Smelling like garlic

I hope everyone I meet today likes garlic! Each of the 12 levels of the food dehydrator in our house has a layer of sliced garlic that has dried to a crisp. This is after a night of wafting garlic smells throughout all the rooms and into the garage. Haha! The goal is to make garlic powder….a lot.

I like garlic, there are other things on my list that stink. My nose took a vacation for a big chunk of my life and I had to rely on others to warn me of problems or strange tasting family dinners. It has to do with my early years of loving fish markets, fermented shrimp paste, fish sauce and snacking on dried minnows (or whatever they were). Forty-five years later and I’m not so keen on stinky fish concoctions.

Some of life’s occurrences continue to smell ‘fishy’ …some even stink. Yesterday, I was able to cook in Peacemeals and listen to the 1963 speeches from the ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’ and to folks who were speaking to commemorate Martin Luther King Day 2017. The intensity of the words struck chords to a song that I could not sing. I have been part of a prayer group around a missile site, held candles on street corners, stood in the dark along a forgotten track waiting for the ‘white train’, marched holding posters, but nothing very grand. My heart and soul long for the day when all of our ‘stinks’ become a rich smell of ‘dinner’s on the table – everyone’s welcome!’ Ooee – then we’ll have another go at the fermented fish along with the garlic – oh my

We have just enough salad mix for the farm shares this week. The rest of the share should include: onions, choice of potatoes (sweet or regular), candy carrots, a pound each of frozen corn and beans or one of raspberries for the minis and each one for the regular shares. Enjoy!

 

 

 

The dirty dozen

I just checked in on the dirty dozen and they have not cleaned up for the gatherings around our dinner tables. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tests thousands of conventional produce samples each year from which the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produces a Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php There are 146 different pesticide residues on conventional fruits and vegetables even after washing and peeling.
Check out the list. Leafy greens are not one of the dirty dozen since they don’t have the highest number and concentration of pesticides as would strawberries, apples and nectarines but…..they have been found to contain toxic pesticides ie: organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, which were banned years ago but are still active in the soil. Children’s exposure to these insecticides over long periods of time can cause damage to their brains and nervous systems. Hmmm

The lowly potato has more pesticides by weight than any other conventional produce! Well then…. It is astounding

We farmers have chosen a path, a rocky one (shall I list the ways?) to make a statement that helps to strengthen families and communities.

With all that in mind, we have some astounding things to share in the boxes this week: An awesome large bag(s) of salad mix of ~8 kinds of leaves. A fresh cookie to anyone who can name them all! Due to last week being closed, it was a large harvest and there won’t be any salad mix next week. Our salad mix does keep well, take your time to munch. There will also be cabbage, onions, potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, garlic or radishes and frozen broccoli. Enjoy.

There is no path, Pilgrim

I stand in the footsteps of my ancestors…the Brackbills, my grandmother’s family on my mother’s side were Mennonites and had farm markets along Lancaster Pike into Philadelphia.  My Quaker grandfather, Francis Adolphus Harvey, grew up in tough times in Texas and as a youth sold vegetables door to door from off a horse cart. My father’s Grandfather Davis, had his own percheron horses and transported produce from the docks in Philadelphia across the river into Camden and Hadenfield, New Jersey.

There is so much more to their story, what inspired them to get up in the morning in times of adversity? I am also a purveyor of fresh produce, a hundred years later. I could use some of their advice about now.

The 36-hour wind blasts, a couple days ago, tore off the plastic from one of our high tunnels and damaged the structure. Much has been learned over the seven years since we built it, so this time around steel will replace the wooden beams that framed the structure. A manual method will raise and lower the side curtains instead of the thermostat controlling the chain and pulley system.

I am but a sojourner in this space and time, a Pilgrim of sorts, journeying to a sacred place – aren’t we all on this walk together? The poet Antonio Machado “There is no path, Pilgrim. The path is made by walking.” Hmmmm

The final farm share for 2016! Whoo Whoo! A wonderful salad mix saved and guarded for members, butternut squash, choice of our last white potatoes or red – yellow organic MN potatoes, sweet potatoes, red/white onions, carrots, a choice of sauerkraut or frozen raspberries, and for the regular farm shares a choice of frozen green beans, corn, rhubarb or dried apples. It has been an eventful year – a good one with nary a dull moment!

Planning for the crops of 2017 has begun! Suggestions always welcome. I am looking forward to the winter farm share adventure that begins January 11 with a small group of hardy folks. I hope the rest of the farm share family jumps back on the wagon when the color green begins soaking up sun rays.

 

Jamming

I have been stirring the bubbling jam pot(s) and licking the testing spoon after it rests in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to test for the gelling of the jam. Most tasty….gelled or not ;) Raspberry, Gooseberry Raspberry, Saskatoon Gooseberry, Raspberry Rhubarb and Ginger Carrot Marmalade are the flavors at the moment. There are more choices on the market shelf. I hope to make a currant jam since there are bags of frozen berries waiting for action.

Farm share members will be choosing a half pint of jam or a pint of pickles or relish for this week’s take-home box. Along with sweetness, there will be cabbage, carrots, radishes, potatoes, Acorn squash, garlic, kohlrabi, onions and frozen beans, corn or rhubarb for the regular farm shares. Jubilee greens will be for sale since there is a limited supply.

I’m not out and about much these days but note that the world is in a muddled state – may we all be bridge builders even when the folks on the other side look different, maybe even scary. Hmmm You know where to find a tasty sandwich if your neighbor is hungry.

Blessings

Fridge farming

What is growing in your refrigerator? The right answer is: Nothing. This time of year we begin our cold house farming, growing our leafy mixture for salads in the greenhouse, in either the rain gutters, which rise up vertically, or in the soil. There is a HAF (horizontal air flow) fan which continually keeps the air moving. Thus far this season, the other HAF fans that face downward in the mylar tubing for the climate battery, which are activated according to the room temperature, have been able to hold the temperature above 40°F. They draw from the heat bank in the soil. On cloudy, cold days, that heat resource is spent and the system flips to using the heat from the central boiler that relies on wood and Steve’s constant surveillance and lumberjack activities. I’m the lumberjill on rare occasions.

These greens are more than rabbit food. Goodness! They are hand harvested at their peak of nutrient density with hardly a lettuce leaf in the mix. Surprise! Lettuce does not like to grow this time of year and the other greens act like they are frozen in time and space.

Farm shares should receive our ‘candy’ carrots, a small bag of salad mix, potatoes, Butternut squash, onions, a choice of small kohlrabi OR radishes, frozen raspberries OR Jubilee sauerkraut and for the larger shares a choice of frozen green beans, corn OR rhubarb.

Note to self: check the fridge!