Newsletter #15 – September 25, 3012

CER_0492-3resize   Contents of Share

  • heirloom tomato mix (~2 pounds) – pinkish=brandywine, big red=cosmonaut volkov, small red=luci, yellow-orange=jubilee
  • green bell pepper
  • hot pepper mix – Thai hot/birdseye, cayenne or Jalapeno (1 bag)
  • melon (1-2) – Due to the cool summer, these melons need a few days more to ripen on your counter before they are deliciously sweet.
  • summer squash/zucchini  or broccoli or cauliflower
  • brussel sprouts (3/4 pound)
  • red chard (1 bunch)
  • kale (1 bunch)
  • carrots (1 bunch)
  • fennel or asian greens/brasing mix
  • scallions or leeks or green onions (1 bunch)
  • dozen eggs or sprouts


  • If you ordered chickens… Delivery of frozen birds will be coming with your share TODAY, Wednesday, September 25.  Please be prepared to freeze or refrigerate your birds immediately, or leave a cooler for us.
  • Fall Gathering for CSA shareholder and Soul Fire friends. Work morning and potluck.  Monday, October 14. 8-1: work time.  1-3: potluck lunch This is a day schools have off, so we thought we take the opportunity to invite you and your families to the farm for a morning of helping out with a project, and an afternoon potluck.  Meet some of the other folks that our food goes to. We will send out an email shortly with more details.
  • RETURN YOUR BOXES.  You can leave all these items where you get your share and we will retrieve them each week.
  • WASHING YOUR VEGGIES.  We do not extensively wash veggies before delivering them to you.  We will do some washing if there is a lot of dirt on greens and we always wash root crops.  In general, this allows the food to stay fresher longer.  It also means you need to wash your veggies before consuming them.  For greens: fill a bowl with cold water.  Soak greens in water for a minute.  Drain water and repeat two more times.  Dirt will rinse to the bottom.  Bugs should float to the top.
  • We are still looking for a delivery van for next season that will accommodate our continued expansion.  If you have any leads on something efficient, in decent shape, and affordable, please let us know!
  • If you are a shareholder, you have the option of volunteering 5 hours over the course of the season in exchange for an additional week of food in the fall.  Be in touch to schedule your work with us.
  • All of our newsletters are archived on our website, along with lots more, including educational resources and recipes.CER_0468-1resize

Food Justice News

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.  Here is a link to their food and agriculture page which highlights some of their work, including articles on:

Investing in Healthy Food Will Save Lives and Dollars
Healthier Food, Healthier Hearts: The Surprising Numbers
Local Food to the Rescue

– Leek Fennel Soup
Fennel is great as a roasted vegetable along with potatoes, onions and anything else you would roast, but I thought I would share this soup recipe for those of you who still have leeks or potatoes in your fridge.  Let us know how you like it.

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 large leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 4 large stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 large white onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubesP1020098-1resize
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cubes vegetable bouillon

  1. In a large saucepan or soup kettle over medium-low heat, place the olive oil, leeks, celery, onions, fennel, potatoes, salt, and pepper, and cook and stir until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have begun to soften, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour 8 cups of water over the vegetables, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and drop in the vegetable bouillon cubes. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the cubes, until the vegetables are tender and the potatoes have begun to thicken the soup, about 30 minutes.
Farm NewsP1020108-2resize

Momentum.  It is a powerful thing.  (Pun intended!)  Hard to pull out of its clutches once in motion, but also hard to get over the hump of stillness.  Well, we are on the rolling end of the things here.  A few weeks ago I shared some of the projects we still have left to do this season before the cold sets in with a slight tinge of stress and apprehension.  Blessed with two perfect weeks of weather, we are nearing completion of our first major project – the high tunnel.

Late last week, our crew and shareholder Christopher Messina, assembled all of the parts of the tunnel in a day.  Neatly stacked piles of the arches reminded me of my days managing timber frame crews.  Later in the week we rented an auger driller to drive the posts into the ground.  Now, I don’t know if any of you have ever used one of these things. (I had not.)  It is basically a giant chainsaw engine powering a giant drill strong enough to launch two people off the ground, so they put two sets of handles on either side to give the illusion that two people will be able control it.  Mix that with our shallow hardpan of glacial-packed clay and rocks, and it made for one fun morning. (See pictures)  Alicia and I were like two body builders in a gym, jubilantly, and somewhat absurdly, yelling instructions over the engine roar, pointing, and sharing gruff high fives.  We certainly smelled like a gym.  Though the long walk back and forth along the length of the tunnel yielded great opportunity to practice our swag on the catwalk.  By lunch time all 50 posts were driven into the ground with only 3 offering enough resistance to denote digging a hole instead of using the auger.

The following day we raised the entire frame, in time for the break of the weekend.  Just kidding.  Saturday we processed the final chickens of the season which will be delivered to many of you today with your shares.  Now, back to the high tunnel.  The instructions say in bold, boxed, red letter “Do not put the plastic on in winds over 10mph.”  The reason for this is that the tunnel is covered with a single piece of very expensive, fancy plastic that withstands UV light for years, difusses the sun to be optimal for plants inside, and is 43 feet wide by close to 170 feet long.  A small puff of wind means a giant sail that can either tear, or launch its human anchors skyward.  We struggled with our anticipation and excitement to put off the plastic installation on Monday, proving a good decision.  Tuesday was only marginally less windy, but our spirits were ready and sufficiently stuborn.  Two hours, and some hairy gusts of wind later, the plastic was secured.  By the end of the day the plastic you could play a note on teh plastic it was so tight.  We still have to finish to doors and prep the planting area inside, but we hope for seeds to be sown by the end of the week.

Also in the works is the chicken housing, which is on deck, as well as our renovation of the barn to make it into a more functional workshop for the many farm and house projects.  If reading this, you feel like you are caught in the momentum of running down a hill head first, like I watch my eight year old son, your legs just catching you each time from a disastrous tumble, well pause.  Pause for a moment.  Look around you.  Think about where the momentum in your life is.  Is it standing still, or is it moving?  Is it balanced, or carrying you beyond your control?  Chances are, the complexity of our lives brings many of these all at once.  So, I will take the opportunity to point out, that the word momentum also contains the word “moment”.  A technical term in physics, but meta-physically, the only thing that actually exists in our lives.  Everything else is really just an idea of the past, or an idea of the future.  In rare moments of insight and connection, this can be easier to feel, but the fullness of our lives have of looking so often anywhere but the moment.  Through all of this rush to beat the weather, I have been blessed with equanimity of heart and spirit, a profound loving family, amazing people to work with, and surrounded by the offerings of the earth that i cannot help but take pause.  Fill my lungs with the life of cool fall air.  Bird songs telling stories of our wild neighbors.  Dew drenched feet in the mornings.  The beauty of the season upon us.  Warmth of the sun on my face.  Given that I started with a pun, it seems only appropriate to end with a cliche, “There is no time but now.”

Enjoy your moments.