Week 13: Working with the unknown
We're in the same boat as last week in terms of the quantities of veggies, so once again, we'd like to ask you to fill out the preferred veggie form letting us know which options you'd be happy with (knowing that you won't get some of everything). If you don't fill out the form, you'll get whatever we give you from the options, which we'll try to keep as fair as possible.
Life is a little soggy, but going fine on the farm. We have not suffered the same kind of loss from the flooding as some farms nearby, and for that we are very grateful. Still not sure what the long term effect might be on our crops (perhaps a shorter tomato season than we had hoped for?), but we’ll find out in time.
In happy news, our pullets have started laying itty bitty eggs! We’ve found four so far in the last week, and only expect this number to increase as the days go on. We feel like proud parents.
And in less happy news, we were late to start writing this week’s newsletter because of a sick chicken (one of the older hens). We had noticed that she seemed a bit more lethargic the past couple of days, but hoped she would snap out of it, since she was still eating and drinking fine. Tonight, however, she didn’t go into the coop with the others like normal, and we decided to give her a bit more attention. It’s hard to say what exactly is wrong with her, but our current guess is a sour crop, which would mean that she has a yeast infection in her crop (a part of her digestive system where food is temporarily stored—basically an enlarged part of the esophagus). We gave her an Epsom salt bath and fed her yogurt (for the probiotics) and added some apple cider vinegar to the chickens’ water supply. And we’ll hope for the best. Having animals always offers the possibility that mortality will have to be confronted, and this is even more likely in a farm setting. We are learning as much as we can to make this happen as infrequently as possible (and are getting more comfortable with in-house veterinary treatment), but we are always aware that life is fragile.
In the Box
As mentioned above, we have a wide variety, but somewhat limited quantities of several veggie options this week. Excited to offer apples this week from Lacy's parents' tree (Lacy made an appearance last week in the newsletter) (these have never been sprayed!) We also have a limited quantity of Mother Mary's Pie Melon if anyone is adventurous and wants to try this unique annual fruit we grew to mixed success this year. Fill out the preferred veggie form for more information.
- Salad Mix
- Peppers (jalapeños or Bangles Blend sweet peppers)
- Cilantro (upon request!)
- Carrots (no tops, but tops available upon request)
- Summer Squash (Costata Romanesco Zucchini, Bennings Green Tint Scallop Squash, or Yellow Crookneck Squash; fill out a preferred veggie form if you have a preference between these varieties!)
- Ground cherries
- Beans (the same as previous weeks, Dragon Tongue and Red Swan Beans)
- Mother's Mary Pie Melon
- Eggs (for some)
*We have lots of this! Want only purple basil? Only Thai basil (if you haven't tried this or noticed, it has a distinctly different flavor...kind of like licorice)? Double the kale? Just let us know on the preferred veggie form!
This recipe is from the book The Year-Round Harvest: A seasonal guide to growing, eating, and preserving the fruits and vegetables of your labor, and we've never actually tried making it yet. Sounds tasty, though! [All text taken directly from the book.]
Fried Zucchini Sticks
You don't have to deep-fry these zucchini sticks, just saute them in a bit of oil if you prefer. This is a great snack for kids!
3/4 cup flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 zucchinis, cut into strips
oil for frying
1. In a large bowl of pan, combine flour, garlic, basil, oregano, and salt.
2. Lightly toss the zucchini strips with the flour mixture, coating well.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet or frying pan. When oil is hot, gently add zucchini strips to pan.
4. Fry until lightly golden brown on all sides. Serve with vegan ranch dressing or ketchup.
Brad's Food Philosophy Corner
Brad shares his reasons for farming, one per week!
Appreciation and Grounding in Change and Life Cycles
One of my favorite “finds” at the Wisconsin Film Festival was a documentary called In a Dream. It followed an eccentric, norm-challenging mosaic artist who, after cheating on his wife, muse, and tether to reality—Julia—he finds himself troubled, depressed, and purposeless. Julia, always sagacious and still warm-hearted, basically orders him to grow and care for some tomato plants. This ends up being an essential part of his journey back to art and out of depression. It is never explicitly explained in the movie, but it also doesn’t seem odd or out of place at all. This forced acknowledgement and relationship with caring and watching something living change and go through its life cycle is the connection to life he needs.
Whether it is growing plants or caring for animals, these daily farm tasks ground you in something real. It is basic, fundamental and creative. It is directly interacting with something living. The shorter life cycles of plants and animals force you to acknowledge the truths of impermanence and change. We often avoid thinking about death and in subtle ways have “irrational obsession(s) with permanence.”* We want things to be forever, or stay a certain way, or have eternal meaning. Stewarding living plants and animals keeps us grounded and appreciative of life cycles and change. By not straying too far from these universal truths and perspectives, we avoid the traumatic and abrupt run-ins with change and life-cycles that are inevitable and often cause stress and anxiety.
*A line that stuck with me from philosopher Susan Wolf in her essay "Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life."