Living with dignity along the stream, and giving voice to every season
Ah, rain. Joyful, drenching, life-restoring rain. I had mowed out a number of spent beds for replanting to fall crops. I had begun tilling rock-hard, dry soil. Dust stirred up from the ground, reminding me of last year’s horrible drought. It was hot, dry work raking and pulling roots of weeds and grasses out of way of the tines before tilling. Then in just one week, two decent rains swept across our fields with more than most vegetable crops need – 1¾ inches – in a week’s time. Kale seed, collards, chard and lettuce, too, all went into the ground with moisture to germinate for fall. Our wonderful neighbor Ciel, who works with us part time, hoed up 100 hills for more summer squash. Dela laid out a number of other varieties for us to plant, as we try to keep up steady yielding of 8 to 10 varieties weekly for another 3 months and on into fall deliveries. Already, in the heat of summer, we have to think ahead to projected frost dates for our region. At this point, some long-term varieties wouldn’t have enough time to grow before freezing temperatures would surely kill them. Our world looks broad-shouldered and powerful. Yet it is populated with forms of life as delicate as the cells in our bodies. Over winter, I spent many hours thinking about the delicate nature of plant and human life in relationship to Living Down Stream, by ecologist, teacher, poet, activist Sandra Steingraber. I think her book, meant to expand and keep up the work of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” is the most important book I’ve read in my 58 years. The pair of works should be required reading. Carson in the 1960s and Steingraber in the 1990s sounded an alarm that a shocking number of people still fail to hear today. The need to respond to this alarm has only, is only, growing more compelling by the day. You, dear CSA member , must hear some measure of that warning. You felt moved or compelled to support organic agriculture, your own health our farm as a community and local economy. You emboldened and enabled our family to act positively and bravely another year. You serve and protect human health, the Natural world, fertile soil with us. I like to imagine what would happen if everyone on planet Earth read the same, compelling, clear message as is written in Living Down Stream. I like to imagine what would happen if we all set about together, acting on that knowledge to defend this world. On Dr. Steingraber's website I read a message she frequently tells audiences. I’m sharing it with you this week: “It is now time to play the Save the World Symphony. It is a vast orchestral piece, and you are but one musician. You are not required to play a solo, but you are required to know what instrument you hold and play it as well as you can. Because in the end, the environment is not just something else to worry about. It is connected to all the things we already worry about—our children, our health, our homeland—and love with all our hearts.” Maybe this week’s, this season’s vegetables are your part, our part in the Save the World Symphony? Talk about it over just, chemical-free, nutritious, spiritual food every day. Keep giving voice to spring. Form the long chain of human life with dignity that keeps every stream safe for all lovely, vital forms of life.
This Week’s Vegetables include:
- Garden Extra – every delivery point gets something different snow peas (pods are edible) OR broccoli, cauliflower, OR okra
- H19 Little Leaf Cucumber
- Shuyho Long Japanese Cucumber
- Zucchini or yellow summer squash
- Bright Lights Chardl
- First tomato
- Red Italian Onion with green top
Cooking Tips for the Week
Bacon Basil Zucchini (or any summer squash) dish adapted from Brodhead CSA member Kelly Gratz – Juliene 2 lbs. summer squash lengthwise in strips. Toss with 2 tsp salt and let sit 1 hour. Drain and dry. Heat ½ cup bacon grease with crispy bits of bacon in frying pan. Add ¼ cup garlic crushed and summer squash. Sauté, stirring. Cook to aldente 4 to 5 minutes. Toss in ¼ cup chopped basil and ½ cup chopped walnuts. Cook 2 minutes longer. Done! Eat! Enjoy!
Baked Squash Strips from Dela – Slice summer squash into ¼ and ½-inch wide strips. Put on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary and/or thyme. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Then, put under the broiler for 5 minutes. Serve.