August 2015

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Hello readers!

My name is Eunice Fitzgerald and I am a new intern at Sarvodaya Farms for the “farmer in training” program. I’ll be working on the farm on Wednesdays and Fridays every week, and I’m excited to start learning about different practices and techniques while expanding my knowledge of gardening and farming. I hope to share my weekly experiences with you all so that you can utilize the given information in a positive manner. I’m eager to start my first official day this coming Wednesday, and I anticipate you all following my journey!

I’ll start off this post with a little bit about myself. I am a 22 year old college student who will be officially graduated from CSUF at the end of December with a bachelor’s degree in Health Science. I hope to get a Master’s degree in dietetics within the coming year, as my passion lies within food and healthy lifestyle choices. I have always been a lover of food, because I grew up watching my dad cook and then eventually open a restaurant to convert his hobby into a job. This motivated me to explore the different realms within the food world. I experimented with many different types of diets, and I am currently a vegetarian. I began to question how the food on my plate got to where it was, which is when I began to dive into the abyss of documentaries on Netflix. After some research, I started growing small amounts of herbs and vegetables as well as some fruit in my backyard. I then came across the documentary “Urban Fruit”, which is what really motivated me to take sustainable food seriously. This long and tangled chain got me to this current state, where I applied to Rishi’s program and now am a part of Sarvodaya Farms! My future goals after completing this program is to travel and explore the world before going to graduate school. Some other things about me is that I love yoga, hiking, camping, rock climbing, slack lining, creating different smoothies, being with family, friends, and nature, and meeting new people. I also love to read a good book on a gloomy day with a nice cup of coffee or tea 🙂

I found the test week to be both challenging and extremely fun as well as informative. Firstly, both of the days I worked were insanely hot. I realized that it’s very important to dress according to the weather since the whole shift is spent outdoors under the heat of the sun. I also thought it was worth mentioning to KEEP HYDRATED. It was easy to lose track of time when focusing on a task, which made me forget to drink water at times. I think it would help to have some type of clip or carabiner that I could hook onto my waist in order to keep my water bottle close. Sunscreen will also become my best friend on the days that I come in to work. Secondly, I found that there are a lot more bugs than I had anticipated, therefore I needed to get over that fear immediately. I found it surprising that the bees were very friendly and won’t sting if you just ignore them and leave them alone. Thirdly, I learned quite a few things about harvesting and planting. The first day I was assigned to harvest a number of things such as eggplant, yam leaves, and peppers for the CSA boxes. I learned an eggplant is ready to be picked when the leaves at the top are further up, and yam leaves that had newer leaves sprouting from it were signs of it needing to be harvested. The second day focused more on planting new seeds and maintaining the garden. I planted soybeans, squash, and Walking Egyptian onions. I learned that the soybeans and squash needed to be planted about a quarter of an inch from the surface. The onions needed to be planted about an index finger’s length in the ground. I also briefly saw an example of replacing a line of drip irrigation which I’m sure we will get into the following weeks. Lastly, I supported the tomato plants with twine so that they wouldn’t grow close to the ground where they would be prone to insects. I found it was easy to do this by having a set amount wrapped on my arm, and doing an alternative weaving motion through each stalk.

I hope to learn much more during my time at the farm, and I’m looking forward to sharing my new found knowledge with you all!

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This week’s CSA Box includes:

moringa leaves

water spinach

yam leaves

– mixed heirloom okra

– mixed heirloom eggplant

green zuchinni

strawberry guavas

– kadota figs

– mixed heirloom tomatoes

– mixed peppers

– 1 bunch yard long beans

– 1 bunch mint

– 1 bunch lemon basil

Do you have any favorite recipes that include some of these fresh fruits and vegetables?  How will you be enjoying these organic and nutritious ingredients? Feel free to share in the comments section below. Bon Appétit!

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Description

bay leaf refers to the aromatic leaves of several plants used in cooking. There are a number of varieties, each specific to the locale in which it is grown. They are used to add flavor to any dish from soup to rice.

In the Kitchen

Bay leaves are used around the world. In South Asian and Indian cuisine, bay laurel leaves are sometimes used in place of Indian bay leaf, although they have a different flavor. They are most often used in rice dishes like biryani and as an ingredient in garam masala. Bay (laurel) leaves are frequently packaged as tejpatta (the Hindi term for Indian bay leaf), creating confusion between the two herbs. In the Philippines, dried bay laurel leaves are added as a spice in the Filipino dish Adobo. Bay leaves can also be used scattered in a pantry to repel meal moths, flies and other critters. You can also dry the fresh Bay leaves so you can keep them all year round.

Recipes

Grilled Salmon wrapped in Lemon and Bay Leaves
bay leaf beet Soup

References and Further Reading

Repel Grain moths with Bay Leaves

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This week’s box includes:

– 1 bunch water spinach

– 1 bunch yam leaves

– 1 bunch lemon basil

– Mixed heirloom tomatoes

– 1 bunch mint

– a couple green zuchinni

– 1 bag White Kadota figs

– 1 bag Fresh jujubes

– 1 zuchinno rampicante

– 1 bunch bay leaf

– Mixed Heirloom eggplant

– 1 basket thai lavender frog egg eggplant

– 1/4 Growing Home winter squash

– 1 bunch moringa leaves

– a few strawberry guavas

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Description

These Thai Lavender Frog Egg Eggplants were collected by the Gettles of Baker Creek in central Thailand, where the Thai peoples refer to many colors of these small eggplant as “frog eggs.” Tiny fruits are the size and form of a cherry tomato, lavender splashed with cream.

In the Kitchen

These fruits have a very robust flavor, and super high yielding! The thai lavender frog egg eggplant can be easily stir-fried and pan roasted. Unlike other eggplants, when cooked, the skin is edible and tasty.

Recipes

Seared eggplant and Coconut Milk Curry
Thai eggplant Curry
South Indian Brinjal Rasam

References and Further Reading

See our eggplant page for more info!

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Description
In the Kitchen
Recipes
References and Further Reading
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Description

snake gourd is a tropical or subtropical vine, its variety T. cucumerina var. anguina raised for its strikingly long fruit, used as a vegetable, medicine, and in crafting traditional Australian musical instruments known as didgeridoos. Common names of the cultivated variety include snake gourd, serpent gourd, chichinda, and padwal. Its soft, bland, somewhat mucilaginous flesh is similar to that of the luffa and the calabash. It is popular in the cuisines of South Asia and Southeast Asia and is now grown in some home gardens in Africa. snake gourd is said to be good food for diabetics because of its low calorie content and high water content. In addition it is said to have anti inflammatory properties, cooling properties and is a good expectorant and detox food.

In the Kitchen

snake gourd can be cooked in ways similar to zucchinis and other vegetables in the squash family. snake gourd has a mild taste, and the texture is slightly tougher and starchier than a zucchini.

Recipes

snake gourd is a very common ingredient in Indian and Southeast Asian recipes. Try this simple recipe if you are unsure of how to cook it.

Ingredients:
snake gourd, chopped – 1/2 inch pieces
yard long beans, chopped – 1 inch pieces
– 1 large heirloom tomato, chopped (or as many as you can afford 🙂 )
– 1/2 onion, chopped fine
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– 1 sprig curry leaf
– 2 tbsp cooking oil preferably ghee

Directions:
Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium flame. Once oil has warmed add cumin seeds and curry leaves and cook until cumin seeds darken to a deep brown. Next, add onions and cook slowly until their color turns translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, and cook down until most of the water has evaporated. Now add the chopped snake gourds and the chopped string beans. Cook on a medium-low heat slowly. Check every few minutes. You want the snake gourd and beans to soften up but not be mushy. Eat with fresh brown basmati rice and a side of yogurt.

References and Further Reading

William Woys Weaver on snake gourd

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This week’s CSA Box includes:

water spinach

yam leaves

– mixed heirloom okra

zuchinno rampicante

snake gourd

thai basil

– mixed heirloom eggplant

green zuchinni

strawberry guavas

– mixed heirloom tomatoes (beeksteak and cherry type)

– fresh jujubes

– mixed peppers (hot & mild)

curry leaves

– keffir lime leaves

lemongrass

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Description
In the Kitchen
Recipes
References and Further Reading