This week has been so amazing, so full of events that I really don’t know where to start. My brain is spinning as if I had a double shot of espresso, alas, I have only my dear cup of tea and a jam packed week behind me to account for my inability to focus. It really all began on Sunday morning. On a quick trip to town, the skies started to darken and by the time we returned to the farm, the rain had begun. Slowly drizzling, then raining, but never too hard, the perfect weather had arrived. The temperature had dropped from the day before by nearly 40 degrees. Despite the struggle to find long sleeves for the first time in months for Sasha, Madeline and me, and for the first time in his life for William, we gleefully donned our woolens and rain gear and faced the week ahead. Our dear friends were arriving later that day for the holiday weekend: we were thrilled, ready to celebrate. The farm was in autumn and we were ready for it. Leaves strewn about from the winds that brought the rain, heck, we could see our breath. We hosted our friends, found umbrellas, walked in happiness and dined on summer fruits without the oppressive heat, it was a treat. They headed home late on Monday and we pushed into gear to be ready to host a visiting school group on the farm for the rest of the week. I am not sure if I have ever written much about this as typically these school group visits are in spring, prior to the start of our delivery season. Alas, the 3rd grade from the Linden Waldorf school in Nashville had the fate of a trip scheduled last May. William came early and changed it all, we rescheduled for early September, and now it was their fourth grade trip! According to the Waldorf curriculum, 3rd graders are developmentally ready for learning the skills to care for the basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter. To learn these skills as they go through their ninth year eases the anxiety of their new, often incomprehensible, desire for independence and soothes them as they move towards adolescence. Woodworking and wool work are introduced along with gardening. The culmination of the 3rd grade year is the farm visit and for the past 10 years we have been hosting the 3rd grade from Nashville here in the hollow. These are intense days for our family and our farm team. Guiding these 9 and 10 year olds through a multitude of farm tasks and animal chores is not always easy. Feeding and caring for them as our own for multi day trips can be taxing, but the results are so rewarding. These children transform on the farm. Often engaging in real physical work for the first time: rising at dawn to care for the animals, weeding and planting and falling asleep tired at dusk, it is a life changing experience for them and we feel so lucky to be able to provide this. By Thursday afternoon when the last van pulled out of the drive on their way back to Nashville, I was so happy. The rain had fallen for 4 days and the farm was wet and cool. We had hosted one of the best farm trips ever, William and I calmly successfully kept 17 guests fed and happy and on schedule. Paul, Andy and George had guided them through some critical farm tasks, planting and seeding with optimism as the rain fell for a bright Fall ahead. It has been a whirlwind that settled into a cool, easy harvest today. I hope you all have thrilled in the change in weather and are as refreshed as we are: the sun is peeking out now and I know the mercury will once again climb, but boy do I feel great right now.
In your basket:
Orecchiette with Broccoli Raab, Basil, and Lemon
Salt and Pepper, to taste
¾ pound orecchiette
1 bunch Broccoli Raab, stems removed and roughly cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
¼ olive oil
3 TBS minced fresh garlic
½ heaping tsp red-pepper flakes
1 TBS fresh basil, cut into strips
2-3 tsp lemon juice
In a large pot of salted water cook pasta according to package directions. Add Broccoli Raab when 4 minutes of cook time remains. Drain pasta and Broccoli Raab and return to pot. While pasta cooks heat oil in a small skillet. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook over medium heat until garlic begins to brown, 2 minutes. Toss oil mixture with pasta mixture. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with basil and drizzle on lemon juice.