Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CSA Week 22, Final Week

The universe has been reading this blog. It has noted my preoccupation with the weather and it responded today with one of the most gorgeous days we have had on the farm. The air was unseasonably warm but the autumn light was still soft, and we began the final week of the CSA in extreme comfort. It is easy to be in a good mood in such conditions, and we performed the season's penultimate harvest happily, and with ease. We shed layers as we worked, and when it came time for me to remove my long-sleeve thermal and replace it with something lighter I was briefly shirtless, and Joshua advised our volunteers (Thank you volunteers, for being hard workers all season, and for being fun) to avert their eyes or consider wearing sunglasses. Maybe it is true that I am blindingly pale in the sunlight, but I was reminded of the Duino Elegies: "...beauty is nothing but the start of terror we can hardly bear."

That was a joke, it was hilarious. This is not a joke: Thank You to you everyone who has been a part of the 2010 Dover Farm CSA. Joshua and I arrived in this area last winter optimistic but unsure what to expect from the eastern Massachusetts community, from the piece of land that we would be farming, and from ourselves. Now, after one full season, we are proud of our work, we are happy with the productivity of the land, and we couldn't be more pleased with the community of customers, volunteers, and enthusiastic supporters that have been a part of the farm all season. I was especially wary of moving to a new community and establishing what would be the latest in a long series of temporary homes. In April, shortly after arriving, I met a friend for dinner in Waltham and I noticed that US Route 20 passes through that town on its way to Boston in one direction and on its way to the Oregon coast in the other direction, and I thought of that state where I spent the first half of my life and I thought of this state to which I was brand new, and I thought that I'd like it if we could tuck our fingers beneath the asphalt of the road and pull it toward us like a garden hose and keep pulling until multiple of our heart's locations were at our feet in a pile of crumpled geography. At least we'd be tired from all that pulling, and we could be still for a while. We've done it somewhere inside ourselves instead, in that part of ourselves where our own histories are coiled. We are spring-loaded against the day we return to the universe the accumulation of places we have visited and things we have seen, and we would do well to like what we are carrying. All I'm saying is, I'm happy to have arrived here, and to be a part of this farm and this farm community, and I'm happy to keep them alongside experiences past and future. Thanks, again, to all of you who have made this season possible.

Here is what's in the last share of the season:

Swiss Chard
Mixed Brassica Greens
Dandelion Greens
Hot Peppers
Sweet Peppers
Sweet Potatoes
Delicata Winter Squash
Mixed Herbs Bundles (Oregano, Sage, Cilantro, Dill)
Yellow Onions
Red Onions
You-Pick Tomatillos

*Consider whether you'd like to join the CSA in 2011. Joshua and I are excited to be returning for another season, and we'd love to see as many of you as possible back on the farm. Community Supported Agriculture is a non-traditional commercial model. By purchasing a share the customer enters a season-long partnership with the farmer in which the risks and rewards of farming are duly shared, and every season is different. As your farmers, we use every season as an opportunity to learn more about our piece of land and the crops we grow, and each season we hope to refine and improve our abilities as growers of food. Please consider making the CSA a long-term partnership for you and your family. We'll reserve a spot in the 2011 CSA for all current members until February 15, at which time we'll open enrollment to the general public. (And next season we plan to offer an increased number of memberships, so if you know anyone who might be interested in a full season of locally-grown produce, please spread the word.) For more information or for an enrollment form, please email us at doverfarmcsa@gmail.com.

*By this time of year I am so accustomed to eating food directly from the farm that I am nervous about the season's end. The prospect of returning to the grocery store on a regular basis baffles me, and spring seems like a long time to wait for fresh produce. If you are having similar apprehensions, our neighbor Chris runs a winter CSA, and he is still accepting shareholders. He's a great farmer, he has been an excellent mentor to us whenever we had a question this season that only another farmer could answer, and he is literally around the corner from Dover Farm on Haven St. If you are interested in a Vanguarden Winter CSA share, please contact Chris Yoder at cyoder12002@yahoo.com.

*Firewood is available by request this winter from Dover Farm. We have a large amount of wood that has been recently felled and split and is now curing on site. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing some.

*And a final end-of-season note: Anyone looking for a good local source for pasture raised heritage turkeys should check out Brambly Farms (bramblyfarms.com). Ted and Sandra are offering Bronze and Bourbon Red heritage birds for the holidays. They are friends of a CSA member, and if enough people would like to purchase turkeys from them for Thanksgiving we may be able to arrange a pick-up at Dover Farm. Contact them at bramblyfarms@yahoo.com if you are interested.

*Let's actually end the CSA season with a few cooking tips for dandelion greens. You'll remember these bitter greens from the spring, but perhaps you didn't miss them. Give them another chance with these simple recipes from Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables:

Plain-Cooked Mild Dandelion Greens

"If you like the flavor of dandelions but do not enjoy the depth of bitterness, you can blanch the leaves to mellow the taste, as you would in French-style green preparations. Although the initial boiling and draining will eliminate some of the valuable nutrients, blanching is a time-honored way of retaining the color and texture of green vegetables."

1 1/2 pounds dandelion greens, washed
2 Tbsp butter, or 1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

1. Drop greens into a large pot of boiling water. Boil until tender--about 5 minutes. Drain, drop into a bowl of ice water, then drain again. Chop and reserve.

2. Shortly before serving, saute dandelions in a skillet in butter until heated through. Or boil cream for a few minutes to reduce it slightly, then add greens and simmer until almost no liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Rice with Dandelions

"Chopped dandelion greens give rice a pleasing bitterness and aroma. Not for every taste, but bitter greens just aren't."

10-12 ounces tender dandelion greens, washed
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
salt to taste

1. Chop dandelions in small bits. Heat butter in heavy 2-quart saucepan and add garlic and greens. Stir over moderate heat to wilt. Lower heat and cook until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

2. Add stock, water, and rice, and bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Add salt, if needed. Turn heat to lowest point and cover pot. Cook 20 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let stand 20-45 minutes. Fluff gently into a warm serving dish. (Can be kept in very low oven, covered, for half and hour, or can be reheated.)

1 comment:

  1. What a kind tribute to your partners in farming! No doubt your own generosity and cheerfulness created such an affirming culture. Congratulations on your successes! May we look forward to the occasional off-season post regarding weather, literature, and the pursuit of fresh, wholesome food?