So, you are the best. Honestly. I have spent so many hours pondering how to express the emotions that have run through my mind in the days and weeks since our barn fire. I think it really all comes down to this. You are the best. For a long time I have been moderately suspicious of the mainstream system in which we live and operate. It seems like there are so many fine folks that fall through the cracks of the conventional educational model or the traditional medical establishment. It was decades ago as a young college student on my study abroad semester that I first caught whiff of another way. I took part in an international educational exchange that placed 18 of us coming from 11 different nations on an intentional community in Denmark. For three weeks we weeded carrots and built fence and sang songs in languages from our homelands. I fell in love there and those weeks changed the course of my life. I returned home to finish my degree and made a commitment to myself: I would forge a new path for myself, one that incorporates open borders and freedom to pursue a life rich in meaning. In my senior year of college I knew only NOT to take part in the on campus interviews that so many of my friends were using as their step towards an already defined future. It was scarey. I hopped on a plane to Tokyo shortly after graduation. I chose teaching English as a second language as my vehicle to explore the world and her cultures and religions and nooks and crannies. In the ten years between getting on that Japan Air Lines flight and landing in rural Kentucky, I hiked the Himalayas and paddled the Mekong. I laid with my mother as she died of cancer and met my husband to be on an organic farm in Illinois. I surrounded myself in places of unspeakable beauty and made friends with people who spoke languages unknown to me. When I landed on this farm I was confident in only one thing: there was no blueprint for the future.
I have spent the past 18 years here raising my babies and cultivating these fields now so familiar. I have invested my energy in creating a community that would support us in this radical vision.
In the days following the fire, I realized how blessed I am. It has been two months since the tragedy and I am still in a battle with my insurance company. Within two days of the fire however, you , my community, had raised thousands of dollars for our rebuild. It is so clear to me now that my life choices are all right. My suspicion of the system has sadly grown to include some major questions about the insurance industry. My affirmation of the community that we have created around our farm and our family has simultaneously increased. It is with deepest gratitude that I write this to you. Your financial support, your emotional comfort and your unwavering commitment to us during these most difficult weeks sustained our family and carried us to this final week of the main season. We are well on our way to a recovery that will embody a vision for the future of our evolving farm and family. We will see many of you on October 1st for the Fall Season. To those of you that will not join us for the Fall, I can’t thank you enough. It is my life’s pleasure to grow food that nourishes you and your families Thank you for offering us that opportunity. To each and every one of you, I hope you enjoy this week’s basket, the merging of summer and fall that I always find so perfect!!
Grandma’s Pear Preserves
the pears in your basket this week are from our farm’s super old pear tree. Planted long before we arrived here, this is an old time variety of pear totally suitable to pear preserves or any baked item with pears. Madeline made a stunning pear gallette from martha stewart which also highlighted this type of pear.
6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced pears
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
8 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Let simmer while making jam. In a large saucepan, combine pears, water, and lemon juice. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin, and bring to a full boil. Stir in the white sugar, and continue boiling and stirring uncovered for 1 minute, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in brown sugar, allspice, and nutmeg. Quickly fill jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rims clean, and top with lids. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to seal.
week twenty in your basket: