Salad mix components
But farming takes root in you and crowds out other endeavors, makes them seem paltry. Your acres become a world. And maybe you realize that it is beyond those acres or in your distant past, back in the realm of TiVo and cubicles, of take-out food and central heat and air, in that country where discomfort has nearly disappeared, that you were deprived. Deprived of the pleasure of desire, of effort and difficulty and meaningful accomplishment. A farm asks, and if you don’t give enough, the primordial forces of death and wildness will overrun you. So naturally you give, and then you give some more, and then you give to the point of breaking, and then and only then it gives back, so bountifully it overfills not only your root cellar but also that parched and weedy little patch we call the soul. -Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life
It was around this time three years ago that Jeremy came to manage Excelsior Farm. He got to work cleaning up the fields and planting garlic, and has not stopped giving of himself since, working ceaselessly to ensure that the farm stays afloat from year to year. Even with the farm experience that he already had, it was a steep learning curve. Imagine then my first summer on the farm, when I came fresh from the first year of my Master’s degree only to find that when it came to manual labor I might as well have been in kindergarten, if that. We struggled together for three months before I had to return to school in New York, leaving him again with the full burden of the farm’s demands.
Farming took root in me then, and although it did not (could not) crowd out the responsibilities of finishing my Master’s, nor did it trivialize that endeavor, I can honestly say that the taste I had of farm work that summer made it very difficult for me to relish academic work. While I loved and valued what I was doing and could appreciate it for what it was, it neither held the same appeal nor presented the same kind of challenge as farming did for me. The appeal and challenge of farming both revolve around (as the above excerpt describes) that giving of myself to an occupation so fully, with the result that not only might I accomplish the meaningful and rewarding task of producing great organic vegetables for people, but that I myself might be changed, in both soul and body, for the good as well.
At the end of our third season, we can both confidently say that farming has taken root in us, and changed us. We are dedicated to what we do and learning to do it better. For us this is real living, with opportunities to struggle and learn patience and joy.
In your boxes this week: Winter Squash, Celeriac, Black Spanish Radish, Baby Fennel, Purple Top Turnips, Collard Greens, Salad Mix, and Red Peppers.
Your winter squash assortment this week: Butternut, Sweet Dumpling, Delicata, Pumpkin, or Red Kuri. We had low yields for our winter squash this year, so we’ve had to do a mix for some of the weeks. Hopefully next year we’ll have weeks full of Butternut squash for everyone!
We’ve included a spooky black radish for you, just in time for Halloween. This is a Spanish variety, and ended up having a very homely exterior, but the interior seems to be alright, kind of mild and almost like a water chestnut in texture. They don’t have the pleasing snap of fresh spring and summer radishes, but they are good eaten raw and can always be stir-fried (probably with success, actually, as they have that water chestnut texture). If it comes to it, you can always carve faces in them in the spirit of the season.
Delightful-looking fennel recipes: Fennel Recipes from the Huffington Post. Make a lovely pesto with the fronds, and braise the stalks or use them for broth.
This year we’ve had great success with our classic purple top turnips, an excellent root vegetable for mashing with bacon or glazing with butter and a little sugar or honey.
I’ve found recently that collard greens make delicious wraps; use this recipe or simply fill them like tortillas with your favorite sandwich fillings.
Have a wonderful week everyone! Remember, only one more week after this!
Ashli and Jeremy