Winter Blessings

More food to be had
I was glad to see so many people stock up for the Winter last week. Hopefully all of your freezers and pantries are packed and you are prepared for a Winter of local produce. But if you would be interested in another delivery of veggies in the next few weeks, please let us know. The greens are still going strong, the roots will be harvestable until the ground is frozen, and sweet potatoes, onions and garlic are all plentiful in storage. If you need more, you know where it’s at.

Feedback welcomed
We do not do a formal survey, but we do want to hear your criticism. What can this CSA do better? If you will not be returning next year, why not? If you will be, why? What did you want more and what did want less of? What other things would you most like to see in your share? We want you to help us evolve.

2011 is in the history books
Twenty-five weeks later, we have come to the end of another CSA season. While to many of us another season, another year has passed like so many before, to some of us (like Clark), this first time around has revealed a whole, exciting new world. We hope newcomers and oldtimers alike have found something nourishing in this process, something to grow on and seek more of, something deliciously enriching, something dignifying and mysterious, connecting, anew or all over again. Clark is 10 days from 1-year old. From the NICU to home to the great green outside world, it has been a wild and revolutionary year, here and at large as well. Although we are sometimes too busy to think it, we are immeasurably blessed by a bounteous world of love and generosity; our bushels are full.

Despite—perhaps in part because—of its unavoidable challenges, farming is wonderful work; it is grounding and elevating at the same time, humbling and rewarding, exhausting and exhilarating. We are not quite capable of setting up camp in town, but many of us are Occupy Turners Station and Occupy Bedford, standing for what we stand on, as Wendell Berry might say. These spaces, to our dying day, we will not concede our lives, seeds, and earth to the industrial exploiters. Wall Street would have us sacrifice our farm for maximum short-term bushels of corn, to be internationally speculated upon. Small farmers survive because billions of dollars cannot buy an ounce of homegrown beauty; flavor is not a fad; stewarding a sacred space is an ancient art. The love for working the earth is DNA-deep.
Yes, times are hard. I wonder often, with some apprehension, what kind of world Clark will live to see. The climate scientists’ predictions of more common and more ferocious “natural” disasters haunts my hopes. But I am emboldened and encouraged by this community we belong to. The sum of our small, daily, unnoticed actions, it seems to me, is huge. If we are to preserve this planet for our progeny, we will owe it to rediscovering those connections that bind us, to caring where our things come from, to valuing the who and how of the work that keeps us alive. It is when our relationships become too removed and abstract that young children die crossing the desert to get to a sweatshop farm to produce disease-causing cantaloupes. I believe this CSA is good medicine. Thanks for your commitment to simplicity and directness.

Thanks all around
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Child-rearing is sleep deprivation. Therefore….No, it’s not that bad, but we have wearily wobbled a number of days. Farming is more than a full-time job, teaching public high school is more than a full-time job, and caring for a baby is a full-time job. So, we get by with a lot of help from our friends and family. A Place on Earth is a community effort. So many thanks to go around:
Thanks to our parents for giving Clark the best care on Tuesdays and Fridays, for feeding the famished troops and us, for calming conversation and grandparental jubilation. Thanks to John Bruggman for the best work-ethic and friend-ethic, for pure generosity and the art of pie-making. Thanks to Phyllis Fitzgerald for the full fount of wisdom, for thriftiness and conscientiousness, for unlocking the simple magic of food and flavors. Thanks to Molly and Don Brewer for loving us, for two early cheerful “good mornings” a week, for bringing the farm to the city. Thanks to Stan, Maria, Ben, Jonna, Ronnie, Carole and Susan for being a fabulous farm family, bringing laughter, determination and comraderie to the table every week. Thanks to each and every one of you, who respectfully and cherishingly share of our spread. We are each other’s angels, and we keep each other going.

Ronnie’s word
For the last word on 2011, we turn to the new word of 2012. Ronnie Hager finished his working share this year and decided he wanted more. He will live out here with his fiancé next year and will be our first intern. Ronnie is a good worker and a refreshing voice of optimism. We are very excited about the possibilities their presence produces.

Ronnie and Lori

I had grand visions before I began my first ever work share. Pulling weeds, picking veggies, digging holes in all types of weather seemed like distant, opaque reality when I thought of my future weekly trips to the farm. You see, I’m a struggling idealistic optimist of the naive sort, so thoughts of the realistic details of the “drudging” farm work were hard for me to palpate. Instead, I had visions of meeting good friends rooted in wholesome ideas, the experiential knowledge of the work behind my meals, and the feeling of the rhythm of those two things in motion.
Now it’s the end of our season. Of my weeks spent in A Place on Earth, I can undoubtedly say that I got all that I wanted from it; and then some. What surprised me was the difference in the palpation of my memories when I look back. Any memories of the “drudging” work is a distant and opaque; a shadow of the in-my-face memories of friends, knowledge, and the rhythm.
With a better first hand understanding of the big picture of organic farming I was happily able to confirm my belief that this really is the way our society should go forward with food. Organic CSA could economically support rural areas, feed cities, and do it all so that the next generation has better earth to live on. And eat from. It’s honest, intelligent, and the work actually relieved my back pain a couple times, so it’s healthy to do farm work. [Editor’s note: Farming may not solve your back problems.]
I feel grateful for Carden & Courtney to allow me to work with them and invite me into their home for lunch so many times. I’m personally proud of the experience. The food and work was refreshing and nutritious.


Y’all come back
The work of course never ends. The next big task is mulching the garlic. It’s time now to procure next Winter’s firewood. Seed orders need to go in. Soon enough the greenhouse will be back in action. Hope you are as eager as we are.
Carden, Courtney, and Clark

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