Week No. 7 – 2011 Season

If our bodies and Earth could speak, what would they say about food?

What does health taste like? Think about it, really think about it. Even if I’ve asked you that or you’ve thought of it on your own before, human beings should regularly ask it of themselves. Our answers – for children everywhere, as well as ourselves and our Earth, ultimately affect the length and quality of lives. Standing where I stand – in gardens and fields; shuttling back and forth – between a farm and the consumers I feed; I think every day about food as health or illness. I watch heavy equipment moving across broad expanses to produce single crops for volume, efficiency, money. I think about what their practices are doing to the health of soil, water, livestock, people, plants, communities. I watch people moving up and down city streets, sitting in cars and trucks that pass me. Their bodies all too often call out to me, “I’m getting sick on what I eat, how I live, where I spend my money! Help me!” Yet the minds of these beings are elsewhere. They’re not listening to their very own flesh and blood, to their hearts, vital organs, joints and muscles. They’re not listening to doctors and specialists in all of the diseases that afflict Americans in epidemic proportions. As a vegetable and livestock farmer who follows organic practices, my overriding ambition is not to make lots of money. I must pay many, many bills, of course. Yet my heartfelt ambition is always the health of soil, plants, animals and my family’s farm, my community’s farm. It’s to provide healthful food in a varied diet for you. Personally, at age 56, I’d have thought flavors would fall flat by now, fragrances would evaporate, along with all my other faculties, as I slide toward life’s end. Yet somehow, health never tasted sweeter. I run 2 miles everyday. I work hard and long. I eat what I grow. I serve and protect a cycle of life. What does health taste like to you? I’d really like to hear what you think, what you feel. What are your body and the Earth saying? 

Dealing with the heat – Record high temperatures are forecast for the Chicago area on Wednesday this week. The mid-week market manager in Oak Park called us with a warning that heat is shutting down the market. We’ll get our Chicago area deliveries made to all sites as early in the day as possible. We’ll deliver Oak Park subscriptions to Maria Onesto’s Green Home Experts store on Oak Park Avenue by 2 p.m. Oak Park subscribers, please pick up your produce there before 6 p.m. There will be no midweek farmers market. Email or call us if this poses a problem or to monitor my delivery progress through traffic and construction: 608 897-4288, 608 354-3243 (cell): tony@scotchhillfarm.com / dela@scotchhillfarm.com 608 897-4288 Thanks for all your support!

 This Week’s Vegetables are:

  • Snow peas
  • Garlic
  • Pole Beans (Fortex – round, and Northeastern – flat; both cultivated to get 9 to 12 inches long, and yet stay moist and crisp)
  • Mixed lettuce varieties
  • Eggplant
  • Summer Squash (varieties include zucchini, Madga – a pale green, Zepher – elongated, yellow and green, Patty Pan – round , scalloped, bright yellow)
  • Basil
  • Cucumbers (Shuyo Long and H19 Little Leaf Traditional)
  • Cauliflower OR cauliflower/broccoli mix

Cooking Tips for the Week

Vegetarian Souvlaki with Pita Wraps From 3-year Milwaukee subscriber Tricia Gabarra, who suggests adding zucchini and large onion pieces, also some of the pineapple juice, or cherry tomatoes and lemon juice to the marinade. Follow the links on the Internet to this great eggplant and garlic recipe.

 Pesto (from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, 2007) .Pesto is great in pasta sauce, on sliced tomatoes, as a dipping sauce for vegetables, on pizza, or as a sauce for grilled chicken and vegetables. Pick the leaves from 1 bunch basil to yield about 1 lightly packed cup. In a mortar and pestle, pound to a paste 1 garlic clove, peeled. Salt. Add and continue to pound ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted. Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and put them in the mortar. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pounded pine nut mixture to the mortar. Pound the leaves and pine nut mixture together. Continue pounding as you gradually pour in ½ cup extra virgin olive oil. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, 2007) Peel, halve, and slice into half-moons 1 medium cucumber. Toss in a medium-size bowl with a pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Drain off any liquid that has collected. Stir in ¾ cup whole-milk yogurt, 1 small garlic clove pounded to a puree, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 mint sprigs OR basil, leaves only, cut in chiffonade. Variations: Grate cucumber instead of slicing it for a smoother sauce. For a little spice, add a pinch of pulverized dried red pepper such as marash or cayenne. From Dela: Use many of the vegetables in your subscription this week to make the curried vegetable recipe you can find on page 49 of the Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook and use this cucumber yogurt sauce to top them. It will be yummy!