mix crumbs with cheese. Dip coated eggplant into crumb mixture. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees approximately 20 minutes. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 97)

Eggplant, Onion and Tomatoes

  • 1 large eggplant
  • Salt
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and slice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Peel the eggplant and cut into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle cubes with salt and let drain 30 minutes. Pat dry. Saute eggplant and onion in butter in a large skillet approximately 8 minutes or until tender crisp. Stir in tomatoes, salt, oregano and pepper. Cover and cook slowly for another 1o minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and parsley. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 99)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Youth Action Camp

As a part of the Kent County Youth Action Camp, (, each Tuesday and Friday (harvest days) a group of campers has come to Colchester to help pick vegetables for our CSA members. Kent County developed the program:
Recognizing the need for leadership, guidance and opportunities for youth
entering grades five and six, Youth In Action was fostered through its notably successful predecessor Leaders Club. Youth will participate in a highly structured program that promotes strong values and character building, fit and healthy lifestyle choices, nature appreciation, as well as fun and educational fieldtrips and events. (Kent County Parks and Recreation Activities Guide)
Though it seems that the kids are more interested in the chickens than they are in picking cherry tomatoes, we have enjoyed sharing the farming experience with them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Yoga Farm

The Colchester Farm Community Supported Agriculture Project (CFCSA Project) is unique because it offers its members more than just access to fresh, pesticide-free vegetables. Colchester provides its members with many ways to achieve individual and community health.

One way that Colchester promotes healthy individuals and communities is by offering yoga classes. Led by Ronni Diamond, a certified Kripalu yoga instructor, many CSA members and other members of the local community meet once a week to practice yoga together. ( Yoga has many health benefits including stress reduction and increased flexibility. Not only that, yoga classes are a great place to meet new people.

I have to admit that last spring when I was visiting farms looking for the right place for me to do my internship, one of the reasons that I chose Colchester was because of the opportunity to continue my yoga practice. When I got home after interviewing with Theresa, I told my mom, "I love it! It's a yoga farm!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunflower Man

My mother has always been afraid of sunflowers. She says she they are sinister. In the past I couldn't understand why she felt that way. Things are a little different now however. More than once this sunflower has startled us in the field. There is nothing else as tall as the sunflower and sometimes its shadow resembles that of a man. Both Theresa and John have mistaken the sunflower in the tomato field for Rob, one of the other people that lives on the farm. It is a little creepy when you finding yourself calling out "hello?" and then you turn around and the sunflower is the only thing there. I am not sure if it's true or not, but sometimes I feel like its watching me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Veggies...what are they good for?


Beets, Beta vulgaris, commonly known as beetroot or beet which is the common American English term for the vegetable, is a flowering plant species in the family Chepenopodiaceae. Several culivars are valued around the world as edible root vegetable, fodder (mangel) and sugar-producing sugar beet. (

Roasted Beets

  • 5 medium beets, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wrap each beat in foil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour or until beets feel tender when pressed. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel skins. Quarter beets. Combine oil, vinegar, dill and salt. Add beets; toss to coat. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 24)

Pickled Beets

  • 1 gallon beets
  • 2 quarts vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Choose smaller beets if they are to be left whole. Wash beets, leaving 1-inch of stem and the roots intact. Cook, unpeeled, until skins can be easily slipped off. Mix other ingredients and bring to a boil; simmer 15 minutes. Pack hot peeled beets into jars. Pour hot pickling solution over beets and cover with lids. In a pressure canner, process at 10 lb pressure, pints 30 minutes, quarts 35 minutes. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 26)

The Buy Local Challenge

Today marks the beginning of the week-long Buy Local Challenge sponsored by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission. ( Eating locally is easier for those of us who live on the farm, but The Buy Local Challenge asks every Maryland family to eat at least one locally produced product (produce, meat, eggs, fruit, etc.) a day for the week of July 19 - 27, 2008.

There are multiple benefits to The Buy Local Challenge. It provides an incentive for those families who do not normally patronize farmers' markets or farm stands to come into contact with food producers which can increase markets for farmers. Additionally, eating locally produced foods also decreases the "food miles" that food travels thus decreasing the amount of fossil fuels used to transport food over great distances. Finally, as a bonus to the consumer, the food just tastes better.

(Tip: Cabbage, Beans (snap, pole & lima); Blueberries; Squash (summer); Corn (yellow & white); Cucumbers, Potatoes; Beets; Tomatoes; Blackberries; Peaches; Carrots; Broccoli; Okra; Cantaloupes; Plums; Peas (Black-Eyed); Nectarines; Eggplant; Peppers; and Watermelon are some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season this week) (

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Fox in the Hen House...Literally....

A few weeks ago we forgot to shut the door to the hen house in the evening. One of the foxes that comes around nightly took advantage of the situation, and our laying hen population was drastically reduced.

Last week, the newest addition to the farm was a batch of chicks. The new babies include both Road Island Reds and Lt. Brahmas, brown egg laying hens. They were ordered in a "straight run", meaning that there is the possibility that there will be male chicks. If so, they will be the first roosters on the property. Look our ladies!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Team Colchester

Sometimes it really is all fun and games on the farm. Today we were driving tomato stakes with mallots when John said that we look like we are in training. I asked him, "In training for what, American Gladiators?" "Of course," he said. Immediately we began proposing gladiator names. Should we be named after vegetable varieties we are growing like Cosmonaut Volkav (a Ukrainian heirloom tomato) or Champion (a cool weather radish)? Maybe we should have equipment names like The Cultivator? It is hard to pick your gladiator name, but thinking about it sure does make working in the sun a little easier.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pest Managment

This season Beetles of many varieties have caused a lot of damage to the crops. The Colorado Potato Beetle damaged our potatoes, and the Mexican Bean Beetle attacked our string beans.

One way that we have tried to manage the bugs has been to pick off the adults and the larva by hand. However, we still lost a large number of plants to the beetles. In an effort to save the broccoli and the cauliflower that we are planting now for fall harvesting, we have decided to use preventative measures. We covered the crops with row cover, a thin net-like material to keep the Flea Beetle from eating the baby brassica's leaves. Rather than dealing with the infestation after the fact, we are hoping that the row cover will prevent the bugs from establishing a population.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Manners

Chickens are not like dogs. In my family all the dogs have been taught that when you say "excuse me," they are to get out of the way. Chickens just do not seem to understand this simple request.

Today, I was attempting to shovel compost (one of the main ingredients in our potting soil), but the chickens wouldn't move. First I asked them nicely, "Excuse me please," I said in a happy sing-song voice. Then in a stronger, louder voice, "Excuse me." Finally in frustration I yelled at the chickens, "I said excuse me!" It took me a moment, but then I realized if anyone was watching they would seriously questions my sanity. After all who expects chickens to have manners?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Veggies...what are they good for?


Zucchini is a small summer squash. Along with some other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbito pepo. The zucchini can be yellow, green or light green, and generally has a similar shape to a ridged cucumber, though a few cultivars are available that produce round or bottle-shaped fruit. In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower. (

Zucchini Fritters

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • vegetable oil

Wrap shredded zucchini in dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Combine zucchini with onion, salt, pepper and eggs. Mix well. Stir in flour. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat/ Drop in 4 rounded tablespoons zucchini mixture and press down to form 3 inch pancakes. Cook 4-5 minutes or until golden brown, turn once. Repeat with remaining batter, adding oil as needed. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 239).

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded, peeled zucchini

Cream sugar, butter and oil. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add. Stir in zucchini. Pour into a buttered 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees approximately 40 minutes.

Variation: Add 1 teaspoon grated orange to the batter. Make a glaze with 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel and 1 tablespoon orange juice. Drizzle over cake. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 247).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Provider the king of beans

According to Fedco, the seed company from which we purchased our green bean seeds:

Originally snap beans had tough zipper-like strings between the two halves of the pod which had to be removed before serving. Hence they were called “string beans". (

This season we are growing three varieties of green beans: Provider; Royal Burgundy; and Bountiful Bush Bean. Provider is the best selling brand of organic green beans, but the Royal Burgundy beans are my personal favorite. There is just something exciting about purple beans.

Though we don't often think of green beans in terms of their health benefits, green beans provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals.

Green beans, while quite low in calories (just 43.75 calories in a whole cup), are loaded with enough nutrients to not only power up the Jolly Green Giant, but to put a big smile on his face. Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Plus green beans are very good source of vitamin A (notably through their concentration of carotenoids including beta-carotene), dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin. (

(Tip: When shopping for beans at your farmers' market, you should test a bean to see if it will cling to your shirt. The small hairs on fresh green beans make them cling like Velcro. This also makes them good for playing green bean war.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Unfortunate Adolescense

Our turkeys have definitely reached the awkward stage. (I thought I had it bad in high school and all I had to deal with was braces.) These heritage turkeys will take about 28 weeks to reach maturity. Hopefully they will have reached their full weight by Thanksgiving and we will be able to join a growing number of Americans who are eating heritage breeds rather than conventionally raised poultry.

The Slow Food Movement ( has been promoting heritage Thanksgiving turkeys since 2002. The Slow Food Movement's Mission:
Slow Food USA envisions a future food system that is based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability, and social justice – in
essence, a food system that is good, clean and fair.
We seek to catalyze a broad cultural shift away from the destructive effects of an industrial food system and fast life; toward the regenerative cultural, social and economic benefits of a sustainable food system, regional food traditions, the pleasures of the table, and a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life.
By promoting the sale of heritage breed poultry, Slow Food USA helps promote the biodiversity of the species and contributes to building a sustainable food system.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Unusual co-workers and lunchtime friends

One thing that I love about my internship is the unique co-workers and lunch time companions. In the office you eat with your fellow workers, but on the farm it's a little different. Sometimes it’s the chickens who come by to investigate what I brought to eat, but today I had some larger company.

As the calves get a little older they have begun to exhibit a greater interest in the goings on around them. Instead of running away when I come out to eat like they used to, they now stand eyeing me cautiously from the other side of the fence. They look to their mothers for reassurance, but they are much less camera shy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why is it that destruction can be so pretty?

As the summer continues, we have seen increasing bug pressure in many of our crops. The Mexican Bean Beetle has proved particularly destructive this season and has significantly decreased the yield of all three varieties of our beans. The characteristic shriveling of the leaves, while devastating to the plant, often resembles lace.
According to the University of Illinois' Integrated Pest Management Website:
The Mexican bean beetle is one of only two North American species of destructive insects in an otherwise beneficial family (ladybird beetles) that contains over 400 species. Adult Mexican bean beetles feed on seedlings early in the season. The larvae feed on leaves; in their early growth stages, they feed exclusively on the lower surface of the leaf. Bean pods may also be scarred, but this damage is seldom considered economic. Soybeans near woodlots, alfalfa fields, and fields where residues have not been plowed are most likely to incur damage. Though the Mexican bean beetle has mandibles that are typical of chewing insects, it does not swallow bits of food. Rather, it masticates its food and consumes the resultant juices. The foliage of garden beans such as snap, kidney, pinto, and lima are preferred, but Mexican bean beetles can also be serious pests of soybeans. The beetles also feed on alfalfa, clover, peanut, okra, eggplant, squash, and various weeds. Both larvae and adults impart a skeletonized or lacy appearance to leaves by consuming the leaves' epidermal layers. Heavily infested soybean fields take on a dusty appearance as leaves shrivel and turn brown. (

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vampires? Not on this farm.

Since Theresa took over the as the farm manager, she has been experimenting with growing different types of garlic. We are currently growing five different varieties and some have proved better suited to the soil conditions than others. In mid June we harvested a variety of garlic called Spanish Roja. The Spanish Roja bulbs were small, but the Music variety has been quite successful.

After harvesting the garlic we hung it in the shed to dry. Once it has dried for one to two weeks we will begin to offer it to the CSA members. It will be interesting to see if the members express a preference for one variety over another.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Veggies...what are they good for?


The cabbage (Brassica oleracea, Capitata Group), is a plant of the Family Brassicacae (or Cruciferae). It is a herbaceous, biennial, and dicotyledonous flowering plant with leaves forming a characteristic compact cluster. Cabbages grown late in autumn and in the beginning of winter are called coleworts. The cabbage is derived from a leafy wild mustard plant, native to the Mediterranean region. (

Vegetable Cabbage Slaw
  • 2 Cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • 1 Carrot, shredded
  • 1 Green pepper, chopped
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • 1 Small onion, chopped fine
  • 4-6 Radishes, sliced thin
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ Cup cream
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar

Combine vegetables, mix well. Mix together remaining ingredients and gently stir in to the vegetables. Chill before serving. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 45)

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

  • 2 Tablespoons oil (or bacon drippings)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped onion
  • 6 Cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 Unpeeled tart apple, diced
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup water
  • ¼ Cup vinegar

Heat oil in a large kettle. Add onion and sauté until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cook covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook approximately 15 minutes.
(The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 47)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Educational Happy Hour

On Wednesday afternoons we get together for an hour to talk about issues related to organic farming that interest us. Carey is particularly attracted to the idea of seed saving. At her request we let the swiss chard in the high tunnel flower so that we can save the seeds and plant them again in the fall rather than purchasing new seed.

To learn more, The International Seed Saving Institute provides basic guidelines to seed saving for backyard gardeners.