9th Week – 2011 Season

Good conversation about essentials makes good eating and a safe world

People sometimes ask if they can just support us by buying this and that from us at a farmers market. For whatever reason, they don’t want to sign up for a CSA season. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pay only bills we wanted to pay? Wouldn’t it be great if our bodies would let us pick which minerals, vitamins, foods we wanted to eat? Wouldn’t it be grand if we could follow only laws – both physical in Nature and civil in government – we wanted to follow? Wouldn’t it be swell if the U.S. could have gone on forever cutting revenue and yet paying for the greatest road system, schools, standing army, navy, air force, and on, and on, without facing deficits and default? Wouldn’t it be great if we could take infinitely of Earth’s resources without exhausting supplies and suffering from its exploitation? You know I’m asking these questions to make a point. I don’t really secretly want to live, act, eat, spend irresponsibly. That’s why at great expense, sacrifice, commitment and risk we’ve chosen this path. I know I cannot escape reality. Even a little farm runs up $7,600 to $8,000 in expenses every month. Human bodies need certain minerals, vitamins and foods at specific rates to function well into old age. No one but astronauts can defy gravity. We can’t break constitutional laws without someone suffering. Our government IS facing default and mounting deficits. Our Earth’s resources are not inexhaustible. We’re facing growing challenges from many practices spinning out of control. And I really think the solution is community, relationship, support for people who provide products according to safe practices in or near the place we call home. This is why we try to avoid farmers markets except as a way to talk about Community Supported Agriculture to people. And even that is proving to be costly in time and money to Scotch Hill Farm. I used to sign up a person a week at one market. I used to make enough money weekly selling our milk soap to cover $500 to $1,000 in expenses. Market attendance and support have fallen sharply since 2007. Most weeks, I don’t even bring home $100 from a market where the fee is $590. Every business is suffering these days, isn’t it? We need something more than business, don’t we? We need each other. We need to care about each other. We need agriculture, not agribusiness. That opens the door to another whole set of issues, questions, challenges. What would a world without business dominating everything look like? How could all essential products be made, all essential services provided, in ways that sustain, heal, feed, secure us and our legacy? Our farm can’t function without community. Organics can’t exist without your support. Tony and Dela can’t make community happen alone. Tell us how you think Scotch Hill Farm and CSA can weather the storms into the future. 

Farm visits– Just call or email us ahead of time when you’d like to come give us a hand. 608 897-4288, 608 354-3243 (cell): tony@scotchhillfarm.com / dela@scotchhillfarm.com  

What organic corn looks like – Dela looked through every ear of corn this week for the corn borer worm. She discarded half the corn, which we’ll try to salvage by freezing or feed to livestock. We’ve never seen it in corn this early. Waves of intense heat back into June are responsible. In fact, the heat is bringing on infestations of many pests we’ve never seen this far north of the Carolinas, where we met 25 years ago and had our first garden together. We’re battling tomato horn worms, cut worms, potato beetles, corn borer and especially Japanese beetles, which have voracious appetites for everything from fruit tree leaves to weeds, to green beans. Imagine slogging through three acres of sweet corn that you spent 5 months trying to prepare (tilling, applying manure, disking, planting, cultivating over and over, only to find the staggered plantings of different varieties all coming on at once, much of it stunted from drought, infested with corn borer. Some of you may recall the story I told of a conventional contracted sweet corn producer for an Illinois supermarket chain. He told me he planted the same 100 acres of sweet corn every year for this store, and he sprayed his corn with a deadly pesticide to kill off all corn borers every 3 days. We’re the alternative. We’re doing the best we can, despite the weather, bugs and climate change.

 This Week’s Vegetables are:

  • Beets
  • Summer squash
  • Okra (two varieties of different color)
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant (if you get a green variety, it is called Raveena, and it is ripe)
  • Sweet corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Ice box melon variety
  • Onion
  • Peppers

Cooking Tips for the Week – Corn Salsa (from Penzy’s Spices Magazine) shuck 3 large ears of corn and remove the corn from the cobs. In a large bowl, combine the corn, 1 large onion, chopped; 2 peppers of your choice (sweet bell and Beaver Dam hot varieties in your subscription are good, chopped), 1 garden tomato, chopped; 1/3 to ½ cup lime juice; ¾ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground black pepper. Mix well. Add 1 small cucumber, chopped; and or one 15 oz. can of drained and rinsed black beans and mix again. The salsa can be served raw or cooked, which mellows the flavor. To cook, heat the salsa in a skillet over medium heat. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let cool. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 7 cups of salsa.

Eggplant Parmesan (from the New Classic Cookbook, Prevention Magazine and loyal Milwaukee subscriber Tricia Gabarra) Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 13" x 9" baking dish with nonstick spray. Coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray. Arrange 2 eggplants (peeled an cut in ¼ inch slices) in single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes, or until soft. Pour one cup of eggs or egg substitute into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine 1½ cup plain dry bread crumbs and 1½ tablespoons dried Italian seasoning. Stir to blend. One at a time, dip the eggplant slices into the egg substitute and then into the bread crumbs to coat both sides. Return to the baking sheets. Coat with nonstick spray. Preheat broiler. Broil eggplant 4" from heat for 2 minutes, or until golden. Turn slices. Coat with nonstick spray. Broil for 2 minutes longer, or until golden.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread one-third of 26 oz pasta sauce jar in the prepared baking dish. Top with half of the eggplant slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with half of 2 cups shredded low fat mozzarella cheese and half of 1/3 cup grated Parmesan.cheese with another one-third of the sauce. Top with the remaining eggplant slices. Spread with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake 30 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese melted