Field Notes - V18N17 - November 5 & 8

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upcoming events November Stitch ‘n Time Saturday, November 9, 2013 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Stitch ‘n Time is a volunteer-based textiles club where members enjoy learning about the cultivation of fleece, dyeing of wool, and colonial textiles. Club members join Foundation staff and other textile artists to use wool from the farm’s heritage breed sheep to card, spin, and knit. National Colonial Farm presents: The Way of Food Saturday, November 16, 2013 12 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The National Colonial Farm presents “The Way of Food”- a journey through Maryland’s food traditions. Join us for a kitchen table conversation as we introduce you to the epicurean delights of colonial Marylanders. Learn how our tastes and the food itself have changed over 300 years as we explore the “receipts” (recipes) and meal preparation. This month’s theme is “Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham.” For details on any event, please visit

field notes

Volume 18 | Number 17 | November 5 & 8, 2013

Ecosystem Farm at Accokeek | 301-283-2113 |

Hello CSA Community, Well, the darkness has officially overwhelmed our farm days! On Halloween, I was spookily doing tractor work by headlight, preparing for the last bit of cover cropping at the farm ahead of the next day’s rain. Despite the shortened daylight, the farmwork has not slowed too much, and we continue to lead tours, volunteers days, and the market. Not to mention we are still wrapping up our active growing season with weeding and takedown of high season setup. We will be moving to the Education Center on the main site for CSA pickups, so that we can more comfortably greet you for pickups. This week is Farmer Happy Hour, so please come out and visit with us! love and howling wind, Farmer Becky

Ecosystem Farm Manager Rebecca Cecere Seward Farm Apprentices Alex Binck, Holli Elliott Farm and Garden Coordinator Daniel Michaelson Volunteers Rosemary Zechman, Amanda Truett, Tom Ellwanger, Mary Lynn Davis, Yvonne Brown, Terrance Murphy, Ethan Carton, Cairna Bode

frame the fields decadent flutter orange gold

tap the soil find community spread to leave

Aquatic Food by Alex Binck Most people know that ponds can be beautiful, peaceful, and a good source of water for irrigation, but not many know that there are a variety of delicious food crops that can be grown in the aquatic environment. In fact, wetlands such as ponds produce consistently more plant growth than any other ecosystem in the world, including all cropland and even tropical rainforests, which rank a close second. Imagine if we harvested that growth to feed ourselves! Even in the temperate zones, there are a surprising number of plants which can be grown. Rice (Oryza sativa) can be grown in wet soil or water, and though most rice is grown in warm regions, cultivars from Japan are thriving as far north as Vermont! Similarly, wild rice (Zizania aquatica), though commonly thought of as a delicacy only found around the Great Lakes, also thrives in our climate. It grows wild along many local creeks and rivers. Before the Anacostia River became a polluted refuse pile, there were miles of wild rice marsh growing in the margins of the river. In fact, this may be why Washington, D.C. is located where it is: the city was built near the site of an abandoned of an Indian village, who may have settled there due to this immense food source. The peppery and delicious watercress (Nasturtium officinale) prefers flowing water, but it will also grow in a pond. But those are just the plants Americans are familiar with. In parts of Asia with a similar climate to our own, people cultivate even more aquatic vegetables. Wapato (Saggitaria latifolia, sinensis, and others), a kind of aquatic tuber, has provided food for people in Asia and North America for thousands of years. For some native groups, especially in the Pacific Northwest, this was their primary food source. Lewis and Clark frequently lived off of these tubers during their journey. The lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), famous for its beautiful and sacred blossoms, is also an excellent source of food, with massive tubers that look remarkably like mud bananas. The nuts are delicious as well. Both are popular foods in parts of China. Our native species, the American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) has similar culinary properties and, though rare in Maryland, can be seen in Mattawoman Creek to our south. There are many other aquatic foods which are delicious and important to different cultures around the world, but, unfortunately there is no space here to discuss them. So, if you have a pond, try planting one of these! Many survive with almost no maintenance. And remember that even if you don’t have water to grow them in, a lined flowerpot or an old kiddie pool can easily become a smaller and more manageable aquatic growing space.

If you’re not wet You’re not living yet...

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