Week No. 8 – 2012 Season

Putting what we’ve learned to work and staying committed to year’s end

Gardens, fields, farms are schools. They are schools from which a good grower never graduates. We learn lessons from Nature every second that we spend with seeds, soil, plants, animals. Every joyous sensation that comes from learning these lessons makes us want to keep learning. Yet sometimes the lessons are hard, even at times cruel. In tree lines around fields untouched by conventional agriculture, I see diverse insect, shrub, plant populations I do not see in other fields we’ve tried to save from corn-soybean rotations. And through this drought, I do not see the harmful insect attacks we are constantly trying to beat back in our other fields. Yet we have “classroom lessons” to draw from through past years of growing organically, to work vigilantly to protect the thousands of vegetable plants we have been tending now since March and April. We have plans B, C, D, E in the event plan A fails, and we have, thanks to Community Supported Agriculture and our own commitment to invest each year in ever-better resources, the tools and equipment we need to keep attempting to pass each test until we succeed. It was a bit of a shock this week, to have newsletters from two other CSA growers sent to us, announcing that they are stopping delivery completely for the rest of the season because of the recent drought. One refunded subscribers’ payments, the other did not. In many ways, this has been the hardest season we’ve ever faced. Some of our crops may not yet survive despite several recent rains that finally came to our land. The idea of dropping out of this school, however, has not crossed our minds. The investment of nearly $1,000 in additional watering equipment, the shuttling back and forth of our flat hay wagon and new water tank from early morning until dark, and the continued delivery of our vegetables attests to the seriousness of your organic farming students at Scotch Hill. We even managed to put together an extra six bunches of sunflowers this week, which we’re offering to anyone who wants to make a donation to our drought fund to help cover unbudgeted expenses this year. We need at least $10 for these bouquets to be fair to our flower share subscribers. Let us know if you want a bunch and how we can retrieve your payment. Thanks for supporting this education we’re all getting from Nature. Let us keep learning together. Other farmstead items from Scotch Hill –Trade publications for skin care product companies monitor the top 30 manufacturers. All are foreign-owned. It’s hard to find a brand of soap, bar or liquid, for which our money does not leave local economies for foreign shores. Our soap, which Dela makes from natural ingredients, vegetable oils and goat milk has provided a strong second income for Scotch Hill for more than 12 years. We have a variety of sizes, essential oils, unscented bar and liquid, laundry soap, even pet shampoo. We’re glad to bring any quantity to you. Check out some of what we have at www.scotchhillfarm.com Email or call us of your interest. tony@scotchhillfarm.com / dela@scotchhillfarm.com / 608 897-4288. Purchases you make will help us keep livestock working with our plants at Scotch Hill to complete the cycle of life.

This Week’s Vegetables are:

  • Cabbage
  • Garden Extra – Broccoli, OR Okra, OR Eggplant
  • Two kinds of summer squash
  • Zucchini
  • 2 lbs. of tomato varieties
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Dill

Photos of this share help you identify each variety and can be found by the website or Facebook

Cooking Tips for the Week

From The Green Thumb Cookbook, by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming: Zucchini and Tomatoes – Saute one medium-sized zucchini, thinly sliced and quartered in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add 1 fresh tomato, cored, sliced and quartered and salt and pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon oregano. Cook for 5 minutes more. If desired, place mixture in shallow baking dish, top with mozzarella cheese and run under broiler until cheese melts.