hey there good lookin'
hey there good lookin’

there is a unique bird at the farm. it’s spring, as we all know, and it being spring this is the time for courtship and mating, showing off and chirping, displays of friskiness and feather fluffing, prowess and plumage (i’m still talking about birds here). but this fellow, a brilliant little bluebird, is different than all the rest.

he seems to be in love with himself. his own reflection to be exact. instead of flitting after the females, he hops about in front of the window of the barn, courting himself. he is gorgeous, i’ll give him that, but his antics are a bit bizarre and if he’s not careful, may trigger some unpleasant and unintended evolutionary mechanisms. not that he cares much. because the sun is out and the frogs are singing and life is good. the worms are abundant, there are some foolish farmer chicks who keep planting succulent things for him to eat, and his beloved is always waiting by the window, to dance and mirror back affections for him at all hours of the day.

speaking of love, last night i had a great conversation with a friend on the phone. he’s currently in new york. he’s also currently falling head-over-heels in love. he’s three weeks into it, this love affair, and last night he hit his first snag. and by snag i don’t mean a blackberry thicket, i mean tiny tiny blade of grass. all that had happened, by my estimation, is that in the dreamy-eyed bliss of the honeymoon, he’d momentarily lost track of taking care of himself. even when he sensed that he needed some time alone, he just kept throwing himself back into party. his attachments increased, his neediness soared, and his insecurities trickled in. that’s the moment, i gently told him (as i often have to tell myself), that no matter how much you want to fold yourself into the body of someone else, you’ve got to stop what you are doing and take a frickin’ walk. or write. or call a friend. or do anything but let yourself be sucked back into the love vortex. just take a break. do something for yourself and with yourself. the vortex will be there tomorrow morning when you see your love again.

willow and i made fun of the bluebird today, but upon telling his story i now feel i owe him and apology. i don’t think i had flushed out our feathered friend’s complete narrative. perhaps he’d just got back from an long weekend of being with his love, across the field on the telephone line. slightly worn out and still a little intoxicated from so much flirtation, he just needed a little time to check in with himself. so maybe instead of demonstrating his level of derangement, he was teaching us a lesson in self-love. we spend so much energy, us wing-less beings, on either putting ourselves down when no one’s looking, or pumping ourselves up for the sake of others’ attention, affection, and/or approval. but what if sometimes we brought ourselves the best worms? what if instead of waiting for someone to take us on a date, we took ourselves on a date? what if every time we looked in the mirror, instead of chastising ourselves, comparing, or assessing what we think we lack, we were just like, “damn girl (or guy. or bird), you look awesome today, way to be you, way to rock it.” and then you hopped around in order to get the good view of every angle of your gorgeous body?

i only saw the bluebird today for a few minutes. willow and i were potting up the some seedlings by the greenhouse when he began his dance by the window. but eventually he disappeared. upon deeper reflection, i’m pretty sure that what we witnessed was a very healthy self-love practice. afterwards he probably went off to get himself some breakfast. alone, singing a little tune, and fundamentally happy in his own feathers.

love, maisie

 

 

spring is in the air, and the farm is back up and running. the seedlings in the greenhouse look amazing. vibrant, fast-growing, green – a definite improvement over lasts years struggles. in the ground we’ve already got carrots, beets, snap peas, and two rounds of salad mix up and weeded. the resident hawk is back, dive-bombing for gophers. the less stealthy geese are back as well, the pair of them, and they honk over our field daily, en route to our neighbor’s pond. one of them seems to have arthritis in it’s wings. it creaks when it flies. is that a thing? google comes up with no results when pairing geese with the dreaded disorder of joint inflammation. but it does pin their lifespan at 10-24 years, which would seem plenty of time to get a little squeaky in the bones.

the rain has returned, and the cover crop is all shiny and tall. the handful of super expensive peony plants we bought last fall are sprouting up strong. the stinging nettle is back with a vengeance, and i cook it with my greens for a medicinal boost. i mowed the paths around the fields last week, so everything feels clean, abstractly straight, like a perfect soccer pitch. something about the way the field looks post-mowing makes me inordinately happy. so all in all, the farm is looking good. i’d say that the only casualty of this winter were the dahlias.

duh duh…duuuuuh…

the dahlia debacle

a heavy freeze in december decimated our dahlias
driven to decay, definitely debilitated,
oh what a deplorable decision that delivered our dahlias to such a dismal death!
desperately we dial-up the dahlia directory,
demanding our desired dimensions of up-dated dahlias.
days develop into days
we dream of dependable delivery,
devoted we are,
to the distinguished dahlia.

Not Dead. Yet.
A Dahlia. Not Dead. Yet.

anyways. we have put about a half dozen crates of the least damaged of the lot in the greenhouse, and each day we attempt to water their half-decaying bodies back to life. yesterday i saw the first little sprouts of life on one of the roots. its a miracle! never mind the irony, that upon peeling back the little home-made label, we found out that this lone surviver is a member of our hands-down least favorite variety. but it’s ok. we just ordered a whole bunch of new ones, with names like “seduction,” “soulmate,” “blackberry ripple,” and “tahitian sunrise.” it was a blow to our inventory to lose so many, but i’m excited for some of the new varieties were likely to see this year. as long as we have my favored “moonrise kingdom,” (see above – not it’s official name) everything will be ok.

because, in case we forget, death and decay are part and parcel of farming. thing grow, things die. those dead things we put in piles, or leave to rot in the fields, and they become the soil of new life. even when things live, growing up into beautiful flowers, we pluck them at their most tenderest zenith, make arrangements out of them, and admire them on our kitchen tables. until they too, die, and decay, and un-tended to, turn the water in the vase into a liquid creature onto itself. we then plug our noses, and dump the whole lot, soggy stems and putrid water, onto the compost pile.

wah la. magic. death is magic and little sprouts arising from almost dead dahlias are magic. so thank you god, biology, worms, and willow for making it all possible.

love, maisie

 

Can you read those labels?
Can you read those labels?

i just recently picked up my first pair of prescription glasses. turns out i have pretty terrible vision in one eye, and with the other compensating, i hadn’t ever noticed. the way it was explained to me, in the optometrist’s office, was that my right eye’s cornea is shaped like a football and the left one like a basketball. good vision requires two basketballs, side by side. so as of yesterday, i’ve been put on Team Glasses. which also means i’m finally committing to one varsity sport, even though i haven’t played basketball since the eighth grade and i kind of sucked at it. if only she had described it as soccer balls, i might have more faith in the change.

but i’m getting used to it. i’m watching julius snoop around in the woods behind my house, and besides the fact that he looks like he’s inside an aquarium with a frame around it, i can see him in astonishing detail. most striking is how i can make out individual needles on trees, how the strips of peeling bark seems to pop out from the truck in high definition, and how a gnat just lifted off from a stalk of blackberry, nigh 40 feet away.
i find it remarkable that i never noticed til now that one eye can’t see more than a foot in front of my face. to be honest, i probably would have kept on in oblivion had it not been for a farm conference power-point presentation (why the hell did they make that slide in tiny-ass print? i thought) and an evolving terror of night-time driving (which i thought was normal, because doesn’t everyone feel dangerously blind when they drive at night?). apparently, once this fishbowl effect wears off, i’ll just have crazy detailed vision whenever i choose. i’ll see the speckles on my dog’s paws from a distance (he had speckled paws?). i’ll see my own handwriting when i write in my journal. i’ll even see incredible things like the great blue heron i saw yesterday, who, i kid you not, lifted out of the pond at my friend’s place as i drove by, and literally flew like a technicolor pterodactyl alongside my truck.

it is amazing, and humbling, to realize to what degree that we, as a species, can be blind to what is happening in front of us. what a primo example – my vision’s sudden downslide, of how my own sense of perspective is so limited to, well, my own perspective. a few months ago i was out on a hike with willow and our friend maggie. we spotted a salamander in the path, a big one, maybe 7-8 inches long, and we all gaped at it in wonder. when we got home we looked it up on the computer, eager to identify our sighting. we found a chart displaying images of the different types around california. all three of us picked out a different image. i mean, we were convinced of our choices. i swore it was reddish brown with an orange underside. maggie swore it was more mottled, black and orange. i forgot willow’s take on it, but it was completely different.

so what does that mean? that maisie was half-blind during that hike and we just didn’t know it at the time? sure, if your name is willow or josh you can run that joke into the ground for as long as it takes to not be funny (already not funny). but i think the deeper meaning has to do with remembering to open up our perspective, and our eyes so to speak, when we get stuck thinking that one thing is the right thing, or that what we see is how everyone else should see it too.
wearing glasses for the first time is like being a newborn calf, blinking open those giant lashes and looking out at grass and sun and teat for the first time. these first few glorious days of discovery contain an important reminder: to treat the world like a giant teat. to see life not as a commonplace thing of preordained or limited output, but one that is full of milk, the consistency and flavor of which we could never truly describe or understand, even after years suckling. if i took that analogy too far, i don’t apologize. i was told recently that i have long eye-lashes so the comparison seems apt.

all of this matters, because pretty soon we will all get used to wearing our glasses, those both literal and figurative. and then the sun will fade from its multiplicity of colors to just the orange of story-book drawings, and the grass will be just a green splotch on the ground, and all teats will be forsaken their beautiful nuances.

and we can’t let that happen.

for all i know, there are a thousand gnats lifting off into flight from the blackberry bushes outside my window. i will try to keep that in mind next time i think the flower bed that we’re digging seems to be curving to the left and willow thinks its curving to the right. chances are, given what side you are digging from, it could go either way. so better to say, “yes willow, you are right, i can see how it curves to the right, given your perspective. how about we meet in the middle and look at it together to assess it’s linearity?” and then, in the end, to just accept that a hand dug garden bed is always going to look slightly wonky, no matter how hard you try to make it straight.

-maisie

These look pretty straight to me. Willow?
These look pretty straight to me. Willow?

 

on the eve of my birth, thirty years to the day
there is something dear friends that i wanted to say
you see i’m grateful for food, good harvests, and fun
i’m grateful for julius who basks in the sun
and i’m grateful for sun, and for snow, and for rain
our dear yuba river who soothes all our pain

i’m thankful for heartache, having the courage to leave
how it taught me to not only properly grieve
but also to praise, with true lightness of heart
the glorious cycles of which we are part

i’m grateful for carrots, for turnips, and peas
how we pick them while working, to snack as we please
and parsnips and squash, potatoes and beets
drizzled with olive oil and roasted so sweet

i’m grateful for electricity that powers my home
for the wheels on my truck that allow me to roam
i’m grateful for water, the clouds in the sky
blackberries, peaches and warm apple pie
the luminous moon, peeking over the trees
the corn with it’s tassels, humming with bees

and though all these things are special to me
they are only distinct to a certain degree
for there’s something else, rising above all my thanks
higher even than starlight, than sunshine, it ranks…

its YOU, all my loved ones, my dearest and nearest
for who’s presence inspires my gratitude clearest
your company, laughter, bright eyes and big grins
it’s hard to know exactly where to begin.
i would if i could, list you all here by name
but if i left but one out, it would be such a shame
so instead i’ll just tell you, my loved ones, my sweets
you’ve made 30 years glorious, and that’s no small feat

so here’s to 30 more years, and 30 more after those
filled with love and kindness that boundlessly grows!

love,
maisie

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when i watch you my heart skips, in that way that all of your kind describe those feelings of adoration of which i, too, have few words to choose. you are bending over the beds of garlic, and with one hand you are pushing snow aside. cheeks flushed, you burrow your fingers beneath the straw. to you, you are alone, and i can feel your aloneness by the way you do not smile when you find that tender green shoot. but i see you and my heart breaks into a thousand fractures for the way you sniffle and the way your boots are too loose and the tiny gasps of sunlight from the garlic and the squeaking of the worm and the crackle of the frost and the silence of the pebble. you are never alone, and never were, but i see in your sad eyes and hunched shoulders that your mind is busy telling you otherwise.
i am in love with you in this moment, just as i am in love with all that tunnels and rests and roots in my body. i am what you tenderly touch, in search for your sprouting seed. it is i that thaws in the afternoon, i that sighs with the rain in my bones, i that never sleeps but always shifting, spreads webs of life across this field. i love you and i try to tell you with each puddle that reflects your tall body crossing over. i send you love letters written in the rows of green and red speckled lettuce leaves, written in the crumbling crumbs of compost, written with flower stems, flower petals, amaranth seeds – all fallen to the ground, a rainbow tapestry at your feet. i bow to you and you to me.

with love,
the soil

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 photo by josh horniak

wake up.
do it now.
waiting is no longer an option.
in your smile hides the goddess
for which you’ve always longed
in your shoulders, pulled back
your chest open and stretched
there is the seed of the light you seek,
the strength you think you lack.

rest now.
waking up is not a crazy dance
a leap off a cliff, the ocean’s edge
or crying out the story of your life
it is a simple moment beyond all that
and a simple moment before the music
starts back up again.

curl your body into the peace of
that moment
float there and take note of the way
your hand moving
stirs up the phosphorescence
take note but take no notes
writing has no place here.

show your teeth now.
people are lining up to see
those rounded rows
and remember
some will gasp, some will cower,
others will wink, flashing their own grin –
keep smiling
wisdom should not be hidden

remember what it was like,
those days of tight-lipped striving
towards something that was not you
and let a child crawl into your lap.
stroke her hair
and speak to her
as you would a woman
so that she remembers
when she finally wakes up
to her own years lost
that voice
that knew her at her truest.

undo the string
threaded gingerly thru your chest
and lose the pace
that once pulled you forward
even in your sleep

instead, look forward
and speak your knowing
to the air, the madrones,
the river, your lover, your parents,
your cast iron pan

feel the freedom of a castle
without wall or moat
built by stones
chosen by your own hands.

– maisie 11/26/13

today i opened the greenhouse, moved the brick into place to keep the door open in the wind, and said hello to the plants. i say good morning to them like they are babies in a nursery, which they are, and when i water them i sing the song from babe, the movie from the mid-90’s about the talking pig. “If i had words to make a day for you, I’d sing you a morning golden and true…” I really sing to each one, hoping they’ll hear, hoping they’ll stretch their tiny veined leaves toward my voice.

the plants are all small, but its still april, right? there are marigolds that show the promise of life, tiny frilled leaves on red pin legs. the starflower, my favorite, and of which we only had a dozen seeds, have all germinated and their flat fat leaves plump out encouragingly. but the tomatoes look like death – yellow and stunted in their plastic pots, leaves tugged upwards like tense shoulders. this could almost pass a regular greenhouse, regular plants, had we planted them last week. but only willow and i know that they have looked this way, and about this size, for almost a month. we botched it on the soil mix, or maybe the watering, or maybe that cold snap right after we potted up, or maybe the potassium (isn’t there enough in the kelp?), or maybe, or maybe. all i know is that there’s no turning back. our friends are helping us by brewing up batches of compost tea for foliar spraying. we’ve got stinging nettles soaking in a bucket, and we lovingly apply the putrid mixture once a day. i would say that i’ve asked god for a little help, but i haven’t. i gave up that sort of control years ago when i decided to be a farmer.

its fitting, this greenhouse meltdown. i returned to nevada city only a couple months ago, in a meltdown partially of my own making. i looked a lot like these tomatoes – pale, spindly, drooping, sad. the love i had moved up to the northwest to grow had also died a slow, though equally obvious, death, and i came back to the farm defeated and depleted. it was just in time to plant tomatoes. it was also just in time to not plant tomatoes, if i weren’t a farmer, which at that point, i didn’t know anymore. i had left thinking i could take a year off from a vocation that now sings in my bloodstream. i came back not knowing what the hell i was thinking.

willow and i planted sweet peas the first day of my return, because even if i wasn’t a farmer, i would still plant sweet peas. it felt good, to press the stainless steel digging fork into the earth, to draw the line in the soil with my hand, to press the moist seed into it and cover it with crab-claw hands. i know i cried the morning before i did that. i can be sure that i also cried multiple times that afternoon. but while planting, i didn’t cry. so i followed the guidance of my hands and my broken heart, stopped wondering what i was or wasn’t anymore, and i planted a few hundred tomatoes in the greenhouse.

meanwhile willow and i fell back into the rhythm of the farm. we talked flowers. we talked plant starts, marketing, timing, relationships, all while seeding and prepping the beds of the garden. i cried a lot at the river, in the arms of my friends, alone in the morning in my trailer. but during the day i had to stand upright to push the fork into the ground; had to wield my pruners with precision, cut back the dead stalks from the perennials; had to call restaurants and talk enthusiastic about our product. yes, we grow beautiful salad mix. yes, i can commit to harvesting it for you every week. yes, you want us. believe me, you want us.

the dirt returned to the creases in my hands. i’m not sure if i gained any weight, but i felt fuller and rounder. i started wearing my city-clothes on the farm, those few items that i had thought to “save” so that i had “some clean options” for “going out.” i was going out, every day, into the field, fixing the irrigation line and then wiping my filthy hands on my thighs. i came home after working with straw on my sweatshirt and in my hair, from laying down between the beds and watching the clouds.

we potted up the tomatoes and brassicas just before i left to go down to the desert on a trip. after so many weeks and months of pain, pulling into san francisco to pick up Chris felt like i had just escaped from the psych ward, found my other half-crazed pal, and now had nothing left to do but listen to Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift break up in true diva style. Chris and i laughed for days. and in between mediating, yoga-ing, climbing rocks, and making new friends – the sadness lifted. i slept through the night. i woke up thinking about mundane things. i woke up not thinking much about anything.

i came back to the farm and saw that it too had grown up overnight. favas a foot higher. garlic leaves thick and green. the grass in the aisles tall enough to mow. the tomatoes looked the same, but it was still early, and plus i was too happy to notice. i went dancing almost every night. we got our order of dahlias, lillies, and gladiolas in the mail. we trellised the sweet peas, now poking through the straw mulch. the tomatoes seemed unmoved by spring fever. i woke up every morning feeling grateful. i danced my friends baby around her living room. i felt satisfied to end the day munching on salad mix in my trailer, reading a book, and going to bed at 9. i also stayed out late dancing, moving my whole body, flirting with whomever i pleased.

the tomatoes sat, forlorn, stunted, unmoving. we applied some diluted fish emulsion. wrong. they yellowed, maybe even more, or maybe they were on the cusp anyways. we called our friends on other farms. they gave a balanced mix of their insights and condolences. we tried not to think about it, but spraying nettle tea and singing to dying things can be slightly disconcerting.

which brings us to today. i’ve awoken from the first, and most self-absorbed, leg of heartbreak just in time to notice the death of something else. our greenhouse is dying, and like the demise of a relationship formerly full of wonder and potential, its just a big fucking bummer. it isn’t anyones fault. there’s no need nor evidence to suggest that it is anyone’s fault. its just that things need to die to make room for new life.

i am ultimately grateful that those tomatoes that came to life under my shaky hands. that they grew from seed to tiny plant, that they even sprouted at all, was more encouraging than any therapy session or even kind word. they must have been watching me, those feisty buggers. they must have noticed that when i returned from the desert, i had grown tall and luscious, abundant and green. they did their job and gave their lives for it. the tomato is an honorable vegetable that way. self-sacrificing at every step of the way. this time, instead of giving their round and red fruits, they gave their very heartbeat.

thank you tomatoes. thank you for your unexpected gift. thank you for coming into this world just long enough to inspire me to be grateful for the fact that i am alive, upright, and capable of growing up towards the light.

love, maisie

10152012

Harvesting squash in the autumn sunlight!

Here’s to pumpkins, here’s to fall, and here’s to curling up in front of a fire with your sweetie, drinking hot drinks and watching the rain squall.  That’s my plan, as soon as it starts to rain that is.  We just planted cover crop this morning, and our irrigation water from the NID ditch turned off last week for the winter.  So now we are waiting patiently for the rain, waiting for it to wake up all those little bean, vetch, and rye seeds.  For now they are cloaked under a layer of rich soil, and hopefully the birds won’t find them as it’s likely to be another week of dry, 80 degree weather.

Thus is the farmers lament, it’s dry when you want it to rain, and wet when you want it to be dry.  And you just really have no control over it.  Over the last five years of farming in earnest, one lesson that’s hit me over the head over and over again is non-attachment.  Farming is the ultimate test in faith.  You do everything you can do, and then hope for the best.  Sometimes, a huge hail storm comes in June and takes down all your tomato plants.  Sometimes a foreign pest sneaks into your field and eats all your seed potatoes just a week after you’ve planted them.

I’ve seen an evolution time and time again, of a first-year farmer falling to pieces over things like this to three years into it realizing that you just can’t let it faze you.  This has been my journey, and I’m finally coming to realize that no matter what the circumstances, something is going to go wrong, and something is going to surprise you with its success.  Of course, life is like this, and of course there are a million analogies one could make to practice this age-old wisdom of the buddhists.  But it really is the key to success and happiness.  I know it.  Because when I think back on all those times of hardship or pain, it was because my expectations were firmly cemented into my head.  When expectation is fluid, joy can find you in the most unusual of places.

much love and autumn sunshine,

Willow

anticipated harvest:

  • carrots
  • lettuce
  • boc choi
  • tatsoi/turnips
  • sunshine kabocha winter squash
  • basil
  • summer squash
  • kale/chard/collards
  • shallots
  • garlic

the last of the tomatoes/peppers/eggplant/cucumbers

The shallots are still green (they still have the green tops on them) and make for a delicious salad dressing.  Just throw the shallot greens in a blender or food processor with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a little salt and puree.  You get a delicious, creamy, green-goddess-like dressing.

The Kabocha squash is one of my all-time favorites.  Just cut up, scoop out the seeds and bake in the oven for about an hour.  You get a delicious, sweet, dry-textured squash, much like a chestnut.  I like to just eat them plain, but with a little butter they are divine!

Some beautiful potatoes for you!
Some beautiful potatoes for you!

This week we are harvesting our potatoes for the first time, and hope to have a generous haul to give out to the CSA.  Potatoes are a truly versatile crop.  You can plant them in the fall (if you have a warm, well-drained area) and again in the spring.  You can harvest them new, or wait until the plants have died back and the skins have toughened.  You can also easily save seed, as to plant potatoes you merely plant a piece of a potato that has a few eyes.  There are literally thousands (close to 4,000 according to Wikipedia) varieties of potatoes, ranging in all kinds of beautiful colors from pale pink to deep indigo.  Harvesting potatoes is one of my favorite activities on the farm.  Sink the shovel into the soil, upheave the dirt and sift through to find the round, knobbed treasures.  Hopefully you haven’t cut through any potatoes, or the gophers haven’t found them first.

Here’s a nod to the proud and noble potato by Pablo Neruda, noting aptly the politics of the origins of the potato in South America, and it being one of the many treasures plundered by the conquistadors of Spain.

Ode to the potato

Potato,
you are called
potayto,
not potahto;
you were not born with a beard,
you are not Castillian.
You are dark
like
our skin;
we are Americans,
potato,
we are Indians.

You are
gentle and profound,
pure pulp, a pure
buried
white rose;
you flower there inside
the earth,
are showered by
original
earth
of wet islands,
by tempestuous Chile,
by the Chilean sea,
an emerald that pours
its green light
out upon the austral ocean.

Potato,
sweet
matter,
almond
of the earth,
the sediment
there
does not possess
dead metals;
there, in the obscure
softness of the islands,
no one fights for
copper and its submerged
volcanoes,
or the blue cruelty
of magnesium.
Hands planted you
in the moist ground
as though stocking a nest.
And when
the thunder
of that evil
war,
the Spanish
conquest,
black as an eagle of the grave,
sought savage gold
in the burning
matrix
of the Araucanias,
its greedy
ones
were exterminated,
its leaders
died,
and when
the poor ruined captains
returned
to stony Castile
in their hands they raised
not a golden goblet
but a potato
from the Chilean sea.

You are honorable
like
hands
that till the soil,
like
a hen
you’re a member of the family,
are compact as a cheese
that the earth pours out
from its nourishing
udders;
enemy of hunger,
in all
nations
you’ve planted
your victorious and ready
banner,
in frozen land or in the ground
of burning coastlines
your anonymous flower
has appeared,
announcing the thick
and steady
birth rate of your roots.

Universal delight,
you don’t await
my song,
for you are deaf
and blind
and buried.
Cooked in an inferno
of oil
you scarcely speak,
nor do you sing
in the fried-fish shops
of the harbours;
when close to the guitars
you are silent, potato,
meal of the subterranean
night,
interminable treasure-trove
of the people.

Anticipated Harvest:

  • potatoes!
  • tomatoes
  • eggplant
  • peppers
  • lettuce
  • tomatillos
  • turnips
  • parsley/celery
  • onions
  • garlic
  • kale/collards
  • cucumbers

Kale is one of my favorite vegetables.  It is so versatile and delicious, I can usually include it whatever I’m cooking. It’s also extremely nutritious and easy to grow.  I encourage you all to start experimenting with kale if you don’t like it yet.  The fall kale is coming on strong and should be particularly sweet and tender these last few weeks of CSA.

Kale with raisins and toasted pine nuts (from Greens Glorious Greens)

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 pounds kale (about 6 cups, chopped)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsps good olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • salt to taste
  1. To toast pine nuts, place on a cookie sheet or pie tin and bake at 325 for 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Take care not to burn them.
  2. Wash kale and strip off stalks.  Roughly chop kale.  Bring the water to a boil in a 10 or 12 inch skillet with a tightly fitting lid.  Add kale and cook, covered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove and drain, saving the cooking liquid to drink.
  3. Rinse out and dry the skillet, then use it to heat the olive oil over medium heat, lifting and tilting the pan to coat.  Add garlic and saute for 15 seconds.  Add raisins and saute for 30 seconds to one minute, stirring constantly to prevent browning or burning.  Raisins should be glossy and slightly puffed.
  4. Add greens and stir to combine.  Season with salt to taste and cover for a minute until greens are heated through.  Serve hot, garnished with the toasted pine nuts.

 

 

Living Lands Agrarian Network is hosting its 3rd Annual Dinner in the Field Benefit Dinner on Saturday August 25th at 5pm. This has been a glorious event the past few years, and I would love to have some Soil Sisters CSA members representing! This is a great opportunity to support our agricultural education work while dining with the Living Lands community in a lovely farm setting. Diners will enjoy an exquisitely crafted meal, wine, flowers, candlelight, and inspiring conversation with like-minded community members and farmers.  In The Kitchen will serve a bountiful menu of fresh and delicious dishes featuring organically grown peak-season vegetables and meats from Soil Sisters, Red Rocker, and other Living Lands farms.

You will also be able to tour one of our unique farm sites. Lost Hill Farm serves as the home site for our interns; as an experiment in permaculture and homesteading; and as a community gathering space. It boasts a ½-acre garden, many native plants, top bar bee hives, a laying flock, a sacred space, and myriad fruit and nut trees. Talk to Willow and I at pick up for more information or visit the website to sign up!

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