February News 2012
Seeding starts in our greenhouse this week. Spring garlic is poking up in the fields, and honeybees were flying today as befuddled as the rest of us by this warm weather. Early season tomatoes will be seeded by the end of February. Tomatoes… ah tomatoes…. just the mention of the word makes my mouth water. Despite having jarred up enough sauce last September to keep the farm crew going this winter, the pop of a fresh cherry tomato and the slippery slide of its cool seeds on the tongue is the essence of summer. You just can’t put a jar of tomatoes in the cupboard for five months and expect it to have quite the same effect. And you sure as heck can’t pick it green on the other side of the planet, put it in a freight liner, flash ripen it with ethylene gas and expect it to taste like August. I prefer to stick to the sauce in my pantry and wait. And wait.
If farming has taught me anything over the last six years, it has been that patience is part of having joy. The fact that asparagus can only come into its true season once a year can be tough for those of us who crave it in November. But the joy it brings when it takes its own time, and the deep abiding joy to look out at your farm and know it will keep coming back to you, year after year, makes you want to live up to your end of Nature’s bargain – the waiting for it. One of the things I am most proud of is sharing this experience with our CSA members. CSA programs allow us to align a portion of our diet with the seasons – and my truest aspiration in becoming a farmer is my belief that this basic change in our relationship with the Earth brings people joy.
Of course, our culture is known for catering to the opposite of patience, we want everything whenever however and more of it. But is clear to me that if we do not change how and what we eat, our planet will run out of food, just as we are going to run out of oil, fresh water, polar ice caps, and places to put our trash. Our planet is finite and we are consuming and polluting it faster than we are regenerating and cleaning it.
It is naive to think that my tomato sauce is the total answer to this trouble. It is only the first syllable of an answer. As I sat down today to spinach salad with boiled eggs and bacon (my favorite “all Hickories” lunch) it is hard to feel that there is trouble in the world at all. For real sustainability, I know that yield rates on organic farms need to be higher, inputs need to be lower, and our tractors need to run on something other than fossil fuel. Farming the way we are farm here on Lounsbury Road (preserving tomato sauce and green bean pickles, raising our own meat and wool) it doesn’t hurt the planet as much as did the main stream life-style I lived before. It is a start, and by no means an end, of the work. Supporting our farm by becoming a member of our CSA program, you are putting your feet on a longer timeline for the planet than the one it is on right now. Join us.
CSA Shares for the 2012 growing season are now available to all. If you are interested in learning more about our CSA program, or purchasing a share, please visit our website: www.thehickories.org/our_csa. If you know someone else who is interested, pass the word for us. We are no longer running a waiting list – all are welcome to sign up on a first come first serve basis. Shares must be limited, so please sign up soon. Please read the contract closely and be sure the program suits you. Our CSAers are our first priority – our nearest and dearest – and we are thrilled to be able to invite you to join.
Pasture raised pork, lamb, and beef available: For those who are interested in humanely raised pasture based meat grown in our local food-shed, I commend your decision to be conscientious about such a tricky part of our diet and its effect on our fragile ecosystem. For the first time, we are selling meat by the piece through our online store. We offer leg of lamb for a springtime celebration, an Easter ham - all raised here on our farm and pastured in good clean grass and sunshine. One of the things I often find myself talking about with those who are unnerved to find we raise meat on our farm is that it is precisely BECAUSE I care about animals that I cannot eat meat that I do not feel was raised well. I have stood witness to every part of this process and I promise you that each and every animal we are selling has lead a safe, comfortable, clean and well-nourished life and was tended to by careful, kind farmers.
I do not want to tempt fate, but it does seem like winter may have slept through the alarm this year. Enjoy the weirdness of it all.