March's Magnificent Open Saturday Volunteer Day

Volunteers find Arcadia in roundabout ways. 

Lauren and Laura came to Arcadia farm by way of Red Apron Butchery in D.C.'s Union Market. Farm Director Stephen Corrigan happened to be there himself and overheard them talking about Arcadia. He told them about the March 30th Open Volunteer Day -- the first one of the year. They brought a gang of friends, and were impressed by both their fellow volunteers and the work they were allowed to do. Laura particularly noted the volunteers’ backgrounds, “from policy wonks to teachers and journalists,” while Lauren enjoyed forking the field, which she deemed “the most traditional farming activity.”

Kathy and Lee came to Arcadia on the advice of friends. Recent transplants from Fort Worth, Texas, they sewed seeds, cleared a fence, built signs for educational programs, and forked the fields. Kathy, a former chef who owned a café and realized the need for local, organic foods in Fort Worth, hopes to become more involved in the Mobile Market. Both she and Lee agreed they would definitely return to Arcadia.

A total of 16 volunteers -- most with no farm experience at all -- showed at 9 on the cool spring morning. They were ready for work, homemade granola bars (which Executive Director Pam Hess brought to give the new farm hands a shot of energy halfway through the morning), and the satisfaction of dedicating their time to a worthy cause: readying the farm to grow clean, wholesome fruits and vegetables for sale on the Mobile Market, for educational field trips, and for an upcoming Arcadia seasonal cooking workshop and farm dinner. 

Farm Education Manager Morgan Maloney, who with Stephen guided the volunteers in their tasks, was impressed with the number of folks who showed, their quick grasp of what needed to be done, and their enthusiasm. In fact, some volunteers opted to stay well past the close of the event to make sure Stephen had help spreading compost on the field.  

Want to be an Arcadian? The next Open Saturday Volunteer Day is THIS Saturday, April 27th from 9am to 12pm. Register to let us know you’re coming out for a day of farm work and fun.  

By Aisha Salazar


Arcadia Farm Dinner Featuring a Preview of Tony Chittum's Iron Gate: Sunday, May 19th

Join us for dinner in the field at Arcadia Farm on May 19th, 2013 from 4-8pm. Award-winning chef Tony Chittum will be preparing a multi-course menu highlighting the best seasonal Mid-Atlantic ingredients – some of them harvested from our farm that morning – with his signature Mediterranean preparations. First course and cocktails will be served during the pre-dinner farm stroll with Arcadia Farm Director Stephen Corrigan.
The price of dinner is $120 and includes wine pairings, tax, and gratuity. All proceeds benefit the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.

 Purchase your tickets Here.

About Iron Gate:
Guests of the Arcadia Spring Farm Dinner will experience an advance taste of Iron Gate, the landmark restaurant Tony Chittum will revitalize and reopen later this year in Dupont Circle. Before its recent hiatus, it was the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Washington, DC, having first opened its doors in 1923.  The Iron Gate restaurant will encompass three distinct areas: a sixty-foot-long archway that forms the entry to the space and will also serve as a dining and bar area; an intimate indoor space with a large fireplace located in what was originally a stable in the 1800s; and a large courtyard overhung by grapevines and a century-old wisteria vine.

About the Chef:
Chef Chittum, who has earned accolades at Alexandria's Vermilion and DC's Notte Bianche, has earned a reputation not only for his cooking but for his commitment to sourcing the very best locally grown and produced products from an ever expanding network of farmers, fishermen, and artisans.  At the Iron Gate, he will maintain this commitment to the best of the region as he reinterprets the classic cooking traditions and techniques of Southern Italy and Greece, eschewing imported products in favor of local alternatives whenever possible.

About 550 Events and Catering:
The Arcadia Farm Dinner will be produced by 550 Events and Catering. From traditional old world elegance to chic and modern minimalism, Five-fifty Event’s team of culinary professionals and event designers stand ready to create a reception reflecting your style and personality. Not only can we assist with designing the food, beverage, rentals, and décor portions of your reception, but we partner with the best and most reputable photographers, florists, musicians, and other wedding specific vendors in the DC region.


A Word from Arcadia Farm

By Stephen Corrigan, Arcadia Farm Director

Is it spring now?  Are you sure?

These are the questions that I've been constantly asking myself over the last couple of weeks, weeks where we've gone from snow one week to record-breaking heat the next.  Mother Nature has now seemed to settle into her rhythm of springtime, and our farm has begun to teem with life.  Crops that were seeded directly into our soil are bursting through with vigor, and transplants that were languishing a bit trying to figure out what the heck was going on now seem to be growing taller before my very eyes.
This is always a hectic time of year.  Long hours are spent prepping beds, planting out new crops, and of course, trying to stay one step ahead of the weeds.  Our greenhouse is overflowing with seedlings chomping at the bit to get in the ground.  We at Arcadia are incredibly fortunate to have the dedicated support of a great crop of interns and countless volunteers who have devoted their valuable time to make our farm a success, and we certainly couldn't do it without their help.  (Insert shameless plug: Want to join our volunteer ranks? Come on out to our next Open Volunteer Day on Saturday, April 27th!)
It can be hard to remove myself from the mayhem of spring and stand back to appreciate the hard work that goes into this place and the bounty that it will produce.  I tend to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and the infinite to-do lists.  Every once in awhile, I give myself a few moments to survey our fields, taking in the smell of vegetation, the sound of the bees buzzing all around me, and the sight of the sun disappearing over the horizon, and I cherish my role in this system.  We have the unique responsibility to grow food to share with others and improve this piece of land, and this humble goal is what keeps me going and makes all of the hard work more than worth it.