From Scotch Hill Farm to Senegal, prizing something different in food
Is it really August? Seems that it has been August, usually our hottest time of the year, for months already. We are still shuttling our 460-gallon water tank back and forth to the fields we rent to put on drip line irrigation. We’re still running sprinklers despite three rains that have blessed us, once a week now for three weeks. Plants suffering from a deficit of rain for 2 months and scorching heat need time – and water – to recover fully. Gratefully, this has been one of the highest yielding wheat and oat harvests we’ve had in a number of years. We planted our wheat last fall, the oats in early spring. They got going well before drought seized our region. This is helping all of our animals and poultry compensate for burned-up pasture and grazing space, and it will help feed our livestock through the winter of expected high livestock feed prices. We’re still baling hay, too, now that rain is greening up our countryside. All winter in the shelter of run-ins and barns, our livestock will feast on forage and feed – and generate in layers – of oat and wheat straw, the minerals we spread in spring to restore what our vegetables strip from the soil. Your support keeps this cycle of life going, year-round. A few more bouquets of sunflowers will be offered for $10 donations to our drought equipment fund this week. Thanks very much to those who purchased them last week. Respecting Food –It’s often years before we can get a proper handle on challenges that fly in our faces across the years. Without Dela to insulate me from memories of Peace Corps experiences in the 1970s, my recent trip alone to Senegal meant that I had many hours in transit and in hotels at night to consider past, present and future. Senegal’s population has more than doubled to nearly 13 million people. So many, many more livestock are roaming the barren landscape, looking for food to feed those masses. Children and young people seem to predominate these new swelling numbers of people. What became of the children I taught in a rough rural public school 35 years ago? When I returned from the experience at age 23, I’d spent almost 10 percent of my life at that point among peasant people, squatting daily around a common bowl of rice, often on dirt floors, and learning to truly respect food. How did I survive the shock of my return, which made me everywhere, and especially at meal time, break down and cry over food and attitudes about food in America? Dela and I have worked side-by-side for 24 years, trying to model respect for food and healthful food systems. Have we made a difference? A visitor to our farm earlier this year marveled at how much work gets done on a farm, how much work prevails over our lives throughout days into the night. Do you taste all of that work in a tomato, or a pepper, or any of our vegetables? Does the flavor, texture, moisture, response of your body to health, vitamins, minerals fill you with respect for organic food? If you do, we’ve all succeeded, and that’s even more valuable than the food itself.
Ten-week subscriptions – Can you recommend us to a friend? For a little more weekly than what you paid, a few more people can get in on the summer bounty. They can find a sign-up form at www.scotchhillfarm.com They can mail or call us for details. firstname.lastname@example.org / 608 897-4288. You are our best (if often only) advertising.
This Week’s Vegetables are:
- Cabbage OR Marathon Broccoli (inordinate heat has changed the color of this variety of broccoli, but we found it still tasted good; recent rains should restore the customary green color later this season)
- Bright Lights Chard (not to be confused with Rhubarb)
- Red onions
- Eggplant / OR melons
- 3 lbs. of tomato varieties
- Beans OR Okra (sorry -months of heat, drought make it hard for everyone to receive these varieties in the same week)
- Summer Squash
- ½ lb. Sun Gold and Juliet tomatoes (try them on a toothpick with a basil leaf and small chunk of mozzarella cheese – a great summer Caprese snack)
Photos of this share help you identify each variety and can be found by the website or Facebook
Cooking Tips for the Week
From Your Farmer Dela: Scotch Hill Stuffed Peppers – Top and seed 4 Bell Peppers. Saute chopped onions, eggplant and/or squash in butter or oil. Mix with 1 cup of rice or bread crumbs and 1 or 2 chopped tomatoes. Fill pepper with mixture and top with grated cheese. Bake at 375 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Use herbs of choice to flavor.