ARTfarm Saturday Slaw-Breakers

Summertime is time to make slaw. Here is our list for Saturday’s stand, recipe follows! 

10 AM to 12 noon: Bunched sweet potato greens, red and yellow seasoning peppers, garlic chives, recao, basil, rosemary, loads of sweet potatoes in all sizes, sweet red pumpkin. Julie mangoes, Haitian Kidney mangoes, Viequen Butterball mangoes, plus lots of dragonfruit and sweet papaya, a few pineapples and passionfruit. Bethany’s amazing goat cheese, super fresh!

A sweet and sour raw Asian slaw salad of refreshing green fruits cools and delights the palate and is a great complementary foil for barbecued or grilled meats or other salty foods. 

Here’s Christina’s all-ARTfarm recipe:

Law-Breakin’ Slaw

2 green mangoes, peeled

3-4 large green papayas, peeled and seeds removed

1 lb. raw sweet pumpkin (yes, Yvette Browne!)

2–3 small red onions

Quarter cup or so of fresh raw peanuts, chopped and dry roasted with salt (yes, we have been experimenting with peanuts!)

Dressing:

Three small limes, juiced into a bowl

2 Tablespoons honey. Dissolve in lime juice

Few drops of potent pepper sauce or half a fresh chili pepper, diced

DIRECTIONS:

Grate the mango, papaya and pumpkin on a box grater (great upper arm workout) or using a food processor. Slice the red onions thin. Toss all together in a large bowl.

Mix together the dressing. Pour over and toss. Refrigerate. 

Roast the peanuts and sprinkle over top or reserve on side for garnish. 

Can also add blanched green beans, cucumber slices, a few cherry tomatoes. Or, in season right now, a bit of cubed mango or other sweet ripe fruits. 

Look for Luca at Mango Melee on Sunday! In the new farmer section!

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ARTfarm Season Finale! Last Saturday

ARTfarm sweet cornAll good things must come to an end; summer, a great meal, a super dance club extended remix, and the season at ARTfarm. There will be a few weeks’ pause before the next season begins.

Today, 10am – 12 noon: Sweet salad mix, arugula, beets, sweet corn, onions, sweet potato greens, bunched arugula, Kang Kong Asian water spinach, Italian basil, holy basil, garlic chives, recao, mint, tarragon, bananas, papayas, and soursop! From our partners, we have dragonfruit from Solitude Farms, raw local dark honey from Errol, bread from Tess, and our famous “Shades of Joy” magic color indicator avocados from Tita & Diego.

Q&A: Someone stopped us in a parking lot the other day and asked us if our arugula was organic. For anyone who might be wondering, all ARTfarm produce is grown using organic methods, to the standards of USDA Certified Organic produce. In some cases, our sustainable practices exceed what is required by the USDA NOP (National Organic Program), and our farming philosophy and practices have continuously met our strict standards since 1999 on St. Croix.

BUT… it is against US law to claim that your produce is “organic” unless you have spent the time and money to achieve organic certification through a USDA approved agency. This involves lots of paperwork, expensive fees, a percentage of the farm’s profit going to a certifying agency on an annual basis, and flying an inspector to the island at the farm’s expense at regular intervals to examine our records and practices.

There are pros and cons to having the USDA organic stamp of approval. We respect those farms who have gone through the arduous process of becoming organic certified. We are considering the process, but are not interested in raising our prices to cover the cost. The official stamp from the USDA doesn’t seem to be important to most of our customers.

But is our arugula organic? If you really want to know, get to know your farmer. Ask about our farming practices. Ask how we raise food sustainably using organic methods. Ask us if we are involved in the community. Learn more about the debate and what growing organically really means, so you know the right questions to ask! You might just find the long answer as assuring and satisfying as the shortcut of a sticker stuck to your food. 😉

Love, ARTfarm

Morning Harvest Processional at ARTfarm. Open 10 AM – 12 noon, Beautiful Beets, Basil

20140621-072138-26498782.jpgThis harvest report just in from Farmer Luca: “Beautiful beets this morning with lovely greens. Also really nice basil — basil goes great with mangoes and pineapple for salsa with our sweet, flavorful red onions!”

Fresh today for you: sweet salad mix, baby spicy salad mix, baby arugula, microgreens, cucumbers, sweet corn, a handful of tomatoes, purple long beans, cooking greens, beets, radishes, onions, Italian basil, garlic chives, recao, mint, lemongrass, passionfruit, papaya, pineapples, tamarind pods, native trees and pineapple slips. All grown here using USDA NOP (organic) methods in the soil with rainwater.

From our partners we will have raw local honey, coconut vegan ice cream in local fruit flavors from Feeli, beautiful handmade breads from Tess, and mangoes plus free samples of some unusual fruits from Tropical Exotics!

Summer arrives tomorrow. Enjoy this fruity season!

ARTfarm is open every Saturday, 10 AM – 12 noon, and also Wednesdays 3–6 p.m., on S. Shore Rd. (62) between Ha’Penny Beach and the Boy Scout Camp. Come and visit us!

ARTfarm Saturday Farmstand

Sweet Saturday! Open 10 AM – 12 noon on the South Shore. Lots of goodies, despite the dry dry weather: Sweet salad mix, spicy salad mix, baby spicy salad mix, baby arugula, microgreens, kale, collards, mustard greens, large bunched arugula, radicchio, dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, broccoli leaves, Bodhi beans, carrots, beets, onions, fresh ginger root, cilantro, Italian basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, holy basil, dill, garlic chives, recao, epazote, mint, thyme, sage, rosemary, lemongrass, fennel, figs, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, slicer tomatoes, pineapples, passionfruit, sweet corn, lettuce heads. We will also have vegan coconut-based ice cream from I-Sha, raw local honey from the Jolly Hill Apiary, and fresh local eggs, from Marti Gotts.

Lots of things are flowering (including our passionfruit vines) and the bees are going crazy! An eco-friendly way to get rid of a swarm of bees that are not desired in your home or yard is to call a beekeeper. They have special equipment and can remove the swarm safely to another location where they will happily continue to pollinate plants and make our world a sweeter and greener place. Purchase local honey, and you’ll always have the phone number of a nearby beekeeper right in your kitchen! 20140426-084259.jpg

Saturday Parade of Organic Goodness on South Shore Road

Costume your table in a tiny Caribbean festival of flavor and let the juicy sweetness march into your mouth! ARTfarm is open today 10am-12 noon with beautiful sweet salad mix, spicy salad mix, lettuce heads, escarole, lots of kale, collard greens, broccoli greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, beets, onions, limes, passionfruit, cucumbers, radishes, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, garlic chives, dill, parsley, rosemary, sage, Italian basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, lemon balm, fresh Mediterranean figs, honey, and vegan coconut-based ice cream. All a di gal dem. Whine upwhine up!

Beeeeeee Sunday!

With all the fantastic rain and blooming flowers and growth it is swarming season for bees that have outgrown their hives.

A swarm in May is worth a bale of hay.
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.

Over the last two days we observed a group of about 20-30 bees actively investigating various structures around the farm. They were curious but not aggressive or interested in us. (Bees are very singular in purpose. When they are scouting, they are not looking to sting anyone. They look scary as they swoop about in large groups, buzzing loudly, but since they are not defending their home, they won’t sting unless someone is swatting at them, crushes one, or shows aggression toward them.)

This morning the same smallish group of 20-30 bees was spotted scoping out a space above the back kitchen door of one of the historical buildings on the property. Within ten minutes, a deafening hum could be heard as literally thousands of bees descended and began moving into a 1/2 inch crack near a roof beam at the same location.

Christina called our beekeeper, Wanda of Wright Apiary, for assistance and the two ladies donned bee suits and were able to pry up a small piece of plywood covering the hollow space in the roof structure, and gently vacuum the extremely large and healthy swarm out of the inside of the roof and into two small cages using special beekeeping tools. A bit of smoke from a hive smoker along a crack in the wall encouraged most of the rest of the bees to come back out from the deep recesses of the roof structure.

About halfway through the removal process Wanda was skilled enough to spot the large queen and capture her in a special queen box. Wanda installed the queen, in her cage, into a temporary small hive box and we began the process of gently shaking and brushing pounds and pounds of buzzing bees from the now heavy small cages into the small hive box. Lastly, Wanda placed a bit of bee food in the hive box to help them feel invested in their new location.

The hive box will remain near the hole in the roof for a few days until the rest of the bees have found their queen. Then we’ll move them into a larger hive box with a comb or two of ‘brood comb’ where the queen, once released from her cage, can immediately start laying her eggs. This should encourage the bees to stay in the new hive, even though it wasn’t their first choice.

If you spot bees swarming around your yard or home, don’t panic. Bees that are out and about looking for a place to live are focussed on the move and are not looking to sting people. A large swarm hanging off a tree can look like an odd, dark colored termite nest. It’s thousands of bees surrounding their queen, awaiting directions from the scouting party. Keep a comfortable distance and be careful not to disturb the swarm, but feel free to observe them. They’re only in an exposed area like that briefly, and will be gone within hours or a day or two at most, as soon as their scouting party finds the perfect new hollow spot.

To prevent a swarm of bees from moving into structures, patch up or caulk up cracks. Bees can move into hollow spaces with just a 1/4″ opening available to them. If bees do move into a structure, you can call 911 for assistance and they’ll direct you to a local beekeeper who can remove (or exterminate) the hive using specialized tools, protective clothing and equipment.

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