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Mainely Tipping Points

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Turkey Tracks:

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Turkey Tracks:  October 14, 2014

“My Salad”

 

We got a bag of mixed lettuce from our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) farm, Hope’s Edge, last Friday.

Located just west of me, the farm has had some heavy frosts–though our yo-yo weather continues and today is nearly 70!

So, the lettuce was a welcome treat in our weekly share.  This lettuce has…survived.

When one tries to eat within the seasons, lettuce runs out in the fall.  I personally switch to lacto-fermented foods, like sauerkraut, when the lettuce runs out.  I am so not a fan of the lettuce that gets shipped in here from California in plastic boxes.  That lettuce has been gassed and is very old–like about 18 days old.  Whatever zip was in it is long gone.

I’ve been savoring my bag of lettuce–knowing that the cukes, the tomatoes, the celery are all nearing the end of their days.

Here’s another poem from Jeanine Gervais, who seems to be in a creative mood these days.  She’s eating, likely, what’s left in her garden these days.

My Salad

A Zen Buddhist monk book says

to practice

living

in the moment

say,

“I am washing the dishes

to wash the dishes”

and so I eat my salad

to eat my salad

15 seeds

in tiny halved cherry tomato

raspberry dressing

a pink blanket

covers green leaves

speckled by black pepper polka dots

the white of sliced

radishes

edged

in magenta

a still frame

captured.

By Jeanine H. Gervais

October 11, 2014

Written by louisaenright

October 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Turkey Tracks: CSA Bounty

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Turkey Tracks:  July 19, 2014

CSA Bounty

 

My CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is Hope’s Edge, in Hope, Maine.

My pickup is on Friday, which was  yesterday.

Friend Giovanna McCarthy picked up for me as I spent the day on Vinalhaven Island (an hour ferry’s ride away) with my book club.

So, I came home to two large sacks in the garage refrigerator that include a gorgeous fennel bulb, lots of greens, peas, spring onions, herbs, broccoli, and on and on.

It was…a haul.

So, I spent this morning processing food.

Jennifer McGruther of THE NOURISHED KITCHEN in a recent blog post noted that when she has a glut of greens, she dries them in the dehydrator and pulverizes them to green dust in her food processor and stores them in jars.  She adds the “green dust” to soups and stews at will.  I really liked that idea.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

So, my greens are upstairs drying out as we speak.  AHA!  It’s the inaugural summer use of the dehydrator, which runs day and night in August and September.  I took the lid off so you can see.  I’m drying kale and beet greens.

IMG_0348

 

I used the chard leaves and a lot of the CSA produce in a summer soup–whose base is a VERY rich turkey bone broth.  I wrangled my 23-pound Thanksgiving turkey for two whole days this week, which freed up needed freezer space and produced a lot of cooked meat.  (The cooked drumsticks I refroze and will use them to build more bone broth AND some delicious dark meat for a soup/stew.)  The turkey came from Golden Brook Farm, owned by Susan McBride and Chris Richmond.

Here’s the soup.  I ate it for lunch, and it was so delicious.  It has the turkey bone broth, garlic scapes, onions, carrots, the fennel bulb, wintered-over potatoes, a handful of small broccoli crowns from the garden, celery, dried cherry tomatoes from last summer, fresh herbs–and that’s all I can remember.  I stir the chard leaves in at the last minute.  And I used the turkey fat on top of the jars of broth to sauté the veggies.  The only thing from “away” was the celery.

IMG_0349

Jennifer McGruther in THE NOURISHED KITCHEN has a terrific recipe (or so it looks) for fermenting chard stems.  So, I tried it, but added, also, the beet green stems to fill out the jar.  She uses a savory pickling mixture and has what looks to be a lovely combination in the book.  I didn’t have all the spices at the seed/whole level, so fell back on a pickling mixture I already had.

IMG_0350

In one of the fermented mixtures I’m eating now–that I put up last fall–I put in some whole tatsoi/baby bokchoi leaves with their stems.  They are delicious–the stems are crunchy and lovely, so I have no doubt that these stems I did today will be fun.

Thanks, again, Jennifer.

Turkey Tracks: My Bowl Runneth Over

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Turkey Tracks:  June 29, 2014

My Bowl Runneth Over

My strawberries are coming in!

Here’s the first day’s pick–Friday.  Something over two quarts.  The bowl is large.

These berries are, if I remember right, called “Sparkle” and are renowned for their taste.

image

 

The second day was even bigger.  I took a bigger bowl out to the garden.  Got around three quarts.

IMG_0323

 

Today, Sunday, a smaller pick, but the berries are still large, and the bushes are loaded with developing strawberries that are still green.

IMG_0324

I also cut the garlic scapes (delicious!) and will make a soup with them.  I made a chicken bone broth over the past two days.  And, I picked the heads off of each of the broccoli plants–now they will bush out and grow more heads.  Or so I hope.

Our first CSA pickup out at Hope’s Edge was last Friday.  We got the loveliest sack full of lettuce, greens, herbs, green onions AND three pounds of wintered-over potatoes–a tasty treat.  Get out the duck fat for frying some up!

It’s swimming HOT today.  But not so humid.  It’s the first solid summer heat we’ve had.

Yeah Summer!

Written by louisaenright

June 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: August Dinner

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Turkey Tracks:  August 25, 2013

August Dinner

On Friday I pick up my produce from my CSA (Community Shared Agriculture).  We CSA members are now at the point where we are getting A LOT of food.  As I put away the food, I isolated these ingredients for my supper.

I LOVE Romano green beans.  They are my favorites.  (Well, ok, I like the haricot verts, too.  And the Dragon’s Tongue.  And the Providers.)  After the CSA, I came home and made a fresh bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich–on gluten free bread–Sami’s–and saved the bacon grease.  Lard is really good for you, actually.  By keeping the grease on the stove from lunch to dinner, I was creating an asset to use later.

That purple veggie is a kolhrabi.  They also come in green.  They’re good grated or sliced thinly and sautéed.  They’re nice, too, diced and thrown into a lighter summer veggie soup.

Aug. 2013 dinner 11

First, I cut up the eggplant, put it into a colander over a bowl, and salted it.

Next, I made a fresh salad–made by grating the kohlrabi and some of these tender new carrots.  I added in some corn I took off the cob a few days ago–I always cook extra corn and reserve the kernels for salads this time of year.  Again, that’s creating an asset for later.  I shaved in some parsley.  And over it all, I poured a mustardy, garlicky vinaigrette.  I keep that kind of salad dressing all made out on the counter–where it just gets better and better.  It’s another asset.  The salad went into the frig to mellow out.  (It is good for several days.)

Aug. 2013 dinner, 2 Carrot, corn, kohlrabi, parsley mustardy garlic dressing

Next, I washed and snapped the Romano beans and put them into a saucepan with some of the bacon grease, water, and some salt.  I wanted them “Southern Style”–or cooked until soft.

aug. dinner 5

Then, I cut up all my lovely vegetables and put them into the cast-iron skillet where I fried the bacon.  i also added a lump of unrefined coconut oil, which is so, so good for you and very, very stable–unlike frying with olive oil.  (I reserve olive oil now mostly for eating on salads.)

Aug. dinner 3

What you see in this pan is the following:  the eggplant, the fresh onion, yellow squash, zucchini squash, some fava beans i soaked in salted water and peeled (assets, yes, bukt boy are they a lot of work), and some sliced new potatoes.  Add some good sea salt.

When the veggies had cooked down a bit, I added the tomato and some basil, some chive, and some mint from the garden.  Maybe some tarragon, too.  (An herb garden is a major asset.) I don’t know what it is about mint in this kind of dish, but it’s delicious.  See the color developing?

Aug. dinner 6

It’s your call as to when you think the dish is ready.  Here’s how far I took this batch–and the flavor was deep and rich and gorgeous.  I shaved in some parsley to finish it.

aug. dinner 7

Meanwhile, I had put chicken thighs into the oven–dressed with butter and lemon slices.

Aug. dinner 9

When the chicken was done–I poured myself a glass of orange/cucumber/lemon/rosemary infused water.  (You can see I need to make more sauerkraut–which is chock full of enzymes and probiotics.  I try to eat a little every day of one of these lacto-fermented veggie concoctions.)

Aug. dinner 8

And here’s my plate of beautiful, beautiful summer food:

aug. 2013 dinner 12

I should have added one of the lacto-fermented dill pickles i just took out of the crock and refrigerated.  The roasted lemon slices carmelize, become sweet, and are delicious.

Best of all, I will have at least two meals to reheat and enjoy–or some fun foods to have for lunch.

And, look, folks.  Not a recipe in sight.  This kind of cooking is my most favorite.  You cook, simply, what is in season because that’s all you need to do.  The fresh, wonderful food will do the rest for you.

Written by louisaenright

August 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Turkey Tracks: Current Projects

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Turkey Tracks:  April 6, 2013

Current Projects

Spring is on the move, but we’ve had a chilly, if sunny, week.

One of my current projects is to practice taking more videos in order to learn what works and what doesn’t.  I erased quite a few for various reasons.  One reason is that it is very hard to hold the cameras steady.  Here’s one of the Camden Harbor at low tide, with the spring-full river pouring into it.  At high tide, the water would rise to a foot or two below the docks.  The wind is high and the noise of it and of the river interferes a bit with what I’m saying.

It’s elver season, and people trap them at the mouths of rivers–as near as I can determine.  Elvers are little eels that fetch the most astonishing prices per pound.  These little guys are sold alive to the Japanese, mostly, who then raise them to be much bigger before eating them.

Have you ever eaten eel?  It’s delicious actually.  You could try it in a sushi restaurant.  It’s cooked with a sweet sauce of some sort.

Anyway, here’s the video:

I’ve almost finished a pair of socks for my sister-in-law, Maryann Enright.  She chose the yarn just before John died.  We had a nice visit one day around early December to our newest yarn shop in Rockland, Maine, called Over The Rainbow.  It’s a fabulous yarn shop, and we are so lucky to have it.  I think these socks might be a bit wilder than Maryann imagined, but she will rise to the occasion with them.  The yarn does not have black in it, but deep navy and dark plum and a tiny bit of dark brown.

Maryann's socks

I am working on an applique quilt made with big blocks of green turtles.  I have not done any applique in some time and am very slow at it, so I refreshed my skills (ha! that’s a joke) with this little Easter Card for Maryann–in a class at Coastal Quilters taught by Barb Melchiskey, who is a master appliquer.  If I were doing this card again, I’d chose either a colored card or a colored background.  The two whites aren’t working so well together, and I don’t like the lines running away from the eggs.  But the eggs!  Ah, the eggs.  Perfect for this very eggy household.

Egg Applique

The turtle applique quilt will get a lot of quilting to bring out texture in the blocks–on the domestic machine.  But, here’s one block ready to go.  Now I need to do more.  I have not decided whether to do 6 or 9 blocks…

Green Turtle block

What is really drawing me is the scrap quilt taking shape on the design wall.  This one calls me from other rooms to work on it.  I have fallen in love with Bonnie Hunter and ALL of her books:  LEADERS AND ENDERS, SCRAPS AND SHIRTTAILS I AND II, and STRING FLING.  She embodies the kind of work I love best to do–make functional quilts that people can curl up under or into and use as much of the stash fabrics as possible.

Bonnie’s motto is reuse, repurpose, recycle.  She has a monthly column in QUILTMAKERS and her web site is awesome.  There must be 50 free quilting patterns on that web site.  She’s coming in May to our state guild, Pine Tree Quilting Guild, on May 5th, and I will be there to see her quilts and meet her, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

Bonnie Hunter also promotes Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s new book:  15 MINUTES OF PLAY , which is so much fun.  Both Hunger and Wolfe are having way too much fun with their quilts, and both employ string piecing methods to great advantage and fun in their quilts.

Anyway, Hunter uses a method that I really like.  She cuts any pieces of fabric in her stash smaller than a fat quarter, or at the biggest, a half yard, into strips:  3 1/2 inches, 2 1/2 inches, 2 inches, 1 1/2 inches.  (I also cut 5 inches as I have rather a lot of those now and want to make a broken dishes block with them.)  These measurements work well together.  She divides these strips into light and dark piles.  When she starts a project, she’s already done a lot of cutting.  And she can cut the strips further down with rulers, like the Easy Angle ruler, into the shapes she wants.  (She also likes the Tri Rec ruler set.)  I’ve been using the Easy Angle ruler, and it makes PERFECT half square triangles, as long as you have an accurate 1/4 inch sewed seam.

This quilt started using Bonnie’s method described in LEADERS AND ENDERS, where you keep a basket next to your machine with some block parts in it–like two-inch squares.  When you would need to cut thread on another project, instead, you just feed a light and dark set of squares through the machine and cut off the piece you wanted to free on the back side of the needle.   In no time, you have a pile of sets of two squares sewn together.  You can finger press those and sew them to another set for a four-square–and so on.

Well!

Here’s what happened in short order at my sewing machine–the idea came from Hunter’s LEADERS AND ENDERS.  And it’s putting a real hurt on my green stash fabrics!!!!  I’m no longer just piecing squares  through the machine while working on another project.  I’m making time to make as many blocks as I can.

Quilt in Progress

Here’s the block:  a form of a Jacob’s Ladder block, depending on where you locate the dark and light of the half-square triangles.

Quilt block

I iron the half-square triangle blocks along the way, but I don’t iron the whole block until I’ve finished it.  I’ve had to trim up very, very few of them.  All have been a bit too big–with stretching from ironing mostly I think.  None have been too small.  Most are perfect.

The squares quickly overflowed from the basket as I cut into my stash.

Quilt squares

The basket got filled with half-square triangle pieces:

Quilt triangles

And I have a pile of strips all cut and ready to be cut further–and separated by value–so Bonnie is right that just a bit of cutting each day delivers a lot of sewing for days to come.  She also says that she groups medium and dark values together and relies on the REALLY light fabrics to create contrast in a quilt like this one.

Quilt strips

I finished and mailed a beautiful quilt for a beautiful bride, Ashley Malphrus, who will be married in Charleston later this month.  I will put up pictures when I get home from Charleston, and the bride has seen the quilt.  But I am delighted with it.

So, I will leave you with this picture:  the last bouquet of flowers from our CSA, Hope’s Edge, last summer.  Those days are coming around again.  Look at all that green in the windows.

Hope's Edge, last boquet, Sept. 2012

Interesting Information: CSA Time

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Interesting Information:  March 8, 2012

CSA Time

 Two of my nieces are well into finding and eating local foods.

Here’s a recent message from niece Lauren Howser Black about buying into a local CSA, or Community Shared Agriculture:

We are pretty sure we’re going to join our friend’s CSA this summer. They are Mennonite and farm a pretty big piece of land. We met them through our local farmer’s market where they sell wonderful, organic produce. It runs from June-October and we can get a box each week. I really like the idea of trying to eat what’s currently in season, as I have never done that before. They grow everything from greens, varieties of herbs, peas, beans, squash, tomatoes, melons, raspberries, root vegetables, etc. I also love the idea of supporting local farmer’s. When I pick up our basket this summer from them at the farmer’s market, I can also purchase local eggs, cheese, and meats. Our goal is to find ways to cook and enjoy whatever we get in our weekly basket, even if we’ve never had it before. We’re excited to try this out. 

Lauren’s sister Nancy Howser Gardner is also doing some sort of CSA.  She put a picture of a gorgeous basket of food on Facebook the other day.

Our CSA is Hope’s Edge, which starts up here in Maine in mid-June.  We’ve belonged for about 7 years now, and I can’t imagine summer without going out to the farm each week and collecting our beautiful, healthy, organic, fresh food.  Hope’s Edge has never failed us, no matter the weather conditions.  Farmer Tom is a member of our greater family!

A Community Shared Agriculture program asks you to give them a set amount of money yearly.  We give Farmer Tom a little of our half-share costs in the fall, so he can buy seeds, supplies, and so forth.  We give him the rest in the early spring.  And we get a bounteous amount of food in return.  The only risk is if the weather or some other growing condition affects some of the crops, you don’t get that piece of the harvest for that year.  It’s always worked out for us.

This year we’re also doing a local cheese CSA, which will be picked up at Hope’s Edge on our pick-up day–Appleton Creamery.

And, we’re continuing with Cheryl Wixson’s CSA, which contains ready-to-use organic products that are so fun to have in the kitchen.  You can see blog entries on Wixson’s kitchen elsewhere here.

My wish for you today is that you find and support a local CSA or a local farmer’s market this year. 

Written by louisaenright

March 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

Turkey Tracks: Love Lies Bleeding: Hope’s Edge Flowers

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Turkey Tracks:  September 2, 2011

Love Lies Bleeding:  Hope’s Edge Flowers

Today is Friday, and on Friday’s I got out to Hope’s Edge, our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) farm,  to pick up our food.  I take a Mason jar and a pair of scissors along with me and cut a bouquet of flowers from the three long rows of flowers Farmer Tom plants for us each year.  I can fill the jar with water so the flowers don’t wilt hopelessly on the way home.

How pretty is this view?  Not even Hurricane Irene diminished this view.

Each week the selection of flowers changes as different varieties come into their own.

Here’s a bouquet from a few weeks ago.  Outrageous, huh?

That amazing dark pink draping “flower” is called Love Lies Bleeding.

Here’s last week’s bouquet:

And, here’s a picture John took on a recent visit that I really like:

Hope’s Edge folks are hard-working folks who raise the most amazing food for us to eat!  We are so blessed!

I wish for you a CSA program like Hope’s Edge.

Written by louisaenright

September 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Turkey Tracks: Blueberry Buckle

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Turkey Tracks:  July 24, 2011

Blueberry Buckle

We’re still making desserts this summer from recipes in RUSTIC FRUIT DESSERTS, Julie Richardson and Cory Schreiber:  http://www.amazon.com/Rustic-Fruit-Desserts-Crumbles-Pandowdies/dp/1580089763.   (A book suggested by Tara Derr.)  We freeze about 20 pounds of ORGANIC wild Maine blueberries every August, which our wonderful CSA, Hope’s Edge, makes available to us.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had wild Maine blueberries.  They are much smaller than the big round ones most people can get in supermarkets.  And, they’re chock full of flavor.  Once you’ve had these little guys, the big blueberries seem utterly tasteless.  So, be warned!

Now, the “wild” Maine blueberries are anything but wild.  Yes, there are some wild blueberries at the edges of our woods.  But, commercial wild blueberries are a wild myth!  They’re heavily cultivated, actually.  And in the harvest year, which is every other year, the commercial (as in NOT organic) are heavily sprayed with all sorts of heinous and poisonous pesticides and herbicides that get into the watershed (atrazine compounds)–in Maine we have a LOT of watershed–just take a look at a map of  Maine–and that stay in the ground for up to 175 days, like the organophosphates often used as pesticides.  Organophosphates attack an insect’s nervous system.  And it remains a mystery to me why people think a compound that attacks nervous systems is NOT going to affect THEIR nervous systems–especially when it hangs around for 175 days on the ground, gets tracked into homes on shoes and clothes, and when it, often, gets INTO the plants and berries themselves and CANNOT be washed out.

Many of these chemicals kill bees and any other insect that gets in the spray, which, in turn, affects the bird population.  But, since commercial bees (poor things) are trucked in from across the country to pollinate the crop BEFORE it is sprayed, it’s our LOCAL bees and hives that are at risk.  (How dumb is that?)    And, many of these chemicals affect a human’s endocrine system (read reproductive ability), cause birth defects, cancer, and so on.  (How doubly dumb is that?)  The EPA is going to render a new verdict on atrazine in the near future, and it’s already been banned in Europe.

So, if you want to try a “wild” Maine blueberry–for heaven’s sake–buy organic ones.  Or come up here and pick some yourself!

Anyway, since I usually make blueberry cobblers, making a blueberry buckle was an experiment.  So, far, it’s been voted the favorite dessert and has been repeated once more.  (It’s GREAT for breakfast too.)  It’s a rich cake, studded with blueberries and lemon, topped with a crunchy crumb topping, and drizzled with an intense lemon glaze when it’s still warm.  Here’s a picture:

Here’s a better one!

Mainely Tipping Points 27: Sprouting Awareness, Growing Change

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Mainely Tipping Points 27

SPROUTING AWARENESS:  GROWING CHANGE

 Up on Howe Hill, the paths around our house are banked by shoulder high snow.  Nevertheless, spring is coming.  Daylight is growing longer day by day and will bring an end to the quiet stillness of winter.  Sprouts will soon appear and will grow into a new covering for the earth and into new food for us to eat.  Babies will be born who will replace their parents eventually.  These seasonal cycles nourish the earth and its creatures endlessly. 

Sometimes, ideas that organize society, or paradigms, recede, like green life in winter. Now, the unsustainable market economy paradigm is breaking apart even as its proponents try to intensify their grip on it.  This paradigm is extractive, and we are running out of what can be extracted.  There are limits to what the earth can provide, and we have reached them.  There are only so many mountaintops that can be removed and dumped into valleys, only so many nutrients in the soil to be used before nature-dictated replenishment must occur, only so much oil and water to be pumped.

This exploitive paradigm is harming the earth and its creatures.  For instance, Greenpeace is circulating a petition claiming that this year one American will die every minute from cancer created by the known toxic chemicals allowed in so many of the products and foods we use or eat every day  (https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=787&s_src=taf&JServSessionIdr004=i4hx4u4rh1.app331a).  The President’s Cancer Panel released in April 2010 said 41 percent of people would be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, that children are especially at risk, and that our degraded environment is a key factor (http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/index.htm).  Wiki answers says 50 percent of us will get cancer in our lifetime (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_get_cancer_in_their_lifetime).  And, Sandra Steingraber, in LIVING DOWNSTREAM, published in 1997, or 14 years ago, explained that the incidence of cancer in the United States rose 49.3 percent between 1950 and 1991 and that cancer was the leading cause of death for Americans aged thirty-five to sixty-four (40).  Cancer striking between 40 and 50 percent of the population can only be called an epidemic. 

But, what new paradigm could emerge?  We could take part in the sprouting of something wonderfully sustainable, if we, first, sprout awareness of this moment, and, then, act positively out of that awareness.  We could, as a community, become part of growing an Associative Economy paradigm based on 21st Century agrarian values that build and sustain healthy land, healthy community, a healthy economy, and healthy people.  Cooperation, not competition, is a hallmark of this new paradigm. 

Steven McFadden’s THE CALL OF THE LAND:  An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century is a “sourcebook exploring positive pathways for food security, economic stability, environmental repair, and cultural renewal.”  McFadden lists and describes many of the individuals, organizations, and communities who are implementing models of how to live sustainably.  It’s comforting to realize that there are so many people “out there” who are working hard to make this new paradigm fully emerge.      

People are becoming Locavores, who buy food grown close to their homes; are turning their grass into vegetable gardens; are forming neighborhood cooperatives to share garden produce; are saving seeds; and are forming organizations to create change.  Communities across America are working to build regionally based, self-reliant food economies that include urban gardens, both public and private; Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) programs, including those which “share” products from multiple producers; food cooperatives, some of which are organized by farmers; school gardens and wholesome school lunch programs; land trusts that put willing young people on farms; and community commercial kitchens.  Counties across the country are creating self-reliant food systems within their borders; many of these are all organic.  In Maine, our regional coops and our small stores carrying local, often organic foods are, already, important hubs for this new paradigm as they are generating a local associative economy where farmers and consumers can meet daily on a common terrain.

McFadden, like Will Allen in THE WAR ON BUGS, addresses the justification myth created within the post World War II liaison of academia and agricultural and chemical corporations in order to foster industrial farming methods.  Termed the “green revolution,” this myth promised that it could feed the world and argued that small organic farms could not.  McFadden writes:  “But that argument has been proven wrong.  Nearly half the world’s food already comes from low-input farms of about one hectare (2.5 acres).  That scale can be worked efficiently and wisely, then progressively networked with modern technology.  Acre for acre, small, organic farms use less energy, create less pollution, offer more satisfying work, and produce more clean food from the land” (72).  McFadden notes that Iowa State University has established the nation’s first tenured organic agriculture faculty position and that some of the land grant schools are establishing sustainable agriculture programs (88).   

Paradigm change can begin with the choices we each make about what we eat.  Each choice we make is a vote.  We can vote for members of our own community, for access to clean food filled with nutrients, and for building community resilience that will support us in the, likely, difficult future we face.  Or, we can vote so that our dollars leave our community and enrich a few, already deep pockets.  We can vote for industrial food that is lacking nutrients, is grown with toxic chemicals, and that is tired and old from the polluting practice of being shipped across the country or across the world.  We are voting, then, for a splintered community where individuals have not built fully realized relationships with each other. 

Shannon Hayes, in RADICAL HOMEMAKERS, charts the historical progression that moved households from being centers of production standing alongside other such centers to being isolated units of consumption.  She discusses her family’s decision to not only question received cultural knowledge about how “to be” in the extractive economy, but to make changes that freed her family and gave it a more fully lived life—one with values strongly rooted in the health of the land.  She writes:  “What is our economy for?  Isn’t it supposed to serve everyone?  Are our families truly served by an economy where employees are overworked, where families do not have time to eat meals together, an economy that relentlessly gnaws at our dwindling ecological resources?  In David Korten’s words, a true, living economy `should be about making a living for everyone, rather than making a killing for a few lucky winners’“ (37).  (David Korten published AGENDA FOR A NEW ECONOMY in 2010 which is in my “to read” pile.) 

Shannon addresses the myth of local, organic food being unaffordable for any but the rich:  “…a farmers’ market meal made of roasted local pasture-raised chicken, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli cost less than four meals at Burger King, even when two of the meals came off the kiddie menu.  The Burger King meal had negligible nutritional value and was damaging to our health and planet.  The farmers’ market menu cost less, healed the earth, helped the local economy, was a source of bountiful nutrients for a family of four, and would leave ample leftovers for both a chicken salad and a rich chicken stock, which could then be the base for a wonderful soup.” (12).

McFadden, too, addresses this myth by quoting the legendary Vandana Shiva, physicist, environmental activist, and author:  “`The most important issue is to break the myth that safe, ecological, local, is a luxury only the rich can afford.  The planet cannot afford the additional burden of more carbon dioxide, more nitrogen oxide, more toxins in our food.  Our farmers cannot afford the economic burden of these useless toxic chemicals.  And our bodies cannot afford the bombardment of these chemicals anymore.’” (74)

Shannon makes a strong plea for restoring our lost democracy:  “When women and men choose to center their lives on their homes, creating strong family units and living in a way that honors our natural resources and local communities, they are doing more than dismantling the extractive economy and taking power away from the corporate plutocrats.  They are laying the foundation to re-democratize our society and heal our planet.  They are rebuilding the life-serving economy” (58). 

If you want to help build a sustainable, life-giving paradigm rooted in your local area, start with food.  First, insist on and buy local, organic food.  Consider joining a local CSA; shop at a local farmers’ market and at local stores carrying local food.  Second, begin asking for what you don’t find.  For me, it’s more local winter greens, please.  And, more winter farmers’ markets.  Third, buy foods in their seasons and learn to cook and to preserve some of them for the coming winter.  (Few things are as delicious in winter as tomato sauce spiked with garlic and basil, all taken from the garden on a hot August afternoon and cooked down in a bit of olive oil and frozen.)  Finally, every day, sit down and, together, eat the tasty, nourishing, clean food you have prepared.

Turkey Tracks: Hope’s Edge, Our Community Shared Agriculture Farm

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Turkey Tracks:  August 14, 2010  

Hope’s Edge:   Our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) Farm  

We’ve belonged to Hope’s Edge, our CSA farm, for at least five years now.  Our pick-up this year is on Friday, and I look forward all week to driving out to the farm.  It’s a beautiful, serene space.   

What’s cool about Hope’s Edge is that Farmer Tom does not own it.  The owner and her daughter live in the farmhouse, and they have allowed Tom to build a CSA and his own house on it.  There are horses, some rescue ponies, a milk cow and a new calf, and chickens.  Sometimes there are some sheep as well.     

Hills circle the fields, barns, farmhouse, the CSA sheds, and Farmer Tom’s house.   A pond nestles down the hill from the barn, providing a cooling off place for hot CSA workers.  This is a view of the barn and stables from the CSA shed.  Look at how blue the sky can be in Maine.  The old farmhouse is on the far side of the barn.  In the foreground are some garden beds and the first of a line of apple trees.  

  

Here’s the CSA shed where we pick up our food.  Inside are refrigerators, some cooking equipment, tables, and LOTS of food.  Behind the shed are more garden beds, a huge oak with a tire swing, and a frog pond that drove our grandchildren quite crazy.  To the right there is another small barn and the entry road.  Across that road are planted crops, including a strawberry bed that gets bigger each year.   

  

Here’s a bigger picture of the mural.     

  

We picked up over 12 pounds of food this past Friday.  I could not resist putting it in my garden/mushroom basket and taking a picture:  

  

Cukes, zukes, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, two kinds of beans (regular and Romano flat), lettuce, herbs, potatoes, an eggplant, a cabbage, carrots, and garlic.  I could have cut a flower arrangement as well, but we were tired after a morning in Augusta, and we have lots of flowers in our own garden.  

It doesn’t get better than this kind of food, does it?  It nourishes our bodies and our spirits.  

Ratatouille, I think.  But with some of the mint I brought from Maine.  And, some basil from our herb garden.

Written by louisaenright

August 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm