Tending Provider beans for a day, and drawing closer together for years
Safe. Healthy. Connected. Fair. This is what I want to feel when I eat. I don’t want to be afraid of what I feed myself or others. I don’t want to feel heavy, sick, sluggish. I don’t want to feel what I do to the environment or to my body is just one more act of everyday life that seems entirely out of my control. I don’t want to think that in eating food I’m part of inhumane or unjust practices to workers or animals. More than 45 years ago, I turned away from advertising media that attempted to influence what I felt about food. It was still years before I felt strong, thoughtful, aware enough about alternatives to mass-produced food, to completely change my lifestyle. Bucking trends is a lonely walk. It takes courage. It takes action. How far can we go by acting alone? In “What Life Should Mean to You,” Alfred Adler wrote decades ago about “social feeling.” He described it as a feeling an individual gets at hearing another express the same experience. A light goes on in the brain. Hope kindles in the soul. “Someone else has the same feelings I have! I’m not alone in the universe!” This is what draws us to one another, Adler said. This is what promotes cooperation, friendship, meaningful work, even love. The longer I’ve lived at Scotch Hill, the more I’ve invested my life in soil, plants, animals, the farm, the farming community. Isolated in the countryside, I still need to feel socially for other people. Yet my journeys into urban areas make me feel alone in my thoughts and experiences. Monday morning at our farm, that changed. There was a knock at the door. It was a dear person who has subscribed to our farm, almost since we began practicing Community Supported Agriculture 19 years ago. We recall when Pat came to help us with farm work during a particularly difficult time. Dela was recovering from surgery to remove skin cancer from her leg. That was 1997. Over the years, we changed delivery days, delivery points, even had to organize a carpool one year for Pat’s community when we could not deliver there. Pat adapted to every change. She kept subscribing to our farm even when she faced her own personal challenges. I didn’t know she was facing many of the same things in life we’ve encountered until Monday when we spent the entire day together weeding, mulching, planting green beans We talked as we worked. I got a chance, finally, after many years to tell Pat how encouraging she was to me every week at a farmers market where she first picked up vegetables from us. All of us now have a growing season together among a limited number of years each is destined to walk upon Earth. It’s a chance to feel safe, healthy, connected, fair over food we grow together. Last week, so many of you shared by social media and in-person conversations the happiness our food gave you in cooking and eating organic, local vegetables with family and friends. Let’s keep communicating, getting to know each other, working together. Our Earth needs us to feel, act socially.
This Week’s Vegetables include:
- Red Iceberg Lettuce
- Early onions
- Mustard Greens (spicy hot)
- Valentine Romaine Lettuce
- Bok Choi
- Oregano and Tarragon bundle (to use herbs fresh, preserve in water in a refrigerator; to use dry, suspend upside down in dry corner of kitchen)
- Leaf lettuce mix
- Sunflower sprouts
Cooking Tips for the Week
From The Green Thumb Cookbook (Edited by Anne Moyer, Rodale Press, 1977)
Juice extracted from lettuce was long used in England as a sleep-inducing potion. The juice was dried and made into white cakes that were given to patients both before and after operations. It’s best for you and best tasting, of course, when lettuce is incorporated fresh into salads, sandwiches, meals, but it can be amazingly flavorful in a stir fry over rice. Our good friends and neighbors Eric and Erica demonstrated this for us after a long day in garden and field, which they followed with a late-evening meal Monday night. As much as a pound of lettuce can cook down in this way for a wonderful meal, chock full of flavor, vitamins and minerals. We’ll get the dynamic duo to share their recipe for our Facebook page. In the meantime, you might try this “Wilted Lettuce” recipe from The Green Thumb Cookbook. In a large skillet, cook 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 –inch pieces, until crisp. Remove from pan and pour off fat. Mix together 2 tablespoons unbleached flour and 1 egg. Add 1 ½ tablespoons honey, 4 tablespoons vinegar pinch of salt and 1 cup water. Beat together well. Pour into skillet and cook, stirring until thickened. Turn off heat and gradually stir in 1 pound of lettuce, coarsely torn. Continue stirring until lettuce is wilted and coated with dressing. Serves 4 to 5.