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January 28, 2018
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
It’s not easy for me to make the transition from eating fresh greens picked from my backyard (the farm, that is) to shopping at a grocery store and buying salad ingredients. To make matters more challenging, I’m not a big fan of store bought salad dressings.
Earlier this week, feeling the "winter-veggie-blues" (or greens in this case), I ventured out. I picked through the piles of vegetables in the produce section with a fussy, disgruntled air and finally selected a giant plastic box of baby kale and another giant plastic box of spring mix. To spruce things up I grabbed a pomegranate, fennel bulb and some grapefruit.
The result was a simple salad, made of a mix of baby kale and spring mixes, thinly sliced fennel, pomegranate seeds and sectioned grapefruit. My happiness was made all the more glorious by the easiest homemade salad dressing I have ever created: the juice of the sectioned grapefruit halves, salt and pepper. I’m telling you, this salad vanished off my dinner table ALMOST as quickly as our farm spring salads do (NOTHING beats a Red Earth Farm spring salad).
So while you are impatiently waiting for our CSA Season
to begin, take heart and remember it's okay to keeping eating greens!
Pomegranate Grapefruit Baby Kale Salad
Equal parts baby kale and spring mix (depends on how much you like salad)
Seeds from 1/2 to 1 whole pomegranate
1 grapefruit, sectioned, juice reserved aside
1/2 large bulb fennel sliced super thin
Salt and pepper.
Assemble greens, pomegranate, grapefruit and fennel. Toss with reserved grapefruit juice. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Devour.
January 21, 2018
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
I recently flipped my wig for orchids.
This is not exactly a suitable crop for a Pennsylvania farmer, but they have nonetheless captured my heart. I have a sunny bathroom to thank for my new addiction. This past summer I placed two orchid plants that had long since bloomed on a towel rack over my clawfoot tub. Other than the Christmas cactus, they are my only houseplants and I liked the bit of green they added to the decor. The littlest orchid arrived several years ago in bloom, but never even showed a hint of repeating the show.
Something about the combination of the indirect light and the gentle humidity from the tub (no shower in this room) and perhaps the temperature appeals to my Phalaenopsis friends and to my utter delight they are full of buds and blooms.
I tell the Farmer that some people actually grow these as cut flowers and how profitable they could be if the Farmer’s Wife had lots of practice growing them…he just rolls his eyes. The Farmer’s Wife wants to grow figs, ginger and turmeric too…enough of these boring old carrots and kale!
To fully indulge the fantasy I am headed to Longwood Gardens
today to check out the Orchid Extravaganza
. What better place to go on a Sunday in January that has the ever so slightest hint of Spring? And I can write it off as research, right?
January 14, 2018
Getting Kids Outside
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Every now and then the Farmer and I wax philosophic. Sometimes we talk about the future of the farm, or we discuss politics, our parents, the neurosis of our dog and of course the weather. But more often than not we talk about our kids. This morning as the rays of the sun began to reach through the trees, crossing the meadow to land on our pillows we cuddled, avoiding the inevitable bone-chilling shock of getting out of bed.
Even though the temperature this morning was ten degrees, the cloudless sky still begs for us to spend time outdoors. That’s when we started to talk about our kids. And how hard it is to get them outside, even though we live on 90 acres. Well, that’s not entirely true, our 7 year old leaps outside any chance she gets, but she doesn’t have a smartphone or access to any device whatsoever including a TV, except at bedtime.
The teen boy is another story. In fact, ever since he started reading, his outdoor leisure time dwindled dramatically. Adding a smartphone to his life a year ago seemed to make the indoors more appealing, even though he has no social media apps, no web browsing and no gaming on his phone. Spotify, texting and email still possesses his attention at the expense of the cultivation of creativity that comes when a youthful imagination has only nature as it’s medium, or maybe paper, pencil and paint.
In the middle of this conversation, when my own smartphone delivered an article on the subject of smartphones and kids to my inbox, I couldn’t but help acknowledge the irony of the phone in my hand, at an early hour, delivering a message agreeing with our discussion that smartphones are owning our attention spans, for better and for worse.
Almost 75% of teens, age 13-18 have access to smartphones, according to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center.
Average time spent staring at their screens? 9 hours per day, not counting school hours or homework. Yikes! Can you imagine how proficient these kids would be at a musical instrument if they spent half that time practicing each day?
The average number of times they unlock their phones is 95/day. How much time is spent per year in the simple act of unlocking our phones?
Tech companies are investing big bucks in the effort to lure kids (and adults of course) into spending more time in front of screens glued to their favorite apps. Stock prices rise as our kids get more and more invested, and possibly addicted to their screens.
Of course their are many benefits to the mobile phone, that may or may not outweigh the drawbacks. More time and data is needed to accurately assess the value vs damage of the smartphone on the education of our children.
No matter what, phones are here to stay. It is up to parents to help their children find balance, and to be brave about saying no. Perhaps the simplest answer is to take our children outside, as a family, to go into the woods, or work in a garden, go skiing, throw ball, raise pigs or hike a mountain. Nature strengthens the will, relieves the spirit and feeds the soul. Engaging with our kids in the outdoors, with all phones left in the house might push a giant reset button for the entire family and provide a much-needed break from the attention grabbing ghouls of the internet. I'm grateful that our farm provides such easy access to nature.
Connect to nature and join a CSA
grown by a local farm.
January 6, 2018
Eat More Vegetables!
By Charis Lindrooth
Photo by chiara conti on Unsplash
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 2018.
- Eat less meat. Maybe introduce one vegetarian supper a week. For meat-lovers, 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.
- Prep your veggies in advance. When you bring your CSA box (or grocery bags if it's winter and your local farm is frozen solid) take a moment right away to slice and dice and neatly package them so they are ready in an instant for any dish in the upcoming week. It's true that you lose some nourishment and vitality with advanced produce prep, but if you tend to get over busy and stressed during the week, cooking might feel a lot more appealing if some of the hard work is already done.
- Make food at home. Now that you have a stash of vegetables waiting patiently in your refrigerator, stop procrastinating. Fix them into something great! Soups, stews, crockpot, frittatas or quiches, homemade pizza, chili....brainstorm a list with your kids and get them invested in the menu.
- Cook with your kids. If you can stand to let your kids help you in the kitchen (I admit this one is really hard for me) they will take ownership of the meal and eat their veggies proudly. Okay, that's my theory. Let me know if it works!
- 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.
What tips do you employ to consume more vegetables? Any ideas for kid-friendly recipes?