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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’
November 21, 2015
Sweet Potato Pie
By Charis Lindrooth
- The stars twinkled brightly against the pitch black sky as the Farmer warmed up the engine of the box truck this morning. His daughter, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket and equipped with a suitcase full of stuffed animals, sat in the passenger’s seat, eyes wide with anticipation.
With a groan and a squeak, laden with the bounty of the fields, the truck slowly rolled out the drive and down the road. Shivering in my pink bathrobe, I stood for a moment and looked at the sky. Stars have an amazing capacity for putting perspective on things. One glance at a zillion of them and I can’t help but feel much less important than my swirling thoughts suggest. A myriad of stars helps one escape a myriad of busy thoughts. A deep breath of crisp, frosty air, and, for a moment I feel absolute peace and thankfulness.
In many ways our markets this weekend trump all others. For us, this is the quintessential moment of bounty. A hardworking Farmer and crew harvests, washes and packs vegetables for almost twelve hours the day before. Today, West Chester Grower’s market will be humming with dedicated local foodies. They will be hunting for premium goods to grace their Thanksgiving tables. Local wine, mushrooms, Artisan cheese, sauces, dips, pies and of course vegetables. Brussels sprouts, parsnips, salad greens and broccoli will be top sellers for us. Oh, and let’s not forget those sweet potatoes for the local version of Walmart’s sweet potato pie (see recipe below).
CSA members are “shopping” too this weekend. Ordering from our online “market” for the very last time this year. Every year we host a Thanksgiving meal at home, the perfect opportunity to celebrate with gratefulness another successful growing season. This year the table will be smaller than usual, just immediate family. We will, however, think of all of you, and feel the connection with the many families eating our vegetables simultaneously. Nourishing us all for another long winter. Connecting us all with the good, brown earth it came from. May the bounty of the season be reflected in your full and happy bellies! Thank you all for another wonderful season!