Newsletter #9 – August 13, 2014

stone balancing

Contents of Share

  • cauliflower (1-2 heads)
  • cucumber and/or Japanese cucumbers (2-4 fruits)
  • rainbow carrots (1 bunch)
  • dino, Red Russian or winterbor kale (1 bunch)
  • zucchini or summer squash (2-3 fruits)
  • dill (1 bunch)
  • green or yellow string beans (2 lbs)
  • eggplant (1 fruit)
  • cabbage (1 head)
  • red or purple potatoes (1 pound)
  • Optional: dozen eggs or sprouts


  • We are looking for a chest freezer to borrow for about a week (or have donated). We have unforeseeably run out of space in our modest freezer. We can either use space in your freezer at your home, or we can transport your freezer to and from the farm. If either of these options seem workable for you, please let us know. We can pickup the freezer or bring items to store in it this Wednesday. Many thanks!
  • 123456Please RETURN YOUR BOXES.  You can leave them where you get your delivery. If you break them down, please make sure not to tear or bend any of the tabs, or just leave the assembled box for us and we are happy to break it down.
  • We have some extra produce for sale if you are interested in getting more with your share for a party, preserving, or you just can’t get enough.  Extras on the farm right now are string beans, kale, and green cabbage.
  • Pasture Raised Chicken is SOLD OUT.  If you chose to pickup your fresh chicken(s) on the farm, they will be available after 1pm this Saturday, August 16.  If you requested to have your frozen chicken delivered, they will be delivered during the CSA deliveries on Wednesday, August 20.  Please make sure you can freeze or refrigerate the chicken immediately or have a cooler for us to leave the bird.
  • 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 rinse 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.
  • Workday. Saturday August 16 – Chicken processing.  8-1.  1-3 Potluck.
  • 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, or come to a workday.
  • All of our newsletters are archived on our website, along with lots more, including educational resources and more recipes.  Thanks!

From our amazing apprentices…


Hi, my name is Crysbel. I’m an apprentice at Soul Fire Farm. I decided to take on a work/food/housing trade with Soul Fire because it was totally worth it learning and living with these wonderful people. However, there are still certain expenses that I need to cover (i.e. trips to visit family, phone bills…etc.) and if there are any odd jobs that I can do during my time here, I would be more than happy. I have past experience as a babysitter, including families in the Albany area. I have experience as an assistant (i.e. writing emails, data entry, editing articles, etc.) I can help with any home/office organizing, managing of gardens, cat/dog sitting, translating flyers/articles. Thank you! Best!


Hello lovely shareholders! My name is Lissa Vanderbeck, one of the apprentice farmers at Soul Fire Farm. I am looking to make some supplemental income to add to the generous work trade arrangement that we have at the farm, and hoping I can help you out! One way I can be of service is with childcare. I love kids and have been caring for children of all ages on and off for about 10 years. I also am happy to do some cleaning or organizing of your house, or any other tasks you might need done around your home. One more thing that might be useful is my garden knowledge! If you are looking to plan a garden or need some garden maintenance done, please let me know. Hope you are enjoying your veggies and your summer! With gratitude.


Recipe – Cucumber Salad with Dill 12345


  • 4 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 small white onion or bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill, or to taste


  1. Toss together the cucumbers and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and pour over the cucumber and onions.
  3. Stir in dill, cover, and refrigerate until cold. This can also be eaten at room temperature, but be sure to allow the cucumbers to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Food justice News

We glean so much inspiration from our community, including the exchange with our dedicated shareholders.  This week’s food justice piece is a short letter to the first lady, written by Aaron Harrell, who works in the Albany Public Schools and is a Soul Fire shareholder.  Thanks Aaron for sharing with us.


First Lady Michelle Obama,1234

I found myself compelled to email you as you continue to battle with Congressional Republicans over school lunches for America’s children. But before I get into that, I would like to extend a “Thank You” for being a Mom in an incredibly high stress environment, trying to fill a role that a vocal minority doesn’t think you have the right to and standing your ground despite resistance that at times seems like it’s coming from all sides. With dignity and grace, you make our country proud.

Now back to the school lunch fiasco…I am not a policy wonk nor have political aspirations, I’m just a Dad who has a 2nd grader and who works at high-need urban high school.  Each day at work, I watch students go hungry because they don’t want to eat the food that is being served. I have come to the conclusion that the corporations that feed our incarcerated citizens should not be the same ones that feeds our growing children.  There should be a clear separation between these two groups, physically and nutritionally.

I wish there was a way for you to take the base from the recalcitrant Republicans who are ok with what passes for school lunch these days. I would like to see farmers in a region providing food directly to the schools in their communities and neighboring ones. Perhaps Federalizing a farm-to-school initiative, two things would occur:  good food would get to children and financial empowerment would return to many of our nation’s farming communities. I am sure there are many slow-food regional movements that would naturally feed into this idea…one can dare to dream.

I am currently involved in a CSA with a small farmer who has a model I think would benefit many of our communities, particularly our urban  centers, both with food and education for adults and children alike. If you feel so inclined to check it out, they are called Soul Fire Farm (

Again thanks for all you do…in closing I am a realist and I am sure you receive thousands of letters every week. Maybe just maybe, the staffer or intern reading this letter will pass along my ideas that would be great. I am glad my son has you and the President to look up to and now know that he too has a chance to be POTUS.4321
Farm News
The cool wet air this week reminds us that the cycle of the season is turning. We are preparing the farm for the final late season plantings, and even some areas for next spring, as we turn in finished crops and amend our dear ally, the soil.  Leah is also off in Washington DC for the week at her Fulbright orientation.  Neshima is at summer camp during the day.  I never thought I would say this, but with four adults and one kid, the farm has a stillness reminiscent of the nearing fall.   I’m sure that will all change with our workday this Saturday, but for the moment, we take a deep inhale, and exhale with the pulse of the pace of the earth.
We finished last week with Project Growth, a restorative justice pilot, by creating collages representing our hopes for our personal and collective futures. At the center of each collage was an object from the farm that developed personal meaning during our days of mulching, sowing, harvesting, and preparing the earth’s fruits. On the second to last day, the young men chose to remove their shoes and let the warm mud be a conduit for that boundless healing love energy offered direct from the Mama. Emet got everyone hugging and teaching each other break dancing moves as well as Haitian rock balancing. Laughter increased. Thankyou Jillian Faison and Carmen Duncan, and the many others who had a hand in making this program happen. Listening to, and crying over, Cornell West’s Race Matters,thinking about these youth. I am hopeful that our work will be a small anecdote to the “nihilism” he speaks of. Ase.

“Nihilism is not new in Black America. . . . In fact,” West explains,”the major enemy of Black survival in America has been and is neither 54321oppression nor exploitation but rather the nihilistic Threat — that is, loss of hope and absence of meaning. For as long as hope remains and meaning is preserved, the possibility of overcoming oppression stays alive. The self-fulfilling prophecy of the nihilistic threat is that without hope there can be no future, that without meaning there can be no struggle.”

Earlier this week we welcomed the Produce Project, the youth farming program of the Capital District Community Gardens.  Over the past three years, we have worked with this group in many different capacities, and developed a lasting and meaningful relationship. Tolu Fashoro, Hannah Springer, and Pearl Quick are doing an incredible job with these youth. Not only can they harvest potatoes at warp speed, but they encouraged each other enthusiastically to climb to the top of the aerial silks, and had frank and vulnerable conversations about identity and diversity that were beyond what many teens can manage. Thanks for telling us that Soul Fire feels like home – we feel the same about you all!!!