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One fairly dramatic change that we have experienced in the operation of the farm this year has been our active recruitment of larger groups of volunteers working all over the farm. While Hidden Villa has worked with volunteers for years and the help they have offered has always been an important part of what makes our farm run, this year our volunteer coordinator, Marc Sidel, has been bringing larger-sized groups of people often part of larger companies in our area to carry out teambuilding exercises and to put in a day working on the farm. It is a very different kind of management of work on the farm with a crazy rhythm. On two days this spring we have had more than 60 people come out to help us with field tasks for a period of a few hours.
I am proud to receive these visitors to the farm because I know from their questions and the way they are dressed that this experience is a new and possibly unique way for them to relate to food and food production. I can clearly see that these volunteer groups are advancing a kind of food education mission of Hidden Villa by offering a real working experience and a new context for understanding food.
The experience connecting to a small scale organic farm seems to inspire greater demand among consumers for more continued connection and access to our food. It shows me how much longing that people have for knowing a place and experiencing a food culture. To look at all of Hidden Villa's agricultural products it is plain to see that the demand in our area far outstrips our ability to ever supply. Seeing this bolsters another important educational goal of our farm-training younger farmers in operating farms. I look forward to a day when there are more farms in our area and more farmers working them to serve this huge demand for good, genuine food in its right season and context.
This week’s harvest includes:
Carrots: Carrots are delicious roasted. Julienne slice them, coat them in olive oil and a little salt and roast spread out on an oven tray at 400 for 15 minutes.
Head Lettuce: For this week’s salads.
Collards: Hearty cooking greens that are best braised-cooked in a hot skillet with intermittent splashes of water to cool the pan and hydrate the greens.
Green Garlic: It is pretty much matured by now into distinct cloves and heads. This garlic can now be saved and dried to be used as cloves for any cooking purposes.
Spring Onions: The onions are bulbing up bigger each week. Enjoy these sweet yet rich onions in salads, sauces, grilled, or as a frying base for heartier dishes.
Chard: These bunches of light cooking greens are best enjoyed chopped and sautéed 5-7 minutes and served as a side dish.
Basil: Small bunches of our first basil of the summer! Enjoy basil in pasta sauces, ribboned onto salads, minced atop pizza just out of the oven…
Broccoli: Broccoli is great for stir frying, sautéing, steaming or even roasting.