Week 13 (Chicago Week 11)

List of this week's vegetables

  • Spaghetti fall squash
  • Sweet corn
  • Eggplant
  • Assorted tomatoes
  • Last cucumbers
  • Last Patty pan summer squash
  • Chard
  • Assorted peppers
  • Beets
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Provider green beans

This Saturday, help make the world great again

Dela and I are set do something Saturday we don’t often do anymore. We’re taking Scotch Hill on the road. Markets and special events in our early years helped us meet new subscribers. They were delivery points. They helped pay bills, too. As business increased, though, we both needed to be producing crops together at home.

We’re making an exception for Washington Heights’ Boulevard Bash on Milwaukee’s west side this Saturday, 1:30 to 8 p.m. Of course, we need extra money to buy plastic to recover greenhouses. We need to find new fall share subscribers. Yet we’re attending for another reason, one often missing from past public participation.

Our subscribers of 8 years in the Heights enjoy something we’ve seldom found in 22 years practicing Community Supported Agriculture in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. It attracts Dela and me to their neighborhood as much as they seem as a group attracted to Scotch Hill Farm and to us.

It’s a broad and genuine sense of community. It’s a loving commitment that weathers rough years, delights in bountiful years. It’s an ongoing expression of profound feeling. It is a comforting, enduring friendship.

Economic shocks and market disruptions have repeatedly in 22 years taken faithful friends and even groups of subscribers from us in Chicago. Transfers and life changes have taken their toll locally and in Madison.

We have dear subscription friends in other cities than Milwaukee who’ve been with us more than twice as many years as this third of our subscribers now in the Heights. Some scattered longtime subscribers have been to our farm so much they feel like family. If we lost their volunteering and camaraderie, we would grieve.

Yet members of our farm in the Heights have done and said things collectively and individually over and over that make their community stand out.  

A couple there once proudly and excitedly introduced me to their children on first meeting: “This is the farmer we’ve been praying for at every meal!” they proclaimed. I burst into tears. I really needed at that time to know my vocation mattered so much to that family.

Another fellow at the same market proudly presented me with a jar of his preserves, even as he picked up $65 of fresh and preserved foods ordered from Scotch Hill for his family. Again, I stifled a sob, so surprised was I by his sincere affection for Dela and me and what we do.

We’ve sympathized with subscribers living in other cities we serve for as long as we’ve prepared and sold seasons of organic vegetables. They’ve sometimes shared a sense of isolation. Some have been as frustrated as we sometimes were, trying in vain to make genuine community support for sustainable agriculture happen.

Community in the Heights is fostered and made possible, of course, by Rhonda’s superlative hosting of their delivery point. Dale’s yearly commitment to meet me in Madison and deliver everyone’s share at a discount to save me the drive time is essential, too. Each member responds, though. Each stays committed.

The Heights’ story inspires hope that we can all be good to each other, good to the Earth, in supportive ways – together. It puts hand in hand on the walk toward solutions to daunting problems that otherwise make us feel feebly insignificant. They make the world great again.

If you can make it to this event Saturday – for food, music and to support our farm, please linger at our market table in space No. 1 on the north side of Washington Boulevard at 52nd Street. Extended community, like extended family, helps fill the void a rough world sometimes makes us feel without it.