Tuesday, July 12, 2011
CSA Week #6
Continued thanks to all those who have reached out to the farm with well wishes and prayers for our 3-year-old son, Xavier, photographed in today’s packed truck. He has been suffering from sporadic spasms shortly after a head trauma (horsing around after dinner). In two weeks we’ve seen 7 doctors, and no one is quite sure what he “has.” We are fortunate that in the last 4 days he has shown no symptoms. Of course, we are constantly on watch. We truly appreciate people’s concern.
LETTER FROM THE FARM
At one of the farmer’s markets we attend, there is a young couple just getting started on their own farm. They’ve worked on a successful, high-profile farm, but, as we learned when we bought our farm, there’s a big difference between working on someone else’s farm and starting out on one’s own. Sometimes, as we’re all setting up at the market, I think I see sheer panic in their eyes. And I can only project that they’re thinking: “How is this ever going to work?”
At the same market, there’s a middle-aged fellow, a 2nd generation farmer. He milked cows most of his life. When we met him 10 years ago the stress of farming had become so great for him that he was throwing up on his way to the barn every morning (and his 2nd hand man was showing up to work daily with a 12-pack of beer). Last we’d heard, he’d sold off his cows and was selling insurance. But now he’s giving the farming thing a whirl again, trying to make it selling tomatoes locally. I’m not sure what they’re thinking, but when I last spoke to them about their venture, I couldn’t help but think, “How are they ever going to make it work?”
On the phone yesterday, another long-time, highly diversified farmer (veggies, berries, syrup, livestock…) we know said the growing season is going so horribly that he’s rethinking his career choice. (He already holds a part-time job off the farm.) Even on a decent year, he says, it’s such a marginal enterprise. He is thinking, “I’m not sure this is really working enough.”
Meanwhile, in the last week it seems everyone around us—other than our farming friends—seem to be going on vacation, going away camping on the weekends, calling us to say hello while they’re sitting on the beach.
No matter how you slice it, farming is tough. There are a number of ways to manage risk, and, for us, the support our CSA members is a significant part of that. But, even then, we can’t predict when Mother Nature is going to slap us with one horrific season. We’ve managed to make it work—some years tougher than others, early on with both of us holding off-farm jobs, a couple of years going without health insurance,… And we’ve learned to be happy for our friends who are at the beach or on vacation while we’re working 7 days a week for a 9-month stretch. But those nagging questions: i.e. “is this really going to work?” or “is this really sustainable?” Well, they’ll persist. We’ve learned to tolerate the uncertainty of farming. It’s not a comfortable feeling, but sometimes it’s in pondering such questions that we come up with some of our best ideas.
IN THIS WEEK'S SHARE
1 large, fresh mild Alyssa Craig onion
1 bunch collards
1 head escarole
1 bulb fennel
1 bunch carrots
2 to 4 zucchini*
broccoli, cucumber or sugar snap peas
1 bulb fresh garlic
*zucchini amount varied among different distribution sites depending on size. Amount to take home will be specified at your distribution.
COLE SLAW: Feeling daunted by your overstuffed produce bins? Here at the farm, we were feeling the same way too. We cleaned out a good chunk of space Monday evening making a festive cole slaw with finely sliced cabbage--in this week’s share--and carrots and zucchini--in last week’s share and in this week’s. The carrots and zucchini were sliced into long shreds using a zesting peeler (a very handy utensil-drawer gadget to have). You could always just grate them. The dressing was made with grapeseed oil mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, honey, and a mild vegetable oil (we used grapeseed oil). (Sorry, no recipe; just kind of winged it—about 3 tablespoons mayo, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, and 2 to 3 tablespoons oil). Salt and pepper were added to taste.
IF YOU'RE UNFAMILIAR WITH COLLARDS OR LOOKING FOR A QUICK, TASTY SIDE DISH TO MAKE OUT OF YOUR GIANT HEAD OF ESCAROLE... here are two recipes we can vouch for as delicious:
Sauteed collard ribbons: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/quick-sauteed-collard-ribbons.aspx
and Sauteed Escarole with Raisins, Pine Nuts and Capers: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/sauteed-escarole-raisins-pine-nuts-capers.aspx
Posted by Free Bird Farm at 9:46 AM