Friday, September 11, 2009

Agrarian Roots

We are often graced with stories from guests at the farm. The most remarkable aspect to this storytelling to me is the theme. There must be an element of inspiration associated with a visit to the farm the musters a recollection about agrarian roots. Most everyone has them, some more recently than others. Sometimes, the smell of the hay in the barn is enough to elicit a story about loading hay into a horse drawn wagon as a boy. Other times, the sight and smell of "real tomatoes" stirs up a memory about a mother or grandmother's garden and the sauce she use to put up for the winter. And always, the site of a full pail of fresh milk draws out the childhood memory of growing up on a dairy farm up country.

I love these stories. I love this history. I even love the stories about the condo dweller's upside down tomato plant and the weekly check in about it's status with regard to late blight. This is conversation that unites us as farmers, gardeners, eaters. Mostly, it is a true testament to how powerful our senses are at lighting a memory strong enough for us to share. Those five senses of smell, taste, touch, sight and sound can draw out a memory that when translated to story is always appreciated. When the days are hectic and the work is intense, it is these stories shared by the grandfather of the bride at a wedding we are hosting, a hunter stopping by in the beginning of bow season to check in, or a customer at the Farmer's Market that strengthen the thread connecting us. At the risk of sounding like a total romantic, I often have to hide a little emotion, being an easy crier. John teases me, but I even get teary listening to Obama. Go figure.

This week's harvest:

Hot peppers
Bell Peppers
Salad Radishes

A word about the melons: Remember that rain? Well, we had a hard time getting the melon seeds to germinate and then an even harder time getting the melons to grow. Melons need warm temps and warm soil to thrive. Our climate is borderline for melon growing and this season did not provide variables that were easy to maneuver. The cold summer threatened the crop but we were able to produce a tasting of melon. There are a few different varieties, but not enough for everyone to try each type. Also, we had to cut some of the largest melons in half to stretch the tasting for everyone. Again, thanks for your understanding!!!!

As for the other curcubits in the garden, the winter squash, they are still flowering and growing as we await the first frost that will kill off the plants. We keep a steady ear to the weather report in preparation for the frost.

Some families have asked how long we will be distributing produce this year. It is our hope to have the season extend to the last week in October. This will depend somewhat on the success of the winter squash and the frost date.

As the frost date approaches, we open the garden to gleaning of certain crops (basil among them) for folks who would like to be able to put up some extras. We will make a grand announcement here on the blog about the gleaning and hope you are able to take advantage of some of the extras for your winter pantry. One of the easiest is basil pesto. Follow your favorite recipe for pesto, pack into ziploc bags or freezer safe jars and set in your freezer for a winter treat! I make pesto with a food processor, garlic, lots of basil, olive oil and nuts (walnut or pine). I add the cheese when we serve the pesto.

Every year we distribute tomatillos. In my experience, these guys are good for one thing.....salsa verde. Peel the skin, place on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven until they are mushy. Then, place the roasted tomatillos, along with garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and some hot pepper into a food processor. You can pack and freeze this the same way as the pesto.

Last year, I made a wonderful sauerkraut with some late season cabbage and my family loved it. The recipe was easy to follow and came from the Internet. The basic ingredients are salt and water and a suitable jar. The work was minimal but the product held well in our refrigerator for a few weeks (it didn't take long for us to consume it all).

Hope you are enjoying the cool nights and warm days at your house.

Blessings on the meal,
Stacy and John

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