This week, we bid a sad farewell to Ron and Amanda Moule. Ron has been with us here at CFF as Farm Manager since the beginning, almost 4 years ago. Amanda began as our Artisanal Specialist in 2016. They were a huge part of helping us create the farm, and we will sorely miss them. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors, and hope to hear great things from them!!
Taking over for Ron, Steve Tomlinson is moving into the Farm Manager position effective immediately. Steve started in the beginning of 2017 as our Field Manager, and it was readily apparent that he was talented and highly capable. He brings his organizational eye to the Farm Manager role, lending a new perspective and fresh ideas to fulfilling our goals to Feed, Teach and Nurture. We are very excited to watch Steve in his new, expanded role bring the farm even closer to our vision.
1) How long have you been farming?
I have been seasonally farming for about 5 years. During my summer breaks from college studying sustainable agriculture, I have enjoyed a diverse range of agricultural and horticultural work. My experiences with plants and farming have varied from ornamental plant production (natives, exotics, annuals, perennials), native plant landscaping, greenhouse/nursery plant production, to conventional and organic vegetable crop production. This apprenticeship will be my first true full season of organic vegetable production farming.
2) What made you want to go into farming?
I have always had a passion for the natural environment and food (who doesn’t like food, right?). I knew I wanted to save/conserve the environment and work within nature in some way. Delaware Valley College is where it all started (shout out to Dr. Killion, Sue McGovern, Dr. Ricotta, Dr. Casas, Dr. Johnson, and many others). Initially, I went to college to study biology as a precursor for environmental/marine studies. During an intense biology lecture on evolution and photosynthesis, my professor exclaimed how the human race owes our existence to plants due to oxygen only being a byproduct of plants’ natural processes. He boldly said, “Without plants, where would we be?”. His statement really touched me. I knew I needed to do something with my life that connected the natural environment, plants, and people, within a beneficial and sustainable system for all involved. The next school year I changed my major to Sustainable Agriculture Systems at Delaware Valley College, and experienced my first farming job as a student-laborer for their horticultural department. It’s all history from there.. My ambitions align with Carversville Farm Foundation’s mission. I am passionate about regenerative agriculture, the world’s food systems, feeding those in need, education, community involvement, and making this world a better place to live.
3) What is something you have experienced here that you never expected?
It has only been about a month here, and I feel like I have enjoyed years full of unexpected joys and surprises. Seeing Miss, the sheep herding dog, attempting to herd our farm cats has been very entertaining. The farm’s vibes of doing the most good for the environment, the communities it serves, the animals, and plants often overwhelms me with bliss..
4) What is your favorite season and why?
I love the in-between seasons. Spring awakens the senses with tender leaf foliage, floral blossom aromas, warmth of the sun on your cheeks. It feels like a nice limber stretch after a nap. Autumn’s cozy comfort of “tucking in” plants (and yourself) into their beds for the winter, the smell of burning leaf piles, soup, sweaters, and Halloween… Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a hot summer’s night storm, and did I mention I am a snow sledding enthusiast?
5) What is a typical day for you at CFF?
We start off our day with our morning meetings and go over major farm happenings. Afterwards, it varies depending on the weather, the day, priorities, etc. Now that we are finally experiencing nicer weather, the veggie crew has been focusing on bed prepping and planting our transplants into the field.
6) How do you unwind after a long day at the farm?
I enjoy reading, outdoor activities, writing, researching, painting, archery, watching hockey, and spending time with family, friends, and my dog.
7) What is something you can’t wait to make using ingredients from our farm?
Anything and everything, especially with farm fresh ingredients. I’m looking forward to making a variety of sauces. One of my favorite simple summertime dishes is heirloom tomatoes with burrata or mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and a fine olive oil.
8) What’s a quote you live by?
“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
9) What advice would you give to someone thinking about going into farming?
Farming is an extremely hard, yet very humbling job. You will experience the losses, but even more wins. Visit your local farmers market, have a conversation with your local farmers. Start by growing a vegetable garden in your yard or in your community. Volunteer/apprentice/work for a local farm for a season. Don’t be afraid of getting dirty, or the bugs; they only bite if you do. Remember to protect your body by stretching and wearing sunscreen. Let the bees hover and give you a smell, they probably think you’re a flower too :). Experience the triumph of planting a seed, and watching it become the food that nourishes your body.
10) If you had to pick, what’s your favorite piece of equipment we have?
The paper pot transplanter has been quite a thrill to experience. The germination chamber is exciting to utilize, and check for baby cotyledons (an embryonic leaf in seed bearing plants). The Simon bed prepper is something very new to me and really unique to see in action.
It goes without saying, this is the best time of the year at the farm. The weather is getting warmer, our fields are being prepped for all of the delicious veggies to come, animals are moving around the pasture and of course baby goats are being born! As of today, 11 does have kidded- 11 females and 7 male kids and we have another 6 does yet to kid. While it’s exciting to watch, you definitely need to prepare, which is exactly what our Livestock team has been doing. The crew carefully watch the does looking for differences in their behavior, which is a key sign that labor is on the way. Of course, it can be a bit of a scramble; last week, 4 of the does all went into labor within a couple hours of each other! Whew!
This Friday, join CFF’s Co-Executive Director Tony Dorazio along with Chad Adams of Ground Plan Studio, Bio-Logical Capital will be presenting Carbon Farming: The Climatic, Social and Economic Implications of Regenerative Agriculture at the 2018 Sustainability Symposium hosted by Green Build United at Penn State at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia, PA from 9:00am-10:00am.
This session will be moderated by Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and will discuss Carbon Farming; farming in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or captures and holds carbon in vegetation and soils. It is managing land, water, plants, and animals to restore ecosystems, ameliorate climate change, and provide nutrient dense food and educational opportunities. Also described as Regenerative Agriculture, these goals are achieved through a focus on lower-sequestration strategies like no-till organic annual cropping, perennial crops, and managed grazing. Attendees will learn the overall concepts and specific metrics of this emerging practice through four business case studies, and will come to understand the implications for communities on how and where these types of food production can fit.
For more information about the symposium or to register please click here: https://greenbuildingunited.org/events/2018-sustainability-symposium
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Grease a baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, tarragon, salt, and pepper until the mixture is well combined. Set aside.
Cook asparagus until bright green and just tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Set the asparagus spears aside. Place a chicken breast between two sheets of heavy plastic on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the chicken breast with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts.
Place 1 slice of provolone on each chicken breast, and top the cheese with 4 asparagus spears per breast. Roll the chicken breasts around the asparagus and cheese, place, seam sides down, in the prepared baking dish. With a pastry brush, apply a coating of the mayonnaise mixture to each chicken breast, and sprinkle each with panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to make a coating.
Bake in the oven until the crumbs are browned and the chicken juices run clear, about 25 minutes.
In an effort to make warmer weather get here faster, we are bringing back our CFF t-shirts! Sizes range from Small to X-Large. Sweatshirts are $17.50 and we accept cash, check, or credit card. Merchandise can be purchased directly from the farm by contacting Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, 100% of the proceeds go to feed the needy in our own backyards.
By partnering with several Bucks County food pantries, Broad Street Ministry, Coalition Against Hunger, Cathedral Kitchen and Face to Face, people throughout the Philadelphia area are benefiting from our nutritious harvest.