Thank you for a wonderful market season! All markets are CLOSED. Dupont will return to market on Sunday, May 5. Sheridan will return to market Saturday, June 1.
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Jim's Notes 4/11/19
Good to talk to you again. I (and we) miss seeing you every week at market. On the other hand, it’s really nice to have a break to focus on other things without interruption.
By “other things” I mean plowing and planting and transplanting, etc, etc. Lots of strenuous activity! And so far, things are going very well! It’s only the third week of our spring season, so it’s a little early to be overly optimistic, but the weather has been very cooperative: peas are planted and up, lots of spring crops are transplanted, like beets and lettuce and parsley.
In my personal case, since I’m halfway retired, I’m leaving a lot of the work to my Sterling crew and our new Operator and big boss, Jenni Glenister. And they’re doing a great job!
Meanwhile, Moie and I have been working a few days a week, then traveling to DC and Pittsburgh, and Key West, and soon to San Fran. Good times, and relaxing.
Our succession plans are moving forward smoothly. Jenni is taking the reins skillfully and enthusiastically, with the morale-enhancing help of some of you who have invested (see blog about “Turnip Notes”) and with the support of USDA, which has supplied Jenni with a generous, low-interest operating loan. She is leasing all the equipment and real estate from me and Moie, so she’s kind of on her own, while I’m around for guidance when (seldom) needed. I’m loving it!
So thanks for reading this and for putting your email address on our newsletter list, and we’ll be sending the next edition soon. But not TOO soon—we aren’t going to harass you every day the way so many businesses do these days. Just every couple weeks.
Warm wishes, and see you at market in a few weeks!
JIM'S NOTES 3/21/19
As you already know, our marketing season at Sheridan and Chevy Chase ended last weekend (Sundays at Dupont continue to March 31), so you won’t see us for a little while, and I’ll stop writing this blog, “Jim’s Notes”, every week, until we reopen markets in June.
BUT—we are planning our new “news letter” to go out by email probably once a week or so during the spring and on. The big difference from the blog is that the news letter will come to your inbox, and you won’t have to remember to go to our website. (And we promise not to harass you with much-too-frequent emails, as so many businesses do these days.).
But what this means, of course, is that if you want to get our news letter we’ll need your email address. Many of you gave us your addresses on those clipboards at market, but if you missed that chance, and you want to hear from us, please send your address, or just email one word (make it a good one!), to: email@example.com, and we’ll automatically have your address! And then you’ll be one of our first subscribers! In the club!
One more subject: if you’ve been reading my Notes you know about the changes at the farm, with ten-year NMFer Jenni Glenister becoming the “operator”, while Jim and Moie stay on as Senior Kibitzers (semi-retired).
But you may or may not have heard about our “Turnip Note” program, a great opportunity to become an investor in the farm, and help Jenni with the financial transition. If you’d like to hear more about this chance to be in on the ground floor of the next phase of your favorite family farm, just email or call and we’ll gladly send out the info packet, or give you a verbal explanation in person.
Our last-day-of-the-season market was a huge success, and we hope you’ve put a few of our things in your fridge or freezer to remember us by.
See you on June 1 with organic strawberries and rhubarb (in or out of a pie.). Also: asparagus, snap peas, spinach and much more, as you know.
Thanks, as always, for your devoted and valued patronage!
Jim's Notes - 3/8/19
Ok, the end is near! Not of the world—that’s near too, but relatively not as near as our last day of market for the season, which is this week.
In view of this, my advice (a bit self-serving, admittedly) is: stock up! You need to postpone as far as possible the inevitable, dreaded, first trip back to Whole Foods since last spring. Right?
Fortunately, many items we have will keep—without losing quality!—for weeks. For instance, eggs as fresh as ours will be 100% as good in 6 weeks as they are today, as long as you keep them in the fridge. Same with apples—in the fridge AND in a plastic bag. That’s very important. Keeps the moisture in, keeps them hard and juicy. We hate plastic as much as you do but this is one time when it’s very important and effective.
In general, look at the posters we will have at market this week on many items, that will guide you on shelf life.
And don’t forget to put some pies and sticky buns in the freezer, wrapped tight in plastic wrap. You’re gonna want brunch next month sometime, and, by law, you must have sticky buns at brunch, as you well know.
But don’t despair. We will return on June 1, as we have done 46 times, every year since 1973. Then, June 1, you can resume eating normally, and catching up on all the weight you will have lost in our absence.
Be sure to get your email address onto our list (on clipboard at market, or just send it to us), so we can keep in touch—no more than once a week, we promise. We’ll alert you to our reappearances at our 3 locations.
And keep in mind that our Sunday Dupont market runs to March 31, and restarts on May 5. No baked goods there, but plenty of eggs, greens from our high tunnels, and storage crops, etc.
One last important note: our new “farm operator”, (the USDA has awarded her this exalted title), Jenni Glenister, will make a big splash appearance at Sheridan this Saturday! So come shake her hand and congratulate her on bearing the NMF torch forward as the old folks slow down. (NOT STOP). She’s a great farmer now, having studied dutifully at NMF all these years.
See you Saturday.
Jim's Notes - 3/1/19
Dear loyal readers,
Big news this week! We are finally on the road to retirement, with the comfortable feeling that NMF will stay in good hands and will continue as always. (At our mid-seventies it’s about time!).
As the culmination of a six-year effort, we’ve finally figured out how to take the load off our shoulders and shift control of the farm and business to our stellar, 10-year employee, Jenni Glenister. (See below for a full rundown on Jenni.)
Over the past several years we have gradually delegated many responsibilities, especially on the production side, to our longer-term employees, led by Jenni.
Now Jenni has been promised, by the USDA, the operating capital she will need to get us to June, when our income will start again. She won’t be the owner yet, but over time we think she can take that role.
Moie and I intend to stay around indefinitely, helping, coaching, keeping up the NMF traditions that you, our customers, expect and appreciate.
So things are changing in a good way, and we are relieved, hopeful, and feeling ALMOST like retirees.
See you Saturday with a smile on my face!
We’re excited to introduce to you our new farm operator, Jenni Glenister. (Don’t worry, we’ll still be around, making sure everything stays on track, but we’re ready to work a little less.) You’ve seen Jenni many times at all our markets, but you may never have heard her name.
In our forty-six years of farming, I’ve hired and trained hundreds of young farmer-wannabees. Almost all have been college grads, smart, idealistic, motivated, and great employees. But out of this big pool of very good people a few still stand out as smarter, more committed, more capable. Jenni Glenister is one of these stand-outs.
Jenni has all the aptitudes and talents, all the values and dedication, and finally, after ten years with us, all the skills and expertise she needs to be successful. Over all these years she learned patiently every aspect of our production and marketing. She’s been constantly researching, educating herself, practicing, brainstorming, to solve the many different kinds of problems we see in our complex work.
From obscure fertility issues, to pests and diseases, to personnel management, to marketing, to equipment, Jenni is on top of it. She may not have our experience, but she makes up for it in her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.
For ten years, Moie and I have valued Jenni’s management of many aspects of the business. Now we are thrilled to have Jenni as farm operator, lessee, and hopeful next owner. She’s carrying the NMF torch into the 21st century, while we old folks lay back and luxuriate with all the kohlrabi we can eat!
We congratulate Jenni, and hope you will too!
Jim and Moie Kimball Crawford
New Morning Farmers Emeritus
To learn much more about our farm's present difficult situation, please read our blog. (Just click on "blog" at the top of this website) for many previous weeks of Jim's Notes.
From little vegetable transplants to the woodland shrubs and flowers,
everything has grown this past week. We've enough hours of sunlight, and the continued fair weather, that this growth is noticeable every few days. The first snap peas have pushed their way up, with little leaves open. The rhubarb is the most dramatic, going from little red knobs at the soil surface to leaves bigger than spread fingers in a week. Our cover crops have also jumped ahead, adding a couple inches of growth above the ground, and at least as much root mass below the surface feeding the soil.
We are welcoming two new apprentices. Victoria and Judith are getting settled, and will join the crew in all our activities. As they begin work, they'll be asking about different jobs and crops, thinking about what areas of responsibility they'd like to take on. Late in April we all sit down as a team and figure out how we'll divide responsibility for all the jobs and crops. Apprentices take on ownership of these responsibilities for the whole season, with support from a mentor and all the experience we have present on the farm.
With the beautiful weather, and some drying winds, the whole team has jumped into spring work on the farm. Peas are in the ground and have little roots reaching down through the soil. The tunnels are filling up with lettuce, kale, parsley, arugula, radishes, and beets. We've even put beet, kohlrabi, and fennel transplants out in the field. Our field crops are all carefully covered with white fabric row cover supported by wire hoops. This creates a micro-climate that is about four degrees Fahrenheit warmer around the plants, protecting them from frosts and supporting quicker growth.
All hands were needed yesterday to put new plastic on the greenhouse. Ropes are thrown over, tied to the new sheets of plastic, and heave ho, pulled up and over. Then we pull it tight in all directions and fasten in place. It looks fantastic, and should serve us well for the next 6-8 years.
We're working hard to be ready for Dupont Market on May 5th. We look forward to seeing you then!
The robins have returned in a flock, the bluebird and kingfisher have
been sighted. We have a dawn chorus again, all our birds that
overwinter are testing their spring melodies. The first spring peepers
gave their first few calls this morning! The streams are burbling with
snow melt. Even the farmers are singing!
This past week is the first time since last August that we enjoyed more than 2 days of sun in a row. It has given a much needed boost to the tunnel greens, the cover crops out in the fields which are feeding the soil, and to the farmers. We're looking forward to next week, optimistic that we can plant the first sugar snap peas, radishes, and arugula of the 2019 season! Life is so much easier when the sun is shining.
We're at Dupont Circle on Sunday. The spinach is still spectacular, but this week Lettuce is in the spotlight. We've amazing red butterheads this week, ready for your salad, sandwich, or wrapping your favorite tabbouleh, bean salad, or egg salad.
It's week two of Kohlrabi watch 2019. A quick recap: week zero saw the kohlrabi seeds treated to a hot water bath, and seeded into flats. Week one the baby kohlrabi emerged from the potting soil, each with two tiny heart shaped leaves. Week two, we can now see the very beginning of the first true leaf and each plant is at least 1/4 inch tall.
Even though it's been toe numbing cold, the bright sunny days have
warmed our high tunnels to almost 70F. Our high tunnels rely solely the sun for heat and energy, and regularly reach good growing temperatures even with partial clouds. And our greens are growing fast! The lettuce and the spinach in particular are visibly bigger from one day to the next. We're working hard to keep up with the spinach, it's regrowing almost as fast as we can harvest!
At markets: Spinach! This is the best time of year to enjoy spinach,
it's dark green, sweet, tender, and abundant! Perfect leafy green raw or cooked that we're craving after the dark winter. I'll be at Sheridan Market this Saturday, and look for Seth at Dupont on Sunday.
See you there!
It's March! Here on the farm we're in full preparation mode for the
growing season. We've been buying seeds, creating field plans,
identifying challenges and brainstorming solutions. We've been taking stock of supplies, and making plans to have everything needed on hand for planting.
Caitlan has already seeded baby beets, fennel, parsley, chard, and
lettuce transplants in the Greenhouse. In just a week, Adam will be
watching for an opportunity to seed the first peas of the spring out in
the field. We don't always get good windows of opportunity in March. Our goal is to stay flexible and taking advantage of any good working weather we are offered.
The tunnel greens are already telling us that spring is on the way. The spinach, sweet and spicy greens mix, and parsley are all growing faster and faster. We respond with smiles, longer harvests, and more strategic management. The great news is, we should have plenty of these at markets all through March.
Red Beets emerging in the greenhouse
Winter is planning and meeting season for farmers. I think I've had at least two meetings or events a week in January. Last week Caitlan and I spent an afternoon at the Pennsylvania Farm Show with the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association. We had a great time serving soup and strawberry surprise to raise funds for vegetable research. The stand is full of other vegetable growers, and any spare time is taken up with sharing vegetable and business experience.
The last week of January and the first week of February, are the big conferences. We send delegations every year, and I'll be speaking at PASA on cover crops, and on sweet corn. PASA, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, is an incredible group. Their conference is the highlight of the winter, bringing together just about everyone interested in sustainable agriculture. I never fail to come away from the conference energized and ready to tackle the season ahead.
At markets this week we'll continue to have soil grown lettuce from our high tunnels, more spinach and winter greens, and all your favorite storage crops.
We're just about set for the final markets of the year! Despite a really tough fall, this weekend we'll have a great selection of produce for your holiday feasts. I'm most excited about the return of lettuce! We'll have a beautiful selection of our own soil grown lettuce at markets this weekend. Our high tunnels have protected the lettuce from the heavy rains and sudden cold spells. With the few days of sun these past two weeks, the lettuce is ready to harvest!
Happy Holidays! Jennifer
Recipe of the Week
Peanut Dipping Sauce
This recipe yields 1 cup of delicious dipping sauce in under 5 minutes!
Adapted from http://fullthymestudent.com
Add the following ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Mix with a fork until well blended:
4 Tbsp soy sauce
3/8 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp honey or molasses
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp hot sauce
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sriracha sauce (or to taste)
Next, add 3/8 to 2/3 cup of water and microwave on high for 20-25 seconds. Again, use fork to blend. If sauce is too thick, add an addition 2-4 tbsp of water. Serve immediately, or store in fridge for up to one week.
Pear Cake - dense cake filled with chunks of pear, topped with tangy cranberry jam and slathered with yogurt frosting
Inspiration from: https://www.cookiedoughandovenmitt.com
1 cup butter room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk or full-fat yogurt
1/2 cup 100% pear or cranberry juice
3 large bosc pears diced
-2 cups cranberry juice
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-3 large bosc pears, diced
2 cups full fat yogurt (Siggi's is my preference)
1/2-3/4 powdered sugar (to taste)
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Everything Starts as a Seed
Jim and Moie Crawford started organic farming in 1972, on rented land, with a little experience, and practically no money. Over the course of 40 years, New Morning Farm grew from a small operation, selling vegetables out of the back of a pick-up truck, to a farm of over 95 acres with several thriving markets in Washington, D.C.