September 25, 2011
September 25, 2011
2012 Farm Shares to go on Sale Soon
Fall is upon us, and we are already laying the groundwork for the upcoming season, even as we work to complete the sowing, weeding & harvesting for this year. More than ever before, we hope all of you will join us again next year, as we all hope for better weather and great food. As a CSA, we depend on your continuing investment & commitment to get through both good & bad, to ensure that local farms like ours can survive the ups & downs, and that the integrity of local food systems can be strengthened now & into the future.
We will be offering a discount to everyone who signs up early! Plus, by signing up early, you will avoid the very small price increase we've needed to add to cover a few direct costs.
Remember that your CSA fees cover the operating expenses of the farm... so, by directly purchasing from our farm in advance, you ensure that we can get through winter, buy supplies, and keep the farm going. Plus, you will maintain the direct link to a farm & it's farmers, which we encourage everyone to take advantage of.
During seasons of extreme weather, we're all in this together. When harvests are limited because of conditions, we forego income to ensure that our commitment to you remains true. We see CSA as a long-term relationship between each of us that grows & responds & adapts to every challenge & luck that comes our way. We hope to build on this year with you, and come back strong!
What's In Your Share?
Recipes for the Week
Winter Squash! Winter squash is a treat, and is very versatile. Below are two recipes that can be adapted as needed. Now.... this year's winter squash grew, in its entirety, during the 10 1/2 week drought, and it did not receive more than a half-inch of rain total during that stretch! Our last summer rain was July 3, and we sowed winter squash on July 6 (we had to wait until then because of the extra hot, then wet June). We've not seen anything like it (during the drought, we had to prioritize other crops, like tomatoes, for irrigation.) So, needless to say, winter squash is limited in quantity, but we hope you enjoy the flavors, as we plan for much more in the coming year.
The varieties include the dark acorn squash, light-colored delicata, tan butternut, and striped-green sweet dumpling. Although each has unique flavors, for most uses & recipes they can be interchanged. Please note, too, that, much like a lot of crops in this stressed season, this years winter squash has been attacked by pests & mammals more than normal.
Superb Sweet and Sour Squash
from Cook With Jamie, Jamie Oliver, 2007
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved and deseeded
1 Tbsp coriander seeds, smashed
1 dried red chilli
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
a handful of raisins
a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped, stalks finely chopped
a handful of pinenuts
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
Cut the squash into finger-sized pieces. Add a good glug of olive oil to a nice big casserole-type pan and heat it up, then add the coriander seeds, chilli, squash, onion and wineglass of water and put the lid on the pan. Cook for around 10 minutes, then remove the lid. The water will cook away and everything in the pan will soften.
You can now begin to fry again. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper, the garlic and thyme. Fry on a medium to low heat, slowly but surely cooking the veg through until it begins to turn a light golden color. At this point add the raisins, parsley stalks and pinenuts. Fry for another minute or so then add the two types of vinegar and the sugar. Fry for a final 3 or 4 minutes – this is enough time to cook the harshness of the vinegar away and the sugar will give it a sweet glaze. Check the seasoning one more time and adjust if need be. Stir through the parsley leaves and serve immediately
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
from Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave, 2007
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cuts)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
One 2 ½ lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp curry powder
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp honey
4 tsp plain nonfat yogurt, for garnish
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, broth, curry powder, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the honey, and puree until smooth in the pot using an immersion blender or in two batches in a regular blender. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.
To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls and drizzle with the yogurt.
A Little "Behind The Scenes..."
We wanted to share a short article written & posted by our farming friends, Tim & Caroline, in Western Massachusetts. You can find it here.
(Stacey & I apprenticed with Caroline at the Food Bank Farm in Hadley, MA, in 2004)
Like our friends, we debate how and/or when to show you the "other" side of farming... the side of farming that happens when luck turns sour, when things don't work out, a side that we experience right alongside all the wonderful harvests & good times that come over the years.
As farmers, we know that the bad times are just as real & important as the good times, and oftentimes go hand-in-hand. It's the rain shower that never comes... or won't quit. It's the pest outbreak that couldn't have been predicted. It's the soil that needs more attention than we can give in any one year. It's the livelihood that depends on the whims of weather that can make or break us any given year. Despite all this, we choose to be farmers.
We choose to be farmers despite all the warnings from our parents, friends, neighbors, and pocketbooks. We forego steady incomes, and some years, like these past two years, we forego almost all personal income. We choose a job that demands almost constant attention, & precludes health insurance, summer vacations, & time off.
Why do we farm? We farm because of the food, and because of you. We farm because we love to grow, harvest, and distribute the best food this place can provide, and because you want it, too! The food, and our connections to this place and with you, are why we farm, why we put up with the downsides, the costs along with the benefits.
We wanted to bring this up now because of an alarming trend locally, a trend that makes us aware that local food & local farms cannot be taken for granted. To get to the point, we've already heard of three area farms, including two CSA's that are not going to survive this season. We've also heard of another long-time local farmer that is seriously questioning whether their farm should continue much longer. This has been a rough year for most local farms. From production taking hits from bad weather, pests, & diseases, to customers abandoning farmers markets & complaining about limited harvests, and costs increasing left & right, pressures mount from every direction.
As much as we believe in what we do, and continue to hold true to our farming principles, we know we're not immune from the pressures around us. What scares us more, though, is that the long-term viability of local farming is more precarious in the Midwest than we think. And, yet, we know that local, sustainable farming is the ONLY way to ensure a safe, nutritious and affordable food supply into the future. Even during a down year, we still invest in our soil & in the business. We're still training apprentices, hosting school groups, & enjoying your company in town & at the farm. We also notice that companies as enormous as Monsanto use images of small-scale local farming to promote their brand locally. There's a reason that local farming is so important: it's what binds us to this place, and it's how we achieve the secure, diverse, and tasty food economy that we all depend on.
Despite the pressures, we're committed to farming for the long-term and to re-building a local food economy that has been nearly eradicated by globalization & land consolidation. We're committed to investing in soil, adjusting to changing climates, and training future farmers. However, we need you to do this. More than ever, we know that 'eating is an agricultural act.' Your choice of food in times like this create the agriculture that will surround and support you into the future. We hope to continue farming here and hope to do it with you.
We hope you enjoy our friends article. They say it well. We don't want to shy away from bringing you all the news from the farm, or pretending that everything's wonderful until it's too late. We're all in this together, and we all have a long to go to make this the world that feeds us in every way.
Bok Choy, lettuce, and baby greens are coming soon. Spinach, too, we hope will be ready in a few weeks. So... hope for great weather! It's been a bit too cool & cloudy since the last heat wave, but we're hanging in there, adding more & more seeds to the soil...
There are at least six weeks remaining in the harvest season, so keep on coming!
All the best,Kris, Stacey and Riverbend Roots Farm