We hold a weekly meeting of all employees of White Flint Farm on Sunday mornings. In other words, once a week I have an extra copy of coffee and Cherie and I discuss farm planning and other business and administrative issues that need attention. This time of year is so busy on the farm that if we didn’t carve out specific time for that sort of thing, it wouldn’t happen and important things would fall through the cracks.
Last Sunday we were reflecting on coming off the farm’s best week ever. We’re adding new customers every week as the word spreads about our farm and what we’re doing here. Folks who try our veggies almost always come back for more. It’s very encouraging.
We just added another delivery drop to our schedule, so we’re now doing four of them each week, as well as selling at the farmers market and off the farm by appointment. It’s keeping us very busy but we’re thrilled to see the booming interest in chemical-free, ethically-produced, locally-grown food. Our community has been slow to get on board with this movement, but I believe the tide has now turned.
On a podcast I was listening to yesterday the podcaster commented on how the human body has natural defense mechanisms that activate when the body is threatened by illness. Perhaps, she said, the growing food and permaculture movements are like the earth activating its own defense mechanism to fight the disease of industrial food. I like that image. We are the earth’s white blood cells.
Our friends The Collection have released their new album Ars Moriendi.
It’s been in heavy rotation here the last few days.
You can listen to it free HERE and, if you like what you hear, buy a copy HERE.
You can see the video for “Gown of Green,” my favorite song on the record, HERE.
We enjoyed having the band spend a week on our farm last summer, staying in our old farmhouse and crafting this album. They’re an awesome group of talented and inspirational young people–the kind who help sustain hope for the future. They’re out on the road now, touring in support of the record. Check them out if they’re in your town.
And this is the 2,000th post on Practicing Resurrection. Looking forward to the next 2,000.
The food movement stretches across the political, religious and socio-economic divides in our society. We have customers and farm supporters who are far to the political right, far to the political left, and everywhere in between. Our customers are poor and well-to-do, religious and not religious. They are white and not-white. They are a fairly representative sample of our community.
In a time when so many things seem to deeply and bitterly divide us, the food movement can be a unifier.
Some folks become supporters of the food movement for health reasons. Many are looking to purge their diets of chemicals based on doctors’ advice, or to help fight or avoid disease. Some are drawn to it for ethical, spiritual or religious reasons, such as a desire to care for creation or a concern for the ethical treatment of farm animals. Some folks just want food that tastes like the food they ate at their grandparents’ house when they were children. The motivations of the new farmers, homesteaders, backyard and urban gardeners are similarly varied it seems to me.
Underneath this food-movement umbrella there is a diverse and growing group of people who appreciate the significance and importance of good ethically-produced food. They defy the divisive labels that are so prevalent these days.
I think that’s one of the best things about it, and a cause for continued optimism.
As Joel Salatin likes to say, “Folks, this ain’t normal.”
In California, a group of biohackers at the Counter Culture Labs in Oakland and BioCurious in Sunnyvale are developing “Real Vegan Cheese,” which will use genetically-altered yeast to create the first vegan cheese protein.
By taking synthesized yeast milk protein DNA and putting it into baker’s yeast cells, the yeast will begin to produce milk protein, according to the team. When the protein is mixed with water, vegan sugar and oil, it becomes a suitable milk substitute that can be turned into a semi-hard, vegan and lactose-free cheese. Since the product is made with a milk protein, it will have a similar taste and texture to traditional cheese, but with the same ethical peace-of-mind of vegan cheeses, according to Counter Culture Labs member Ahnon Milham.
See HERE for more on this “peace-of-mind” frankenfood.
Seasonal eating is always good eating. But particularly so this time of year.
We’ve been enjoying lots of tomatoes lately. Scrambled in eggs with freshly picked peppers and onions, sliced thick and slathered mayonnaise on a slice of homemade bread, in delicious fresh tomato salads, and in lots of other great dishes, such as the savory tomato and squash cobbler we had for supper last night–there are seemingly endless ways to enjoy them. And it’s hard to beat the taste of a straight-from-the-garden heirloom tomato.
Likewise the squash, zucchini, beans, peppers, eggplant and other great veggies the gardens are giving us these days. It doesn’t get much better than a big plate of ratatouille made from veggies picked that day.
Cucumber salads are another special summertime joy. We keep a couple of cukes sliced and soaking in vinegar and pepper in the fridge, ready to eat anytime. Refreshing on hot summer days, they’re crunchy treats that we don’t have any other time of year.
In a couple of months we’ll transition to meals from the delicious veggies of fall. Then I’ll probably want to rave about how great fall seasonal eating is. But I’m in no hurry for that. Summer tastes too good to be rushed.
The deer around here seem determined to cause me to find another way to spend the second half of life. But, in keeping with yesterday’s post I’m trying to stay focused on the positive. So instead of complaining that they’re now eating my tomato plants, I’ll say that I’m happy to report that they’ve only eaten some, not all, of them.
For those of you who farm or garden and have always believed, as I did, that deer don’t eat tomato plants, I’m sorry to report that in fact they do.
Yesterday morning I discovered that they’ve been munching on the young plants, taking out the buds.
I’ve never had to worry about protecting nightshades from deer. Until now.
I spent yesterday afternoon improvising a fence around what’s left of the winter squash. It won’t keep them out if they want in, but maybe it will at least keep out the lazy ones.
Meanwhile the purple hull peas are starting to emerge. Deer eat them like candy, so they’re protected by electric net fencing, which will work until one of them is smart enough to realize how easily they can hop over it. I’m hoping that won’t happen before the crop is in.
As for what I should do with my spare time if they do in all the gardens, maybe I should write a script for a movie.
Or a cartoon.
Or a children’s book.
Or maybe I should invest in some landmines.
It is our nature, I suppose, to focus on the negative, or at least to allow the negative to capture our attention in ways that positive things do not.
So, I may find myself distressed about deer eating my okra while not being sufficiently mindful of all the beautiful gardens that are undamaged and producing great food for us.
I may become distressed over the death or sickness of a goat, and not be sufficiently mindful of all those that are thriving and healthy.
There is much to be happy about and much to be grateful for these days.
Our farm’s production continues to expand. More and more people are becoming aware of us and are choosing to get their food from us. The things we’ve been advocating for years no longer seem quite so crazy to people.
These are good days.