News, 9-27-10

And then the rain stopped.  I have got to stop writing things like, “We have been fortunate this year with the rain.”   It has now been almost six weeks since our last ½ inch.  In addition, we have broken several more temperature records, including most days in a year above 90 degrees.  These are not the kind of records that inspire celebration, and this is why it is foolish for a produce farmer not to have irrigation.

A good bit of farming news was unearthed recently.  For months we watch sweet potato vines run wild aboveground and wonder what lies beneath.  Well, this year it’s a great wealth of beautiful potatoes.  While last Fall we struggled to fork the roots out of a muddy mess and lost many to rot, this time around the struggle is to wrest them from nearly impenetrable, hard soil.  Thankfully, sweet potatoes prefer the hot and dry and have really outdone themselves.  Expect plenty from here on out.

The die has been cast for this season.  At this point our attention really starts to turn to Winter and next year (not to mention the rolicking lifeform in Courtney’s belly!).  It is time to make sure we have ample firewood for the cold season to come, to get next year’s garlic crop planted, and finally (please) to say goodbye to the stupid heat.  This Winter will obviously be quite different than any before for us.  I look forward to napping and waking day and night like a newborn.  It has always been exciting in the past to welcome in a new batch of beeping chicks in the dead of winter; how much more thrilling the arrival of the precious being to soon join our life!


Seeds of Hope

At a time when the world seems woefully won over to greed, to getting and spending, when we appear to be working intentionally to make our climate uninhabitable, when we prefer concrete shopping mall parking lots to life-giving soil, it is so importantly refreshing to have hopeful moments like our Autumnal Equinox potluck.  I am convinced that the end product of a truly good CSA is not food.  It is relationships.

Although the rhythms and workings of farming satisfy my soul, I do not think I could make it as a vegetable wholesaler, shipping produce off to anonymous markets.  What sustains me are the children joyfully exclaiming at roots dug from the earth, seeing very familiar vegetables on friends’ kitchen counters, sharing hot and cold, bug-ridden and ideal, high and low with kindred spirits in the field.  Economists cannot put a price on the profitability of a loving community.

Hurtling headlong for the future, we forget where we came from, who and what and why we are.  Swept away in the glitzy bustle, we accept that cheap food comes from shiny stores, water from ever-flowing faucets, and energy from quiet outlets.  The source of things can seem to be our own ingenuity and technological prowess.  And while this all-too-trying Summer nearly pasteurized the idealism right out of me, on a beautiful Fall afternoon the point of all this toiling was crystallized for me: right relationships are being restored.

Yes, our world is sick. The ailments are too numerous to enumerate.  Congress will not pass an answer (though they pass more methane than all the cattle on Earth ever will).  Doctors will not dispense the cure (though they will surely prescribe).  I believe our hope lies in us banding together in our communities, caring for one another, sharing the life and love (and food) that is worth living and giving.  I am hardly an optimist, but who could be a defeatist who experiences community in its richest form?

Greed steals the headlines and usurps our common wealth of air, water, earth.  But we know all too well now that the romantic promises of luxury and convenience were a hoax; we are less happy, less harmonious, less healthful.  We know that multivitamin pills cannot compete with sweet potatoes, that online “friends” cannot give warm embraces, that we do not improve mountains by blowing them up, pushing them into streams and making them golf courses.  We know we need what is real.

And so the chard may have holes in it, the tomato may have a small split, and dirt may cling to the carrot.  They might be unappealing to the supermarket since they obviously lived their lives outside.  You may get more of this or less of that than you would choose at the market.  But you know us.  You know we are not poisoning our watershed or stuffing chickens in torture cages.  You know we are not trying to drive our fellow farmers off their land, buying low and selling high, or experimenting with strange genetically modified organisms to maximize profit  Without a doubt it is time for a new economy based on trust, relationship, and reverence for life.  We are in this together, and that to me is reason for hope.

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