Honesty is always the best policy and I feel like it is only fair to this space, to this community to take a minute and reflect on this past season, Hill and Hollow CSA’s 16th. It has been a true test of our will, our devotion, our skill, our endurance and our vision to execute this year. Why you ask? It is hard to categorize and separate in my life, one so integrated with farm, family, friends, work and play dancing together each minute of each day. As I spend a few reflective moments and try to identify the successes and challenges of the season just passing, I think issues fall into 2 distinct categories: humans and weather! We took an unexpected plunge this year in an effort to simplify the farm people management. With 15 years of hosting and educating countless long and short term guests interested in farming and sustainable living, we took a break from the human whirlwind and offered long term positions to only two individuals this season, one bailed at the last minute and the other arrived unexpectedly pregnant. I probably don’t need to elaborate on the implications, but the results were anything but calm. Without the typical large crew, the weeds got the better of us in some cases, but we succeeded in producing food each week and learned a lot about management and sustainability. We look ahead to 2017 knowing we will welcome folks here again to live and work with us with healthy alterations to scheduling, expectations and the overall farm life. Watch out weeds, you will not stand a chance next year!
Summarizing the weather is easy: 20 inches fell on the farm in July, wet beyond wet. The old adage fits in perfectly here “ a dry season will scare you to death but a wet season will starve you to death”. It is the truest testament to Farmer Paul’s skill and management that none of us starved, in fact we dined quite well, but it has not been easy!
Now, fall is near, the gardens are abundant and we share with you this final, perfect basket of the main season: full of the late summer fruits and the fall greens, the basket says it all. We have survived and thrived and eaten and enjoyed each other in some tough conditions. I think I know why. I daresay it lies in your support, your smiles, your grace, and your appreciation. In these final moments of the last main season harvest, I am full of gratitude for you all, the members of our CSA. The heart of our work lies on your plates. Growing food for people is the most satisfying endeavor and I couldn’t imagine a better group of folks to grow for. I offer to you the deepest thanks.
For those of you that will say goodbye to us tomorrow and see us again (hopefully) next Spring, I wish you the very best over the fall and winter. I hope as the nights get longer you too find time to reflect on the busy days of summer passed and enjoy the peacefulness that winter can offer. To the rest of you that will join us for a fine fall of eating, see you next week! For each of you, I know you will love this basket as much as I do, summer fruits, fall greens, a great big salad. Could we be any happier?
week twenty in your basket:
Chilled Wilted Tatsoi Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing
(Makes about 2 servings, recipe adapted from the New York Times.)
10-12 ounces Tatsoi leaves
sesame seeds, for garnish
2 T soy sauce
1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. grated ginger root
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Sriracha
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill another bowl with cold water and a handful of ice cubes. Wash Tatsoi leaves and cut into thick strips. Dump Tatsoi into boiling water, time for exactly one minutes, then drain immediately into colander and dump into bowl with ice water.
While Tatsoi is cooling in ice water, get a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid that’s large enough to hold all the Tatsoi. Mix dressing ingredients in this bowl, then drain Tatsoi well and add to dressing. Chill in the refrigerator an hour or more, turning bowl over a few times so Tatsoi remains coated with the dressing.
To serve, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove Tatsoi from bowl and arrange on serving plates. Toast sesame seeds for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan and sprinkle over salad. Serve immediately.