Jun 102012
 
Skidway Island State Park

We just returned from the first campout with my camper since major water damage repairs forced her out of commission for about seven months.  Her first venture out was quite a success at Skidway State Park near Savannah, Georgia.

Saturday morning we hit the Forsyth Farmers Market, by far one of the best I have ever been to.  TONS of fresh organic produce, gorgeous flower, honey, fresh breads, dips and sauces, coffees and more.

Forsyth Farmers Market, Savannah, Georgia

Upon arrival one of the first things we got to do was plant a bean plant with my daughter’s name – they said that next time we came back and it had sprouted we could take it home.  What a cute idea! I hope ours goes to a great home.
 

One of the highlights of the market was meeting Rejanne from Moonthyme Garden and Nursery.  I noticed she had amaranth – a type of grain.  She patiently explained about the growing cycle and how to dry and clean it so I went ahead and bought some along with some gorgeous lime basil.  If you are in the Savannah area, do check out her fresh herbs and veggies – to get in contact with her, her email is moonthymegarden@earthlink.net.

Rejanne Dunmow from Moonthyme Garden & Nursery
Pineapple Sage

Walker Farms

I also spent some time speaking with Walker Farms – a local (to that area) organic farm.  What caught my eye were the gorgeous beans and carrots.  I love anything unique and these certainly were!  They also had fresh cut flower and tons of other super fresh produce.

www.walkerorganicfarms.com

Walker Farms
Next I came across Farm a la Carte – what I loved was her food truck/farm stand.  It was lined with wooden crates filled with fruits and veggies and she was also selling cheese, meats and eggs, as well as what looked like sauces.
Farm a la Carte
I could definitely see me in a similar set up.  Hmm…..I shall add this to my “Vision Board”.  I wish I could have spoken with her but every time I walked by there was a line.  It must be good!

Farm a la Carte – Forsyth Farmers Market, Savannah, Georgia
We returned to Skidway Island State Park and smashed up some guacamole from veggies we had on hand, and then cooked up corn, peppers, onions and beans on the fire.   
Peppers and Onions from the Forsyth Farmers Market

Fresh Corn from Forsyth Farmers Market

A good time was had by all. If you are in the Savannah area be sure to check out the Forsyth Farmers Market located on the south end of Forsyth Park.
 Posted by at 10:18 pm
Jun 052012
 

If you are a member or future member of a CSA this letter is important to read and may answer many of the questions everyone has about last year’s share and what local farmers face throughout the year. 

__________________________________________________________

Membership Report CSA Season 2011-2012
Dear Farm Members:

Our season began November 15, 2011 and started off strong with the warm weather crops such as cucumbers, eggplant, yum-yum peppers, tomatoes and winter squash. Due to the mild winter weather, the season ran straight through for the full 24 weeks with no breaks in the schedule and ended on April 19, 2012. Also, because of the mild weather, we were able to offer a Mini Season for 6 weeks starting the first week of May. Overall for the regular season, we had over 250 members this year!

We currently offer drop-off service to members on Tuesdays and pick-up at the farm on Thursdays. We also sell to wholesale customers, like natural food stores and local restaurants, as well as to non-members at the farm on Saturday mornings, and at 5 different farmers markets throughout the week. Some members have commented on the condition or quality of the vegetables and our commitment to the members. We want everyone to know that our first commitment is to the CSA membership. Our vegetables are harvested on Monday for the Tuesday drop off and Wednesdays for the Thursday pick up members. The drop off bags are packed at the farm on Tuesday mornings and delivered to the drop off locations. On Thursdays, the vegetables are laid out at the farm for the members to pick up on their own. There is more flexibility if members wish to swap out a vegetable for more of another. Only after the members have received their shares are wholesale or market customers considered. However, if a crop is not ready to be harvested for the drop off or pickup members, it may be ready for picking in time for one of the markets and past ready or rotting if we hold it for the next week’s drop off/pickup. The markets and wholesale customers are needed to offset the costs of farming.

At the end of every season, we send out a membership survey to find out what were the favorite and least favorite vegetables offered over the course of the season. The top 5 vegetables from the survey from May of 2011 were: carrots, broccoli, lettuces, tomatoes, and beets. As a result, more of these vegetables were offered during the 2011-2012 season. Daikon radish, bok choy and kohlrabi were the least favorite and likewise, their offering was reduced this season. Please continue to fill out the surveys; they help us to plan out our growing season.

Some of the great benefits of being CSA members include knowing your farmer, fresher, locally grown organic vegetables, classes, workshops and potlucks and harvesting opportunities! This season was no different, with two harvesting opportunities for the members: green beans last Fall, and our Spring potluck in April, where members could pull their own potatoes, and pick their own green beans, wax beans and English peas in April. Approximately 50 families attended and learned about the different organic farming practices in a tour with Francisco, and in addition, got the experience of harvesting their own vegetables. Afterwards, everyone shared a potluck lunch, and finished the day with a delicious slice of a KYV Farm cake, prepared by one of our members!

Tour de Farm 2012

 Although most people enjoyed the milder winter temperatures this past year, it presented additional farming challenges. The freeze in December damaged the broccoli; the winds in March damaged the hoop houses and the tomato plants. In addition, the cool spell that we had in April, combined with the much needed rain, caused the tomatoes to suffer from late blight, which was the same disease that was responsible for the Irish Potato Famine.

We thought we would provide some general information about the CSA, organic farming and the growing season since we have received many comments and questions from the members, in person and in response to the membership survey. First off, Local Harvest offers some useful information about Community Supported Agriculture, as well as some tips for CSA members. You can find these two articles here:

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/tips.jsp

Pie Model at Tour de Farm

Florida is a unique location to farm in, because it presents many problems due to the heat, the soil and insects. Having an organic farm compounds that problem because most of the maintenance of the crops is done by hand vs. the spraying of pesticides and fungicides.in conventional farming. Many of our members have also questioned why a certain vegetable is not available at a certain time of year. Because of the heat in Florida, our growing season is different than the rest of the country, for example, sweet corn grows in May here as opposed to August and September in the Northeast. This past season, because the Fall weather was so warm, we were able to grow potatoes for the Fall and offered them to the members in December, however, they are commonly harvested in the Spring. We think this link provides a good overview of the growing season in North Florida, as well as the obstacles we face in farming:
http://christy-swift.suite101.com/vegetable-gardening-in-florida-a111545

2012 Farm Pot Luck

We have made some revisions to the CSA for next season, and we have opened up the 2012-2013 season to the members. (Please go to our website and reserve your space for next season) We will not be increasing our membership prices; however, we will be including a surcharge for the drop-off members, and in addition, adding a home-delivery option, for a fee.
In addition, many members commented on the quantity of each vegetable offered each week and would like to see more of each vegetable. Therefore, next season, we will be offering larger amounts of each vegetable, but fewer total numbers of vegetables for each week. For example, last season, beets were offered in a bunch of 3. Next season, the beets will be in a bunch of 6. Currently, we offer a selection of 8-11 vegetables and we will reduce the number of vegetables to between 7-9. This past season presented a challenge with the citrus due to the mild winter. As a result, the trees were finished producing early and this created issue with regard to having to credit members for many weeks with no citrus. As a result, next season we will not be offering a citrus share, but will only have bags of citrus available for purchase, when available.

As a final reminder, please note that you can recycle your newspapers here, we use them for packing the boxes of vegetables. Also, the warm weather is the time of year when the chickens are laying faster than we can get egg cartons to put the eggs in! Therefore, please bring your old egg cartons back. You can also bring your vegetable scraps to feed the chickens!

We would like to thank you for your continued support. Through you, we are able to continue doing what we love; growing and bringing you clean food. Thank you all for inspiring us everyday to farm for the community!
Francisco and Vivian
KYV FARM
Organic Vegetables & Specialty Citrus
Community Supported Agriculture Wholesale Distribution
Francisco Arroyo and Vivian Bayona
1670 Borrow Pit Rd. Switzerland, FL 32259
Cell: (787)232-7359 or (787)232-2234
www.kyvfarm.com email:info@kyvfarm.com

 Posted by at 10:49 am
Apr 242012
 
Earth Day was also the Slow Food First Coast Tour de Farm where all the local farms open their doors for samples, tours and lots of fun. I, of course, was at KYVFarm all day!
 There were fresh eggs and lots of veggies for sale at the market.  From noon through the rest of the day people were lining up.

Slow food First Coast organized four volunteers to help with veggie prep, traffic and questions. Heather has also been a KYV CSA member since the very beginning!
I arrived at 10AM and started working on the veggies along with other friends and neighbors.

Shannon and Vivian worked the tables all day!

Minorcan Datil Pepper products were up for sale.

Pie in the Sky was selling fresh pies.

Veronica, also my photographer for the day, scored a coconut cream pie.
Chefs Genie and Jeff from the Floridian made a creamy rutabaga salad, kohlrabi slaw and marinated green beans. 
Chef David Scalisse from Sawgrass made a lemony bean salad.

My photojournalist and her sister Viviana.

Hayrides!

The children loved getting involved.

The animals got lots of love.

Francisco’s hard work has really paid off.  Many thanks for all the work that you and Vivian do to provide healthy and delicious food for our families!

 And thanks to Veronica for being my most excellent photographer. 

  
 Posted by at 2:00 am
Apr 172012
 
Food Summit, this Saturday, April 21st.

On April 21, the Duval County Food Policy Council, an organization dedicated to improving community health, is hosting the first-ever Duval County Food Summit . Bringing key players within the food system together for the first time in a public conversation, we’ll work together to improve the quality and accessibility of healthy food in our community.
Recognizing that access to fresh and affordable food is a vital component to building a healthy and thriving community; please join in this important conversation. Your participation is the first step in a community-based effort to ensure a quality food system leading to better health for all people throughout Duval County . The program will feature Dr. Oran Hesterman, President of the Fair Food Network, Eric Olsen, VP government relations Feeding America , and our hometown Naval Hospital Director of Public Health Dr. Joseph McQuade, who will guide us in:

- Uncovering the challenges and opportunities to bringing healthy food to all members of our community
- Learning how to advocate for greater access to fresh and healthy food
- Discovering how simple, tasty and affordable eating healthy can be
- Exchanging tips and resources to incorporate healthy food into everyday routine
- Children’s nutrition and “what is eating our children”.
Duval County Food Summit, Saturday, April 21, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Schultz Center . You are welcome to join for a little bit or stay all day. Enter FOOD 2012 in the scholarship field during registration to receive free admission! 6 CEUs are available. Breakfast and lunch will be prepared and provided by American Culinary Federation chefs! For questions about the Summit , please contact Laureen Husband at Laureen_Husband@doh.state.fl.us.
For the flyer please click here.

 Posted by at 9:04 am
Apr 142012
 

Happy Saturday all! Sorry for the repost but due to technical difficulties, the info didn’t save in the body of my update. 

_______________________________________________

The Tour De Farm next Sunday the 22nd is where local farms in Northeast Florida will throw open their doors to the public to explore and taste.  Please come visit me at KYV farm where I am volunteering and meet the farmers Vivian and Francisco.  I hope to meet you soon!

“This tour is for anyone who wants to learn about local food production – where the food comes from, and the people who produce it. Families, individuals, groups of friends, cyclists, all are welcome!

You can attend an educational farm workshop, meet great chefs, taste produce right from the field, take a walking tour of the farm, and lots more.

Please take the time to look over our TOUR TIPS [on the link below] to help plan your trip. Suggested tours will help you make the most of your day!


Visitors are welcome from 12 noon to 5 pm – farms will not be ready for you before noon.”
Please click here for the Tour De Farm info.

 Posted by at 10:32 am
Mar 112012
 
Yesterday was the KVY Canning and Preservation Workshop.

We learned about some great resources – books and websites.
This is the one I want to buy.  I’ll add this to my Shop as well as some of these others.

Member Melanie Harris graciously allowed us to use her canning kitchen to host our workshop.  Many thanks to Melanie!

Member Karin demonstrates one method of placing the jars into the hot water bath.

Melanie shows us some of the gadgets for making jellies, jams, sauces and sauerkraut.
And my favorite part…the tasting!  We got to sample all of these delicious canned, pickled and fermented foods.

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Mar 092012
 

Vivian – farmer extraordinair, hostess with the mostess, master hair stylist, and seasoned chef – shared this idea with me and I had one of those, EUREKA, moments.  Why didn’t I think of this?

She tells me, “Nothing is wasted.” With my War on Waste, I was very excited about this idea.Simply save all the clean veggie scraps in a covered “scrap container” with a paper towel in it in the refrigerator or freezer.  The scrap container can be any reusable container with a lid.

Since I recently saw organic veggie broth for almost four dollars per carton this will save you tons; this method makes probably two cartons.   Additionally, when vegetables are boiled, a lot of the nutrients end up in the water.  When we discard that water we send all the good stuff down the drain!  This is a great way to add some additional nutrients into your diet.  Just be sure to keep the broth refrigerated for a few days and then freeze until ready to use.

Use the broth when you cook beans, make soup, cook rice and even pasta.

Vivian’s Vivacious Organic Vegetable Broth
Vegan, Gluten Free, Salt Free

Ingredients

Any clean veggie scraps you have, enough to fill about a gallon “scrap container” – use the ribs of kale or collards, the stems of broccoli, ends of onions – whatever!
A few garlic cloves (optional)
Water to cover the veggie scraps in a large Dutch oven or stock pot

Directions

1. Put the veggie scraps in the Dutch oven, cover with water; bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer about an hour.  Drain veggies from liquid, cool liquid and store in fridge or freeze in cubes.

 Posted by at 10:35 am
Mar 062012
 
Please check out my friend Anna’s new website – The Organic Adventurer.  She is taking the Meat Free March pledge along with me.  Will you join her?

She does green living consultation and shares this explanation of what that means.  “A green living consultant performs a “green audit” of your home, lifestyle, work environment, specific environmental concerns—whatever area of your life you’d like to make more environmentally friendly. The consultant then uses that information to identify up to 10 items that you can act on easily and immediately. All the research will be done for you. You will know exactly what to do, why it should be done and how to do it. You can even choose to leave out the “why,” if you like!”

Interested?  Contact her here!

She also writes amazing articles for EU Jacksonville – including lots about CSA, farmers markets and local farms!

 Posted by at 5:02 pm
Mar 032012
 

My secret to health and weight loss is one that isn’t mainstream yet, but it’s slowly growing in popularity.  I still am amazed to find people every day that haven’t heard of it.

The wide variety of vegetables I receive has enabled me to get more veggies into my plant based diet by keeping things interesting.  Broccoli, kohlrabi, onions, cauliflower, tomato, spinach, brussels, eggplant, beans, potatoes, cabbage, beets, Swiss chard, squash, collard greens and kale are just some of the veggies I have tried and loved.
 
There is no way I’d be able to eat just lettuce every day and not get bored.
 

For anyone that doesn’t know what this is, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.


A CSA/farm share is when, before the start of a season or growing period, you pay a farmer for a “share” of the crop. Yes, there are risks to this, for instance, there could be a hot or cold snap that affects the crop, but the rewards far outweigh the risks.


Experience is the second reason I joined a CSA farm share.  It is that intangible thing that you won’t find in that random delivery farm bag where the veggies come from a variety of farms, and we surely can’t get it in the grocery store at the corner.  In our busy world today, a CSA allows us to take a break.  Get away from the electronics for a few minutes and visit the earth.  I bring my daughter to reconnect with nature and discover where real food comes from.  When I joined, I became part of a like minded community that embraces health and nature.


Which is why you should join one too!
Whether you pick your veggies up from a drop off point, or actually go to the farm and select the freshest from the bin, you are part of that family.  There are events such as workshops, pot lucks and dinners. You can meet your farmers and occasionally get a chance to dig in the earth and pull up some veggies with your very own hands.


When you visit the grocery store, those vegetables or fruits were picked by people you don’t know and likely shipped from around the world.  We don’t know the conditions these farmers and workers work in, we don’t see the facility and we don’t know the actual farmers.  In fact, the farm we think our food comes from is not typically the case.  Those idyllic pictures of a cow grazing and a red barn are just good marketing – that’s not where WalMart is getting it’s veggies, milk and meat.  You will only find that image is reality at a small local farm.  Agribusiness is big business. There is a lot of money being thrown around and the ones that benefit are the executives that pocket their fat bonus checks and their concern is only the bottom line.  Those folks may not have even stepped in the soil, yet they are making decisions about the food we put in our bodies.


Life for the small farmer is not easy and not glamorous.  It’s a up before dawn, home after dark, out in the elements, seven day a week job.  But they love every minute of it.  The small farmer is passionate.  They do it because they love it, and it shows (and tastes) in the food they produce.


I know that those times I have brought my daughter to pick up our weeks vegetables, see the animals, and pick beans or potatoes in the field, are times that she will never forget.  She will have lifelong memories and knowledge of where food comes from.


Join a CSA and support your community, your farmer and your health and lose weight while you’re at it.  In the off season, support your local, small, natural food grocer.


If you want to try a share out for a shorter period, KYV is offering a mini share for the end of the season so this is the perfect time to check it out if you aren’t already a member.  Contact them at info@kyvfarm.com or email me and I’ll help you get all set up.  If you don’t know what the heck to do with one of the veggies, just contact me and I’ll walk you through it and send you some recipes.


This broccoli came from the farm so here is one to try. What is best about this recipe is the broccoli is raw so the flavor really comes through.  It’s sweet, tangy deliciousness!

Broccoli Raisin Apple Salad

with Creamy Honey Lemon Dressing
Inspired by Native Sun Deli
Serves 2
Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Gluten Free



Ingredients


1 small head broccoli, chopped
2 Tbsp raisins
1 apple
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 Tbsp reduced fat Vegenaise
Squeeze of lemon
2 Tbsp honey (or agave)
Sea salt and Fresh ground pepper


Directions


1. Mix the broccoli, raisins, apple and red onion in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl mix the Vegenaise, lemon, honey, salt and pepper.  Pour over broccoli mixture and toss.

(I’m trying to get the nutritional info in here but having weird
formatting problems so I will just give you the basics.)

Nutrition Info
2 Servings
Amount per Serving

Calories  135.5
Total Fat 3.1
Cholest   0.0mg
Sodium  126.0mg
Carbs     27.2g
Fiber      5.8g
Sugars    15.3g
Protein   4.8g

Vitamin A 47.5%
Vitamin C 241.40 %
Calcium    8%

Feb 292012
 

A few weeks ago I got a wonderful question/comment from a reader. (Once again, to anyone who comments or asks questions, thank you!)

What is inhumane about milk and cheese?

Here are my thoughts on this question as well as some info on why it’s not necessarily the healthiest choice.

We tend to think of only slaughterhouses when we think of the mistreatment of animals; however, large scale dairy farms can also be very inhumane. There are multiple stories of horrific abuse…..cows tethered by the nose and beaten, downed and lying in waste, prodded, infected udders bursting, udders being cut off. This parallels the issues I have with CAFOs or concentrated animal feeding operations in general. Picture a cow standing in a field of waste up to her knees all day, being fed corn she can’t digest, only to be faced with the kill chute at the end of her horrible life. Yes there absolutely are reputable dairy farmers; however, very few of us seek out a humane farmer and even meet them face to face.  Life is so busy that it’s easy to disassociate abuse with that cheap, white gallon jug in the refrigerated section of the grocery.
 
http://thechinastudy.com/
The second reason I am cutting out cow dairy goes back to health reasons. There are many studies I have come across, beginning with the China Study; an over 40 year study on the effects of animal protein ingestion, particularly dairy protein, that substantiates the fact that diets high in meat and dairy are the primary cause of heart disease and cancer, and that this protein is so powerful it can turn on and turn off cancer like a switch, depending on the levels of intake.
Government’s My Plate
I use a recent study from Harvard to back this decision up. The subject of their article in Nutrition Source, calcium and milk, is “Calcium is important. But milk isn’t the only, or even best, source.”   This flies in the face of everything the USDA tells us. In fact, Harvard revamped the USDA My Plate and put forth the Healthy Eating plate. Notice that the drink is water and not dairy.
Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate
Harvard states that, counter intuitively, dairy that is high in saturated fat and retinols, such as the milk, cheese, butter and ice cream we all love, can actually weaken bones. They suggest the best non-dairy sources of calcium are fortified non-dairy milks, dark greens such as kale, collard greens and bok choy, as well as in some dried beans. Also important is  the intake of Vitamin D (the best source is limited exposure to sunlight), Vitamin K, from dark leafy greens, and weight bearing exercise.

As a side note, something I also found interesting was that spinach and swiss chard contain oxalic acid, which combines with calcium to form a chemical salt that makes the calcium less available to the body.  They are absolutely still healthy for vitamins K and A, however, it looks like we shouldn’t use them as our primary calcium source.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve had a few slip ups at restaurants that told me there was no dairy in the dish but I’m pretty sure there was, or a late night slice of pizza, but as a whole, I’m avoiding it and I’m actually thankful my daughter is allergic to it.  I keep in mind that the USDA has a lot of backing from the very powerful dairy and meat industry, so their guidance on food doesn’t necessarily have my best interest in mind.  The bottom line is always the mighty dollar.

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 Posted by at 10:30 am