Week No. 16 – Season 2013

Weekly subscription helps farm speak up for laws that strengthen local economies

Young moms mostly crowded into Room 415 NW of Wisconsin’s State Capitol Building. It was Wednesday morning a week ago. I was there with them to testify to a circle of mostly male Assembly representatives. We were speaking in favor of Assembly Bill 182. Dubbed “The Cookie Bill” the measure would extend exemptions from state food processing licenses to those who produce homemade baked goods sold in face-to-face encounters with consumers at a sales volume less than $10,000 annually. You can support this bill, which the Assembly Committee on Small Business Development is considering. Both rural and urban families that would like to derive a modest income from making and selling baked goods will benefit. For our part, Dela and I have already been growing hard red winter wheat. We plant it in turn with other crops to break disease and pest cycles. It  also helps feed our poultry, sheep and goats. Growing our own wheat to mix with purchased certified organic feeds cuts costs. We sell surplus sacks of wheat to other small farms that want to feed their flocks organically, too. A bag of our wheat fetches $10, about half the price of certified organic feeds available at the local Super Soy grain elevator. Bakers, too, in Milwaukee, have been asking me for wheat they can grind into flour. I’ve been working with my youngest son to restore a fanning mill to do that. Wal Mart’s price (probably conventional flour) is said to be $28 for a 50-lb. sack, plus shipping. If Scotch Hill can grind its own wheat into flour (we have a small grinder) and bake certified organic pizzas with our own vegetable toppings and tomato sauce, how much more value will we add to our wheat grain? How much more will we benefit from new income over winter, from diversifying to include breads and nutritious treats? Debate over Wisconsin’s Cookie Bill will determine the answers. We wrote a letter for this bill at 4 a.m. We drove up to Madison to testify on a workday from our farm. We met with lawmakers and groups supporting these efforts before that. It’s all typical of Scotch Hill Farm. We’ve been testifying at public hearings, writing letters to federal agencies and elected officials, even leading court actions seeking protections for safety, health and the environment, for most of our 19 years on this farm. Can you say the same of other farmers who grow your food? When we eat from the big anonymous food chain, we don’t even know their names. We don’t know if they stand up for just causes and ecological practices, or exploit people and places for private gain. If you’d like to join your farm’s efforts, go to https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/amendments/ab182/asa1_ab182  Follow the link to your elected officials. Accept our thanks. You keep us in business so we can advocate for measures to help restore local economies, promote sustainability and encourage enterprise.

This Week’s Vegetables include:

  • Spicy Greens Mix (1/2 lb. bag
  • Assorted tomatoes
  • Sweet Red Peppers (also yellow, orange or green and hot)
  • Beedy Camden’s Kale (bunch)
  • Eggplant OR Summer Squash
  • Hercules Carrots (1/2 lb.)
  • Green beans
  • Ice Box Melon (they fit in the frige!)
  • Cabbage
  • Okra

Cooking Tips for the Week

At this time in a growing season, a garden has been producing from plants that may be 4 or 5 months old. Some varieties can start to be a little tough even when the plants still look healthy and keep yielding. When you’re unsure whether garden vegetables might be a little chewy, you can’t over-do it in using butter to cook them. My stir-fry last night – with most all the same garden vegetables you’re getting in this week’s share – proved the truth of this personal adage. Everything came out sweet and tender. I coated the pan with olive oil to start, dicing in green beans and carrots first, then eggplant and summer squash. Peppers, sweet corn, Asian greens, tomatoes, dried herbs, salt and pepper came last. All along the way, I added a little butter. With Dela’s fresh salad, what a meal! Send us your version as you experiment with quick stir-fries.