- About Us
- Visit Us
- Support Us
Hi CSA members! I’m Suzanne Allcroft, and I’m grateful to be entering my second year as an intern at Hidden Villa. With one farming season under my belt, I’m looking forward to what I can learn from my second. Last year I think my eyes were so wide open from moving to the farm from San Francisco, I wonder if I farmed half of last season in shock (a good shock).
In spite of the newness, I gained familiarity with and affection for the work, our crops, the pace of the farm season, and the community at Hidden Villa. I also learned how to cook, eat well, and get dirty, which I esteem as valuable lifelong skills. This year, I hope to learn more of the concrete skills necessary to run a small-scale organic farm, such as planning plantings (when, how much, and what to plant), understanding our finances and budget, and planning for our markets. I hope to apply what I’ve learned to start my own farm business in the near future.
The second year agriculture intern is typically the Journeyman Farmer, which is Nathan’s role this season. Since there are two of us second year interns this year, I’ll share what my role is and how it developed. After farming at Hidden Villa last year, I knew I wanted my professional path to support local agriculture, either by applying to a graduate program in urban planning or by starting a farm of my own. Hidden Villa interns can create an independent research project that supports their future goals. After some great brainstorming with Jason, I decided to undertake a project to learn how young, first generation farmers gain access to land. With Bay Area land so expensive and demand for local produce so high, I wanted to learn more about farmers that are leasing land in creative ways. And what, if any, city policies support land use for local agriculture? My research would primarily include interviewing neighboring farmers who have started their own farms.
I really appreciated Hidden Villa’s network and resources and applied to stay for another year to continue learning. I was also inspired by attending the Ecological Farming conference in February where I met like-minded farmers. I could now appreciate how the farm operation at Hidden Villa is part of a movement of farmers driven by social, environmental, and agrarian values. I knew I want to be a farmer who farms in this way.
My new position is the Food and Farm Advocacy Intern, in which I am lucky to continue farming and also devote time to my research project and sharing our farm with the community. I will be writing a weekly blog post, hosting more events on the farm (thanks to everyone who attended our recent farm tour!), and, by the end of my internship, organize a panel discussion at Hidden Villa on what we need to create a vibrant, local food system in the South Bay Area.
Thanks for being with us this season, and I hope you enjoy your produce!
Welcome to your share of this week’s harvest including:
Baby carrots: Delicious for eating raw or grating into salads. You can eat the greens too, which are similar to parsley and good in salad dressings.
Head lettuce: This head lettuce makes tender and crunchy salad greens.
Green Garlic: Our garlic is getting bigger, but you can still slice it up all the way to the tougher parts of the leaves. The bulb can be used as you would mature garlic.
Rainbow chard: A cooking green that does not need a lot of cooking time. Sauté it in olive oil and dress with garlic, lemon and salt. Chard stems sliced raw can be a crunchy and colorful addition to a salad or a slaw.
Lacinato or Red Russian Kale: My favorite greens! A woman at a produce market once told me she liked to sauté it with caramelized onions and eat it on a cracker with a slice of strong, creamy cheese. Yum! I like it sautéed as a side dish.
Baby Leeks: With a subtle and sweet flavor, these are good as a base for soups, especially with thyme and potatoes, or sautéed with any vegetable. They can also be blended into a salad dressing.
Mint: A refreshing herb for summer drinks like iced tea or mojitos. Good in grain salads like couscous with scallions and lemon. You can also make a mint “pesto” by adding mint, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a food processor.