The Teen Ag Crew helps to transport the chickens into the outdoors coops.
Welcome to the Wolfe's Neck Farm Teen Ag and CSA share newsletter, written by our Teen Ag Crew member Gabriella Gaspardi. This weekly newsletter provides information about what produce you can look forward to receiving in your CSA share, a recipe or two, and any bits of information we think you might find interesting.

Thank you so much for your support of this program. Enjoy!  
CSA Pickup Day Details
Tomorrow is CSA Pickup Day! Please remember to return your baskets at each weekly pick up.

CSA pickups will occur on  Thursdays from 3:00-5:30 PM . If you need to pick up your share after 5:30 PM, it will be accessible in the refrigerator at the
Farm Stand. If you need to pick up early on a CSA day, please contact Richard at teenag@wolfesneckfarm.org at least 24 hours in advance.
This Week's Basket
The produce in this week's basket includes:
  • New Potatoes
  • Fresh Onions 
  • Chard
  • Peas

Summer Campers Harvest New Potatoes
Wolfe's Neck Farm Day Campers came up to the Teen Ag Plot this week to assist in the new potato harvest. The campers loved being able to dig in the dirt, searching for potatoes and defending future produce against the dreaded Colorado Potato Beetle. 

New potatoes  have a thin skin, and have a waxy texture. They are not a particular variety of potato--they can be Russets, reds, yellow, and even Fingerling. New potatoes are 
young potatoes  and unlike their fully grown counterparts, they keep their shape once cooked and cut, and have a shorter shelf life. They are also sweeter because their sugar has not yet converted into starch, and are therefore particularly suited to salads.

Recipe: Roasted Swiss Chard and New Potato Cake
Ingredients (serves 5):
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves or garlic scapes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
  • 7 new potatoes, thinly sliced, no need to peel! (Or substitute with 4 medium potatoes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, thick stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup grated Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese
Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat butter and oil in a (10-inch) seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Spread out onions evenly in the bottom of the skillet and remove skillet from heat.

Arrange a third of the potatoes in a single layer on top of the onions in the bottom of the skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with a third of the chard and scatter a third of the cheese over the top. Repeat the process to layer the ingredients two more times, ending with the cheese. 

Cover skillet tightly with a lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil and bake until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Gently remove foil then return skillet to the oven and bake until cheese is browned on top, which will be about 15 more minutes. Set aside to briefly rest, then slice into wedges and serve.  

Field Trip to the Freeport Community Center
The crew listens to the Freeport Community food pantry supervisor Sarah Lundin.  
Last week, the Teen Ag crew visited the Freeport Community Center, not far from Wolfe's Neck Farm. The Freeport Community Center shares and provides many different organizations within the center, such as a thrift shop, PORT Teen Center, Freeport Elders, and Volunteer Services. 

The crew visited the Freeport Community Center for their Food Pantry services, listening
Liane assists another volunteer cooking for the FCS monthly meal.
and learning the  rules and regulations that are involved in maintaining a functioning food pantry. We  brought our own salad mix and helped serve a monthly free meal provided to Freeport residents. It was an enjoyable afternoon, and the crew appreciated learning how their work in the vegetable plot is contributing the local community.

CSA Share Veggie of the Week
Little did you know, there's one vegetable in your CSA share this week that may be more valued than you thought. Onions have been a part of the human diet for more than 7,000 years and there have been traces of onions, discovered by  archaeologists , dating back to 5000 B.C. They were found alongside stones from figs and dates in settlements from the Bronze Age. 

Ancient Egyptians were even discovered to have worshipped onions. They believed the spherical shape and concentric circles within symbolize eternity. Onions were often placed in the burial tombs of Pharaohs as well, believing them to bring prosperity in the afterlife.

Onions also have the ability to combat osteoporosis in women going through menopause. The reason for their healing effect is because onions destroy osteoclasts, which are bone cells that reabsorb bone tissue and weaken bones. Onions are also very rich in quercetin, which is a powerful flavonoid antioxidant that has been shown to have positive effects in people battling lung cancer. They can also be beneficial in treatment of cataracts and cardiovascular disease.

Despite its relish in ancient history, it can sometimes be a tearful battle when cutting into the vegetable. The reason onions make all of us cry is  that cutting into an onion releases sulfuric acid, which reacts with the moisture in our eyes to create a tearful reaction. One way to avoid this byproduct of slicing onions is to cut them under running water, or while submerged in a basin of water, and prepare your dinner in dry-eyed peace.
Tom Talk: No Spray Organic Pest Control
As long days of summer sun shine on and plant growth accelerates, production is in full swing up in the Teen Agriculture plot. Unfortunately, along with the weather and growth rate comes the speeding up of insect pest reproduction. We use a variety of pest control methods, many of which are implemented in an effort to work with nature as opposed to resorting to spray pesticides. Before we dive into our methods, let's review the major pests in the field:
 
Newborn Colorado Potato Beetles
Colorado Potato Beetle
By far our most damaging pest.  These beetles feed on potato and eggplant leaves while also reproducing on plants. Second generation offspring are birthed on plants and feed heavily. They overwinter in the field's soil and leave us to fend them off season after season.
 
Striped Cucumber Beetle
Small black and yellow winged, these beetles are a highly mobile insect. They feed heavily on leaf and flowers of cucurbit crops (squash, melons, pumpkins, cucumbers, etc.). These pests overwinter on edges of field.
 
Cabbage Moth
A white moth that lays eggs on cabbage family crops (cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Their larvae feeds on leaves, but are generally not incredibly damaging.
 
Black & Striped Flea Beetle 
Small early season pest which feeds heavily on the foliage of leafy greens. They can often ruin profitability of crops like pak choi, which cannot be marketed with heavy leaf damage.
Row cover has the ability to keep Colorado Potato Beetles from eating
 the plants.

We do our best to try and stay a step ahead of these  pests by constantly rotating crops throughout the seasons. Rotating potato plants each season is crucial, as Colorado potato beetle overwinters and feeds as soon a climactic conditions are ideal. We also transplant as many of our crops as possible. This allows us to introduce a stronger plant into field, which can handle more leaf defoliation and feeding. Our most important practice is using white row covers that act as a physical barrier to keep pests off of the crop. In addition to acting as a barrier, the row covers also create a microclimate. The soil temperature and humidity under the cover increases, spurring plant growth. 

Thank you for taking part in our CSA for the summer! We hope you will enjoy what our vegetable plots have to offer. Stay tuned for weekly updates from your Wolfe's Neck Farm Teen Ag Crew.