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January 31, 2017
Intimidated by a Daikon Radish
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Any chance you have a huge daikon radish in the back of your fridge? I stuffed one in the depths of mine after unpacking my final CSA box in December (yes, the Farmer’s Wife really does sign up for her own CSA share at a massive discount). There it sat for a few weeks, while I pretended it wasn’t there. It is true, I ordered it, but once the gigantic root arrived, I felt intimidated, uncertain how to tackle the beast.
Recently at a friend’s house, I poked around her fridge and saw a familiar sight - a long, whitish green root, tucked along the back wall of the fridge - too big for any crisper, or even a bag for that matter.
"Let’s eat this!” I proclaimed as I wrestled the beast from it’s hiding place. My friend raised dubious eyebrows. “Hmmm…what do we do with it?” Without hesitation I grabbed a big, sharp knife and proceeded to slice about a dozen wafers, 1mm thick and bravely tried the first slice. The flavor was surprising: mild, very similar to our salad turnips that are so popular, and the texture incredibly crisp and juicy.
We artistically arranged a plateful of our new favorite vegetable, grabbed salt, pepper and some delectable “goes-on-to’s” and set it before her family. In less than five minutes the plate was empty, the giant root, now only a green stub, settled into the compost bin.
Now daikon has become my favorite gluten-free “cracker,” a lot more affordable and interesting than those cardboard-like crackers that come in a box.
I love the challenge of eating local foods, even in winter. Now you can make a little room in your fridge too!
January 28, 2017
Farm, Hope, Heal
PASA's Farming for the Future Conference
This year the Farmer's Wife and daughter will make the trek to Penn State for the 26th Annual Farming for the Future Conference
hosted by PASA
(Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture). While this conference is packed full of information for farmer's who are interested in sustainable practicing, it also offers plenty of great classes for consumers who are like-minded. A fun program for children invites them to discover how farming and the environment impact each other. The kids form tight bonds with each other and look forward to seeing each other year after year.
For the farmers, this conference is a fabulous way to re-vitalize focus for the coming season. The classes are informative, the food is local and delicious (including ice cream!) and the socializing with farmer-friends brightens the winter blahs. Friday morning the Farmer's Wife will be speaking on Cut-Flower Production, so wish her luck!
January 22, 2017
5 Tips to Eat More Vegetables
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
With the holiday feasting and gastro-extravagance behind us our minds turn to New Year’s resolutions. Diminishing the midline tops many lists, with ideas of elliptical workouts and newfangled diets.
Perhaps, one simple adage could be remembered for those seeking trimmer, healthier bodies. “Eat your vegetables!” We repeat it all the time to our kids, but do we follow up ourselves? I’m guessing there is room for improvement for most of us and implementing a few of the following strategies may help make this goal a reality in 2017.
1. Eat More Meals at Home
For some carnivores, this can be challenging - especially if you are trying to satisfy a teenage boy. The goal here is to increase vegetable consumption, not bread, noodle and cheese consumption. Look for vegetables that have a hearty, meaty flavor such as eggplant, mushrooms, winter squash. A side of mashed local potatoes can please almost any teenage palate. Try a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, for example.
4. Invest in a Vitamix or Juicer
Juicing roots, greens and fruits can be delicious and very beneficial to energy and appetite. Try using leftover pulp in burgers, homemade bread or homemade dog food.
5. Join a CSA!
You knew this was coming of course! Your CSA box arrives every week. Set a goal to finish your box before the next one arrives. One of our members lost 25 lbs the first year he joined our CSA - just by eating more vegetables. And the early registration discount is still on!
What tips do you employ to consume more vegetables? Any ideas for kid-friendly recipes?
January 15, 2017
By Charis Lindrooth
The farm looks like a cake dusted with confectioners sugar this morning, full of sweet promise. I like to be the first to walk the fields after it snows, but that rarely happens. Inevitably, Max, the Farmer’s Dog, springs ahead sniffing rabbit tracks and gleefully rolling in the frosty powder. More often than not the Farmer, who is an early riser, also beats me to it. Then I have to content myself with following their disruption to the perfect snowfall, or forge my own path in a secret direction.
With 90 acres at my disposal, I am tempted to walk away from the cultivated fields into the woods where my imagination sets flight. As a young girl, snowy woods inspired my belief in magic and I spent long hours with my best friend in our own fantastical realm. Now, even though those younger days are left far in the past, my child-like heart re-awakens. I inhale deeply, catching scents from those long-ago days, the crisp fresh scent of the new snow and the earthy musk of the curled damp bark on the birch trees. The early golden light from the sun creates a magical, snowy palace in my private woods. As a girl I might at this moment have become a princess, imagining a crown bejeweled with bits of sparkling icy crystals. Just as likely, I would have transformed into a small furry animal, a rabbit or a squirrel, and I would have spent hours creating a secret den hidden by boughs of white pine and lined by the soft needles that fell in the autumn.
Now I watch my children step into their own imagination in this incredible farm wonderland. The outdoors is indeed the colossal antidote for January cabin fever.
I treasure this quote from Anne Frank, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be."
I am grateful for the beauty of this land and how it feeds us, body and soul.
January 7, 2017
A Note from the Farmer
by Michael Ahlert
The Farmer’s Wife reminded me recently that it has been some time since The Farmer wrote to all of you who support our farm and eat the wonderful food it produces. As many of you may relate to, I often think of things I would like to say to people I care about, but life distracts me from saying them. This New Years, I am not letting the opportunity slip past.
In many ways, 2016 was a challenging year for our family and farm. We have struggled to make our packhouse GAP food safety certified, while still making ends meet. We worked through a summer that brought extended hot weather which tested crew and crops alike. Our younger son broke his leg at camp and I worked with walking pneumonia for much of the Fall. At the same time, our country went through a drawn-out and contentious election. Communities and even families have been left stinging and divided from many harsh words.
I know many of you have struggled with even more serious challenges this past year. I share ours only by way of saying thank you for all your support and to let you know, that you are an inspiration for me. I believe that the growth of our farm over the years is concrete evidence of the power of people to choose the kind of world they want to live in and their ability to make that a reality. Choosing to eat fresh, locally grown food, choosing to support a local family run business, choosing to buy food produced without the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides, all help to shape this small part of our world in very real ways. These choices are conscious acts that make ideas into reality.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”
This quote is attributed to Margaret Mead, the famous 20th century author and anthropologist. It is not certain that she in fact coined the phrase, but the sentiment rings true. The choices we make as individuals on a daily basis help to make the change that we wish to see in our broader society. It is by making conscious choices and following them with actions, albeit as small as where to buy the veggies we will eat for supper, that positive change is created.
Thank you for your choice to support our farm. Whether it has been for one year or fifteen, we value the members who sustain our work. We believe your choice to support our farm is a choice to eat food that is produced in a way that provides careful stewardship of our land and water resources while lifting up, rather than marginalizing, the men and women who bring it to our table. This is our work and our mission.
We wish you the very best in the coming year and look forward to spring and the opportunity to recommit ourselves to creating a more just and healthy world. We are grateful for your help in making that effort possible.
All the best,
Michael, a.k.a. ‘The Farmer’