13th Week – 2011 Season

Confessions of an organic farmer about where your food dollars go

I have a lover. Dela knows about her. I’ve heard Dela blame herself for introducing us. It first happened 18 years ago, and the passion never went away. When I worked additional jobs to make ends meet, to pay bills and provide benefits this life would never pay, I thought about my lover all the time. I longed to be with her. She made me laugh. She made me sing. She made me cry. I was defensive of her, protective. She roused every reasonable and unreasonable feeling in my heart. I confess I had lovers before. It was never the same with them. Intimacy with a true love is giving, as much as taking. It isn’t one-sided. It isn’t satisfied unless satisfaction mingles with the satisfaction of the lover’s. I’m not ashamed to tell you that my lover is this farm you support with your subscription. It’s tired, old frame buildings are like shoulders and arms. I’ve caressed them with all sorts of repairs. We looked out together from her rooftops, thought of all the changes, and of the unchanging, in the rolling landscape, the rural community surrounding. Her pasture, garden, fields move me inside, make me take deep, deep breaths. I drink in fragrances of so many sweet flowers and plants. Crickets, birds, every winged creature becomes quietly, wonderfully magical, musical in the presence of the farm. At night, “the moon hits the eye, like the big pizza pie” in an old song. Each rising sun makes me want to get my old creaky legs out onto Scotch Hill Road at dawn and run in the dew after a lovely, glorious night. The feeling for this lover just doesn’t go away. I know you don’t know her the way I do, but maybe today you could take a little joy in thinking about a loving relationship that the food you buy, eat, cook, preserve makes possible, 5, 15, 30, 100 miles away in this space we love called Scotch Hill Farm. Don’t you feel a little satisfaction in that, too? Whatever is on that plate, wherever you enjoy a meal, every day of your life, has a place of origin somewhere, a couple, a family, a life’s work together. They have every same feeling, sense, sensibility, desire that you have. They and the lover they tend are fragile, strong, passionate, alive, and life-giving. These farmers and their lovers can be cheated, poisoned, exploited. They can be driven out of business, their loving relationships broken up. Or they can be known, supported, loved, sustained. You’ll never know which it is you are making possible, of course, unless you actually get to meet them, hear their voices, whether in printed words or in person. This is what sustains the Earth. This is what you do with Tony and Dela, Joel, Holly, Aaron, and every other beautiful person who comes supportively here or subscribes to this farm’s food. Thank you. 

Work and farm party ANY day – Our work together goes on into the fall. I see 40s in the forecast at night after this spate of hot, hot days. I begin to worry a little about the coming frost. So much to put in place to protect plants from the first killing temperatures. Weeding, row cover and wire hoop placements. Harvesting can go on well into autumn’s Indian Summer if we can get past those spates of frost in September. And preparing the marvelous high tunnel greenhouses can yield carrot and greens monthly all winter long. Come for a few hours of volunteer help, or a few days. Email for directions. tony@scotchhillfarm.com 

Brown paper grocery sack crisis – Please bring them to us each week, as many as you can round up in the house, workplace or neighborhood. We were staying ahead nicely and double-bagging securely until this past week. Sorry to have to keep reminding you, but we really cannot afford conventional packaging and boxing. It is so expensive. There are so many other farm expenses that are more vital.

This Week’s Vegetables are:

  • Bright Lights Chard
  • Yellow Summer Squash (from Zephyr or round Patty Pan
  • Green summer squash (zucchini or Magda Mediterranean variety)
  • Assorted tomato varieties (4 lbs)
  • Garlic
  • Eggplant
  • Dragon tongue wax and purple beans
  • Ice box red and yellow fruit water melon varieties, or orange and green fleshed cantaloupe varieties
  • High tunnel Green Beans
  • Assorted Peppers
  • Garden Extra (either okra OR broccoli

Cooking Tips for the Week

 Chard (from Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis) This lush green is actually from a variety of sugar beets that have been bred for their greens and not their roots. It’s best known variety is the Swiss chard because the leaves reputedly withstood harsh Swiss winters while its root shriveled in the cold. Swiss chard has bright white stalks instead of red. Milder than other winter greens, the stalks can be eaten raw, and they add a welcome crunch to cool weather salads. Chard is best when cooked quickly, preferably just until the raw crunch disappears. A huge bunch of any greens can look like enough to feed the neighborhood, yet they cook down considerably; 1 pound of raw greens will yield four moderate portions cooked. Steam chard or any green briefly – about 8 minutes if you like your greens still colorful and lively – then sauté them quickly in butter or olive or walnut oil, and season with salt and pepper. Or to retain their pungency, simply stir-fry them in a touch of peanut oil.