Week 13

Have you ever met anyone who gets annoyed that people talk about the weather? For these people, the topic of weather becomes mundane. The weather is the topic of light conversation around the farm most of the time, but it also dominates casual talk among non-farm folk, as I witness on rare social occasions. I always begin each blog post by wanting to start off with a comment about the weather. I usually stop myself because I realize that I started the previous post with the same exact sentence I want to use. It’s an icebreaker for sure, a great way to delve into a post about current farm happenings, or even a great way to talk to someone you have nothing else to say to! Aside from being an icebreaker, it is quite interesting. I mean, we are completely vulnerable to the weather! We have no control over it save our shelter and food. (Okay, there’s global warming…but that’s another issue.) I could write essays upon essays about the human relationship with weather (in fact, I sort of already have), perhaps more this winter.

On Thursday night, I was in New Paltz for the immense electric down pour. As soon as I could, I drove back to the farm to check out the damage–I had just seeded lettuce mix and spinach, which could have been washed away in such a downpour. I felt panicked–a feeling I get when I realize a crop has failed, or seeds haven’t germinated. In the back of my mind I know that you all, my shareholders, won’t starve if the weather knocks out all our crops, because there is food aplenty in the Hudson Valley and nationwide, that are transported to stores and farm stands daily, year round. For me though, it feels like the weight of a thousand failures, even if I really have no ultimate control. On top of this, as we witnessed earlier this season in the mid-west, even the giant commercial farm conglomerates are vulnerable to the weather, just as we are. So it is possible think of a time when food could actually be scarce. It’s a scary thought.

When I got to the farm, I was once again grateful for the farming practices we use at Four Winds Farm. Sure, we have had our fair share of poor-performance and even crop failure this year due to the extreme season–but because of our no-till method, there was no standing water and almost no erosion. All of our little seedlings were safe and the freshly seeded beds looked just as they had when left, albeit wet. And that felt like the lightness of a thousand reliefs.

We can compare the summer fruits of this season to last year’s stellar season, which I do all the time, and perhaps feel a bit down hearted, or we can focus on what has come through this season, and the abundance of those vegetables that nourish us even when those we enjoy so much might not be so abundant this season.

Expect the following produce this week:

choice: 1 bunch chard or 1 bunch kale

1 bunch chioggia beets

beans: Romano, Golden Wax, Haricorts Vert

about 2 summer squash

tomatoes

hot peppers

onions

garlic

Meet Our 2011 Tomatoes!

Are you missing lettuce right now? I sure am. I know, I need to read my own blog post right now (see above).. Space is so tight that when a bed of lettuce bolts, we literally have to wait until the next round reaches maturity–and that’s what happened–along with failed germination of the next round (meant for now) during the heat wave in July. The good news is we have a lot of lettuce and lettuce mix seeded all over the place–but it will be a few weeks before we can cut it. In the meantime, here is a lettuceless salad idea.

Colorful Tomato and Beet Salad

[photo to come!]

Roast or boil until done and peel 3 or so chioggia beets. Let cool and cut into wedges. Place in bowl and set aside.

Cut 3 or so medium tomatoes into wedges, a similar size to the beet wedges. The salad is prettiest if you use colors that contrast the bright pink beets. Toss tomato wedges with beet wedges.

Top with chopped chives and a sweet and acidic dressing–such as a lemon vinaigrette or a mustard balsamic dressing.

For lemon dressing use equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, and a 1/2 part maple syrup. Add salt, pepper and herb of your choice.

For mustard balsamic dressing, use equal parts balsamic vinegar and oil, a 1/4 part sweetener, and 1 TBS strong French mustard per 1/2 cup. Add salt, pepper and herb of choice.

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