As I was saying

There have been 354 snippets since our first main week of farm action in April 2010. We had high hopes and strong resolve, whatever the consequences. to work towards a resilient future for this corner of the planet. Are our families and communities better prepared for what is headed down the tracks these 10 plus years later? I hope so because as Pogo so aptly said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us,” as he was walking over a garbage strewn Okefenokee Swamp with his pal, Porkypine.

I could match my post doctor farmer partner with my own MDE (Maker of Decent real, local, resilient, life-giving, regenerative, good, healthy Eats). I devour cookbooks for appropriate recipes to trial with the resources at hand….some taste terrible and others, after some tweaking, are fit for the spotlight. If customers and our honored farm share members come back for seconds then I have won that leg of the race. I cling to the hope that folks will choose what is best rather than being directed by culture and taste buds. I mean really….

My comfort foods WERE fermented sauce from fish entrails, pungent dried minnows, HOT peppers, unripe fruit with sea salt chunks and of course sweetened condensed milk by the canful. They crossed the ocean with me to a land of sanitized, bland food – it was a hoot when the two extremes partnered and here we are…44 years later!

Welcome to a new reality that has disrupted all of our lives. It is a chance moment to dream of crossing over to a different shore and meeting a new friend and realizing we are ALL part of “us”.

Immunity boosting

The storm that is upon us does not have a friendly name like most typhoons or hurricanes. It is causing panic, pushing common sense out of the race while there is a run on all antibacterial whatnots when the culprit is a virus. So let us fix our thoughts on what is unseen, since in this case it should be temporary. A virus, such as Covid 19, is much tinier than a bacteria and can not live by itself. Viruses need to attach to cells and commandeer the replication systems to duplicate themselves. It’s quite ingenious but always problematic. Antibacterial substances do not phase a virus; they lessen the effects of a bacterial attack. If antibiotics are overused, then the big bugs move in since they have developed immunity.

Immune system boosters….check out the things we grow from alliums (onions, leeks, garlic), spinach, dark blue fruits (aronia, currant), raspberries, red bell peppers, green vegetables, herbs and all the others. Everything that we grow or prepare has a purpose to protect health and even ramp up immune function from the packaging – our skin, to the gut – both our feeding trough and our disposal system! A marvelous creation which often has to put up with very questionable food for fuel.

I am drying leeks to reduce the frozen stock and to experiment with other recipes. They are delicious! Leek galettes were not whoopy. The potato stock is low – about 5 more rounds of potato leek soup before the final curtain on that recipe. So here’s to spreading the charm:

3/4 lb leeks, chopped; 1/2 cup celery, chopped; 2 T oil, 3/4 lb potatoes, cubed; 2 qt low salt, organic, free range chicken broth; 1 T thyme leaves; 1 – 2 tsp salt; 1 bay leaf; 1/2 lb carrots, diced; 1/2 cup cream; 1/2 cup milk.

Sauté the leeks and celery in the oil on low heat to slightly caramelize. Don’t walk away yet! Add the potatoes, chicken broth, seasonings and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Add the carrots and simmer for another 5 minutes. I like the potatoes to be soft and the carrots to be al dente. Remove from the heat and add the cream and milk. Taste for seasoning, depending on the type of broth it may need more salt.

One good leek deserves another!

9 to 5 perceptions

When are the beginnings and endings to a work day? Should I define it according to the current tax system…I am a volunteer, so am I working? How about categorizing work by feelings….I love to clean toilets (haha) thus that doesn’t count? The concept of work has been a point of contention since childhood; Sundays were a day that I was not to be creative by sewing or working in the garden, while washing dishes somehow was not included on that holy list. Perceptions.

Switch the numbers around to being 5 to 9 and those are the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables we are to eat EVERYDAY. That is one of the main reasons we began this adventure more than 10 years ago, Jubilee Fruits and Vegetables, LLC. The options of locally grown produce is one awesome list of choices! Why is mediocrity acceptable?

Steve and I were forced to learn new cooking styles and to enjoy eating many unheard of fruits and vegetables. Daikon radishes are still providing a crisp bite in stir fries, kohlrabi and Hakurei turnips add texture to salads. Cantaloupe reduces the amount of sugar when added to sour tasting plum, rhubarb or gooseberry sauce. Aronia berries and raspberries add color and kick up the nutrients. I look for a munch at least three times a day, it needs to be quick and nutritious and this year all 366 days, no days off! Perceptions….if it takes 12 tries with a child to like a new taste, I wonder how much longer for us with deep traditions of complacency?

We have to learn new updates on computers, taxes, cars, bank accounts, teaching methods for children and so why not real food which has lifelong implications?

Sow and let’s Hoe on!

Primary byway

Main Street, written a century ago by Minnesota author, Sinclair Lewis, should be required reading for folks marrying a family practice doctor and moving to a southwest Minnesota town! It is a spoof on our way of life in these parts which still rings true.

I have lived in over 20 different places, annually packing all my belongings in a box to move back “home” to be with family members. No spot has claims on me; it is a joy to travel on. This community has been our stomping grounds for almost 30 years and with that comes an accumulation of memories and STUFF! Books. We were surrounded by books until joining the amazon flow and becoming a seller of all our farming books as well as the collections of spanish and french libraries.

There is a worn stack of small books that will be kept that do not have farming advice but rather wisdom from generations past. My great grandfather’s 1870 Book of Common Prayer – he died young from tuberculosis, a very tiny Bible story book to occupy oneself during a Yearly Meeting of Friends, great, great grandpa Outerbridge’s New Testament, a copy of Poor Richard’s Almanac that is slightly burned, The Lays of Ancient Rome from my great grandmother Lyra Tregelles who died shortly after my grandfather was born. It is amazing how we each come to be from all that happened before us. What will be said of us four generations hence? What did we value and hold dear?

Bird poop foreigner

I got my first bicycle after school friends pushed me often enough down the field until gravity did not take control and I took flight. Oh the adventures I would go on by myself off into the surrounding villages, through rice paddies and down dirt lanes. Being the very youngest in a group of mismatched teenagers made it easy for me to “disappear” for hours at a time. Dust clouds of Thai children my age would yell “farang kii nok” (bird poop foreigner) as I pedaled by their homes. My retort was ” khon Thai kii kwai” or “Thai people were water buffalo poop” since that is a bigger plop of stink.

Just who or what makes a foreigner? I grew up thinking I belonged right where I was at the time. It was the other people who had their traditions and mindsets as to what was in or out. I have roots back to County Mayo, Ireland; Cornwall, England; Bermuda, Switzerland and other spots. Hmmm – family members placed feet on this soil..displacing others, in the 1700’s and earlier. Some were up to no good and should have been sent back to their ports of departure.

Most of the vegetables we grow are foreigners. Consider the squash. It’s name comes from the Narragansett people (Wikipedia) but the plant originates in points south of the border. It was eaten both raw and cooked. I think the sugar folks took us down the broad path and here we are!

Pumpkin chai is a sweet drink for folks to try this week. A frozen blob is added to 1/2 cup black tea and 3/4 cup milk or coconut milk. Chai is good both as a cold or hot drink. I think it is here to stay.