Monday, July 16, 2012

On Organic Flowers

The decision to grow our food and flowers organically at the start never felt like a choice but a necessity. Sometimes, I struggle with the choice. We both do. When the warm temperatures encourage a high population of pestilence in the fields, we walk in wonder at the possibility of knocking them all back with a "little something". do in those squash bugs, cucumber beetles and potato bugs....The problem is, that "little something" is rarely specific for one insect. And, I'm not a bee whisperer so communicating with our honeybees to not eat the pollen of the flowers we spray with pesticides for 24 hours is a non-starter. They are the finest pollinators and offer above and beyond, a gift of golden sweetness to us. Their presence in the morning, buzzing away, their feet thickly covered with a blanket of yellow pollen, makes my heart sing. So, we learn to live in concert with all the bugs, accepting more loss than our neighbors, spending more money on row covers, applying products that are approved for organic application, and yes....hand plucking those little (expletive)s out of the field.
(this is a little bit like what the inside of my brain looks like... a beautiful idea, surround by chaos)

And, I struggle with the decision to raise the flowers organically. No one eats them. They just look so pretty on the table, in the arms of the bride, petals in the fingers of the flower girls. We suffer from leaf hoppers, tarnished plant bug, aphids, japanese beetles... But, that's also where the bees go first. That's where my own daughters like to do their farm work, cutting flowers, handling flowers. (On conventional flower farms abroad, detrimental exposure to pesticides happens for kids who don't even set foot on the farm: Secondary pesticide exposure evident in children living with flower workers.)
 I don't want that residue for them, for me, for the bees, for our crew members, for our customers. 
So we weed, we pluck bugs, we leave behind imperfect stems. We choose varieties that do well in our climate. And, sometimes, we have the fun of ordering a few special blooms in that we are unable to grow. These big, luscious roses were just that thing, a special request.
 I told John, for my next wedding,  I'm going to get married in the hills of Ecuador where the choicest blooms are available and then, they'll all be local. Say nothing of the carbon footprint of my guests traveling to the wedding....let me have this moment. John, of course hating the idea of another wedding, suggested retirement to the equatorial highlands. 10 year plan? Thinking like this must mean only one thing, we are atop the abundance of July.

On a side note....the farmstand is full of goodness. A second planting of strawberries is in and Sungold cherry tomatoes are making an appearance.

We are working through the cabbage, radish, snap peas, and pac choi leftovers with some sauerkraut and kimchi experiments. 

We are finally saying goodbye to the barn swallows....the fledglings are flying, some not as well as others.

And when the weather turns to 90, we now have these government issued farm kid sprinklers to run through. Watch those melons kid! Nothing like having a rainmaker.

This week's harvest includes:
summer squash, zucchini and patty pans
rainbow chard

Radicchio ranks as often the most or least favorite from the fields. I'll say it here and also to everyone who asks during their pick-up: This is a bitter vegetable. Do you like your coffee black? Do you search out flavors beyond sweet or salty? Spicy hot peppers are for posers. Discover radicchio: the Higgs-Boson of flavor.
Sorry, that turned into an advertisement. Just go ahead and try it with something rich and fatty as this New York Times article suggests.

Blessings on the meal,

PS....If you have not already done so, check out this lovely piece of press about The Long Barn...these ladies deserve a big , hearty applause.  

1 comment:

  1. If radicchio is the Higgs-boson, lovage is the quark of flavor!