Summer Solstice CSA Week 4

Volume II, issue 8

Saturday Pick-up: June 23rd 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Tuesday Pick-up: June 26th 3:30-6:30 p.m.

A few pre-script reminders…

Please do call or email to let us know if you would like to switch pick-up days for the week, or to let us know you will not be picking up your share and would like us to donate your share for the week.  This helps us enormously by knowing how much to harvest—so that we have enough to feed everyone!

Please bring your own bags!  We are bulk ordering reusable vegetable bags which we will be selling for $1/ bag to cut down on use of plastic; bags should be arriving within a week or two.

This Week's Selection:  Hakurei Salad Turnips, Kale, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens, Budding Greens: Te You (baby broccoli), Lettuce, Dill, Cilantro, Culinary herbs, Pick Your Own Peas, Scallions

Dear Friends,

This Sunday Anthony and I spent the day away from the farm; leaving around 5:00 a.m. (grateful to Sheila for being able to water the plants in the greenhouse in our absence), we headed 3 ½ hours West to a farm by the name of Northland Sheep Dairy for a full-day workshop on working with Draft Horses with farmer Donn Hewes.  The morning was focused on building and establishing the horse-human relationship—how to offer the horse what it needs: leadership, confidence, and dominance—the practice of becoming a benevolent monarch.  In the afternoon we took two teams to work—cutting, tedding (essentially fluffing-up), raking, and baling hay—all with horses.  By the end of the day we had a four-horse hitch pulling a motorized forecart attached to a baler to which a wagon was attached, giving me the opportunity to practice maintaining my balance while stacking bales on a moving wagon—all moving thanks to the grace and power of horses.

People often ask us why we farm with horses—why we want to use “old timey” machinery and methods; in response, there is the laundry list of reasons—moving away from relying on fossil fuels, tractors don’t reproduce, horses provide manure for our compost, horses are gentler on the soil—cause less compaction, horses allow us to be more connected with the soil (we are usually walking in it while we are driving them), not to mention the aesthetic appeal of horses pulling a plow or harrow through an open field.  And while all of these things are true, and vastly important to me, I don’t think any of them quite capture why I farm with horses; they are simple ways of expressing a greater truth which is more difficult to communicate with words, or put into phrases which are compressible outside of an extended conversation. 

Having never been around horses before in my life, I first knew I wanted to work with horses 3 years ago at yet another workshop with Donn Hewes and 2 other horse trainers in Vermont.  The first session was focused on “problem” horses or untrained horses—people brought horses that none of these 3 trainers previously knew, and the trainers would work with each horse to address the issue which the owner was struggling with.  I was completely mesmerized, watching these humans speak to horses almost entirely through body-language and eye contact—in a language which I had not previously known existed.  By the end of each 30 or 40 minute conversation with a given horse, the trainer would have introduced the horse to something which it was previously unfamiliar—wearing a harness, pulling an implement—or helped the horse to re-learn a behavior to which it was accustomed.  I was taken with how quickly and readily these animals had the capacity—and willingness—to learn and change; these transformations were likewise possible because of the openness and attentions of homo sapiens who had learned the delicate language of equines.

One of Donn’s major beliefs is that every draft-power farmer is a trainer; he relates working with horse to parenting—you don’t call in an expert to train your 4 or 6 year old how to use manners or eat with a fork or cross the street—likewise you don’t need a trainer to train the horses you work with and “parent” every day.  After gaining an understanding of the basics in horse language and behavior—you simply pay attention, work with your horse, set rules and stick to them, act with love, respect, poise, and authority.

Why do I work with horses?  I still don’t think I can sum it up in a paragraph, or a newsletter.  I am working to learn this language, be part of the silent inter-species conversation which teaches me, more than anything, a little more about who I am.  You cannot hide anything from a horse; in their sensitivity and perceptibility, they can feel your hesitations, your self-doubt, your inattentions, your muddled thoughts and worries—and they respond with uncanny clarity and candor.  In the words of Stephen Leslie, a Vermont horse farmer, “what we are really trying to do is not so much master the horse, as to master ourselves.”  I farm with horses because it seems to offer me a relentlessly challenging means of exposing the struggles within me—of bringing these struggles into the world with integrity—and learning how to face them through the continual honesty of horses.

Solstice Blessings,

Lisa and Anthony

Wild Geese

By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Herbs ‘n Kale Yum

While there seems to be no shortage of things one can do with a handful of scallions, I usually think only of eating them raw—on salads or garnish—but in this season before the onions come in, a little bit of cooked scallion adds a nice flavor to a dish…

4-6 scallions, cleaned and chopped into “chunks” of 1-2 inch length

8-12 kale leaves, stems removed and torn into pieces

2 medium-large hakurei turnips, sliced thin

A bit of olive oil and a bit of butter

Salt and ume plum vinegar to taste

A handful of herbs: oregano, parsley, sorrel, garlic scapes if you have any left-over, or whatever else speaks to you today, minced or sliced thin

A touch of balsamic vinegar

sauté the scallions, turnips, and scapes if you’re using them in oil over medium/ low heat, add a touch of salt, stir here and there; cover on low heat and cook until tender, about 10 minutes

add the minced herbs and a pat of butter, and continue to sauté, stirring often, for another 5 minutes

add the kale and more salt, raise the heat a bit, and sauté uncovered for several minutes, turn the heat to low and cover for 2-3 more minutes;

add the balsamic, turn off the heat, and enjoy over rice or quinoa