It has been a busy week on the farm, with an extra teenager here for his first “farm camp” and our old neighbors Mel and Su setting up their camper and settling here for a spell as they plan their next move: there have been 3 other bodies around to enjoy and care for. We used the extra guests as an excuse to set up an outdoor dining area on a little sycamore shaded knoll overlooking the farm. This newsletter formed in my mind last night at dusk while everyone but me and the bleary eyed toddler sat around the grilled meal served in our new space. You see, in the moment of hosting all of these other guests a delightful family that has been part of the CSA for as long as I can remember asked to come up for the day. To tell the truth, I wanted to say no, we have so many others here right now, it was hard to imagine fitting more in. Alas, we love these friends, as we love all of you, and we said yes. It is important for me that you all know you are a part of this farm, we work this land for ourselves and for you. Saying no to such a request doesn’t fit into my mental picture of community supported farming. You are, as I always say, welcome here anytime. Of course, it was a lovely day of touring and picking and fishing and planting. At dusk I heard Paul lament to our guests what a difficult year we are having. You see, this farm works best in a dry year. Not that I am asking for drought, not at all, but here, now, we are too wet. Our crops are simply in too much water. The old timers have always said too much water is worse than not enough and we are living that each day. ” a drought will scare you to death but a flood will starve you to death”. Anyway, I think Paul was hoping for a supportive hug from our shareholders or an end of a long day pat on the back, instead he received a curt criticism and the conversation drew to an abrupt close. I overheard this all and was so thankful it wasn’t me there, I would have cried. I was inspired however to share this moment with all of you and convey somehow our situation. We remain thoroughly optimistic, we continue to work all day each day to do our very best to provide all we can for you, our supportive community. Sometimes, however, weather plays the trump card and our work, hours and hours of it, can be for naught. This past week we had a basically dry spell. This fueled our ongoing optimism and with only a few periodic thundershowers, the ground remained workable, and we were able to dive in and cultivate everything. The weed pressure on certain low lying areas of the farm has been extreme with all the rain, but with many, many hours of diligent work, most crops that survived the 4th of July drenching are now looking great. It is also time to plant for fall. With nothing but the best of the Hill and Hollow enthusiasm, we plant roots and leaves and fruits and flowers and all we can. We hope for more favorable conditions and bounty in the weeks ahead. In the end, this is a small bump in a long road. We have an amazing farm, a wonderful community and a committed team. This farm is the center of a thriving, nourishing community that takes on all forms. I conclude with heartfelt thanks to each and everyone of you and please, come to the farm one day, we will always welcome you!
Separate the pods from the stalks. Place bean pods in a large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt, rub vigorously, and let stand 15 minutes. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, add the beans and boil over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes. (For a firmer bean, decrease the cooking time.) Don’t cover the pot or the beans will lose their bright green color. When ready, drain beans and serve hot or at room temperature. To eat as finger food, serve the beans in baskets or bowls. Squeeze the pods with your fingers to press the beans into your mouth and discard the pods.
And here are a few suggestions, if you want to go a step further, from Mark Bittman in the New York Times
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they pop, and sprinkle them over the top.
• Add a few chiles or a squeeze of sriracha to the heating oil and drizzle that.
• Use a few drops of rice vinegar in place of lemon juice.
• Toast nori (dry, in the oven or a skillet) and crumble that over the beans; mix and serve quickly.
• Chop peanuts or walnuts (toast first if necessary, until lightly browned) and sprinkle on top.
• Sweat a little minced ginger or garlic, or both, in peanut oil and toss with the cooked beans.
• Grate lemon zest over all.
• Top with chile powder, curry powder, pimentón (smoked paprika), five-spice powder or, perhaps best, shichimi (the Japanese spice mix also called togarashi).
week twelve in your basket: