Week No. 14 – 2011 Season

Bringing people together over food and farming

Three women. Miles apart, yet their lives intimately linked by this food, this farm. We’ve known Pat, who lives near Madison, the longest. Without trying, we gave her many reasons to quit buying our food. For 8 years, off and on, we tried making a delivery to Fitchburg Farmers Market work for Madison subscribers. Imagine trying to sell GMO-free, organic food in a bio-tech business park. In other more recent years, we tried Madison delivery to a store, a wine shop, a coffee shop, a restaurant. They all went out of business in hard times. One year, a small group in Madison organized to take turns driving to the farm. Pat rolled along with all these changes, always subscribing, bringing her daughter to farm events and delivery points, juggling her schedule and life to accommodate each change. Then, suddenly, Pat was gone. She didn’t sign up for our 17th season. Our lives were busy, ever-changing, too. My old internet program locked up; I lost all my CSA email lists back 8 years. Then a chain of “happenstances” brought Pat back to us. For 10 years, we’ve helped lead court challenges to protect water in our rural community from an industrial-scale livestock operation’s liquid manure concentrations. At times, I’ve been interviewed as spokesperson for the Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water (check out their web site). This past spring, I debated 3 big dairy operators at a citizens water monitoring conference, which asked me to give a small farm’s perspective on a panel. An ecologist who heard me speak asked if she could support our farm by buying a subscription for someone who cannot afford it. Dela and I thought immediately of a 3-year subscriber in Chicago; she was reluctantly giving up her subscription. Her occupation was hard hit by the housing crisis, and she had gone back to school at night to get a teaching degree. No financial aid for college, her budget and time were very tight. We put the local gift of $425 toward her subscription in Chicago. We wrote off the balance (we charge less to those who pick up at our farm, more to those who get our food delivered weekly 100 miles away). Grateful for the kindness and the food, this Chicago subscriber sent a check for the balance of the Chicago subscription. We could have simply accepted the money, but we thought again about Pat. We thought about all her years of support, all the times she encouraged us with her lovely smile. We discovered she was having financial difficulty, caring for a husband who was very ill. Medical bills were weighing her down. Dela put the money from the Chicago subscriber toward a subscription for Pat. None of this likely makes any sense in America’s business world. It’s the stuff of friendship and community. It’s better than a federal bank or corporation bailout. It’s more reliable than stocks. It’s hope in action. Feed on it this week. You’re an intimate part of it, too, and we sincerely thank you. 

State Supreme Court – Environmental law attorneys defending our little rural citizens group and local township will make oral arguments before Wisconsin’s high court at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, in the Capitol Building, 2nd Floor, East Wing. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for all 1200 rural townships across Wisconsin, strengthening – or handicapping – their ability to protect water from industrial-scale livestock practices, which are springing up everywhere around our state. This is the first court challenge of a 2004 state law these Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations have been using to force acceptance of their practices and allow unbridled control of their expansion across Wisconsin. If you can attend, it will help us send a message to the state's high court that citizens in Wisconsin care about clean water as much as abundant supplies of milk from factory farms. Help us ensure the clean reputation of Wisconsin's more than 12,000 dairy farms with average herd sizes of less than 100. 

Canning Day Reminder – This Saturday is a food preservation and workday on the farm. See our web site for details.

This Week’s Vegetables are:

  • Salad mix of spicy greens and leaf lettuce
  • Yellow Summer Squash (Zephyr)
  • Other summer squash (zucchini or Magda Mediterranean variety)
  • Assorted tomato varieties (4 lbs)
  • Basil
  • Eggplant
  • Dragon tongue or wax beans
  • Ice box red and yellow fruit water melon varieties, or orange and green fleshed cantaloupe varieties
  • High tunnel OR Maxi Belle Green Beans
  • Assorted Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Garden Extra (either okra OR broccoli)

Cooking Tips for the Week

Tomato Pie (from a subscriber)

  • 9 inch deep dish pie crust
  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound bacon - cooked, drained, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In alternating layers, fill pie shell with tomatoes, basil, scallions, bacon, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper. In a small bowl, mix cheese with mayonnaise. Spread mixture over top of pie. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil from top of pie and bake an additional 30 minutes.