Happy Holidays! ARTfarm OPEN 3-6pm Today!

 

Baby! Baby arugula, Baby!

Lots of beautiful things for your holiday table at ARTfarm this afternoon! Come down the South Shore and enjoy this beautiful day.

We have plenty of beautiful fresh sweet salad mix, baby and teen arugula and spicy salad greens, and oak leaf lettuce heads;

Freshly harvested garlic chives, lemongrass, rosemary, recao, and lemon, Italian, Thai and holy basils;

Ethiopian, dinosaur and purple kale; wild pickling gherkins (click for recipe, halfway down the page) and beautifully domesticated slicing cucumbers, zucchinis and squashes (click for recipes and suggestions), and fresh eggs from Yellow Door Farm.

Early birds may experience: fresh Mediterranean figs, zinnia flowers and a few cherry and slicer tomatoes.

Special guest Ms. Wanda will have beautiful gift boxes of Crucian Mead samplers!

We will be open again on Saturday, December 26. We should have sweet corn, more tomatoes, and a few other additions to the lineup for Saturday.

Wishing a merry and peaceful holiday season for all. We are blessed to have such enthusiastic customers and the privilege to work with our family and friends on beautiful land. Thanks for your support!

Lots Of Holiday Greens!!

For this Saturday, December 19th we will have, freshly harvested and ready at 10am:

December lettuces are tender and sweet!

December lettuces are tender and sweet!

Loads of sweet salad mix, baby arugula, teen arugula, baby and teen spicy salad mixes, and royal oak leaf lettuce heads;

These round yellow summer squash are tender and can be roasted, stewed, fried, stuffed…yum!!

We love seeing what you do with our produce! Here is a stuffed zucchini with a side salad! Thanks Isabel Cerni & family!

We love seeing what you do with our produce! Here is a stuffed zucchini with a side salad! Thanks Isabel Cerni & family!

Zucchini, round summer squash, lots of generously sized Ethiopian kale (it’s similar to a mild mustard green, super dark and tender), Tuscan kale and red edged kale, dandelion greens;

Fresh Mediterranean figs are beyond tender and sweet when ripe!

Wild cucumber gherkins, a few half pints of cherry tomatoes, our first slicing tomatoes of the season, and amazing fresh Mediterranean figs.

Open 10am – 12 noon but of course come early for the best selection! We will be open Wednesday, December 23rd, 3-6pm with a similar lineup.

Hot new work from the ARTbarn: Luca recently delivered the original art for the 2016 Taste Of St. Croix poster. The subject this year is one of our fellow farmers, Grantley Samuel, who is known as the Corn Man but is also renowned for his watermelon. Thought you all might enjoy this! Prints will be available at the Taste Of St. Croix in April!

Happy holidays from ARTfarm!

Acrylic on canvas, (c)2015 Luca Gasperi

 

 

Farm ON!! reOPEN today, Saturday Dec. 12, 10AM – 12 noon!

The ARTfarm is back after our ridiculously long “summer break.” (If mangoes are out of season, why not us?) We have some green goodness for you! THANK YOU for waiting…

Early Saturday morning...

Early Saturday morning…

We’ve got beautiful sweet green zucchinis and round yellow summer squashes! Big beautiful bunches of tender, dark green Ethiopian kale plus two other kinds of kale. Dandelion greens. We’ve also got wild gherkins – these are pasture cucumbers, spiny but delicious as a quick (or slower) pickle. Quick pickle recipe below.

Salads are back! Come early and dig into the farmstand coolers: we’ll have sweet salad mix, baby spicy mix, baby arugula, and green oak leaf lettuce heads.

Early birds may spot one or two pints of our yellow super sweet cherry tomatoes, passionfruits, and fresh figs. (Late birds will still get Ethiopian kale and zucchini!)

Freshly early-this-morning-harvested herbs: thyme, Thai basil, Italian basil, holy basil, lemongrass, garlic chives, recao. Some green (red hot) chili peppers.

Say hi to Santa at the Christmas Boat Parade tonight, and tell him we’ve been really really good at the ARTfarm and we want a pony. No, make that lots and lots more rain.

Wild pasture cucumbers: salty, crunchy, earthy. A bit spiny to the touch - just rub the little points off with a dishcloth when rinsing!

Wild pasture cucumbers: salty, crunchy, earthy. A bit spiny to the touch – just rub the little points off with a dishcloth when rinsing!

Farmer Luca’s Wild & Quick Pickle Recipe*

Eating these weedy little cucumbers is a bit like those early childhood experiments where you’d find something outdoors and decide to “make a snack”. Sometimes when we are working in the pastures and run out of water to drink, these juicy little bite-sized cucurbits are just the thing! Nature’s little oasis. This quick pickle is delicious served as a crunchy little side anywhere you’d want a bit of relish.

3 c. tiny wild pasture cucumbers, cut in half
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (muscovado or coconut sugar)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/8 c. chopped fresh herbs; tarragon, or whatever is handy, to taste

Briefly dry roast the cumin seed in a saucepan. Add the liquids, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer.

Toss the cucumbers, onion and fresh herbs in a bowl and pack loosely into canning jars.

Pour hot liquid over chopped cucumber mixture to cover. Allow it to sit until just warm, then cover. Eat as soon as cool and/or refrigerate.

Will settle in flavor and taste even better the next day.

*This is a rough, down and dirty farmer recipe, the percentage of all ingredients can be increased or decreased to taste

Friday Night Update!

A harvesting tray is full of dark green zucchinis and bright yellow round summer squashes.

The squash vines are kickin’ out lots of zukes at ARTfarm!

Ask and you shall receive! Last season Shepherdess Christina told Farmer Luca that, since our family was trying to go gluten-free but loves pasta, that we wanted some beautiful organically grown zucchini to make into gluten-free noodles (“zoodles”) with our spiralizer vegetable cutter.

Shazam! We have lots of zucchini, thanks to our water-preserving new gardening techniques. The squash vines are going crazy.

Tomorrow we will have loads of Ethiopian kale, 2 types regular kale, Italian basil, Thai basil, holy basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Recao, lemongrass, small and large yellow round squash, green zucchini squash, Green Oak leaf lettuce heads, baby spicy, baby arugula, sweet salad mix, wild cucumbers (gherkins) and a few fresh sweet Mediterranean figs.  Maybe 1-2 pints of yellow cherry tomatoes for the early birds, and fresh, lovingly produced eggs from Yellow Door Farm. See you in the morning!

ARTfarm Wednesday 3-6: Fire Report

We are open 3–6 p.m.! Today we have sweet salad mix, spicy salad mix, a few cucumbers, Bodhi beans, onions, beets, Italian basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and a few more fresh figs.

Beautiful ARTfarm salad greens for the sweet mix!

Beautiful ARTfarm salad greens for the sweet mix!

Farming is certainly a round-the-clock exercise. Last night around 9 PM we smelled smoke and saw flames shooting up into the sky on the east end of the farm. Luckily we had fair warning as Luca was out watering late and noticed it quickly, shortly after hearing the sound of voices along the east roadside. Neighbors in the area also alerted us to the brushfire and offered help via text, calls and Facebook. We quickly moved our child to grandma’s, suited up in protective clothing, grabbed our fire flappers and other firefighting equipment and went to move sheep and equipment out of harm’s way and help the neighbors wherever possible.

A view of the brush fire last night from the top of Spring Gut Road via a neighbor. The large yellow lights along the center of the photo below the fire are streetlights on South Shore Road. The red light on the right side is a VIFD truck. The small squarish light near the center right of the photo is us in our truck in roughly the center of ARTfarm. From our angle in the pasture it appeared that the fire was advancing rapidly toward us.

A view of the brush fire last night from the top of Spring Gut Road looking south, via a neighbor. The fire moved across the pasture from east to west. The large yellow lights along the center of the photo below the fire are streetlights on South Shore Road. The red light on the right side is a VIFS truck. The small squarish light near the center right of the photo is us in our truck in roughly the center of ARTfarm. From our angle in the pasture it appeared that the fire was advancing rapidly toward us and a small group of young cattle.

Luckily there was not a strong wind last night, and conditions coupled with a rigorous effort by the VI Fire Service on all sides contained the fire and prevented it from destroying hundreds of acres of pasture in use, as well as cattle and sheep, wildlife, farm infrastructure and the homes of farmers including us!

Another shot of the fire as it continued to spread and head south. Our truck is the tiny pinpoint of light close to the west end (right) of the fire line. Above us and closer to the fire is a VIFD truck.

Another shot of the fire as it continued to spread and head south. Our truck is the tiny pinpoint of light close to the west end (right) of the fire line. Above us and closer to the fire is a VIFS truck.

As I stated to a friend, “this is what amounts to a ‘romantic date night’ for a farmer and his wife. A fireside chat and home by midnight.”

We spoke with Captain Charles Gilbert, Fire Service officer out of Richmond/Christiansted’s C shift, who was in charge of the operation last night. They had a total of six VIFS trucks on the scene, but it felt like a lot more to us, as they continued to contain the fire from 9pm to 1am. These included trucks from the East End, Richmond, and Grove stations. The only casualty of the evening was a young calf that got onto the road (due to gates left open to allow emergency access) and was struck by a passing vehicle. Some fencing was damaged and will need to be replaced.

Fence damage. This wood post will have to be replaced. The steel t-posts, woven wire and barbed wire materials have a much shorter life and rust much faster  after being burned in a brush fire as it tends to remove their protective coatings of paint or zinc.

Fence damage. This wood post will have to be replaced. The steel t-posts, woven wire and barbed wire materials have a much shorter life and rust much faster after being burned in a brush fire as it tends to remove their protective coatings of paint or zinc and weaken the metal.

VI Fire Service Chief Larry Johnson noted that the burning of trash, the use of campfires and the disposal of lit cigarettes out of car windows should be curtailed during these dry conditions. “Most brush fires that start after dark are lit deliberately,” he said during our conversation. “It is a felony.”

We are extremely grateful for the prompt and thorough response from the VI Fire Service last night. We plan to drop off some tomatoes to Captain Gilbert and his C company team, and we’d love it if you’d thank them on our behalf, too!

Looking south along the fence near the east end of the farm. Evening brush fires are most likely deliberately set, according to officials at the VIFS.

Looking south along the fence near the east end of the farm. Evening brush fires are most likely deliberately set, according to officials at the VIFS.

The fire started near the roadside, then jumped across a ten-foot swath of grass and headed west southwest through the pastures.

The fire started near the roadside, then jumped across a ten-foot swath of grass and headed west southwest through the pastures. Left unchecked, this could have been disastrous for us!

Looking south near the east end of the farm. The VI Fire Service was able to contain and control this brushfire, in part because winds were not strong.

Looking south near the east end of the farm. The VI Fire Service was able to contain and control this brushfire, in part because winds were not strong.

ARTfarm Wednesday: 3–6 p.m. So Many Salads To Choose From!

We grew it here, tender, crispy and moist, on the dry and arid south shore of the island, just for you! All organic growing methods and just sweet stored rain water for irrigation. You can taste it in the food! Sweet, baby, regular spicy, and baby spicy salad mixes; baby arugula, arugula, a few cucumbers, onions, beets, radishes, purple yard long beans, cilantro, dill, parsley, garlic chives, Italian basil, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, sweet tree-ripened Mediterranean figs, and from our partner I-Sha we have all-homemade coconut-based vegan local fruit ice cream in a handful of fantastic flavors. We have spoons, or you can bring your own.

A single ivory-colored egg rests in a patch of dry grass in a pasture.

A mysterious lone guinea hen egg rests in dry grass in a pasture at ARTfarm. Guinea hens lay social nests with 40 or more eggs, so this is either the start of a nest, or a discarded mongoose snack!

Top O’ The Morning To Ya! ARTfarm 10 AM – 12 noon

Despite the temptations of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Christiansted today, the little leprechauns of ARTfarm are hard at work this morning on the south side of the island, harvesting greens to decorate your table. Please come as early as possible for this morning’s stand (10am-12 noon) and buy all your greens, tomatoes, fresh herbs and other treats, so that we can release the cute little fellows to run over the hills and join in the festivities in town.

A heart-shaped green heirloom tomato for St. Patty's Day! Enjoy the parade!

A heart-shaped green heirloom tomato for St. Patty’s Day! Enjoy the parade!

If you’re too busy staking out your parade spot or painting yourself and the kids green to make it this morning, we’ll be open Monday 3-6pm! Today’s haul: sweet salad mix, teen arugula, spicy salad mix, a few cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, heirlooms, loads of beets, escarole, collard greens, sweet potato greens, carrots, Italian basil, lemon basil, mint, Thai basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, garlic chives, onions, scallions, French breakfast radishes, lots of Mediterranean figs, and passionfruit. From our co-agrarians, we’ve got beautiful raw local honey from Errol Chichester.

Farmer Matthew this morning reminded us that today is a perfect day to bake a pie: today’s date, for those of you who didn’t get the joke (like yours truly) is 3.14… pi (the symbol used by mathematicians to represent the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, the lowercase Greek letter π).

Enjoy!

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