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Week #8, August 10th, 2011

High School for Public Service Youth Farm


This week’s share contains a dear friend. The little yet mighty PURSLANE! I was first introduced to purslane when I moved to NYC. Among the things left for me by the former farmer was a list of the most profitable and nutritious crops grown on site. Both purslane and callalloo were on the list. Two items I had never heard of, let along knew how to grow. He also left me with a collection of seeds, including red and green purslane. On my next trip to union square I searched out the green to talk to folks growing it and learn a little more. I was surprised when I saw it being sold at $12 a pound, and the farmer told me in fact he never planted it, it just grew back year after year, and it was also a substitute for those gross fish oil pills I was taking. I have enjoyed purslane ever since, growing it purposefully and delighting when it had chosen to grow itself for me. This past week I had it for 3 meals, in a quesadilla with hot peppers and sliced tomatoes, in a salad at the amazing Bruci in Carroll Gardens, and as a snack at the farm- right from the ground. I love the crunchy lemony flavor and knowing I am getting my omega fatty acids from a sustainable source. I hope you enjoy it too. Remember a weed is just a plant growing somewhere you don’t want it too. On the horizon is the exciting and fun American Community Garden Association conference being held right here in NYC, August 18th-21s. I highly recommend this conference as a place to learn about the technical as well as values and strategies of urban growing, and to meet many many inspiring people from all over the country. check out
• Volunteer Every Wednesday from 3-6:30pm and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 10-4pm. We are looking for groups for September, please let us know if you are interested. • Mid-season evaluations will be sent out next week. Let us know what you think of your shares so far and what we can do to make them even better!

Please keep in mind that this is a list of our predicted harvest.

Mini Cabbage, Collards, Eggplant, Garlic, Purslane, Thyme, Cherry Tomatoes, Large Tomatoes collards
purslane garlic cabbage eggplant

thyme cherry tomatoes tomatoes


Chilled Zucchini Soup with Purslane Ingredients: • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1 small onion, thinly sliced • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced • 1 tsp thyme leaves • 1 bay leaf • 8 small zucchini (3 pounds), thinly sliced, plus long zucchini shavings for garnish • 3 cups water • 2 tbsp finely shredded basil • 2 cups ice • 2 cups purslane Directions: In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the thyme and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sliced zucchini, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the shredded basil.Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Transfer the zucchini puree to a large bowl. Stir in the ice. Refrigerate the zucchini soup for at least 3 hours, until thoroughly chilled. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into shallow bowls and top with a small handful of purslane and zucchini shavings. Drizzle with olive oil and serve. For more info email
600 Kingston Ave, Brooklyn NY 11203

HSPS YOUTH FARM C.S.A. NEWSLETTER #8 August 10th, 2011

Purslane’s role in the garden is highly debatable. Originally from India and Persia, purslane has spread to gardens and landscapes around the world and is considered to be a delicious treat to some and an obnoxious weed to others. Purslane seeds can stay viable in soils for up to 40 years and since purslane is a very succulent plant it can grow in extremely arid and otherwise undesirable locations. The taste of purslane is similar to watercress or spinach. Purslane can be cooked, steamed, stir-fried, or pureed and can be used in salads or sandwiches in place of lettuce or pickles. Purslane is low in calories and high in nutrients. Some health claims suggest it has more omega-3 fatty acids than some fish oils. It’s also a good source of Vitamins A and C and some Bcomplex vitamins. Purslane has both antifungal and antimicrobial effects and can be used to aid digestive problems. To use, wash and remove larger stems.
-Credit: University of Illinois Extension Office


Roasted Eggplant Soup
from Bon Appetit

Ingredients: • 3 medium tomatoes, halved • 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise • 1 small onion, halved • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp chopped thyme • 4 cups chicken stock • ¼ cup heavy cream • ¾ cup crumbled goat cheese Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Arrange tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and roast for another 25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and lightly brown. Remove from oven and scoop eggplant from skin into large saucepan. Add the rest of the vegetables, thyme, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until it is as smooth as you’d like it to be. Back in the pot, add the cream and bring soup back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with goat cheese.

This week, I have handed over flower farm management duties to my four fabulous flower apprentices, Ethan Gallagher, Chelsea Newson, Whitney Richardson and Cari Machet. I am so thankful for their enthusiasm and dedication to the Youth Farm this season. Their willingness to manage all aspects of the flower farm this week is commendable. Three of these apprentices have come to the Youth Farm with beginner’s farming knowledge, and all four come with beginner’s knowledge about cut flowers. In a short amount of time they have gained skill and confidence in various aspects of farming, from irrigation, to bed preparation, to weeding and transplanting. I feel very confident in their abilities to manage the farm and create beautiful bouquets for you this week. A little background on what they’ve been up to: on Tuesdays, Ethan, Whitney, Cari and I focus on field work – watering, weeding, digging new beds, applying compost, planting, seed sowing, trellising, and pest management. On Wednesdays, Chelsea and I plan out and harvest flowers for market and CSA bouquets. Chelsea has gotten to work at our market stand, and we both help with market takedown. On Thursdays, Whitney, Cari and I harvest flowers for two restaurants and the new Brooklyn Farmacy flower stand in Carroll Gardens. Each flower apprentice brings individual and important strengths. I am so thankful to work with such hard-working, passionate people! -Molly


Currently a student in the Master Composter program through Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Colleen joins our team this summer making beautiful compost for us to sprinkle all over our beds. Colleen grew up in Brooklyn and New Jersey and graduated Cum Laude from Monmouth University. Right now Colleen is focused on creating jobs for young adults through composting and has recently launched her own project called “Beekman Compost.” This passion has made Colleen a perfect fit for the Youth Farm, as she explains, “we’re giving today’s youth a really good look at what nature can provide for us if we put in a bit of sweat equity.” Colleen has enjoyed her overall experience on the farm thus far, whether that be learning that cucumbers grow on vines, or through practicing the art of sifting the compost bins. You can check out and support Colleens project at

Colleen Grant: Compost Intern

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