A recent report based on U.S. agriculture records has found that the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables has been dropping since records were first taken. You would need to eat five apples today just to get the same nutrients from eating one apple in 1965! Some leading reasons for this nutrient depletion is conventional”industrial” agriculture’s priority on productivity and standardized produce and its
heavy dependence on chemical fertilizers and genetically modified seeds bred to withstand the toxins of chemical herbicides and pesticides.
There is a growing movement to bring back bio-nutrient dense foods through the use of organic practices that focus on “growing the soil not the plant” and revitalizing biological plant systems through the introduction of trace elements, other important minerals, beneficial microbes, and natural enzymes into the plant’s environment. These environmentally friendly, quality crops provide excellent nutrition and have exceptional flavor. Bio-nutrient rich foods have high levels of vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and trace minerals more readily available. As a result as a food source, they have the greatest impact on improving health and providing nutrition against disease.
One of the ways to monitor increased nutrition in vegetables is by getting a Brix reading of the carbohydrate levels in samples of plant sap. New Harmony Farm uses biological farming methods to balance the minerals in our soil and increase biological activity that will increase plants ability to access nutrition, increasing their immune systems and vigor which will allow our seeds to express more of their genetic potential. Building up our soils and biological systems takes years of systematic effort and resources. New Harmony commits to this process and to monitor our progress, we are taking Brix readings of our produce throughout the growing season.
High Brix foods have increased calcium levels and supply more trace minerals such as zinc, iron, and manganese. Due to greater mineral density and the inclusion of heavier trace minerals, high Brix foods weigh more per unit than lower quality produce. High Brix levels means high quality, expressed most simply and directly as superior taste.
Erin answers some frequently asked questions about our farm and CSA.
“What is some of the produce can I expect in my CSA Share?”
Your weekly share will consist of a variety seasonal vegetables and herbs that will be harvested at their peak of flavor. New Harmony offers a wide selection of classic favorites along with the opportunity to try rare, specialty, and heirloom varieties. For example we will offer over a dozen varieties of tomato and six varieties of beets, carrots, and turnips and are reintroducing traditional root vegetables such as gilfeather turnips, salsify, parsley root and Jerusalem artichokes. Below is a sampling of a portion of our expected harvests and many crops including beets, carrots, lettuce, and other greens are harvested through out season.
Pea tendrils, radishes, garlic scapes, swiss chard, spinach, kale, salad turnips, scallions, cilantro, kohlrabi, broccoli rabe, cabbage, dill, cucumber
Peas, beans, zucchini and heirloom summer squash, specialty greens, cucumber, fennel, parsley, onions, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, collards,kale, arugula, cilantro
Heirloom tomatoes, corn, garlic, melon, beans, basil, tomatillos, cucumbers, patty pan squash, torpedo onions, hot and sweet peppers, mesculin mix, collards, arugula
Tomatoes, Paste tomatoes, potatoes, arugula, eggplant, salad and heirloom turnips, acorn squash, radich, cabbage, Asian greens, swiss chard, celery, delicata squash
Broccoli, Swiss chard, spinach, butternut squash, heirloom winter squash, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, rainbow carrots, kale, cabbage, Asain greens, fingerlings,
“I’m new to cooking. How do I cook these vegetables?”
Each week before share distribution you will be emailed recipes and vegetable preparation tips for many of the vegetables that will be part of that week’s harvest. New for 2015 each shareholder will get a pantry guide to help make cooking your fresh veggies fast and simple. Getting people to eat nutricious, earth friendly food is central to our mission so you can look forward to our expanding farm nutrition education program. As a long time teacher, I will be delighted to answer questions or make cooking suggestion when I see you during distribution. I will also be working with share holders to develop our vegetable recipe and tips pages on this web site for easy reference.
“Why Does Organic Cost More?”
Even though organic products often cost more than conventional foods, many consumers believe they are a better value. Most food raised in the US today comes from “factory farming”. This means food raised on large, industrial-scale farms and feedlots. This food is cheap because the use of large machines, chemical fertilizers, and synthetic pesticides makes it possible to minimize labor costs and maximize output. The only food production system which prohibits chemical industrial farming practices is organic farming. Additional costs for local organic compared to local conventional is the added expense of using only approved organic products for seeds, plants, soil fertility, and disease and pest control, extra labour in food production and record keeping and the certification fee. When a farm is “certified organic” consumers are assured that rigorous organic standards have been followed in all stages of production.
“What if I am not able to make my distribution time?”
If you are running late for your distribution time, call me and I will set aside your share for your to pick up after hours. If you can not make your distribution day you may have a friend or family member pick you your share in your place. If you are not able to make your distribution at all you may be comforted to know that unclaimed produce is given to the local food pantry.
“I’d like to become more involved in Community Supported Agriculture. How can I volunteer?”
I’m so glad you asked! There will be several community volunteer work parties during the growing season. Also if you let me know what your skills, interests, and passions are, I will match you up with a farm activity that I hope you will especially enjoy.