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Photo: Joey and Max at Let’s Go Farm in Santa Rosa
Hello CSA Members. It’s Taylor, your newest member of the Hidden Villa Farm Crew. As Jason mentioned in the last newsletter, I joined the Hidden Villa community in the beginning of April. I am coming to Hidden Villa with some farming and gardening experience from small farms in both Boston, MA and Western Marin County here in California. The internship program at Hidden Villa is a very exciting prospect for me as I am working with wonderful people and taking a strong first step towards my goal of one day running my own farm. So far I have been acclimating to life here on the farm, building new muscles I never knew I had, showing off blisters, eating and growing amazing food, and generally having a great time.
In this past week, as you were all devouring your first CSA box, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a farmer. When I was younger the word “farmer” meant a man in a straw hat and overalls, probably chewing on some grass or standing next to a cow. Until recently I didn’t see farming as a viable career option. Not that I thought I had to be a man in overalls, but I thought it was impossible to make a living as a small scale farmer. To be honest, I didn’t even know that small scale farming existed until just a few years ago.
This week more than ever I have been feeling that a career as a farmer is possible. I see more and more that people are starting to get behind the small, local food movement and support young farmers like myself. Just this weekend we all went up to visit Let’s Go Farm in Santa Rosa, which is run by Joey and Max, two former Hidden Villa interns. Their farm is coming along beautifully and is already getting support from the community through new CSA memberships and weekly presence at the farmers’ market. Spending the night and volunteering on their farm was an inspiring and encouraging experience. It really showed me that the agriculture internship program here at Hidden Villa can provide me with the tools that I will need to start a successful farming career. Plus, hanging out with those guys was a blast!
I am starting to get used to calling myself a farmer, and I am proud and excited to say that I will one day join the ranks of intelligent, resourceful, and passionate farmers/food activists out there. For now, you can identify me as the girl working in a straw hat and overalls. (It turns out straw hats are great sun protection and overalls are extremely comfortable and utilitarian.) Sometimes I even chew on grass. I am happy to be starting this season with all of you, and I hope you enjoy your food this week!
Welcome to your share of this week’s harvest including:
Sushi (Japanese) Turnips: This variety of turnip is mild and sweet when raw and delicious marinated in a bit of vinegar and salt. If you prefer, it can also be roasted or sautéed as a traditional turnip. You can also eat the greens which are extremely rich in calcium. Try them sautéed or added to a stir fry.
Baby Lettuce: The first lettuce of the year! These baby lettuce heads are crunchy and tender and will make for a lovely Spring salad.
Collards: I love collards sautéed in olive oil and tamari. Collards stand up to heat better than chard, and have a rich flavor that is unique from its cousin kale.
Green Garlic: Our garlic is getting bigger, but you can still slice it up all the way to the tougher part of the leaves. The bulb can be used as you would use cured garlic, and try puréeing the green parts with olive oil and vinegar for a nice sauce over veggies or as a salad dressing.
Spring Onions: Similar to the garlic, use the bulb as you would any onion, and enjoy the greens (all the way to the tips) as green onion garnishes.
Sage: Sage is a deliciously aromatic herb that goes really well with chicken and pork. It can be used fresh or let to dry for later use.