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December 31, 2016
Vegetables Still Make Sense
By Charis Lindrooth
I wrote a post about food for my health blog yesterday. I started the post thinking about the plenitude of internet information about diets and how one food can be vilified on one site and glorified as a cure-all on another.
If you read the post, or run your own google search, you will quickly find a number of foods we used to think of as healthy on the unhealthy list now, and vice-versa. Hot debates on these foods include whole wheat, gluten, grains in general, beef, butter, coconut and eggs. It’s enough to make your head spin.
Smugly, when I started the post, I thought to myself that vegetables are about the only food immune to the see-saw of cans and can'ters. But that’s not true either: try cabbage, or other brassicas, spinach, Swiss chard, tomatoes, potatoes and beets. Seems like with a little research you can determine that absolutely no food is good for you.
I have spent several decades as a natural health care practitioner, helping people sort through the bombardment of information surrounding what to eat. While I love to read the research, sometimes we need to take our nose out of the books and internet and use common sense.
Without a doubt one of the surest ways to improve your health in general is to eat more vegetables. Whether you cook them, eat them raw or throw them in your VitaMix, most of us have more room on our plates for more fresh vegetables.
Take things a step further and prepare your food with care and thoughtfulness. Share it with friends and family, with conversation and laughter. I have no doubt that these factors play a role in the nutritional outcome as much as the chemical makeup of the food itself.
Now that winter has fully descended upon the farm, I am faced with shopping for my vegetables. While much progress has been made in food transport and flavor preservation, salad mix in a box just doesn’t inspire me the same way as our own. I think most of you would agree, nothing beats the taste of just-picked, local farm fresh produce.
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December 21, 2016
Ode to the Farmer
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
This is it. The final week of the 2017 CSA.
For the first time in the history of Red Earth Farm we will be delivering our final CSA boxes on the first day of Winter (truth be told, we have a tiny delivery a few days later at the West Chester Grower’s Market).
This feels like a true accomplishment.
The Winter Solstice invites us to slow down, to stop, to listen. I thought I might invite you to remember the Farmer, who finds it challenging to slow down even when the summer’s heat is finally off. If you’ve never met him, you might not know how hard he works, or how much heart and soul he pours into everything he does. Every single customer matters to him, and the thought that someone might receive sub-par produce in one of his boxes distresses him to the core. He takes vegetables, and life in general, seriously.
He is honest, generous and earnest. And incredibly humble. He cares deeply about the land he stewards and is fed by the good brown earth and all that springs from it. He makes time for his family, especially the littlest, even when the abundance of summer drives him to his last thread of strength.
This is of course just a picture of him, painted by the Farmer’s Wife, full of bias. Here’s to the Farmer!
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December 8, 2016
Solstice Reflections
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
We awoke to a child-like surprise this morning: snow! Even though our practical minds quickly assess matters such as the impact of harvesting in such weather, the magic of its beauty never escapes us.
Living a life connected to the outdoors truly does have a soul-satisfying effect on one’s psyche. We know our surroundings intimately. We know dirt. In the height of the summer, the tiny cracks in our hands and feet are dyed the color of earth. Our laundry if full of dirt, plant stains and plant debris. Even the Farmer’s side of the bed takes on a hue of nature. The land becomes part of who he is when seven days out of seven he is outside.
When the summer’s heat abates, so does the quantity of dirt that enters our house. Instead, leaves and hitchhiker seeds of all sorts appear, and the house becomes a woodland elf home. Our daughter collects wooly bear caterpillars by the dozen, brings them in and creates a comfy home for them in a jar full of carrot tops and dill.
Even on the coldest days of winter we are outside, unloading potting soils and other supplies for fields and nursery, walking the fields, breathing the cold crisp air. Dreaming of what’s next for the farm. Spring arrives early for us, even when a foot of snow lies on the ground. By February our nursery shows a tinge of yellow-green as the baby plants emerge: future supper for many veggie-lovers. Early March, or sometimes late February, a sudden breath of warm air excites the farm. Even now as I write I can imagine the scent of snow melting into sloppy mud. The primal pull of nature in Spring surpasses all delights.
As we develop the farm infrastructure to extend our season, this love affair with the outdoors deepens. Over-sized hoop houses and greenhouses have allowed us to start early and finish late. We now feed hundreds of families through our CSA from close to the spring equinox until the winter solstice. Almost three quarters of the year.
While we grow food for our enthusiastic CSA, it is our CSA that feeds us. The livelihood of this family farm depends on the CSA model. While wholesale accounts such as Common Market, Greensgrow and Whole Foods supplement our income, the commitment of our CSA members to consume the bounty of our farm, makes the operation viable. Over the years, now starting in on decades, we have formed relationships with individual members who have stood by us through thick and thin. Our recent Farm-to-Table feast honored 14 members who contributed to our GAP-VIP program. While we enjoyed incredible food straight from the fields, we most of all enjoyed getting to know the people behind the names we see on the weekly boxes.
Even though our Fall Share continues through the week of December 19, today we have launched Early Registration for our Main Season. Please consider joining our CSA early, enabling us to buy supplies at the December 10% discount - a huge savings for our farm.
To all who support our farm, whether in large or small ways, we offer our thanks. Because of you we will continue this love affair with nature, food and the wonderful people who appreciate it.
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