Greetings Loyal Locavores!
Sorry for the late dispatch! With several new items coming in this week, we’ve been as busy as ever. The farm is taking on a harried pace and the dry weather has us leaving the farm at the end of the day dusty, hot and in need of the nearest swimmable body of water. Beginning this week we will be featuring one of our farm apprentices and letting them relate the farm to you in their words. I can’t praise highly enough this year’s crop of interns. They are all incredibly hard-working and focused on learning the ins-and-outs of sustainable agriculture. They show up each day happy and ready for the work ahead (which is quite a feat in and of itself, considering the weather), and they are directly responsible for the farm’s success thus far this season. I hope you enjoy learning about these wonderful individuals and the hard work that they do to contribute to your weekly share. So, without further adieu, I present Lauren!
Hello! Cory has decided to switch things up a bit and I’m thrilled to be able to write to you this week. I would like to first thank you for being such awesome proponents in the world of good food. We get a box each week just like you, and it’s been a difficult, but ultimately creative and worthwhile endeavor to decide what to do with the produce every week. Kudos to you for allowing the seasonal produce of the farm guide your eating habits in a world focused on endless choice and convenience.
Although I’m a newcomer both to Georgia and to the realities of farm life, I must say that I feel right at home here at Burge. My husband, Luca, and I found our path leading here, ironically, through living in Italy. Until last December we had been in Europe, me getting my Masters in Food Culture and Communications, while Luca worked with his aunt distributing products to local bars in and around Parma. We bought from local farmers and attended farmers markets, I went to Terra Madre, the world’s largest gathering of local producers. As steeped in the local traditions of agricultural production as Italy is, I felt that our contribution to the sustainable food movement needed to be something more genuine. Although farm advocacy appealed to me, the thought of an office job was not something that I savored. I was determined to learn directly how food was produced by working on a farm, and wanted to have a true sense of what small-scale farming was all about.
We decided to move to America, a place where local food movements are popping up everywhere and where faith in young people still breeds optimism in creating positive change. After a considerable amount of time searching, we were fortunate enough to find Cory and Burge. We thought it a perfect fit, packing up our car with two dogs and lots of working clothes to arrive to Mansfield, sight unseen, in late March. Since then time has seemed to fly by. We’ve learned something new every day, and trust me, there’s definitely a learning curve to farming. We’ve also found affirmation in things we already knew were important to us: supporting local economies leads to a better community, eating healthy food makes you feel good, and working really hard during the day allows you to sleep peacefully and contented at night. We’ve got a great mentor and crew and I am finding that the farm makes me live in the moment. Despite the heat, I’m enjoying it more and more every day. Again, I have all of you and the veggies to thank for it.
News and Notes
In your box this week, you will find a flyer for the movie Grow! , A documentary film that focuses on young farmers in Georgia. Proceeds from the screening will go to the Farmers Emergency Fund, a local trust that will be established to help small-scale producers when (not if) they are faced with damage as a result of severe weather. The film does an excellent job canvasing the determination and conviction of our fellow producers. Burge plays a small part in the film as well, so you can see a bit of the farm on the silver screen. If you are open this Saturday, please consider coming down to the Cathedral of St. Philip- it’s a great movie, and the proceeds go to an extremely worthy cause. Hope to see you there!
In The Box
-1.5# Summer Squash
-1.5# Fingerling Potatoes
-.5# Purple Onions
-1 Pint Blackberries
-3-4 Ears Sweet Corn
-1 head Burge Heirloom Garlic
-1 bunch Lacinato Kale
-1 Mixed Bouquet
As you can see, we have a nice selection of produce this week. The blackberries are delicious and can be eaten out of hand, maybe with a little whipped cream. It takes 3 people almost 2 hours to pick 60 pints, but the end result is well worth it. We hope to have these little beauties at least for the next couple of weeks, so enjoy! Perhaps even more special to us, is the Garlic in this weeks box. Fellow Burge employee, and resident naturalist, Ricky Taylor discovered this garlic growing beside the ruins of a sharecroppers home hidden in the woods on Burge property. Burge Plantation has been in the same family since 1809, and this garlic is a true link to the past. We estimate that it has been growing here for at least 85 years. Over time, it has become perfectly suited to our climate and it flourishes the way only a true heirloom does. We have carefully propagated this garlic and this year we are increasing our seed stock. We are not offering the garlic for general sale this year, but we are happy to give it to you, our most loyal supporters, as a token of our gratitude. We are also happy to offer you some early sweet corn this week. Sweet Corn is this farm’s Achilles Heal. Some people can grow giant, full sweet corn without even trying, and we have always struggled. This year, we are committed to getting it right. Because we put in our first planting extra-early, the size is a little smaller than what you may be accustomed to but this weeks corn makes up for it in flavor. You might also notice a little friend hitched a ride to your house in the corn. A side note about organic sweet corn in the south: the Southern Corn Earworm has been a major sweet corn pest for years in the south. When the corn shows its silk a small moth deposits an egg and it hatches, eating the tip of the corn as it grows quickly. As we don’t spray artificial pesticides on our crops, the only Organically approved control is to spray soybean oil on each individual ear three times over the silking period, effectively suffocating the Earworm. We don’t care much for that solution either. Besides being a little icky, and an inefficient practice (our time is much better spent keeping the weeds down, planting crops or harvesting all the new items coming in to season), we feel that it is a sign that our produce is clean (if the bugs like it, it must be good!). Furthermore, the Earworm infects only the tip of the ear and is easily removed by chopping the end of the corn off with a knife (kids love to play “find the worm” with sweet corn). Enjoy this early taste of summer!