Seeds of Hope Farm Newsletter, Week 17, November 13, 2012

This Week you’ll find in Your Share:

• Garlic

• Tomatoes

• Spaghetti Squash

• Sweet potatoes

• Beets or Zucchini

• Boc Choi

• Radish or Daikon

• Head Letttuce

• Green Tomatoes

• Oregano

• Cilantro

Next Week You Might Find in Your Share: (these are very very likely Thanksgiving meal planners) *indicates for sure

• Butternut Squash   (lots)*

•Sweet Potatoes (3 lb)*

• Green Tomatoes(4 lb)*

• Baby letttuce

• Baby Arugula

• Baby chard/beet greens

• Carrots*

• Spinach at least ½ lb*

• Thyme*

• Parsley

• Sage*

From Your Farmers…

Monday morning I put my hand to the soil to feel how wet the ground had gotten from the rain. My fingers didn’t find wet soil. They instead found frozen ground. So what does frozen mean? From what I can tell, that water is not moving.

Earlier that morning I’d taken a run around Spanish Lake to catch a last glimpse of fall color. Nearly frozen myself, I paused on the west bank to feel the warmth of morning sun reflecting off the water. I stood there, feeling that deep, radiant warmth- effortless on my part to feel warmth- so simply, so easily, so lasting, so true. A living body, warmed by the sun. As the moment faded, it reminded me of a documentary I watched over the weekend, and as a culture, how hard we’ve made things for ourselves. We build our homes and workplaces with little to no regard of warmth given by the sun or cool by leaves, our efforts mostly given to things we do not need.

The film is called ‘Ingredients,’ and discusses the local food movement in the U.S. For tens of thousands of years, local food has been a way of life. Only in the last 100-150 years has that greatly changed. A few points:

-“For the first time in history, the year 2000, literally for the first time in history, the world experienced a net loss in farmland.”

-“There are now three large companies that control nearly half of the world’s seed supply.”

-“It takes ten calories of energy to make one calorie of food.” (think of fossil fuels as additional     input of energy)

-“Food imports into the U.S. have increased four-fold in the past decade.” (unemployment/safety/quality/energy given by food/energy required to ship )

-“There is no culture in the world that spends less on food, per capita, or more on medicine, than the United States.” (as we’ve said, pay a farmer some or pay a doctor a lot)

Getting through the above requires the writing of a few books, so I’ll stick to a bottom line where we can all have an impact.  Pastor Johnny Greer made a solid point at the Seeds of Hope Benefit, saying that this land is not ours-we are just the stewards of it. Within that is our primary concern: living beings who enter the world later than ourselves. The above facts are upon us, and we must address the current situation to give a chance for the future. So what are we teaching younger generations? Living skills, creating harmony with nature skills, better land use skills, getting along and working well with others skills? Generally, this is not the school curriculum. Nor will it be. We teach how to pass standardized test skills, computer skills, the umbrella being- “how to go get more money in the current economy” skills. We have the option as individuals and community members to teach by example in our daily lives.

The soil may be frozen but we are not. Let’s take the opportunity to teach the young this winter season. While local food may be a little tougher to come by, we can at least enjoy the bareness of trees, snow, cold, and low glowing sun- without cars, blocks of time, or money exchange. If we live by nature’s law rather than commercial influence, we will all be better off, and happier, for the living world is a happy place, and has been here much longer than we.

A couple of notes: We’ve had a great growing year. We’ve had marginal pest problems- hence quality and production have been high. Every week of this term we have surpassed the $20 farmer’s market value of the share. For all but two weeks thus far, we have surpassed a $25 value. The point is two fold: this is farming, the results are often unpredictable. The second, the shares won’t likely be quite as large week to week as this year. For some that may be a relief.

This is our next to last week. We will be back next year, and hope you will be too! Our plan is to offer a 26 week term with a 6 week extended season add-on, comprised mostly of leaves, roots, and storage fruits. We are accepting 24members (that may go up later in the season) so sign up now, as availability is limited. We are also considering a half share- roughly half the amount each week.

Sign up for 2013 by emailing ghahn@caastlc.org, calling 314.566.8643, or talking to Randy, Jehad or me in person.

This Week’s Recipes…

Remember to see week 13 for tips on drying herbs. Next week you can plan to receive at least three herbs, one being sage to complement a butternut squash soup. Recipe to follow next week. (butternut squash,  milk, cinnamon, agave or honey…I’d add garlic and curry)

Spaghetti squash: cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, (save to use and bake) coat with oil and minced garlic, maybe some salt. I usually put ¼-1/2 inch of water in the baking sheet or pan keep the squash moist, then bake until soft (at least 30 mins).  When done, run the tines of a fork through the squash lengthwise, and you’ve got wheat free spaghetti. Maybe add some more oil and garlic salt, oregano or thyme, anything will be delicious.

Beets: just didn’t do well. For you fortunate few, I recommend using the tops as cooking greens, and the roots shredded on a salad with carrots is the tastiest of tasty. Roasted beets are a treat as well…cut off the tips and tops, coat with oil and bake solo or in a vegetable medley. With red onions..mmmmm. Many people peel the beets prior to roasting…I don’t bother unless  the skins look quite tough.

Food for Thought and more recipes!!)

The tomato season is at its end and I’m so glad for the bounty we could offer you in the midst of a severe drought this summer.  As the temperatures dropped over the last few weeks we kept the vines covered so a few more could ripen, but now is the time to declare victory and eat some green tomatoes.

There are some delicious uses for green tomatoes and I can only mention a few, but if you have a favorite recipe please let us know and we’ll pass it on!

You may prefer a few more tomatoes for fresh eating.  If you want to extend the tomato season even longer and slow down their ripening you can wrap them in newspaper and put them in the basement.  Huh?  As tomatoes ripen they release ethylene gas, like apples and bananas, so if you wrap up your tomatoes then you can trap the gas and help keep tomatoes from ripening each other.  Of course if you want to speed up the ripening then add an apple to your green tomatoes and see what happens.  I suggest keeping your green toms in a moderately cool basement because warmth is the other factor that encourages ripening.

Everyone loves fried green tomatoes.  Here’s a favorite Southern preparation:

Slice the green toms into 1/4 inch slices.  Season with salt and pepper.  Coat in plain coarse cornmeal (or breadcrumbs).  Shallow fry in bacon fat (or vegetable oil) for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.

The book Joy of Pickling has a quick pickle recipe I’ve adapted:

Ingredients

1 and 1/4 pounds green tomatoes, sliced 3/16 inch thick (about 1 quart tomato slices)

3/4 pound white or yellow onions

3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon pickling salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

Directions

1. In a large bowl or crock, combine the tomatoes, onions, and mustard seeds.  Add the salt, and mix gently.  Let the mixture stand for 8 to 12 hours.

2.  Combine the sugar and vinegar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Salt will have drawn the moisture from the vegetables so drain the vegetables well and pack them into a 1 quart jar.  Pour the sugar-vinegar solution over them.  Cap the jar tightly.  Let the pickles stand for 24 hours or more before serving it.

3. Keep in the refrigerator.

Finally, let’s bid fresh local heirloom tomatoes a fond farewell.  They just don’t compare with out-of-season store-bought tomatoes.  That’s why a good tomato is worth waiting for, and if you’re willing to wait through the winter and spring you’re not alone!

Randy

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