Off to a Great Start
The Share the Harvest YMCA farm is off to a good start, thanks to great volunteers, and suitable weather and soil conditions, as well as all the preparations that we accomplished last year. Roughly, about a quarter of the farm has been planted with another eighth going in on April 22. So far, we have planted onions, carrots, beets, beans, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes and radishes. Cannot wait to see the fruits of our labor! The need for volunteers will gradually increase as weed control and more plantings continue for the next month. We are looking forward to the harvest that will start within a month.
I asked two young volunteers what they do for a hobby. Both said they watch TV. Kudos to their parents for getting them out to the farm. It is such a joy to see them working at the farm, having fun and accomplishing a goal. Watching TV is not a suitable hobby for a healthy kid. It will turn their brains to jelly. If this is normal, it should not be. Check with your kids and grandkids. If they consider TV a hobby, get them out to the farm for a Saturday morning in the fresh air and sunshine. We start at 8am and would love to have them join us.
Collards Vs. Kale
The farm is sending collards to various charities. When I gave my Community Supported Agriculture customers a choice of collards or kale, 100% of them chose kale. When I started asking why, the only reason was that somewhere along the line kale had hired a better public relations firm. I can do anything with collards that you can do with kale, and some of it I can do better. Collards and the rest of the brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and more) have similar nutritional profiles with excellent vitamins, minerals and cancer fighting phyto nutrients.
Share The Harvest Community Farm
What healthy exercises will you do as you get older? Here are my observtions. In high school I played three years first string varsity football and dearly loved the game. After high school I played a few pick up games, but with no pads and no referees, you needed to be as good at fighting as you were at football. I quit playing football by age twenty.
Volleyball and running are less intense activities I learned in high school and college. I have seen plenty of people play volleyball and run into their 70s. In my experience, as people get into their 80s and 90s only two activiites predominate and those are dancing and gardening. The only person I ever knew who was active after age 100 was a serious gardener. At age 90 he married somebody he met at a dance. In any logical society there would be more high school gardens than high school football fields.
A Sweet Harvest
Sweet potatoes are an excellent food to grow for charity. It has a nutritional profile similar, but better than carrots. It is a good source of vitamin A, several of the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, fiber and antioxidants. The potassium content is slightly less than bananas, but will substitute if bananas are not in the budget or you happen to be a locavore. Plus, pound for pound, sweet potatoes have more calories than potatoes, which is enough to kick starvation down the road.
In addition to the nutritional benefits, sweet potatoes store easily. If you put them in a back room that stays above 50 degrees, they will last for several months. And, if you have an excess of sweet potatoes, you can easily can them for longer storage if you have a pressure canner. But wait, there's more. This long lasting super food is very versatile. Everybody has heard of sweet potato pie and sweet potato casserole, but there are a zillion more ways to serve up some sweet potato goodness.