Dispatch from Week 2 of Arcadia Farm Camp

by Tom Chalmers, ACS Summer Fellow
Here we are, well on our way through another session of camp! With plenty of sun, plenty of food to be harvested, and plenty of bright campers to do it, our days have passed by at an amazing rate.

This week, 29 campers have joined us on the farm, immersing themselves in the excitement that accompanies daily life at Arcadia Farm. From turning soil to planting seeds, to watering plants to picking produce, they have become experts on growing and preparing healthy food from scratch.
Surviving the heat has not been easy, but the campers have torn through the 90+ degree haze with plenty of water breaks and water games. We’ve been surprised to see many zany variations on everything from “duck duck goose” to otherwise uneventful watering chores. In the same vein, they’ve taken the lead in planning a “farm olympics” event to coincide with the Opening Games of the 2012 Olympics in London. It will no doubt include many more wacky inventions.

Overall, Arcadia’s first ever farm camp has been fun and insightful for both the kids and the staff. More thanks go out to Ben, for providing another excellent Mobile Market tour, and Elizabeth from Chipotle, who ran a fresh salsa-making demonstration as excellently as she did the first.


Farms + Food + Fun = Arcadia Farm Camp

We're halfway through the very first week of Arcadia Farm Camp - and what a week it's been! From water games to chef demos, we've been busy beating the heat, exploring the farm, and having fun.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Chefs Ed, Christina and Shannon from DC Central Kitchen stopped by to show us how to make huge delicious meal with seasonal fruits and veggies: okra and tomatoes, chicken florentine, coleslaw, and crepes.
  • We had a visit from Farmer Ben and Arcadia's own Mobile Market on Tuesday, which included a tour of the bus (so many fridges!). He also enlisted our help in harvesting herbs and Swiss chard.
  • Elizabeth from Chipotle did an awesome fresh salsa demonstration today - and brought us free burritos! (Extra special thanks go out to Chipotle for donating eight scholarships to farm camp for kids from low-income families).
More shout-outs go to staff members Rachel, Carling, Matt, Natalie, Sophie and Kat for keeping everyone safe, happy, and healthy. Check out the photos below and stay tuned to our blog for more updates!
Created with flickr slideshow.

Jewels of Summer

What do we want?!  Tomatoes!  When do we want them?!  Now!

From the start of market season, we've been asked, "Do you have tomatoes?"  As a gardener and Vegetable Snob (only the best will do!), I've been waiting, too.

Well, dear friends, tomatoes (or as I affectionately call them, the "Jewels of Summer"), are finally in!  Purple Cherokees, Yellow Brandywines, Amish Paste reds, and Green Zebras were the stars of last week's market.

To highlight their long-anticipated arrival, I've been preparing some Tomato Jam as our featured Mobile Market recipe, using several kinds of Arcadia's heirloom tomatoes.  I think Tomato Jam does an excellent job of highlighting the outstanding taste of these beauties, and have been told by a number of market participants that I should sell the jam itself!

That being said, what's more delectable than a perfectly ripe, freshly-picked tomato?  Not too many things come to mind.  So, come on down to market and pick up some home-grown, heirloom tomatoes today!

Heirloom Tomato Jam  
Makes 1½ cups

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 one-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
4 cups diced heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup rice wine, balsamic or red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise


1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add olive oil, garlic, ginger, and red onion, sauting until translucent.  
3. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. 
4. Add vinegar, honey, brown sugar, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise.   
5. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have dissolved and liquid has evaporated (about 60 to 75 minutes).   
6. Discard cinnamon sticks and star anise before serving.


Eat Dinner at Chipotle and Support Arcadia - Monday, July 16th, 5PM to 8PM

On Monday, July 16th from 5PM to 8PM, all Metro-area Chipotle Mexican Grill locations will host a fundraiser to support Arcadia's programs. As part of Chipotle's "Cause an Effect" campaign, half of all proceeds (up to $15,000) will be donated to Arcadia when customers mention the fundraiser. Please support Arcadia by going out for dinner at Chipotle, and don't forget to mention the Arcadia fundraiser!  

Find your nearest Chipotle location.  


Thanks to our Arcadia Farm Camp partners!

We couldn't be more excited about the first-ever sessions of Arcadia Farm Camp, starting next week! We're getting ready for digging, planting, watering, weeding, and trying to stay cool.

We think that it's going to be a pretty special time, and from the beginning, we wanted to include as many young farmers as possible. Now, thanks to the support of our awesome partners, we've been able to provide nine scholarships to some growing gardeners from low-income households.

So many thanks to the following partners:
  • With the help of our friends at Chipotle, we were able to offer eight camp scholarships to kids from low-income families. We're so glad that these young farmers will be joining us next week!
  • The amazingly generous staff at Cowgirl Creamery in Penn Quarter saved their tips from the summer so far and donated them to Arcadia Farm Camp. Their kindness will give yet another young person from a low-income family the opportunity to attend camp.
  • Our friends over at SCAN-VA (Stop Child Abuse Now of Northern Virginia) helped connect us with interested families through their support group for Spanish-speaking parents. The group helps parents become effective leaders in their home and in their community and SCAN is dedicated to helping promote the well-being of children in the Northern Virginia region. We're so glad to be able to work with them!

Extra special thanks also go out to our Tufts Summer Fellow Tom Chalmers, who helped out with some last-minute translation of our materials for Spanish-speaking parents.


In search of great interns

Our farm wouldn't grow without interns. Period. Neither would our farm education programs. They're so crucial!
We've had an excellent spring crew (shout outs to Rachel, Elin, Steph, Bonnie and Natalie!), but since they're moving on, we're looking to find some new folks.

Check out the description below and share it with anyone who might be interested!

Farm Education Internship Description - Fall 2012

We’re looking for Farm Interns to assist with all facets of our sustainable farm and our educational programming, with a focus on fall field trips and basic farm work. Our 2-acre demonstration farm follows environmentally-sound growing practices. Starting in September, we’ll host educational farm visits for elementary school students from Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

help maintain our sustainable farm (weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, etc.)
assist with weekly volunteers on the farm
teach hand-on lessons to small groups of students during field trips, and
assist with farm tours for people of all ages.
Interns will report directly to the Farm Director and the Education Manager.
Interns will also work closely with the Mobile Market Director and other interns.

Commitment and reliability
Exemplary communication and organizational skills
Experience working with youth, especially in an outdoor environment
General knowledge and interest in sustainable agriculture and/or nutrition education
Creativity, enthusiasm and a sense of humor
Must be able to work outdoors in various weather conditions and lift 50 lbs
Leadership experience helpful, but not required
First Aid/CPR certification is a plus.

Time Commitment
We’re looking for interns who can commit to two days per week from August 20 to November 9.

This is a voluntary position. School internship credit can be arranged for a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week (2 days/week).

Contact Information
Please send your resume plus a note describing your interest and relevant experience with Farm Intern in the subject line to Farm Director Maureen Moodie at info@arcadiafood.org by July 30, 2012.


Swinging Squash Salad

I refer to our Thursday Mobile Market stop at the SW Waterfront as my "work party."  It's a lovely, relaxed venue -- there's awesome music from local bands, and a pleasant breeze from the nearby marina.  A few other vendors provide prepared food, such as the neighborhood staple, King Rib BBQ.  Many patrons bring freshly steamed seafood from the Maine Avenue Fish Market just a few blocks down the way.

This past week, the Daryl Davis band played some excellent Blues Boogie that got the crowd moving and grooving.  My co-worker, Alex, is an excellent dancer and taught me a simple three step swing that had me living out my Dancing with the Stars fantasies and kept me going for the rest of the evening.

Last Thursday, Zephyr and Crooked Neck Yellow Squash were in abundance on the Mobile Market, so I prepared an easy, no-cook dish.  After only five minutes in the kitchen, you'll have plenty of time to dance the night away as well.

Swinging Yellow-Squash Salad

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 yellow squash (~ 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 scallions or 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh or ¼ tsp dried Thyme leaves
Optional: 1 tsp leaves of Lemon Verbena or fresh Oregano, minced

Whisk together lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar and oil in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add squash, scallions or onion, thyme and optional herbs, if using.  Toss to combine.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4.