Echo Bend CSA Harvest Season 2011, August 10

“Over the last decade our country has lost an average of 300 farms a week. Large or small, each of those was the lifes work of a real person or family, people who built their lives around a promise and watched it break.”
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)
In the lush abundance of the Echo Bend garden tonight, I was awash with gratitude to those of you who are choosing to support this small farm — to help it begin and grow and gain a foothold, literally — in the earth — and, figuratively — in the community.  I know that preparing meals with fresh ingredients, some of which may be entirely new to you, is a commitment of time and energy. I thank you. I salute you for what you are doing for your bodies, your family, your environment, and this farm.
I also hope that you are enjoying the bounty.
“Households that have lost the soul of cooking from their routines may not know what they are missing: the song of a stir-fry sizzle, the small talk of clinking measuring spoons, the yeasty scent of rising dough, the painting of flavors onto a pizza before it slides into the oven.”
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)
If you have spent much time with me, you’ve heard me talk about how much the above Kingsolver book, along with a few other key treatises on food and the food industry in our country, helped to shape my current direction in life. One of my favorite quotes, though, that best explains why I expend so much time, sweat, tears, and, yes, sometimes blood, in my farming work, is from a different Kingsolver tome:
“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.”
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal Dreams)
I’m living inside my hope that small family farms can survive, even thrive, again. Will I ever make money at it?  I don’t know. Maybe, quite probably, no, but I’m living my passion. Coworkers today at Benzie Shores District Library said that they believe it takes someone with a big heart and bravery to do what we are doing here at Echo Bend. In my case, I sure hope it is that and not just stupidity!
Okay, enough philosophizing. Here are the tangible, physical outputs from the Echo Bend Garden this week:
  • arugula
  • beans, Blue Lake Bush Bean and Yellow Pencil Pod
  • baby carrots, Nantes
  • cucumbers, American Slicing and Asian Long
  • garlic, Pyong Ylang (rich, sweet flavor when roasted. Mild heat raw.)
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • napa cabbage
  • onions, Sweet Copra or Cabernet Red
  • peppers, sweet green California Wonder
  • potatoes, Yukon Gold
  • yellow summer squash
  • tomatoes — a mix of Sungold  and Sweet 100 grape; Stupice;  Silvery Fir Tree; Opalka (heart shape); some of you might spy a Cherokee Purple or Green Zebra…
  • zucchini
If the colors, smells, and tastes don’t inspire you to create your own fritatta, chopped salad, or sandwich, try out one of these recipes:
Arugula Pesto Wheat Berry Salad  (can just make the arugula pesto and swirl it into your gazpacho, spread on a tomato and cheese sandwich, add vinegar and toss with salad, slather on a slice of our toasted baguettes, toss with pasta, greens beans, and tomato and potato chunks…)
Some of you will be getting one of the last of the Echo Bend roasting chickens this weekend. I don’t know about you, but I plan on making an herb-laced chicken salad and stuffing some of those vibrantly-tomatoey ripe tomatoes with it. Healthy decadence. Gotta love that!
Next week — a tribute to tomatoes and basil. Consider ordering some ciabatta bread or pizza dough to go with your share basket in order to make a caprese sandwich, panzanella salad, or margherita pizza.  (I’ll share recipes next week!)
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