Dinner Menu: Week of October 17-19, 2019

Salads & Small Plates

Sourdough bread with butter and Newport sea salt 6-

Simple salad and champagne vinaigrette 7-

Mixed green salad with fall vegetables, pepitas, and balsamic vinaigrette 9-

Plate of farm pickled vegetables 6-

Peacock kale salad with apples, fennel, chevre, roasted pepper vinaigrette and breadcrumbs 9-

Spinach salad with roasted beets, caramelized celery root, rye croutons and caraway dressing 11-

Kabocha squash tartine with feta, honey, hazelnuts, radish greens and lemon zest 8-

Fall vegetable and wheat berry soup with wild mushrooms and toast 6-                              

Entrees  

Plate of roasted fall vegetables with mole verde and toasted pepitas 15

Seared GTF chicken with creamy polenta, grilled chicories, wild mushrooms, roasted fennel and chicken jus 23-

Risotto of wild mushrooms, butternut squash, leeks, kale and gruyere cheese  20-

Seared black cod with sauteed tomatoes, celery, leeks, poached potatoes, white wine, butter and fresh herbs 25-

Braised beef osso bucco with celeriac puree, roasted fall vegetables and gremolata 25- 

Wood-Fired Pizzas

Pizza Bianca with fresh herbs 13-  

Tomato sauce and mozzarella with fresh arugula 11-     

Fennel sausage, red onion, GTF tomato sauce, and mozzarella 15- 

Delicata squash, kale, shallots, and gruyere 15- 

Shaved celeriac, butter-braised leeks, chevre and mozzarella 14-

Dinner Menu: Week of Oct. 10-13, 2019

Salads & Small Plates

Sourdough bread with butter and Newport sea salt 6-

Simple salad and champagne vinaigrette 7-

Mixed green salad with fall vegetables, pepitas, and balsamic vinaigrette 9-

 Plate of farm pickled vegetables 6-

Tuscan kale salad with Gravenstein apples, fennel, mint yogurt, pecorino and breadcrumbs 9-

Smoked black cod and beet salad with swiss chard, rye croutons and caraway dressing 11-

Kabocha squash tartine with feta, honey, hazelnuts, radish greens and lemon zest 8-

Butternut squash soup with toasted pepitas and toast 6-                              

Entrees  

Plate of roasted fall vegetables with mole Verde and toasted pepitas 15-

Seared GTF chicken with creamy polenta, grilled chicories, chanterelles, roasted fennel and sweet pepper mostarda 23-

Wild mushroom risotto with butternut squash, leeks, kale and fontina  22-

Seared black cod with sauteed tomatoes, celery, leeks, poached potatoes, white wine, butter, and fresh herbs 25-

Grilled beef tenderloin with creamed collards, marinated peppers, shaved fennel and fried capers 25- 

Wood-Fired Pizzas

Pizza Bianca with fresh herbs 13-  

Tomato sauce and mozzarella with fresh herbs 11-      

Fennel sausage, bell peppers, red onion, GTF tomato sauce, and mozzarella 15- 

Delicata squash, kale, shallots, and fontina 15- 

Smoked cod, Roma tomatoes, shaved celeriac, dill, fontina 14-

Lunch Menu: Week of October 8, 2019

Salads & Small Plates

Simple salad and champagne vinaigrette 7-

Mixed green salad with summer vegetables, pepitas, and basil vinaigrette 9-

Plate of farm pickled vegetables  6-

Kabocha squash tartine with feta, honey, hazelnuts, radish greens and lemon zest 8-

Tuscan kale salad with Gravenstein apples, fennel, dill yogurt, pecorino and breadcrumbs 9-

Smoked black cod and beet salad with swiss chard, rye croutons and caraway dressing 11-

Sourdough bread with butter and Newport sea salt 6-

Butternut squash soup with toasted pepitas and toast 6-  

Entrees      

Plate of grilled fall vegetables with mole Verde and toasted pepitas 15-

Fettuccine pasta, delicata, roasted fennel and onions, hazelnuts, feta, and brown butter 16- 

Community Cow braised beef stuffed cabbage with tomato sauce, potatoes, caraway sauerkraut, and creme fraiche 21-

Grilled GTF chicken with olive oil fried potatoes, roasted peppers, pickled onions and aji Verde sauce 21-

Sandwiches 

Community Cow beef pastrami on rye with farm sauerkraut, Emmentaler cheese and thousand island  13-

Community Cow beef burger on a brioche bun with aged white cheddar, sweet onions, tomato, butter lettuce and garlic aioli 13-

Roasted fall vegetables and herbs with whipped chevre on grilled flatbread 12-

Wood-Fired Pizzas

Pizza Bianca with fresh herbs 13-  

Tomato sauce and mozzarella with fresh herbs 11-      

Fennel sausage, bell peppers, red onion, GTF tomato sauce, and mozzarella 15- 

Delicata squash, kale, shallots, and fontina 15- 

Butter-braised leeks, cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and gruyere 14-

Ode to the Beetle in Your Salad

Diversity as an Organic Pest Control

We have all had the experience of finding the occasional beetle in a salad or a slug in a head of cabbage. When we encounter such a thing, we have to decide how we feel about it. But it’s hard to know what to think, and there is so much more to think about beyond what meets the eye.

On occasion we’ll get a call from a chef who bought our produce saying that an upset customer found a bug in their salad. We thought it was important to tell our customer base more about the truth behind that bug in the salad mix, and why it is actually something to make you feel better about your food rather than worse.

So why would anyone feel good about finding a bug in their salad? There are three main reasons why this would be the case, which I’ll get to in a bit. But first, it is essential to understand the concept of the microbiome. The microbiome is the ecosystem of non-human lifeforms that exists in your digestive system to regulate your digestive and mental health. Having a diverse microbiome is a healthy microbiome. This is because a diversity of microbes can protect a diversity of attacks on your health. A small amount of “bad” microbes cannot take hold and create an infection because they have to compete for space and resources with the diversity of beneficial microbes present. The same is true of the ecosystem outside our bodies. A diverse ecosystem is a health ecosystem. When a farm’s ecosystem has a diversity of bugs present, it is harder for one bug to become a major infestation.

The first reason why a bug in your salad is a good thing is that we do not use any broad-spectrum pesticides. Broad spectrum pesticides eliminate all forms of bug life within a certain category, whether they’re beneficial, indifferent, or damaging to the crop being “protected.” The ecosystem then has such a lack of diversity that it is essentially a blank substrate that can be easily taken over by a pest again, rather than kept in balance by the multitude of different kinds of critters all vying for the same space.

Also, broad-spectrum pesticides create heavy selection pressure on pest populations, forcing them to rapidly develop resistance to the chemicals being dumped onto the ground. This can quickly lead to the creation of what are commonly referred to as super bugs that are so resistant to our methods to control them that complete crop failure becomes a likely risk. Additionally, there are many other negative environmental side-effects of broad-spectrum pesticides aside from the fact that you’ll make pest control harder for yourself the following season. As our agronomist John Yeo takes on pests on the farm, he remembers Jerry Mahoney’s quote, “If we poison the earth, we’re poisoning ourselves.”

Secondly, broad spectrum pesticides are not good for your health in a more direct way than harming the environment. Anything that is designed to blindly destroy life should not go into your body. Of course there is a system in place that is designed to make sure that anything applied to food crops does not harm you, but this classification system is flawed. In simplified terms, for a pesticide to be approved for use, it must be classified under “non-mammalian toxicity.” But this is highly problematic, as the majority of cells in your body are not actually mammalian. They are protozoan, bacterial, fungal, etc. Just as described above, a healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome.

And lastly, on our farm we feel very strongly about never spraying anything on leafy greens specifically, as they will be consumed raw. That means no organically certified pesticides either. Straight up nothing goes on greens that you will put into your body raw. Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and arugula are very delicate and must be treated as such. To spray something on a leafy green is to eat what you spray, and we take that reality very seriously.

So what do we do to control pests on our farm? Our main control methods are exclusion and staying in tune with the annual rhythms of pest populations. Exclusion controls pests by creating a barrier between them and the plants. For our outdoor greens we put floating row cover, a cheese-cloth like fabric, over the greens and just lift it up when we need to harvest. For crops inside hoop houses, we hang netting over the ends of the house to keep bugs from getting in.

Working with the natural cycles of pest populations is also very important. There will always be certain times of year when pest populations reach their climax. It’s like clockwork. During the times when we know aphids will be rampant, we don’t harvest the crops that they have infested. We wait it out, move on to the next planting, and go back to the old planting after the aphids are gone and it has produced a new set of shoots to harvest.

We also focus heavily on interplanting insectary plants to encourage the growth of beneficial bugs who like to eat pests. Currently, we plant lots of alyssum, and in the past we have also used calendula and phacelia. Alyssum is excellent at attracting wasps that eat aphids and thrips, which are major pests on our farm.

At the very bottom of our pest control repertoire are organically certified sprays, of which we use only three. The most commonly used spray is Surround, a brand of kaolinite clay that is very fine that we spray on winter squash seedlings to protect them from cucumber beetles. The second is BT, a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis that is a naturally-occurring bacteria that lives in the soil. We spray it on Napa cabbage seedlings to prevent moths from laying their caterpillar eggs on them. Lastly, we will use Pyganic, a chrysanthemum derivative, on our pepper seedlings to protect them from aphids. In all of these cases, the crops get sprayed at a very young age to get them through to when they will be strong enough to protect themselves.

If you are reading this, you are likely already someone who is able to choose to pay the extra dollar for organic produce for ethical and health-related reasons. You probably already know that conventional food production is rife with environmental degradation, minimal nutritive quality, and a corporate-controlled suppression of science. But perhaps you didn’t know that finding a beetle in your salad is a physical embodiment of environmental and nutritive health. Either you see a beetle on occasion and you know that you’re eating real food, or you never see any sign of life on your food and you know that it’s been eradicated.

Diversity is what it all comes down to. Diversity is what we work to preserve.

Delicious, nutritious diversity.

By Laura Bennett

Flame Weeding

Weed management is one of the biggest challenges in organic farming. At Gathering Together Farm, we rely on an integrated approach using seedbed preparation strategies, cultivation, and hand weeding. A method of weed control that is very effective for our direct-seeded crops is preparation of stale seedbeds. Every time the soil is disturbed, a new flush of weeds germinates from the soil seed bank. The stale seedbed method relies on a tillage pass, then waiting for the weeds to germinate, killing the emerging weeds with flame, and then planting our crop.

We are currently in full-steam-ahead planting mode, getting our five acres of high-tunnel greenhouses planted with mustards, spinach, arugula, mâche, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, bok choy, and peas. Pictured below is a greenhouse where our production manager Joelene has already raked the soil to create a fine seedbed for planting arugula and mâche. After a couple weeks of waiting, the weeds have emerged at cotyledon stage and are rapidly killed by a quick pass with a propane flame.

 

Our agronomist, John Yeo, has put together new backpack flame-weeder setups with a burner for each hand. In the past, whoever was flame weeding would carry the propane tank in one hand and hold the burner in the other. With this new contraption, the propane tank fits on John’s back, and he can burn twice as efficiently with a burner in each hand, and more ergonomically than carrying the tanks.

Flame weeding works well on dicotyledon weeds, or dicots for short. A dicot is a flowering plant that bears two cotyledons which emerge from the seed itself, however doesn’t work so well on grasses, as the growing point is below the soil level where it stays protected from the flame. Often established weeds won’t be as affected by flame weeding, which is why timing is essential for this operation. If we catch the weeds at the cotyledon stage, they can be eradicated in this efficient manner. Reducing our on-farm weed pressure has been one of John Yeo’s primary goals since he started with the farm in early 2015. He’s excited to apply concepts of biology and timing to the weed management program for another season of growing exceptional certified organic vegetables.

Here are a couple of videos that demonstrate our flame weeding practices: