Good morning everyone!
My apologies for the delay in emailing this week. We're just getting into this back-to-school rhythm and trying to take full advantage of these last few perfectly crystalline sunny days. Today, the whole farm is getting watered and I'm in love! What a glorious time of year, with the birdsong and the smell of wet earth, and the fresh carpets of green and the ever-present cornucopia of Autumn's textures, flavors, and sweets. We've just about finished all of our Fall field plantings, and now it's time to begin transitioning the last of our tunnel beds for the Late Fall and Overwinter production. This week marks CSA #15, and in my opinion, we're right in the groove - moving through the last of the summer haul while looking ahead to a most succulent and crispy cool season.
If you haven't already (or if you would like to again), please take advantage of the bulk items on offer. This is very likely the last big tomato week, and we are also almost done digging and storing potatoes. Before they get stacked and buried in the cooler, we'd like to offer a number of bulk, unwashed potato boxes (40#) at a discounted price to members only. Also, the basil is still glorious, and so some large pesto bags are on the table. Likewise, Jimmy Nardello peppers (which you can roast and freeze in easily used zip-loc portions) are a staple in our Winter freezer. There's nothing like roasted peppers to brighten a hearty meal in the deep of winter.
So many goodies to mention, but I'll just end with a couple more highlights. Sweet bulb fennel is an understated treat, sliced thinly and sautéed with other veggies (peppers, onions) and tossed with pasta, or as a base for a rich fall soup. The subtle, complex notes of bulb fennel are like no other flavor. It has earned a permanent place in our pantheon, and I always tell people it's a not-so-secret secret ingredient. It is also incredible sliced into spears as a quick refrigerator pickle, for salads or snacking. Yum!
And last but not least, fresh GINGER has returned. This special crop has been lovingly tended since early March, when we received seed from Hawaii, sprouted the pieces in the greenhouse in trays on heat mats, and then planted out the young shoots into shallow trenches in the high tunnel, where we've been weeding, watering, and feeding them for close to four months. Now, the "hands" that we dig from these beds will find their way into teas and curries and most likely into our freezer for use all winter. As many of you probably know, ginger is a very warming root, great for digestion and circulation. It's a flavor that we can't live without, and it's such a privilege to grow some here in Oregon. And if you've never had fresh ginger before, you're in for a treat! Not only is is stunningly beautiful, it's full of aromatics and moisture. Amazing for juicing, simple syrups, etc, but of course it can be used as one uses cured ginger. Please note, it is best stored in the refrigerator for the short term, the freezer for the long term. It's so easy to grate frozen ginger for all manner of uses.
Yesterday afternoon, ahead of the rain, I spent some time harvesting Chimayo chili peppers. These are a labor of love, smoky and sweet and rich in flavor. I sat in front of the fireplace last night making ristras (traditional chili pepper hanging "braids") and thought about what it means to do useful things that bring us joy and create beauty in our life. So much of farming, on this small, personal, purposeful scale, can fall into that realm, where economic return is not the only measure of success, and perhaps not even the MOST important. We have a tendency to want to separate work and life, b/c it's important that we are valuing people's time appropriately (mine included). We often strive to approach crops and tasks and systems with a calculation that approximates "return on investment." But of course, this is a shallow assessment of work and livelihood, especially when we are fortunate to be doing something that feels magical, something that connects us to a deeper place and a deeper purpose. Those pepper ristras will never garner enough to pay a wage for all the space, time and labor required to create a braid. BUT, who cares right? I was content to sit and learn a skill in my comfortable, warm home while connecting with my beautiful partner, creating a useful piece of edible artwork. We'll enjoy these peppers for months to come, as a decoration, as an ingredient (powdered), and as a reminder of the sun's force and power. In this way, there is no price for some of our work, b/c it transcends all the calculations to just become an essential part of our life, and of our gratitude. I read once that some ancient cultures had no word for "work", because life was built around doing the things that were essential, necessary, and beautiful. If we can find peace in those measures, I think we are moving closer to the root of our worth. This is not to say we don't need to be economically viable to succeed. Of course we do, and thank you all for your part in that too. But just know that it's not the only thing that we are striving for in the world. It might even go without saying that if it were, we probably wouldn't have made it this far. ;)
Much Love and Appreciation,
Conner + Sarah