CSA Week 14

Volume II, Issue 16
CSA week 14, for the week of September 8th


This Week’s Selection

Summer Squash/Zucchini, Eggplant, Peppers, Beets, Carrots, Kale, Tomatoes, Okra, Garlic, Onions, Melons, Parsley, Sweet Basil, Thai/Lemon/Holy Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Sorrel, PYO Green Beans, Flowers

From the Farmers

To begin, I have a handful of announcements, dates of happenings around the farm as well comings and goings and new possibilities.  We are planning a fall harvest gathering on the farm Sunday, October 14th preceded by some harvesting the afternoon of Saturday October 13th.  We will be harvesting our Beets and Carrots, as well as possibly Rutabagas, Turnips, and Celeriac, for our yet to be announced (!) Winter Vegetable CSA.  I will include a brief on our current thinking of the Winter Vegetable CSA after this note.  In bovine news, our 2 momma cows and their calves will soon be moving to Triform Farm in Hudson, and a year-and-a-half old young heifer (a lady cow yet to calve) will be soon arriving.  We put aside the thought of milking our cows months ago and have been looking for a new home for them since, and thankfully things are working out.  Once the heifer, who will also need a name if anyone has suggestions once she arrives, is old enough come next spring we will have her bred and a little over nine months later we will be blessed with a calve and a friendly cow to milk, which has been the plan all along, we just had to first go through this trial.  In other comings and goings, Lisa, who we were welcoming just about a year ago, will be leaving us at the end of the CSA season in November.  Lisa and I have a long storied history and for better or worse it seems that we should not be working together so intimately under these circumstances.  She will be moving back to Maryland to be close to her family and is searching for a farm and community down that way to begin caring for.

You may have realized that this leaves me, Anthony, the farmer at Great Song Farm.  So what will the coming season be like?  This is the question of the day.  After first seeing this as a possible opening to completely restructure the farm, my current thoughts after looking over the situation for a while now have strongly revealed and solidified my personal task being to grow vegetables for a community of people based around a farm, the tastiest, freshest, and most nutritious vegetables one can imagine, while delving deeply into the nature of plants and soils and their relationships with animals, humanity, and the cosmos to engender a new way of nourishing all.  There are just so many questions, many that aren't even being earnestly asked yet, to work with regarding this foundation of society and the plant soil cosmos relationship is my calling.  So, yes, there will be a Great Song Farm Vegetable CSA next year.  This opens up what this farm is and can be, and invites a new person or people to come into relationship here.  I will focus on growing vegetables and caring for the farm and am open to someone taking up another enterprise on the farm, from educational opportunities to a goat dairy, medicinal herbs, small fruits, berries, an orchard, grains, a wool flock, whatever their fancy.  Ideally they may be interested in helping out with the vegetables, and I could help out with their enterprise, but we would each have a place to put our creative energies and make decisions, however small or large.  Or perhaps they also really enjoy vegetables and we could find a way to bring them rightfully into the fold.  The other thought involves taking on an apprentice, one hopefully seriously interested in exploring the nature of soils, Biodynamics, and working with horses.  If you might know of someone for any of these positions, send them my way please.

I was too busy telling you about our vegetables last week to give a great big thanks to all that helped bring in our beautiful onion and shallot crop which is just about done curing and will soon be topped and to the folks who helped fill our barn with 800 bales of hay to feed our horses and cows through the winter and beyond. Thank you thank you thank you!  Our gratitude is beyond measure.  This farm is truly a community undertaking through and through; it has yet to be 2 years and I feel we have a solid and solidifying foundation supporting us, which will help me to move confidently into the future.  I find myself wondering not just what my calling is, or my task, or how I will take it up, but how can we collaborate, what can we do together, what is needed here and how can I help foster community here? and it is encouraging to know that many of you are asking and answering the same questions.  Just about a year ago this area was receiving a lot of rain which brought a bit of flooding, and while many around here faired pretty well there were many in the surrounding area hit hard, and rather than focusing on ourselves many were brought forward to lend a hand in crisis.  Here's to coming together and helping out before we're in dire straits.  If you have a need, let us know!  If you have an idea for the farm to help build community, let's do it!

I appreciate all who filled out the survey last week as well; if you haven't yet, there's still time!  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dHU5Qjd5alJUS3dIVVduV1VoX19qX1E6MQ or let me know your feelings in person sometime.  It is also always nice to be able to share our abundances as we did earlier this week with the peppers and those many ripes melons that just need to be eaten!  Another reminder of the ground we work from, the notion that you are paying what you are able to
provide capital for the farm as well as support us as individuals in meeting our personal financial needs while allowing us to care for the farm to the best of our abilities and working strongly towards providing you with a delicious, nutritious selection of vegetables weekly.  When the fruits of our labor are aplenty, we are always more than happy to share with you.

To the wonderful colors the slanting fall light brings,
Anthony and Lisa

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness
around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains
i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing
winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)
~ e.e.cummings ~

Great Song Farm Winter Vegetable CSA

We want to know what you want!  Please let us know if you are interested and what would work best for you.  It will be at least a few weeks until we are a little more settled on how many folks we will take on, how often the pickups will be, how much will be offered each time, and the cost, but here are my current thoughts:  We will have 10-15 winter CSA members come to the farm every 2 weeks (what day? Saturday?) beginning in mid-November through March or April or whenever the roots run out (were looking at 9 or 10 pickups probably, though this is going pretty far out on a limb).  The storage vegetables will be offered free choice volume style as we currently operate.  We will be planting the greenhouse to salad greens (spinach, arugula, mache, claytonia), parsley, kale and mustards for cooking which we will also offer.  We will be attempting to freeze and store, live on the plant, kale leaves as another farmer we know has done to add to these greens.  The crops we will be offering include potatoes, celeriac, parsnips, beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, rutabagas, cabbages, kohlrabi, winter squash, onions, garlic, and shallots, all grown here at Great Song Farm!    Maybe a little sauerkraut if the cabbages do well.  We will be pricing it around $200 and I think will be offering a half bushel (larger basket, around 20 pounds) sized share plus greens.  To help store this through the winter, we will be constructing a root cellar in the next few weeks.  Our barn is built into a hillside, so we have a space where 2 walls are already concrete next to earth which will help quite a bit.  We'll build a couple of well insulated walls and a sturdy door, add a little ventilation, and see if we can't keep the place just above freezing and as humid as possible.  Quite exciting possibilities ahead!

All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the waters undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong and varied as the land.
And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering
in all relations, and in you and me.
No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused.
~ Ranier Maria Rilke ~

Peppers aplenty!

Our peppers are really starting to come in now and we'll also soon have some nice red ripe ones!  We have bell peppers as well as a variety of italian and other ethnic cooking/frying peppers and salad peppers and even paprika peppers, try them out!

Romesco Sauce for Crostini, Pasta, or as a vegetable dipper
4 large roasted yellow, orange, and or red peppers
1/2 cup toasted almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 ripe tomato
1 tsp salt
2 thick slices from a baguette
1 tsp paprika
½ cup or less olive oil
Fresh basil leaves if available
2-4 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

Whirl everything in a food processor. Serve with vegetables such as carrot sticks, lightly steamed broccoli and caulifower florets, etc. Bread and crackers work well too.
Multi Pepper Salad with Fontina
adapted from From the Cook's Garden by Ellen Ogden
1.5 pounds Sweet peppers, roasted and cut into 1/4 inch strips
12 black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and coarsely chopped
6 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1.5 cups)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped cutting celery OR tarragon OR parsley
1/4 cup best extra virgin olive oil
S & P to taste

Combine the peppers, olives, and cheese. Mix the cream, lemon juice, mustard, and herb in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with the S & P. Pour over the peppers and mix. Serve immediately.
Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Cherry Tomatoes, Onion, and Basil
4 red & yellow bell peppers
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion or one bunch green onions
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
about 3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 425F and lightly oil a large shallow baking pan.
Halve bell peppers lengthwise and discard seeds and ribs. Arrange peppers, cut sides up, in baking pan and lightly oil cut edges and stems. Halve tomatoes and chop onion and basil. Finely chop garlic and in a bowl toss with tomatoes, onion, basil, 2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide mixture among peppers and roast in upper third of oven until peppers are tender, about 20 minutes. adapted from Gourmet

Tomato and Sweet Pepper Salad adapted from The Vegetable Market Cookbook by Robert Budwig
3 sweet peppers
4 ripe tomatoes
1/4 preserved lemon (or 2 teaspoons grated zest with some of the lemon's juice)
2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed pinch sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 t black pepper
Grill or roast peppers, remove skins, cut into small cubes and set aside. Blanch tomatoes for 15-20 seconds in boiling water. Drain and remove skins and stems. Cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into small cubes. Rinse the preserved lemon under running water and remove the pulp. Cut the rind into fine dice. Arrange peppers, tomatoes and lemon in a dish. Mix remaining ingredients to make a dressing and pour over the salad. Mix well.

Sweet Pepper Pasta Toss with Kale
  • 1 (8 ounce) package uncooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped kale
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in red pepper, yellow pepper, kale and garlic. Season with basil, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  3. In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with skillet mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese to serve.

A little something else...

(After Derek Mahon)
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone.  As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions.  To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings.  Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice.  You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation.  The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last.  All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves.  Everything is waiting for you.
~ David Whyte ~