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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

There’s Creativity in Everything

This is the delightful work of our summer farm hand Sam.  After a successful Wednesday CSA harvest I gave Sam the duty to stack up all of the harvest bins to dry.  This was his creation.  Being a teacher at heart I always love to see what someone can create given the opportunity.

Now to the main topic of today’s post:  What to do with those fresh veggies from the farm?

Well our Wednesday CSA members got a plethora of produce and I wanted to share something that I made from it (Yes me and Asa get to indulge in Bertrand Farm’s delicious produce too!)

Tofu Scramble w/ Bertrand Farm’s Veggies (serves 2-3)

– 2 spring onion (sliced thinly)

– 1 large clove garlic (minced or finely chopped)

– 2 medium sized beets (roughly chopped)

– 1 package extra firm tofu (cut into 1/2 inch chunks)

– 4 chinese cabbage leaves (roughly chopped)

– beet greens (from above beets)


Pour 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil in skillet.  Set on medium heat.  When hot add onions, garlic, and tofu.  Season w/ ginger, chili powder, cumin, salt, & pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes turning regularly to crisp sides of tofu evenly.  Add chopped beets to skillet.  Continue cooking until beets are fork tender (10-15 minutes).

In another pan heat up 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add chinese cabbage and beet greens.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Splash with 1-2 Tablespoons soy sauce.  Cover with lid to wilt greens (5-10 minutes).

Serve immediately over cooked brown rice.  Drizzle w/ extra soy sauce, hot sauce, or whatever suites your taste buds!

*Note:  I used two pans instead of one because I didn’t want the coloration from the beets to bled into the greens.  Also when I cook, I”m a taster so I don’t always know how much of this or that I use.  Trust your tongue is my advice!



Doing the Dance

Somehow it slipped my memory to write last week’s blog post.  I’m not sure how I could forget the memorable experience several of our working CSA members had last Saturday.  What was it?  You might ask.  Well it all started in the way back of the farm, among the beautiful green bushy plants growing from the ground.  Around 9 AM we strolled down the shaded treeline to our destination, our possibly favorite crop on the farm……..POTATOES!!!

I bet any of you who have been out to the farm and worked in the potatoes now know what it was we were doing.

Look closely.  Can you see them on the stems and leaves?  What are they?  Colorado Potato Beetles!  Theri says the farm gets them every year and each season we spend some quality time eliminating these ruthless pests.

Luckily on this particular Saturday the damage was marginal.  We only had a handful of plants that looked like the one above.  In our remaining time, me and my crew managed to comb through 4 – 1oo hundred foot rows looking for the beetle in all of its stages.

The beetle starts off as a cluster of bright yellowish-orange eggs underneath the leaf of the potato plant and occasionally any neighboring weeds.  Then they hatch and turn a dark pinkish color with black heads.  As they grow they become more plump and lighten in color.  Anyone who is on Colorado Potato Beetle eradication duty will attest to the similar color stains they leave on your fingers (from smashing!).  Eventually they mature into full-grown adults like the picture below.

The second of the two beetles is lingering in the shadows behind the illuminated female.  From my experience there are always  two adults together when you find them because the role of an adult Colorado Potato Beetle is: 1) lay copious amounts of eggs (usually 2-4 clusters per plant) and 2) stay busy reproducing to be able to lay more eggs.

After collecting over a cup of beetles, in all different stages, we took them back to a hard surface in front of the barn and I allowed our members to partake in a dance party of sorts, squashing them all!  The first photo in the post is of John and Steve inflicting the pain.  I told them that in the future, whenever they enter the potato field, the beetles will know that they are the reckoners and are to be feared.  Let’s hope it wards off those  pesky buggers for at least a few more weeks!  All in all I think it was an enjoyable experience for them.

The Perks of Being a Farmer

I’ve talked to many individuals over the years about the monotony of their professions.  The long hours they spend slaving over their work.  The repetition of trivial arguments between coworkers.  The lack of stimulation, excitement, or appreciation one receives in their daily dealings.  I suppose that these little things have steered me along my professional path through the years and brought me here to Bertrand Farm.

I wanted to become a chef until I worked 3 to 11 in a restaurant all summer long in high school.

I wanted to be a carpenter until my pleasure for building things slowly slip away at a construction job I worked all through college.

I wanted to teach students until my dissatisfaction for the educational system pushed me to come up with more creative ways for learning.

I wanted to become a farmer because I wanted to simplify my life and kept coming back to the premise that first and foremost I must have food to survive.

PLUS: I love being outside.  I love watching plants grow.  I love sharing delicious healthy produce with others.  I love having animals.  I love early sunrises and sunsets.  I love learning.  I love being challenged.  And I love that I can physically exhaust myself daily knowing that what I accomplished was meaningful to me.

We all have such motives for why we do what we do.  And there are pros and cons to every career.

I like to talk about this topic because many young adults struggle to find something they truly enjoy doing.  When I was a child all I knew was that my dad did this and my mom did that.  Not realizing, the journey one embarks upon in adulthood trying to find a career, can be tumultuous and uncertain.  My naive little brain  thought that acquiring a career was similar to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, it just happened.  Or like when I played cops and robbers with my cousin, you assumed the role, simple as that.  Life experience has taught me that I need to have a passion for what I do because there are going to be times that I don’t like it and need to be able to persevere.

My role on the farm has become really enjoyable to me thus far because I get to watch Theri, a seasoned farmer, go about getting things done as she has done for years.  Observe the subtleties in her decisions and learn from her.  I also get to be around PJ, our HS intern from Clay.  He wants to go into sustainable agriculture, but is a freshman farmer in the fields.  Watching him learn each day, ask questions, and experience the farm is neat to be apart of.  Then I get to spend time with our CSA workers who have committed to growing their food for the season, getting a little dirty, and enjoying the community that being on the farm develops.  Life at Bertrand Farm for me is good!

I guess this all came to my mind today while strolling around the farm after working a few hours in the cold nasty weather, feeling a bit more worn down than usual.  My last stop before taking off was the pigs.  I visit them religiously every day.  They were SO EXCITED to see me that my mood lifted and I was reminded why I love this work so much.

They are awesome!

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