Results: ICF Board Election

We changed things up this year!

Normally we celebrate the end of the summer share season by having our co-op annual meeting in early November. We also elect new board members for the 3 positions rotating each year (9 members of the board, 3 rotate annually) after we’ve filled up on dinner.

This year we moved the meeting to September, changed the time and location, and only discussed the election. We moved to an electronic ballot this year with the hope of involving more co-op members who might not have attended the meeting.

We’re very happy to report we had a nearly 50% response rate for our election! The board is very appreciative of the high member involvement in this new process.

We are happy to announce that Diane Abruzzini will be joining the board in January. Diane worked at ICF as an employee in 2009 & 2010. She soon went on to be a manager at Jericho Settlers Farm, run her own Beet Box Farm, and open the wood-fired, all-local bakery Mtn. Seasons. Her love of vegetables, people, and all things entrepreneurial sent her through the Sustainable MBA program at UVM. Diane has experience preparing and analyzing financial statements, harvesting kale (very quickly), executing marketing initiatives, driving tractors, grafting tomatoes and working with people.

We would also like to welcome Lis Mickenberg and Mark Twery back for another three year term.

Finally, we’d like to thank Robin Berger for her completed service as a board member.

Any co-op member in good standing may run for an open board seat. Not a co-op member yet? Sign up now!

And the Survey Says...

As each of our farm share seasons wind down we like to get member feedback on their experiences to help us plan for the future.

While we enjoy chatting with members at pick-ups, appreciate emails and phone calls with questions, it’s very useful to us to have group data in one place with survey results. We might have kept notes from a chat or email thread, it’s extremely beneficial to see a graphic presentation of collective opinions. Yes, we can graph survey results as well as see comments and trends.

What do we do with the collected information? We plan, we revise, we respond. For instance, this summer we changed the size of the tables at pick-ups in response to comments about crowding. You might not have noticed the change, but you may have had a more pleasant experience without knowing why! We also plan future crops and quantities, ramp up communication methods if necessary, change procedures.

Please take a few minutes and let us know about your experience this summer. We do read and use the information we gather from you! The survey is here or you’ll find a link in an email message.

Remembering Gerard Rubaud, 1941-2018

Photo credit: mc.farine

Today we learned that our long time bread baker, Gerard Rubaud, died after a recent illness.

We had all hoped he might recover from a recent heart condition and get back to working in his cozy bakery, crafting his beloved, wood-fired loaves of delicious bread, but it was not to be.

Gerard has been providing ICF families with his naturally-leavened country French loaf since 1995. Children have become adults while eating this bread. Sometimes the bread would arrive still warm and it was always a pleasure (and a giggle) to see members tuck their loaf under an arm, start gathering vegetables, and sneak a chunk of bread between selecting roots and hearty greens. We know that the loaves were on the dinner table on Mondays or Thursdays…or there was French toast for a weekend breakfast, or homemade croutons if any loaf lasted that long.

Gerard's bread.jpg

Gerard loved baking and loved his loaves. I learned just how much when I made several trips to the bakery to get the boxes of warm bread for our pick-ups. I treated the excursions as part of my personal physical therapy after some major surgeries. Gerard only cared that I was handling the loaves properly, stacking them just so, placing the boxes in a certain position. He could be quite gruff, but he was the bread master and we learned to roll with his moods.

While I take a lot of pictures of the farm behind the scenes (tractors, harvests, etc.), I don’t have any pictures of Gerard. I have pictures of bread (I call them my “art shots” sometimes) but not of the baker. Oh, pictures of him at work exist and I’m including several links to wonderful profiles and pictures carried in Seven Days, on a blog called Farine, and on the City Market web site.

Services or memorials are unscheduled at this time. We’ll let you know when we have details.

Fall Harvesting: Potatoes

Last year at this time we were scrambling to harvest our fall potatoes, planted late due to July flooding. Not so this year!

As with many root crops, harvesting can be labor-intensive. If you've ever grown potatoes at home, probably you dug them up with a pitchfork. You dug under the buried treasure of clumps, shook the dirt off, gathered the spuds. Well, we do essentially the same thing at ICF except we have a "potato digger" that is dragged behind a tractor and releases the potatoes. All of our potatoes are harvested in the same way (reds, whites, yellows, sweets.)

The front of the digger is a blade which reaches several inches down to "raise the bed."  The potatoes land on a chain conveyor belt on the digger and as they move up the platform, the dirt falls off and back to the ground. The potatoes drop off the back end, to the ground but on top of the beds, and are then gathered later by farm staff or crop mobs! (Thanks to the City Market Crop Mob on September 29, 7,500 lbs of sweet potatoes were picked up. Total haul of sweets: 11,500 lbs.

Sweet potatoes are cured at high heat for several days and then stored for the winter. The other potatoes go into the winter cooler to be distributed during the winter share. We store the potatoes in huge, wooden bulk bins. This year’s harvest: 8,700 lbs of reds, 8,000 lbs of whites, 12,500 lbs of yellows. It might be time to look for new potato recipes!

 

 

Recap: 2018 Annual Meeting of the ICF Co-op

About 45 members attended the annual meeting of the ICF Cooperative on Sunday, September 16. We had the meeting earlier this year, at a different location, and at a different time with the hope of having a large than usual attendance. We were hoping that being outdoors on a perfect fall evening and grilling vegetables would be a good draw! (If you did not attend, please let us know if the time and location were barriers. And if you did attend, should we do this time of year and location again?)

This year was our 25th annual meeting and pot luck. We had the luxury of a wood fire/grill at the Intervale Center, so board members chopped and sliced and prepared all kinds of grilled vegetables to accompany the creations from attendees. Grilled corn, fennel, onions, sweet peppers, and zucchini were just the right touch for the transition to fall.

Farmer Andy Jones reviewed the summer season for us, complete with pictures and graphs. From the major flooding and icing in January (75% of the fields were covered) to the heat of the summer (which the corn, melons, peppers, and eggplant loved), we’ve had a successful season. For some unknown reason the birds left the corn alone and we harvested 28,000 ears of corn!

Andy explained how our new custom flame weeder works (pulling weeds often makes the seeds spread; flaming doesn’t disturb the soil and is done 2-3 weeks ahead of planting and then again right before germination.) We are also using sileage tarps this year, covering weeds to suffocate for 2-3 weeks. We’ve used them on the salad greens this year, but they are heavy and cumbersome to use.

We heard an update on the new packhouse project, our gleaning and food donation program, research projects we’ve partnered on in our fields, and our upcoming pumpkin ride/picking day.

Board member Abby McGowan explained the rotation schedule for our board (every year 3 positions will be open; the total number of members is 9) and that we are moving to an electronic ballot this year so that more co-op members will have an opportunity to vote in elections. In the past, paper ballots were distributed at the annual meeting and only those in attendance voted.

You can see Andy’s slideshow here even though it doesn’t have audio. Send us your questions on any slide if you want to know more! (Click on “play” and sit back to watch!)

Fall Activities at ICF: Crop Mob and Pumpkin Day

Yes, the calendar and finally, the weather, tell me it’s fall.

Warm days with sun and light breezes but mild temps mean we are putting on sweaters and hats. Some of us have put on heavier blankets or flannel sheets (but still keep the windows open) to have cozy sleeping.

And some of us are already thinking about new soup recipes and using the oven again.

At the farm, we’re harvesting root crops for late summer distribution and winter storage. The onions are drying, the hoop houses are in the early stages of being turned over to winter production (bok choy and kale seedlings are ready), and we’re pulling crops in from the field.

YOU CAN HELP WITH FALL HARVEST!

On September 29, in conjunction with City Market, we’ll have a crop mob. You have the opportunity to be in the fields and help harvest the butternut squash this year. City Market members can earn work hours. Crop mobs are the perfect example of “many hands make light work.” Along with staff, it’s possible to get the entire harvest (or the majority of it) gathered in one morning of work. You can sign up here.

On October 6, from 10-2, you’ll have the opportunity to take a wagon ride to the pumpkin field and select your own pumpkin for carving or eating. This event is always a good time for young and old alike and a good way to experience the farm from ground level. Rain date will be October 7, same time and place. Watch our Facebook page and web site for updates, or call 658-2919 for a message.

Don’t forget: after Fall comes Winter. Sign up for your ICF Winter Share now!

Crop Mob September 29!

In conjunction with City Market, Intervale Community Farm is hosting a Crop Mob Saturday, September 29, 2018, 9:00am-12:00pm.  If you aren’t familiar with a Crop Mob, it is an opportunity to get out into the production fields at ICF and lend a hand harvesting some of the thousands of pounds of crops we store for summer and winter shares. This year we plan to harvest butternut squash with the Crop Mob, subject to weather.  Snacks and good company are provided, and everyone generally leaves with a smile.  City Market members can earn member work credit for joining in the fun.

Sign up here to help out!  Wear layers and sturdy shoes, bring gloves, hat and a water bottle. See you there!

 

Onions!

I'm always grateful to have a supply of onions year round. It would not be an overstatement to say I use them in something nearly every day. They add flavor, texture, fiber, and vitamins to any dish I make. Sweet onions, red onions, yellow storage onions: I love them all.

The first of the short-term storage onions (yellow cooking) are being harvested and processed in the late summer hot weather.

It's really a process to prepare the onions for storage, starting with drying them after pulling out of the ground. This first batch pictured (Highlander variety) are for short term storage for the remainder of 2018. They were field dried for about 2 weeks and then gathered in the large bulk bins for processing.

Processing? Don't we just pick them and eat them? Nope.

Onions have tops on them...the tall, above ground leaves and after drying, those leaves need to be removed.  This can be done by hand, pulling or clipping each bulb, but we have an onion topping machine which saves a lot of hand work. it works by snaring the dried onion leaves between metal rollers that then pinch and snap the tops off.  The topper was recently refurbished by Bob Pomykala with a variable speed sewing machine motor.  This allowed us to slow the rollers down to 1200 rpm (from 1700 rpm) resulting in less damage to the onions, and a consequent increase in quality and storage.  

So the harvest process in full: pull up, dry, gather, move indoors, wait for a rainy day, run through the topper, pack in crates, store, EAT.

Irrigation: Out With the Old and In With the New

While we have had rain this summer,  later June and July were dry at Intervale Community Farm. And then August late heat nearly broke records.  Hot weather, limited rainfall, and sandy soils add up to irrigation.  We move pipes, lay out drip tape, hook it all up, turn on the water, unplug sprinklers, patch the drip tape, and finally, water the crops.  After we’ve watered sufficiently -- which varies a lot depending on the crop, stage of growth, sandiness of the particular field, and, of course, the weather – we take much of the system apart so we can move through the field for harvest and tractor work.  In hot dry conditions, we repeat this cycle twice a week or more. 

 

We appreciated any rainfall, but a July full of irrigation meant the end of our tractor-powered irrigation pump in our main production field.  After 10 years of good service, we are relegating our well-used Hale pump to emergency back up status, based on a lengthening crack in the main shaft, and an old enough unit that parts are no longer available. All of the tractor-powered irrigation pumps are apparently made in Italy, and our new Ocmis TN080 is no exception.  We are optimistic we will have years of trouble-free irrigation while enjoying significantly improved performance over our old pump.

 

This year ICF is participating in a study investigating irrigation water use sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture Northeast Climate Hub and University of Vermont Extension.  Researchers have very little data about how much water is actually used by vegetable farms in the Northeast.  Water use has not been much of a focus of research, in part because irrigation necessity is intermittent in the Northeast, and many growers choose to rely primarily on natural rainfall for their crops.  In hotter and sandier locations like ICF, this has not been a viable strategy, so we have been investing in irrigation equipment and moving lots of water for most of our 29 years of growing.  As of 7/27/2018, we pumped 771,522 gallons into our main production field:  a lot of water by any measure!

Although we never want flood conditions, we do appreciate a good rainfall and are always anxious to check our many rain gauges!

We're Doing It Again: Pizza Night

We had such a good time in July that we're doing it again: pizza at ICF.

August 31, 5:00-7:30 at the pick-up pole barn.

ICF members are always in for a treat and always excited when we announce our summer pizza nights. What's not to like? We have wood-fired pizza crafted by the NOFA team using ICF vegetables in all kinds of creative ways, along with our own tomatoes, salad, and sometimes corn and melon, all served in our pick-up area. 

The details: we will have plates, flatware, and cups but feel free to bring your own. Bring your chairs or blankets to make it a picnic. 

All ICF members and families are welcome. We suggest a contribution of $5 per person or $20 per family, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. 

There is no need to tell us you are coming...just mark the date on your calendar and come hungry!

Pizza is my desert-island-perfect-food. Come to pizza night and see why!

Get Involved with ICF: One Board Member Position is Open

Our annual meeting is early this year, Sept 16, and we'll begin the voting process for open board seats then.

The ICF Board is comprised of 9 members, all serving 3 year terms on a staggered schedule. This year, three positions are open; two incumbents,  Mark Twery and Lis Mickenberg, will be standing for re-election. Robin Berger will be stepping down at the conclusion of her term in December. New terms start in January. 

The ICF Board sets overall policy for the farm using a "policy governance" model and works to achieve the following organizing objectives:

  1. Grow a wide variety of local, organic produce and provide related food products for members of ICF.
  2. Cultivate a thriving farm ecosystem.
  3. Foster a vibrant and interactive community of farmers and eaters.
  4. Provide sustainable and fulfilling jobs for staff.
  5. Benefit the wider community through partnerships, donations, and service.
  6. Make ICF accessible to an economically-diverse membership.

While day-to-day operation and management of the farm falls to the Farm Manager, the ICF Board guides the "big picture."  See more about the work of the board here.

Who can become a board member? Any ICF Co-op Member "in good standing" (co-op membership is up-to-date: either paid in full or current on annual contributions) may contact Andy Jones  (or call Andy at 802-658-2919, ext 4, no later than September 2) to indicate interest in serving on the board. Board members must be able to meet once a month, are encouraged to take part in farm events (such as Pizza Nights, Annual Meeting, other events as scheduled), and should have an interest in supporting the objectives of the co-op (above.) 

If you think you might like to be involved with the ICF Board, write up a short statement about yourself (a biographical sketch, your involvement with ICF, why you want to be considered) and feel free to reach out to current board members about their experiences. They would be happy to hear from you and answer questions.

 

 

Gearing Up for Winter: ICF is a Year-Round CSA

Farmers are both planters and planners. It's easy for you to plan ahead also and arrange for year-round organic vegetables for your family.

We've been thinking about winter shares for many months. Over the winter, when we make our crop plan and determine our field plan (which crops go where, which fields need cover crop), we look at the harvests of prior years and the results of the prior season's membership survey. We look at quantities of seeds planted, crop yield and quality, how we can improve our storage processes, staffing needs. It's a big picture to consider and knowing how many members we'll serve over the winter is another piece to the plan.  

We'll be opening the sign-up for our 2018-19 winter/spring shares very soon. Watch for an announcement in your email but also check our web page and Facebook. Generally we have about 1/3 of our membership sign up for winter shares, roughly 240 shares. Because of the limited number of  shares it's a good idea to sign up early and be assured of a spot. 

Picking up a winter share is a bit easier than a summer share because members come every other week and we don't weigh or count every item. We use a peck basket for roots and then just fresh greens are weighed. The time commitment is less and there are no pick-your-own crops to worry about.

Don't forget: if you are a member of the ICF Co-op you can elect to be signed up automatically for a summer and/or winter share. You won't have to bother with the online or paper form and you'll still receive an invoice. Not a member of the Co-op? You can become a member here.  

Watch for the announcement and join us for the winter/spring share season! We start the week immediately after summer shares conclude: November 1. Summer shares will conclude October 25. 

Annual Meeting of the ICF Co-op is September 16

ICF Annual Meeting, Board Elections, and Community Picnic
 
Sunday, September 16th
 4:00-6:30 p.m.

 Intervale Center Community Barn
180 Intervale Road
(Summervale location)


Please note the change of location and our usual day/time.
We're trying something new for our 25th annual pot luck.

 

Please join the Intervale Community Farm board and staff members for an afternoon of food, fun, and celebration of ICF. We are trying something new this year, moving our late autumn potluck and annual meeting much earlier and having it outside.  ICF will provide lots of fresh food, delicious vegetables from the grill, and we will also enjoy the amazing potluck dishes contributed by the excellent cooks within the ICF membership.  We will have kid and family-friendly activities and games before the meeting, but since the location is largely outside, we will not provide childcare.


The Details

Annual Meeting

Though we are changing locations, we will still have a great meal, a slide show retrospective of 2018 in the Community Barn, and lots of space for kids to run around and play.  Elections for our Board of Directors will commence at this meeting, and run for 2 weeks following the event. 

Intervale Community Farm Board Elections

Intervale Community Farm is governed by a nine-member board of directors, elected to three-year terms by the members of Intervale Community Farm Cooperative.  If you aren’t a member of ICF Co-op, it is easy to join and allows you to automatically renew your CSA share, run for and vote in ICF Board elections, and support the future of Intervale Community Farm.  Three three-year seats will be up for election this fall, with Board terms officially beginning in January 2019.  Incumbents are running for two seats, with one vacant seat up for election.

If you are interested in serving on the Board of ICF, please contact Farm Manager Andy Jones at CSA pickup, via email  or phone, 658-2919 x4. All nominations are due two weeks prior to the meeting, no later than September 2, 2018. All ICF CSA members are welcome and encouraged to attend, but only member-owners in good standing of an ICF Co-op share are permitted to run or vote for the board of directors. The Board election will commence at our September 16, 2018 Annual Meeting, and continue for two weeks thereafter.  For ICF Co-op membership info, please call 658 2919 x1,  go here. or contact Kathie.

FOOD

Please come even if you are not able to bring a potluck dish – don’t miss out!  For those contributing to the potluck, please bring something according to the following suggested guidelines.  Above all, bring something you love to do with ICF food, even if it departs from this distribution:

Last names beginning with: 
A-H Please bring a main dish
I-O Please bring a salad-like dish
P-Z Please bring a dessert

 

Please label your potluck dishes and bring a serving utensil if able. We will provide water, dishes, cups, and flatware.
 

Make a note on your calendar for this fun event, and don’t hesitate to ask the ICF staff if you have any questions.

 

Harvesting Tomatoes at ICF: Now We Have a Trolley

Jill Rotondo, greenhouse manager, describes our new tool for harvesting over 6 tons of tomatoes.

This winter we schemed about how to improve the efficiency of our greenhouse tomato harvest process.  The harvest window is long (three and half-months) and the task is hard on our bodies as well as time-consuming.  For example, we might use five crew to harvest, each person filing one or two trays at a time, and then walking the length of the house to set the heavy trays down on a truck.  On any given day in August, we might harvest 45 to 50 trays this way.  From July to October, we harvest about 12,500 pounds of tomatoes from each of the two houses; this is the equivalent of about 850 trays.

We dreamed of a hanging trolly that would travel the length of the house, carrying the weight for us.  We pictured three overhead rails running down the pathways of the house between tomato rows.  The cart itself would have two shelves, one to receive the harvest and another full of empty trays ready for use.  The hanging cart would need to be light enough for two people to lift and move from one track to another.  

We began with the overhead rail.  Dry cleaners use a similar rail system and some farmers have used it for moving plants in a propagation house.  We installed special brackets to the collar ties on which we attached fencing posts to serve as the rail.  Next, we designed our dream cart.  The folks at Giroux’s fabricated the cart just the way we wanted it and it arrived in plenty of time for the first tomato harvest.  It hangs from the rail on four roller wheels and slides down the row with little effort.  

We have now begun using the cart to harvest the tomatoes you eat every week!  Now, just two people harvest with the hanging cart, each filling trays from the rows on either side.  When full, the cart carries up to 14 full trays weighing nearly 300 pounds.  At the end of the house, the cart can be unloaded directly into the truck without us ever having to carry the heavy trays over distance, and then the cart gets moved over to the next row.  We save time and a lot of effort with this new cart.  Every time, we revel in the latest efficiency upgrade at the farm!

Don't Touch That Dial: How We Communicate with Our Members

At this time of year there is a lot going on at the farm.

New produce items are available almost every week as the high point of our season arrives. The colors are glorious and varied. In addition, we have building projects underway, new equipment arriving (often to replace old, battered, and unrepairable items), new methods of harvesting, the annual meeting of the co-op, and yes, early sign-up for winter shares. 

To add to the breaking news, our hardworking staff functions as our crack photographers and reporters. We have pictures from the field, pictures of produce, pictures of smiles. 

How can you stay on top of all this information? We have several channels you can "watch" and we do try to put the same information across our resources, but it's a good idea to check a couple of places to be really in the know.

Week 9 Share Value

  • The big news (dates, major announcements) goes out to every member using Mail Chimp for our mass mailings. There are nearly 2000 addresses in this file so some email systems treat such messages as SPAM. If you don't hear from us approximately once a month via email (usually our newsletter Bottom Land News, check your SPAM folders. It helps to add our email to your Contacts: add   kathie@intervalecommunityfarm.com  and intervalecommunityfarm@gmail.com  to be sure. 
  • You can subscribe to the notices of our Blog postings. At the bottom of our home page, look for "Receive Blog Updates" and add  your email. When a new article is posted you'll be notified. Our Blog has more details and depth about farm initiatives and news we want every member to receive but is not Mail Chimp worthy. Think of the Blog as your virtual Bottom Land News. (In fact, we've started putting links to the blog posts as the content to our newsletter. Why? We wanted news to be distributed more often than monthly. And we're reducing use of paper more every day.)
  • "Friend" us on Facebook.   The information we put on our Facebook page tends to be shorter than our blog, meant to be reminders or to generate a little excitement. You'll find pictures from the field here, candid photos, pictures of cooking efforts, etc. 
  • We often have post card size notices (paper) at the pick-up desk. Such notices would be announcing pizza nights, changes in pick-up days, annual meeting.  Also check our chalkboards at pick-up for notices. Our week 9 share value was posted on the chalk board recently. Did you catch it? 
  • Follow us on Instagram. Pictures from the field are very likely to turn up here on a regular basis. Some of the pictures make it to the Blog and to Facebook but not all.

We're pushing out information to members almost every day. Be sure to tune in to one or more of our channels and stay informed about all things ICF!

2018 first corn.jpg

It's August...It's Time to "Put Food Up"

This week we started selling canning tomatoes in bulk--did you get some yet?

This is the time of year (yes, it's August) when it's time to pickle and ferment, freeze or dehydrate extra produce to enjoy during the long winter. Our harvests are peaking so you should take advantage of the bounty in your share.

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I've been canning already because I make gift baskets of homemade items for gifts. So far I've made dill pickles, dill relish, pickled onions (just a few), and this weekend will be salsa and dilled carrots. 

It may come as no surprise to you that ICF farmers are all foodies. We all like to experiment with the large variety of vegetables we grow, and we also experiment with different methods of "putting up." I freeze, dehydrate, and preserve (can). Sarah Howe shares some of her own recent projects and experiments and general thoughts:

  • Last fall I experimented with freezing ratatouille and it was our biggest surprise delight this winter. I roasted each component separately, combined  everything in a big bowl, and then stirred in fresh chopped basil at the very end. I froze it in pint containers. The colors looked beautiful, I could taste each separate part, and the basil tasted like summer.
  • Frozen broccoli is not going to have the texture of fresh broccoli but it is a useful part of our winter food. I cut it into bite-sized pieces (both florets and stem) and blanch it before freezing it. It is good put into a soup right before serving; let it cook only long enough to be warmed through. I also mix it with rice and cheese in a shallow casserole dish to run under the broiler.
kale.JPG
  • ICF's winter share is rich in greens, so this tip is just to give you kale or chard to tide you over on the off-week between pick-ups. Chop and steam the greens and then place small handfuls, about a cup each, separately on a cookie sheet to freeze. These green bundles can then go into a ziplock bag in the freezer and be retrieved individually to go into a stirfry, soup, or casserole.
  • I make pizza sauce in the crockpot, which I run on the porch so the smell won't keep me awake at night. I put everything into the crockpot and cook it on low with the top on for at least 24 hours, mixing in herbs only at the end. I puree it and freeze it in half-pints.
  • I keep a list on graph paper of what's in my freezer. Each food has a row, and as I add to the freezer, pint by pint, I outline a square on the graph. Over the summer I might freeze, for example,  15 pints of tomato sauce in five or six different sessions, but I can easily keep track of what I have by counting the little squares on my graph paper list. As I start taking things back out of the freezer in the winter I put a check mark in the square. I save these sheets to help me decide how much to freeze of a particular item the next year.

We'd love to hear about your tips and tricks for "putting food up." 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...and Upcycle, the ICF Way

Have you noticed the tubs we use to haul in the corn from the fields? We use them for many things (collecting compost materials from the wash station, hauling corn) but did you know they started out as olive barrels?

We get these olive barrels (sometimes pepperoncini barrels) from International Foods in Williston because they are a good size and shape, are flexible, and they take a beating. To upcycle, we cut them in half, add handles made from decommissioned climbing ropes from Petra Cliffs, and voila: a container we can drag along rather than carry.  They are primarily for zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, sweet corn, and head lettuce.  But they also make great compost collectors and tubs for the trimming we do at the wash station. 

We also reduce and reuse by shopping at Resource (the former Recycle North) for small tools, miscellaneous lumber for patching or small projects, even replacement doors. 

Remember, bringing your own bags and baskets to pick-ups helps with our reducing and recycling efforts. We use no packaging for our produce and we collect plastic bags in a barrel near the check-in desk. If you really want to be stylish, purchase an ICF canvas bag for your weekly vegetable collection! 

There's No Place Like Home (Cooking!)

recipe board.JPG

I like to travel, as do many ICF members, but after traveling and eating conference food or restaurant food and not following my normal eating patterns, I am always glad to get home. I tell people I need to get "back on my feed" which typically means lots of ICF produce, lean protein, clean and simple foods. 

"Institutional food" is much different from farm-to-table and locally sourced food, no matter how hard a banquet chef tries. I was in Baltimore last week and access to fresh vegetables was difficult. Oh, I had a few good spears of asparagus (source unknown), a few good strawberries, and on the last day a plentiful fresh baby spinach salad. Yes, there was crab in some form at every turn, but crab is rich and when you are used to less rich foods, havoc ensues. I did have some lovely oxymoronic Jumbo Shrimp and I tried to gravitate to those when given a choice. Yes, there was salad (of sorts) but it wasn't fresh baby lettuces. Or arugula. 

We are always hearing from members that they are grateful to have such plentiful, fresh, local produce and how well they eat as a result. If you've taken your share for granted, step away from the bounty for 5 days and check your reactions!

I did have a particularly good kale salad on the last night at the B&O American Brasserie, a restaurant housed in the former headquarters of the B&O Railroad. It was described as a Kale Chopped Salad (grilled chicken, lardons (bacon bits, I was told), roasted peppers, chick peas, ricotta salata, shaved egg, white balsamic ranch) but the new menu used green goddess dressing. It was lightly dressed, thoroughly coated, all of the flavors and textures blended perfectly. The fresh kale was delightful and I will be trying to recreate this salad very soon.

If you've been confused about some of our vegetable offerings (fennel, eggplant, napa cabbage), be sure to check our recipe board near the pick-up desk. Aly has put a lot of work into printing recipes featuring the in-season produce and giving members ideas to change up their usual menus.  Some of you have shared what you are eating on our Facebook page and it's always fun to see what you are cooking on a weekend. Keep sharing! 

Let us know: have you been traveling and experienced a particularly tasty dish that you'd like to share with others? See if you can recreate the dish and share with us...you may find your recipe hanging on our bulletin board! Even if you are staying close to home, share your creations with us or let us know how you like the recipes hanging on the board!

ICF Food Donations: Feeding the Community

As the farm membership has grown over the past decade so has the quantity of food we have been able to donate.  This time of year is particularly exciting because the amount of gleaning and donating is increasing with the bountiful harvest.  This month the Vermont FoodBank has come out to harvest extra head lettuce and spinach. We are excited that the Intervale Center is beginning their free CSA in July so they will be starting to glean and pick up extra produce next week.  

We have been working with Tim and Linda Looney who coordinate a free Sunday night dinner at the First United Methodist Church.  Tim picks up a selection of extra veggies from us every Friday to incorporate into their meals.

This winter a group of medical students from UVM reached out to us for their Here to Help Clinic.  They work with community members and the UVM Larner College of Medicine to provide free haircuts, showers, food and help access other resources for the homeless population.  They run this clinic once a month and have been stopping by the farm to get fresh produce.

In addition we have been continuing to work with the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.  It’s really great this time of year when we are super busy they are able to come to the farm and pick up produce directly from us.  At the end of Winter Share we donated our last couple hundred pounds of sweet potatoes and onions to the Food Shelf. Lately we’ve been having them come by the farm most Tuesdays so that we can clear out any leftovers from pick-up that won’t keep for long and they can distribute to people in need or incorporate into meals right away.

For the last couple of years we've relied on members to help with the ICF gleaning for our donation efforts.   Generally we are gleaning on Tuesday mornings and Friday afternoons. If you want to volunteer, contact  Aly Martelle. You can also sign up to be notified of gleaning events and news by subscribing to our Gleaning List here.