Updated: Nov 16, 2021
The dictionary defines agriculture as the science and art of cultivating the soil, including the gathering in of crops and the rearing of livestock. In considering the problems of agriculture today, it is important to bear this definition in mind ... because one of the first things this definition requires of us is the abandonment of the idea, assiduously inculcated for nearly a century, that agriculture is a business and industry and that every problem connected with it should be approached in the same manner in which we would approach all other businesses and industries ... Not only the leaders and teachers of agriculture in America, but most of the farmers of America today, consider agriculture a business similar in all essentials to the business of mining, of manufacturing, of trade, and of finance. The above was written in 1939 by Ralph Borsodi, a farmer and teacher and an early advocate of a return to self-sufficient farming in America. In 1939 there were more than 6 million small farmers in the US. There are less than 2 million today. 90% of the farmland in the US does not grow food for human consumption, but instead sileage for factory farmed meat, and for non-food products like ethanol. There is a shocking amount of food insecurity in farming communities across the US. . . seemingly the last place that such a plight should exist. In the last year we experienced how brittle and fragile our food system is, and right now the whole system of global commerce and vast supply chains is currently stuck, mired in dysfunction. ("Arator" quote) Agriculture is and has been for quite some time (from the beginning?) a problem. How to responsibly maintain our existence on this planet is a question which is fundamental to the growing of food. We are a tiny farm and we spend our days with our eyes on the ground, often inches away from it, but we are always mindful of the larger systems we are a part of. Every tiny farm that feeds people within its own community is a place of rebellion; blatantly defying a food system designed to remove us further and further away from actual food. No thanks, we don't need your food. . .we're growing it right here, see?
Bindweed and moon. Lifting our hoes up to the sky as we moved along the field clearing beds to seed, we were struck by the sight of the moon as the pale little trumpets of the bindweed were thrown about. Every task, no matter how monotonous, tedious, or distasteful is an opportunity for song, dance, debate and laughter. Any task worth doing is worth doing with GUSTO, with JOY. We have somehow found ourselves businesspeople, business owners. Our families depend on the income we derive from the sale of these vegetables and our labor, and we have each been waiting years for this opportunity. It can all feel oppressive if we let it, but we refuse to DO ANYTHING on our farm that is not driven by excitement and joy. We hope you can taste it.
Harvest List: Basil Eggplant Fennel Summer squash Squash blossoms Lettuce Rainbow chard Cucumbers Please note this list is dependent on weather and crop conditions, not guaranteed or comprehensive.
Recipe: FENNEL PANNA COTTA Sometimes CSA newsletters tend to neglect dessert - not this one! This dish is so creamy and a little spicy from the black pepper, and not overly sweet ... INGREDIENTS 2 cups half and half (or 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream) 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced (about 1 cup) 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1 1/2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin PREPARATION Combine all ingredients, except the gelatin, in a medium sauce pan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, being sure to stir occasionally so the cream doesn't scorch. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat, cover, and let sit 20 minutes. This will infuse the cream with the flavor of the fennel. After steeping for 20 minutes, make sure the mixture is still warm to the touch, and then strain the mixture using a fine mesh sieve. Discard the fennel. Add the gelatin to the cream, being sure to stir constantly as you add it. Mix with a fork or whisk until the gelatin is thoroughly mixed into the cream. Pour the panna cotta into little cups or a shallow bowl and put into the refrigerator to set, at least a couple of hours, or overnight.