This week at distribution we are delighted to present a printed piece of writing from Mathias Svalina, poet, friend and bike repair consultant. Mathias is or does the Dream Delivery Service, wherein you can subscribe to have dreams delivered by bicycle or by mail. He won't be around Denver again until next summer, so we would suggest subscribing by mail until he's around again. Mathias inspired us to pursue the dream of this farm, and was a resident here at farm headquarters during the formation and planning. We were and are grateful for his energy and creativity, and are happy to pass along a bit of it to you.
At farm headquarters these days the kitchen is graced with a familiar tang of late summer: at least a half dozen jars full of tomato pulp and seed fermenting in jars, to be saved for next year's planting (Tomato seeds must be fermented a brief period of time to remove the gel surrounding them, which prevents sprouting. Letting some mold develop atop the jar of tomato pulp and seeds mimics the way the fruit would drop and rot on the ground out in the field). Pockets full of fruit saved from the earliest, tastiest, most vigorous, most resilient plants are emptied upon return from the field, with eager dreams of their duplication in future seasons. This eagerness and the hope for improvement, and the bestest season ever next year is primal and intoxicating. It is the same eagerness that allowed for peaches to evolve from green, pea-sized fruits to behemoth blushing globes, for a grass with a few gnarled, inedible seeds to evolve into footlong juicy ears of sugary sweet corn, or how a plant which is in almost every part toxic became the potato. Many of the crops we are growing are from seed that we’ve saved in our previous farming endeavors over the years. Bags labeled with Sharpie lettering like “okra front yard” and “Bromley Survivor” (a yellow striped cherry tomato that survived hailstorms and grasshoppers when we lost almost every other tomato plant), are some of our favorites to grow because the stories behind them bring them to life for us as their stewards. Pinflags are starting to pop up throughout the farm as a sign not to remove that plant because its particular qualities have qualified it to be saved for seed. An old saying is that saving your own seed is like printing your own money. Finances aside, by saving as much seed as possible, we are selecting plants that will become adapted to our climate, building higher quality crops and a more resilient farm. A community growing its own food is a great thing, but a community saving its own seed is another step further towards sustainability, independence, and sovereignty. This week's peppers are called Wamae Wofi, or "woofies" as they're known by those in the know. Phil's first year in Colorado he grew a Korean hot pepper from a seed packet brought back from Korea by a horticulturist at Denver Botanic Gardens. The writing on the seed packet was all in Korean script but for the name. We used the entire seed packet that year, so we saved seed for the year after. When those plants started producing, the fruits were wildly different shapes, colors and flavors from the thin, cayenne-ish fruits directly from the seed packet. We realized then that the packet had said "Wamae Wo F1" and was a hybrid variety. F1 denotes the first generation offspring of a cross between parents of different types. Hybrid plants do not produce "true to type" so what we were seeing were characteristics of the parents and grandparents of that variety being expressed. We have been growing and saving woofies for about five generations now, selecting for different traits, but also just being entertained by the variety of peppers that result, some resembling bird's eye or Thai chiles, and some with sweet, thick flesh, with hot pepper flavor but totally without heat. This week's peppers will mostly be green but we'll feature them periodically as they change color. This is a bed of mustard greens from back in the first or second week of distribution which we have just collected seed from. As a fall teaser you can see the pie pumpkins and winter squash in the next beds over. To the right are our melons, which are getting ever so close!
Arugula Kale Daikon radish Basil Summer squash Cucumbers Onions Peppers Tomatoes Eggplant Please note this list is dependent on weather and crop conditions, not guaranteed or comprehensive.
Recipe: Gazpacho This week's recipe comes from one of our favorite food writers, MFK Fisher. This is from her book "How to Cook a Wolf." INGREDIENTS: 1 generous mixed handful of chives, chervil, parsley, basil ... any or all, but fresh 1 garlic clove 1 sweet pepper, pimiento or bell 2 peeled and seeded tomatoes 1 small glass olive oil (or really flavorful nut oil or substitute) juice of 1 lemon 1 mild onion, sliced paper-thin 1 cup diced cucumber salt and pepper 1/2 cup bread crumbs DIRECTIONS: Chop the herbs and mash thoroughly with the garlic, pimiento, and tomatoes, adding the oil very slowly, and the lemon juice. Add about 3 glasses of cold water [I still say this is the CORRECT liquid. But often I use good meat or fish stock.] or as much as you wish. Put in the onion and the cucumber, season, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and ice for at least 4 hours before serving. [I always see to it that I have made too much gazpacho. It ripens well, when kept chilled, and is a soul-satisfying thing to drink, chilled, midway in a torrid morning. It is also one of the world's best breakfasts for unfortunates who are badly hung over.]