Greetings from Farmer Tom
Nourishing and Feeding more than just our human community.
We haven't been able to figure out who the guilty party responsible for a the steady decrease in our chicken population has been, until a few nights ago when I went to close the chicken-coop door, and met my answer to the problem. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move just a few feet from the fence near the chicken coop. First I thought it was one of the dogs or cats, but instead, a fat raccoon stood on his hind legs looking at me curiously. He seemed less surprised by the encounter than I was, and only after throwing my arms up, did he decide to stroll away into the underbrush of the eucalyptus trees. He didn't seem to be in a hurry; he stopped and looked back, probably wondering how serious I was in interrupting his dinner plans. This nocturnal, opportunistic predator has figured out that some of the chickens, especially some of our Auracanas (the ones that lay green eggs), don't always go back inside the coop to roost at night, but instead stay outside underneath the coop, where he can easily catch them.
Raccoons are not the only animals who are attracted to the Farm's food menu. This time of year, when most of the vegetation is dry and trees are dropping their leaves, the best choice for a hungry herbivore to graze is on irrigated farmland. Green beans and lettuce seem to be everyone's favorite menu item at Live Earth Farm. This morning, two jackrabbits dashed away as I walked the fields looking for new signs of nocturnal browsing. Chewy and Moggie, our farm dogs, do a good job keeping the deer out, but with jackrabbits they've grown too old and smart to bother picking up the chase. I can't help but feel some anger when I see damage to crops we were counting on harvesting. This anger of course stems from the fact that I think of cost and loss of profitability. If I instead picture this tender field of greens within the larger landscape, it sticks out like a farmstand filled with free fruits and vegetables alongside a desert highway, inviting everyone to take their share.
As farmers, we are so caught up in the economics of food production that wilderness is often left out of the equation. Accustomed to thinking of food as a packaged commodity supplied by supermarkets, we forget where food comes from and that we are all fed from the same earth we share with other living organisms.
Studying soil and making compost with the Wavecrest students last week was a wonderful exercise in experiencing how inextricably we are all linked together in this cycle of life. By composting we are mimicking nature's way of building soil. It may seem like an insignificant exercise to stack old vegetables, cornstalks, chicken manure, straw, and alfalfa into a big pile, but it teaches us about the natural process of birth and death occurring everywhere in nature; it teaches us that there is a cycle, a continuity to life. David Suzuki, in his book "The Sacred Balance" has a wonderful analogy about the importance of soil. He says, "Imagine a giant tomato with a diameter of 70 meters but skin no thicker than that of an ordinary tomato. That thin outer layer corresponds to the fine wrapping of soil that covers the surface of our immense planet. The constant renewal of life on Earth occurs in that thin layer; we, like all other terrestrial lifeforms, depend on it, directly or indirectly, for our food."
Fall Harvest Celebration - Saturday, October 20th
Mark your calenders and join us October 20th, at 3 o'clock, for the last of our seasonal celebrations this year. We'll have plenty of pumpkins for everyone to take a few home in preparation for Halloween. As is customary, we will walk the farm together, while enjoying the wonderful music and lyrics of fellow CSA members Doug, Larry and Steve from the Banana Slug String Band. We hope to harvest honey again with Steve Demkowski from his hives here on the farm, and the kids will have fun pressing fresh apple cider; we will carve pumpkins, bake bread, and light a "small" bon-fire to keep us warm when the sun sets.
All we ask is that you bring a dish to share for our potluck, and of course don't forget a blanket and some warm clothes. Hope to see you all here on the farm! - Tom
PS from Debbie: as always, we encourage you to bring your own plates and utensils, cloth napkins... even cups for cider, in order to minimize the unrecyclable waste of paper plates and such going into the landfill. Thanks!
What's in the box this week
Content differences between Family and Small
Shares are in red; items with a "+" in
Family Shares are more in quantity than in Small; anticipated quantities, if
any, are in parentheses. Occasionally the content will differ from
this list (i.e. we will make a substitution), but we do
our best to give you an accurate projection.
Green beans +
Red mustard greens
Apples and pears
NOTE: no strawberries with Family Share
Mystery item (mei qing choi, summer squash or eggplant)
Apples and pears
NOTE: no strawberries with Small Share
Extra Fruit Option: Apples, pears and Concord grapes
"Strawberry Bounty" Option: last week of the "bounty" option! 3-4 baskets
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Click here to go to my extensive
recipe database, spanning 10 years of CSA recipes and alphabetized
by key ingredient. Includes photos of most farm veggies; helpful for
ID-ing things in your box!
Sorry I don't have any new recipes for you this week, but you'll be happy to know that I'm spending my time on your behalf: setting up for Winter Share and Early Registration! We're getting nothing new this week, so if you're looking for cooking inspiration, head to the recipe database. - Debbie
Calendar of Events
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Fall Harvest Celebration
Saturday October 20th, 3pm until dark