Week 3 (Chicago Week 1)

This Week’s Vegetables!

  • Plato romaine lettuce
  • Loose leaf lettuce mix
  • French breakfast radishes
  • Pink beauty radishes
  • Kohlrabi
  • Hakurai turnips
  • Nasturtiums
  • Spring onions
  • Garlic scapes
  • Bright lights chard
  • Snow peas 

Words are poor representations of the rich ways living things inform us. Vibrant, colorful leaves, stems, flowers – they’re talking to us. They tell us that a patch of ground nourished, rotated, fed, served, protected, supported – is getting what its life needs, that it is healthy.

Soil itself, by its feel, scent, texture informs us of what we’re doing right – or wrong – in the ways we farm. For a string of unusually dry, hot days in June, Scotch Hill’s ground and plants alike were telling us they needed water.

We accommodated, moving sprinklers and long stretches of hoses around to outside beds and drip tape irrigation, mostly within high tunnels.  When we dragged and drifted in after dark after all the other work we’d done in a day (and forgot to turn off the water), someone had to go out in the dark in pajamas, or we woke up to a soggy stretch of soil.

Then the wonderful series of garden rains began, and now a sudden abundance of tall weeds and grasses are speaking volumes to us about the importance of early mulching. We’ve been weeding and weeding, mulching and mulching as best we can. Maybe the tender little plants are talking to you? Can you hear them? “Jenna and Jim, Dela and Tony, Scotch Hill Farm needs volunteer helpers!”

Farmers and their crops, livestock, too, can’t avoid these conversations, these exchanges about vital needs. True conversation demands deliberate openness to information. If growers and what’s grown don’t listen to each other, there can be no health. Untimely death is a given.

Humans in general these days seem locked into one-sided information exchange. Their “discourse” often acknowledges no standard of judgment, which Wendell Berry rightly insists must be health. No priority is given to health of ecosystems and communities, to economic justice. Is that what’s making us all so concerned for the ill-health we see almost everywhere?

When a farmer, a farm couple, a farm family and their communities grow plants and raise animals together for years, generations, a wealth of knowledge amasses from “incommunicable knowledge,” from “association and experience” with living things. Berry describes this sort of information transmitted without human words in “The Way of Ignorance and other Essays,” 2005. We all live it at Scotch Hill Farm.

Fine human conversation over words in our CSA

When a person writes a newsletter weekly for decades and must share new recipes about the same vegetables, often with repeat subscribers, it gets to be as difficult as remembering to turn off the irrigation after a very long day or week at dusk.

Fortunately, our great Scotch Hill subscribers bring a bounty of great new ideas to us all for what to do in spring with so many greens.

Rhonda, a subscriber for seven years and host to our Milwaukee pick up site, knows her way around a share. She posted a photo to our Facebook page of some beautiful Asian flavor inspired lettuce wraps that incorporated the lettuce, asparagus, and radishes from her share.

Callie, who is another member and host to our Fitchburg pick up location, sent us a picture of her first CSA meal of the season: Roasted cod on turnip greens with potato, turnip, and radish hash garnished with nasturtium.

Another long-time member, Megan is the genius behind our website. She has been blogging for us on the site. Last week her post included over 20 different recipes!

For Italian recipes, you can visit the blog of member Karen Ebert. Her recipes on Condividere un Pasto use CSA share ingredients throughout the season.

We are lucky to have such a wealth of culinary creativity in our members. We hope the conversation will continue to grow. Share with us what you’re doing with your produce via Faceboook, send us an email, or better yet, bring a dish to the putluck when we kick off the season on June 27th.