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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

Checking in on Your Gardens

by intern Mayra Class

Build-a-Garden interns
Build-a-Garden interns
It's summertime and here at The Food Project, that means we are working in full force. I am 16 years old and I started at The Food Project last summer as a crew worker in our Summer Youth Program. Now I am at the intern level, which means I have grown as a worker and I have a better understanding of what it means to work hard and build a better community. In fact, this summer, eight interns joined the Boston internship to work alongside Kesiah and Kathleen on many projects, and one of our main focuses is the Build-a-Garden Program.

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Fava Beans

purple fava beans
purple fava beans
It is believed that along with lentils, peas, and chickpeas, fava beans became part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BC or earlier. They are still often grown as a cover crop to prevent erosion, both because they can over-winter and because as a legume, they fix nitrogen in the soil.

Favas — also known as Windsor beans, English beans, horse beans, and pigeon beans — have long been diet staples in Asia, the Middle East, South America, North Africa and Europe. They were the only beans Europeans ate before they discovered America and all its legumes. The beans have a buttery texture, slight bitterness and lovely, nutty flavor.

Fava beans can be served simply boiled, mashed and spread on crostini, or added to spring stews and soups. And, favas are nutrition superheroes. They are high in fiber and iron, and low in sodium and fat. They have no cholesterol but are high in protein.

some fava recpies:

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Pests in the Garden

We all know that some of the bugs we find in our garden are pests and they damage our beloved crops that we work so hard to grow. It can be frustrating and disappointing to find evidence that some type of pest has been eating at your plants, or perhaps has already destroyed a crop.

The most important first step you can take to manage pests is to monitor your garden closely and regularly. Check plants for signs of pests at least twice a week throughout the growing season. Pay extra close attention to young plants that are just sprouting or were recently transplanted. Look at the undersides of leaves and at the inner stalks of plants and inspect for any holes in foliage. Many insects that feed on your crops are easiest to manage early on, when their populations are still minimal.

The second step to managing pests is to identify the culprit. Try to identify what bug might be damaging plants by collecting as much information as you can. Look for any bugs that are around the plants: either on them, in the ground nearby, or flying around. Pay close attention to their appearance: color, size, and any other defining characteristics.

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Meet Lincoln Farmers Kadeem and Amanda

each week two of our Lincoln youth interns will introduce themselves

Hello, my name is Kadeem and I’m 18 years old from Dorchester. I am a senior at Wayland High School through Boston’s METCO program and I play football and run track. This is my second summer working at the Food Project. Now as a Lincoln intern, I hope that working on the farm will expand my knowledge about agriculture. During the Summer Youth Program last year I learned how to be a better farmer by weeding and harvesting. My favorite vegetable is broccoli.

Hello, my name is Amanda Chin. I’m 17 years old and just graduated from Arlington High School. This fall I’m heading over to the University of Vermont. I participated in the Summer Youth Program in 2009 and now am working as a Lincoln intern. For this summer I love being part of The Food Project community and working on the land as well as learning more about the food we eat and harvest. My favorite vegetables are green beans.

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Summer Youth Program underway!

Editor's note: North Shore Fellow Mike Syversen sends the following update on how things stand at the beginning of our Summer Youth Program

Hi everyone,
This is an exciting week for us up here on the North Shore. Our summer youth program started this Wednesday. Thirty youth ages 14-17 are starting their work here where they will be farming, participating in farmer’s markets, learning about the food system, social justice, and community development, gaining work experience, and much more. The crew leaders, assistant crew leaders, and staff who lead the youth have created a program that is bound to have an impact on the lives of the youth. We’re excited for the joys and challenges that the youth will bring. We know they will have a great experience!

This Monday was our third Lynn CSA pickup day, and everything on that front is running smoothly. It is great to see the members each week and know the food we provide them with has been harvested from our farm that same day. Getting to chat with the members about the produce and what they do with it is a highlight of the week.

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Dudley Market News

At the Market

Raspberries
Green Beans
Calalloo
Fava Beans
Cucumbers
Beets
Carrots
Cabbage
Lettuce
Salad Mix
Collard Greens
Swiss Chard
Radishes
Salad Turnips
Scallions
Mint
Basil
Summer Squash

EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Coupons, Debit and Cash Accepted! All season, any EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP purchase will be matched up to $10 at twenty Farmers Markets in Boston, including the Dudley Town Common Market.

News From The Field

Last week, eight teenagers started their summer youth internship in our Dorchester Office. These young people have all participated in our Summer Youth Program and have been hired to take on more responsibility. They will build raised bed gardens in backyards, staff the farmers markets, lead neighborhood tours, and welcome visitors to our Urban Learning Farm. I invite you to say hi at the market.

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Summer Squash!

available at our Dudley Market and for at least some CSA members

Summer squash differs from fall and winter squash in that it is harvested before the rind hardens and the fruit matures. It is one of the most prolific crops we grow, with one plant able to produce dozens pounds of squash throughout the summer. Here at the farm we grow three different varieties of summer squash; a green zucchini, a yellow squash commonly called crook neck, and a UFO shaped squash called patty pan. The patty pan squash is probably the newest to you, but you can use it just like you would zucchini. It is my favorite summer squash. As its name suggests, summer squash is a true announcer of summer, and is one of the steady crops that usually accompanies us until the fall.

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News from the Lincoln Fields

The farm has seen many changes this season. You’ve now met Emily, Alex and Tim, the new farmers on our team. We’ve also added quite a few tools to our equipment fleet. Thanks to a generous grant from a family foundation, we’ve added a new tractor and a number of exciting implements. Our new tractor allows us to move heavier loads of compost, which means that we are able to add more compost to more fields. Next, meet our spader, the strongest, hardiest of our tools. Having a spader has dramatically changed how we prepare our fields for planting. In the past we used a disc harrow, which breaks up the soil to ready a field for planting. The downside of this method is that all the soil structure and organisms we work so hard to promote and preserve get broken down when we disc the fields. With our new method, chunks of soil get turned under, without disturbing the soil as much. We have already seen a dramatic decrease in our need for irrigation, a direct result of not breaking up our soil.

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Dudley Market News

Dudley Town Common Farmers Market
Intersection of Blue Hill Ave and Dudley Street, Roxbury
Tuesday and Thursdays
3-7pm

At the Market

Raspberries
Sugar Snap Peas
Beets
Carrots
Cabbage
Lettuce
Salad Mix
Collard Greens
Swiss Chard
Radishes
Salad Turnips
Scallions
Mint
Basil
Summer Squash

Market Day on Dudley Street
Market Day on Dudley Street
EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Coupons, Debit and Cash Accepted! All season, any EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP purchase will be matched up to $10 at twenty Farmers Markets in Boston, including the Dudley Town Common Market.

Got Bike?

The Boston Cyclists Union's will be offering simple repairs and tune-ups for free at the Dudley Town Common Farmers Market on the first Thursday of each month.

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Spinach

Spinach is an edible flowering plant in the family of amaranth. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. In 1533, Catherine de'Medici became queen of France; she so fancied spinach that she insisted it be served at every meal. To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as "Florentine" because Catherine came from Florence, Italy. Spinach, along with other green leafy vegetables, is considered to be a rich source of iron.

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