CSA Week 20

Volume II, Issue 21
Welcome to CSA Week 20, week of October 13th

This Week’s Selection: peppers, parsnips, beets, carrots, tat soi, pac choi, swiss chard, radishes (black, daikon, and watermelon), garlic, onions, scallions, parsley, dill, cilantro, lettuce, broccoli

From the Farmers:

Dear Friends,
I write beside my first fire of the season (the blessedness of heat!) awaiting the first anticipated frost of fall.  I write approximately 362 days after I have arrived at this lovely little patch of the Earth known as Milan, as Great Song Farm, and yet also a few weeks away from leaving.  In preparation of writing some words of goodbye, I have spent a few moments here-and-there over the past days tracing back my steps of the year; of course, they are jumbled now, a delicate and deliberately crafted montage of memories, a concoction of elements too harmoniously ingrained within me to be sorted through with any sort of precise understanding or definition.  My memories jump through those first weeks after arriving—the warm October, planting and mulching garlic, spending early winter trying to grow accustomed to dwelling in a tent with a trifle of grace and something resembling dignity, my initial hesitations in spending too much time in Larry and Betti’s home (I couldn’t have them growing sick of me too quickly)—which were quickly dismantled out of a combination of necessity and the overwhelm of being welcomed with such humility and constancy.

The doors of family and community opened to me; each opening held a revelation; each opening was exactly what I needed—another example of unrestrained generosity revealed before me.  Prayers were not ignored; needs were never left unmet.  My struggles, like all struggles, were teachers in disguise.  The earth and its inhabitants offered me the nutrition to fuel and feed this mind-heart-body—vegetables of beauty and abundance to support my growth and health and spirit.  We worked to cultivate an environment of trust and compassion, of patience and learning.  Anthony and Jen taught me, and challenged me.  Larry and Betti taught me, and challenged me.  Sunny and Kate taught me, and challenged me.  I worked, seeking discipline, and self-care; seeking forgiveness, and balance; seeking self-acceptance, and success.  I sat with failure.  I sunk myself into the majesty of this land—the shadowed shapes of the horses grazing on the hillside at dusk, black forms against a lucid velvet-blue sky; the stillness of morning harvest—dew-touched leaves of chard as the moon fades from view; the bikerides home through the night, through fullmoons and newmoons and darkness adorned with the fireflies’ glow; watching the transformation of the land as the horses work and re-work the soil—seeing the potential to feed a community next year, and the next, and the next—transforming the micro and macro nutrients of the earth and atmosphere into clean food, real food, living food.   

I thank you, eaters, community members, landlords, fellow farmers, neighbors, friends, for giving me these countless gifts, countless opportunities to learn, to seek, to grow, to know this land and to know all that I do not yet know about this land.  We can only do this work, and continue to do this work, out of your faith and care.

I was struck by these words of Michael Pollan which were published in The New York Times this past week.  Okay, okay, he is talking about farmer’s markets, but I couldn’t help myself in feeling a clear sense that our community of Great Song—along with countless other CSAs and farm-to-consumer direct-marketing avenues across our wider community and world—offers the hopeful soft politics which Pollan calls forth.

It’s easy to dismiss voting with your fork as merely a lifestyle choice, and an elite one at that. Yet there is a hopeful kind of soft politics at work here… Money-for-food is not the only transaction going on at the farmers’ markets (and CSA pick-ups); indeed, it may be the least of it. Neighbors are talking to neighbors. Consumers meet producers. City meets country. Kids discover what food is. Activists circulate petitions. The farmers’ market/ CSA pick-up has become the country’s liveliest new public square, an outlet for our communitarian impulses and a means of escaping, or at least complicating, the narrow role that capitalism usually assigns to us as “consumers.” At pick-up, we are consumers, yes, but at the same time also citizens, neighbors, parents and cooks. In voting with our food dollars, we enlarge our sense of our “interests” from the usual concern with a good value to, well, a concern with values.

Thank you for complicating the roles of “consumer” and “producer” with us, for allowing your kids to discover what food is, for helping us each to add dimensionality to our lives, our work, our consumption.

You can find the full article here (worth the read):

In gratitude and goodbyes,

Lisa (and Anthony)

What is divinity?

Wallace Stevens

What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch,
These are the measures destined for her soul.