Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cakes for Cause is a year older and wiser!

It's official, we're a year old now and we think that's worthy of celebration. You are invited to help us celebrate our anniversary at Café Nola on Thursday March 5th at 8:00 pm in beautiful downtown Frederick. There's a $5 cover charge that goes entirely to support our programs, cookie-themed cocktails, music by acoustic guitarist Mike Huckleberry and tunes spun by DJ Two Teks.

You do not want to miss the basket raffle either. Our Program Director has teamed up with several local businesses to fill baskets to the max with great gift certificates, products, and promotions. Want to splurge on a spa day? There's a basket for it. Love to pamper your pets? We've got it. Does the "dude" in your life need a treat? We have his basket too. Raffle tickets will be sold at the event.

We'll have sweet treats to give away for everyone. T-shirts are available to be purchased. Families are welcome (no cover charge for kids under 12). We hope you can make it to help us celebrate this milestone for our organization. It's because of the hard work and support from each of you that we are this organization today and we'd like to thank you for all your efforts.

Click here for the anniversary party flyer and forward it to your friends. We would love to pack the house at Café Nola on the 5th.

As another "shout out" to highlight your efforts, Cakes for Cause recently got its first national coverage through an article in the Washington Times. We have been so fortunate to have supporters like you who are engaged in their community and in making the lives of vulnerable youth better...thank you for everything.

Cakes for Cause


Monday, February 23, 2009

Time to sign up for Summer Creek CSA

Hi All,

As the days lengthen we start planting more seeds in the greenhouse. We are working hard this year, in this economic environment, to provide more value for you our CSA customer. We just received our reusable shopping bag order. You all will receive a shopping bag just like last year in your CSA box early in the season. We also have been working to get pertinent literature to place in your box at various times in the season. Edible Chesapeake has agreed to send us copies as last year. We will extend our rain barrel 10% discount to all CSA members as well as bulk vegetable discounts when they are available. I am looking at other ways to provide value in addition to the fine, healthy vegetables you will be getting in season.

For all that have not renewed yet that are interested please get your forms in. We are limiting memberships this year to 50. Thanks to all that have signed up already. Your subscription money has already been used to purchase seeds and supplies.

Thank you,

Farmer Rick


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Does a meat-free diet shrink your brain?

From Danny Rohrer:

Greeting from the farm. This is the type of research I love to read. The headline: "Study:Meat-Free Diet Can Cause Brain Shrinkage." The study was done at England's Oxford University. The conclusion was that those on a meat free diet were six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage. The link was discovered by scientists using memory tests, physical tests, and brain scans on people from 61 to 87 years of age. They were again tested 5 years later and the results showed that those with the lowest levels of vitamin B 12 had the highest levels of brain atrophy. These results confirmed earlier studies linking low levels of B 12 to brain atrophy. And where does our dietary B 12 come from? Meats, fish, and milk. Yeast extracts are the main source of B 12 in the vegetarian diet. So then, if you don't want to be worried about brain shrinkage, be sure to stop by this weekend and stock up on meats [or eat yeast- Shannon]!
I will be returning to the Dutch Plant Farm Saturday from 10 AM until 12:30 PM. Pork will include tenderloin, pork chops, spare ribs, country style ribs, baby back ribs, boneless shoulder, smoked ham steaks, and bacon. Mild Italian, hot Italian, country, and bratwurst will be fresh while applewurst, maple and sage sausage will be frozen. I will also have a small amount of frozen pulled pork barbecue. Lamb will include loin, arm, and sirloin chops, racks, boneless shoulder roasts, kabob cubes, stew cubes, and ground lamb. Beef will include strip, ribeye, sirloin, flank, and skirt steaks, boneless chuck, eye round, and sirloin tip roasts, stew cubes, and ground round. I will also have cheese, eggs, and jellies.
I have a supply of frozen pork spare ribs and smoked ham steaks that I would like to move. I will be offering them this week for buy 2, get 1 free, as long as the supply lasts.
I think it will be a bit chilly so be sure to bundle up. Eat fresh, be well, and I will see you at the market.
Rohrer's Meats


From Rick Hood, Summer Creek Farm

As you know when I come across pertinent information I try to forward this to you. I hope you all are staying warm this winter and dreaming of the fresh vegetables we are planting soon. This article was on Yahoo today, as you can see by supporting and consuming local organic vegetables it is really better for your health.

The February issue of the Journal of HortScience, which contains a report on the sorry state of American fruits and veggies. Apparently produce in the U.S. not only tastes worse than it did in your grandparents' days, it also contains fewer nutrients - at least according to Donald R. Davis, a former research associate with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin. Davis claims the average vegetable found in today's supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago. (Read about Americans' Incredible, Edible Front Lawns.)

Highlight Reel:

1. On the Difficulty of Comparing "Then" and "Now:" Davis is quick to note that historical data can sometimes be misleading, if not altogether inaccurate. Take early measurements of iron in foods: because scientists failed to sufficiently remove clinging soil, iron levels appeared unusually high in certain vegetables like spinach, (which gave rise to the myth that it contained exorbitant amounts of the mineral - a myth further propagated by the popular cartoon character, Popeye). Then again, good historical data provides the only real-world evidence of changes in foods over time, and such data does exist - one farm in Hertfordshire, England, for example, has archived its wheat samples since 1843.

2. On the So-Called "Dilution Effect:" Today's vegetables might be larger, but if you think that means they contain more nutrients, you'd be wrong. Davis writes that jumbo-sized produce contains more "dry matter" than anything else, which dilutes mineral concentrations. In other words, when it comes to growing food, less is more. Scientific papers have cited one of the first reports of this effect, a 1981 study by W.M. Jarrell and R.B. Beverly in Advances in Agronomy, more than 180 times since its publication, "suggesting that the effect is widely regarded as common knowledge." (See pictures of fruit.)

Less studied, though, is the "genetic dilution effect," in which selective breeding to increase crop yield has led to declines in protein, amino acids, and as many as six minerals in one study of commercial broccoli grown in 1996 and '97 in South Carolina. Because nearly 90% of dry matter is carbohydrates, "when breeders select for high yield, they are, in effect, selecting mostly for high carbohydrate with no assurance that dozens of other nutrients and thousands of phytochemicals will all increase in proportion to yield."

2. On the "Industrialization" of Agriculture: Thanks to the growing rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, modern crops are being harvested faster than ever before. But quick and early harvests mean the produce has less time to absorb nutrients either from synthesis or the soil, and minerals like potassium (the "K" in N-P-K fertilizers) often interfere with a plant's ability to take up nutrients. Monoculture farming practices - another hallmark of the Big Ag industry - have also led to soil-mineral depletion, which, in turn, affects the nutrient content of crops.

The Lowdown:

If you're still not buying the whole "organic-is-better" argument, this study might convince you otherwise. As Davis points out, more than three billion people around the world suffer from malnourishment and yet, ironically, efforts to increase food production have actually produced food that is less nourishing. Fruits seem to be less affected by genetic and environmental dilution, but one can't help but wonder how nutritionally bankrupt veggies can be avoided. Supplementing them is problematic, too: don't look to vitamin pills, as recent research indicates that those aren't very helpful either.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Update from Summer Creek Farm

Well the recent day or so of warm weather has us thinking of spring (as if we weren't already) Seeds are being planted, the greenhouses prepared and supplies ordered. We have been contacted by our restaurants and wholesale outlets to plan the year. We even have had a TV show contact us about filming at the farm this year! This last weekend we attended a sustainable farming conference in State College Pa. It was 7 degrees on the trip up! I spent the weekend learning new things and talking to new people.

I also am in the process of interviewing summer help. We have positions open, mostly for 3 days a week, starting in May. I am hoping for a good growing season with plenty of good food for all our customers. If you have not signed up for the CSA and are interested please look into doing it soon. I would hate for any of our older customers to miss out.

I hope the winter is treating you well. As we move towards spring more updates will follow.

Farmer Rick


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What was blooming then?

Last summer Wendy of Persimmon Pond Plants had several handsome lime trees. The dwarf lime trees looked more like small bushes than trees, and had beautiful waxy leaves with "lime green" color. Wendy told us that she and her husband got some seeds when they were down in Puerto Rico, which they grew into several trees taking up space in their green house. It was time for Wendy to let some of the lime trees go, and Dan and I were one of those lucky ones who got to adopt one. We wondered if we could use the leaves in Thai cooking, and Wendy told us that's what she does when she cooks Thai. 

We placed the lime tree  in the front porch, and brought it inside the house when the weather got cold. One January day, I found a tiny white bud at the tip of the branch. It was so small  it looked like a cooked white rice grain. I patiently waited several days and then finally saw the flower! The entire tree had only one flower. How precious! I couldn't wait for the flower to turn into a fruit and reveal us the shape and flavor of the lime.
After few hours from taking the photo, Dan and I took out the Christmas tree which was sitting by the window drying up. When we were all done and cleaned up the millions needles that the tree shed, I found that the lime flower was gone. The tree knocked the flower off when we carried it out. I felt like the lady crying over the spilt milk.

The flower will come back as long as we keep taking care of the tree.  So we wait.


Note to self...

There are four (4!) days left to order a Valentine’s Day cookie for your sweetheart, friend, colleague or mailman from Cakes for Cause. The weather report is all clear for the moment so that means that the Cupid Cycle could pull up outside your door on Thursday, Friday or Saturday with your sweet treat (downtown Frederick addresses only for delivery…otherwise, we’ll arrange a pick up) but only if you’ve reminded someone that you want one. Orders close on Monday night.

A freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, a heartfelt message of affection, and happiness all around. You can order online or you can call us and order and pay in person or by check. Each cookie is $12. Cookies are 8-inches across and your message will be written in chocolate.

DON’T MISS THE CUPID CYCLE! Every time you purchase a cookie, scone, or cake from Cakes for Cause you are supporting our mission to provide meaningful job training to at-risk youth in Frederick…thank you.

Cakes for Cause


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Greetings from Rohrer's Meats

Greetings from the farm. The politicians sure have been keeping us entertained lately. It almost seems that none of them pay their taxes, unless they want a political appointment. Since they don't pay taxes, perhaps that is why they don't mind raising the tax rate for everyone else. And then there are the cabinet conformation hearings. I have always liked Patrick Leahy, Senator from Vermont. He seems to do a good job of looking after his constituents, many of whom are small family farmers. During Tom Vilsack's hearing for Secretary of Agriculture, Sen. Leahy pointed out his legislative role in the sustainable food movement. Senator Pat Roberts then told a story about Leahy's beloved small family farmer. Roberts smugly said "he's about 5 foot 2, and sits on his porch reading Gentleman's Quarterly while his wife works as a stockbroker downtown." Roberts then described a REAL farmer. "That person is in Iowa. He's got 2,000 acres and he farms with his dad. Two brothers are gone because they can't sustain them on the farm. His counterpart lives in Kansas, and farms 10,000 acres. And his tractor costs about $350,000. It's amazing!" Just goes to show you how much our leaders think of us little folks.

As for his $350,000 tractor, offer me that much money and I'll sell you my complete line of equipment, which includes 4 tractors. And I'm trying to get by farming 200 acres. But the fact remains that the American farmer is very proficient at what he does. And it is rather sad that he must till thousands of acres to make a living. However, those of us who are small farmers are part of the equation as well. It is just a shame we receive so little respect.

I will be returning to the Dutch Plant Farm on Saturday morning. Hours will be 10 AM until 12:30 PM. Pork will include tenderloin, pork chops, spare ribs, country style ribs, baby back ribs, ground pork, smoked ham steaks, and bacon. Bratwurst, mild Italian, and country sausage will be fresh while hot Italian, applewurst, sage, and maple will be frozen. I will also have some frozen barbecue, tangy and Carolina are the flavors. Lamb will include kabob cubes, racks, shanks, boneless shoulders, loin chops, arm chops, and ground. Beef will include ribeye, strip, sirloin, flank, and skirt steaks; sirloin tip, eye round, and boneless chuck roasts; stew cubes, and ground round. I will also have cheese, chickens, and eggs.

The frigid weather should be retreating by Saturday, making it a good day for a market. Eat fresh, be well, and I will see you at the market.

Rohrer's Meats