This is week six of an eighteen week season. You will be getting Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic, white sweet onions, carrots, green cabbage, squash, cucumbers and then one of the following: purple bell pepper, tomato or eggplant. The last three items are just starting to produce. It will be a week or two before we have everything for everyone! We are also in between muskmelon plantings. The current field has slowed down and a new field has not started producing yet.
Organic Certification: We just went through our organic inspection last week and I was telling some members about the experience. They suggested I write a little bit about it so everyone understands the difference between someone saying they are using organic practices and someone who is going through the actual certification. It isn’t an easy experience ~ especially when the government is involved! So this is what happens…
Record keeping is a huge part of what we do. We have to document everything that happens on the farm every single day. Starting with the purchase of supplies, seeds, equipment, water, etc. has to be listed. We have to keep labels from all our sources & copies of their organic certification for every seed we purchase from every single business. Then that seed has to be documented as to when it was planted (direct seeded into fields or greenhouse plantings) and to what fields they were planted. Then we have to document when the field was watered, cultivated, weeded, harvested, quantities of harvest and where that harvest went every time we walk into that field… for every planting in every field. This can be a daunting task when you think about the fact that Jerry has multiple plantings of just about every crop we raise! So each field & crop will have its own set of records.
When the inspector comes to the farm; they start out with a three hour inspection of our documentation. They then pick a seed and Jerry has to show them from start to finish in the 2016 or 2017 records what has happened to that crop.
The next inspection takes place outside for an hour or two. Inspectors start going through all our sheds to see what is in them (looking for chemicals). Then they go through the equipment to make sure it is in good shape and not spewing oil or hydraulic fluids. If there is a leak, we have to show we are capturing these fluids before they hit the ground. Fields are looked at next. It is very easy to see if someone is organic just by how clean the fields are. It is nearly impossible for every field at all times to be weed free. Weeds are a fact of life in organic farming! They look for bug diversity to see if chemical weapons have been used.
If the inspector questions what is happening in a field, they can take plant samples for chemical testing (which has never been done at our place!). They can then see if a chemical was used, what kind of chemical and is it approved for organic use on certified organic crops.
They then come back into the house and discussions then take place about any new requirements or regulations and things they want us to improve on. This can take up to two more hours.
So the next time you purchase something from a certified organic farmer, give them a big hug……they deserve it!
Jacquie’s Summer Pasta (page 71 of CSA Cookbook)
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
2 summer squash, any kind, cubed
8 oz bowtie pasta
Heat oil in large skillet and sauté onion & bell peppers for 2 minutes. Add squash, garlic and tomato. Cook until squash is soft & tomato has broken down. Cook the pasta while you wait. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cooked pasta. Variations: Add chicken, Italian seasonings, dill, hot peppers or your favorite cheese.
Great cold or hot