I had the great idea of posting something on social media every day of November to highlight what we are thankful for. Gratitude keeps me sane. Especially during this year of losing our land, struggling to find a place to farm, wondering if the last ten years was even worth it, wondering if small scale farming is actually accomplishing what I set out to do. Or did I just make myself so busy and tired that I couldn’t do anything else meaningful . . . like so busy that I couldn’t get around to my great idea about daily gratitude posts . . .
Regardless of the challenges we face, which are real and significant, we are so very, very lucky.
· We have excellent friends and family who have supported us and tolerated our perpetually dirty hands, boots and cars, held our baby, cared for our baby, lent a hand in the fields, given us loans and tolerated raw vegetables as gifts for years on end.
· We have an excellent crew. We work with smart, passionate and kind people who bring their best to work, even when its boiling hot, or bitter cold, wet or otherwise uncomfortable. They even bring their best when the work is frustrating, when we are doing something lame because of a mistake I made.
· We have a great group of work-for-shares who help in the field, help with photos, help with recipes, help at the stand. Trading vegetables for help is one of the most satisfying exchanges we make.
· Our customers are excellent. We are constantly amazed by your exemplary behavior in the stand. You are kind to us and each other, you are patient, understanding and excited about the food we grow. We could not exist without you, and just thinking about you all now makes me second guess my second guessing my life choices of the last ten years.
· We get to eat really well.
· We have health insurance (which we would not have if it weren’t for MassHeath and ConnectorCare, so we are grateful for everyone who worked to have affordable health care in our state – our small business would not exist without it).
· We have a home, access to water, electricity, heat and the internet.
· We are not oppressed, afraid of violence, or otherwise marginalized because of our race/ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation.
We do not face immediate and dramatic ramifications of human-caused climate change or other ecological man-made disasters.
· We have each other.
We will have more updates about next year in a email to the whole list in the beginning of December, but we do have a temporary lease on a few parcels of land for next year, and will be offering CSA shares, in addition to participating in the Ashland Farmers Market, while continuing to look for our forever farm.
We have some special treats for sale on Monday. We visited a friend who grows certified organic fruit in Boxborough (yes, for real, the unicorn does exist). It is very, very, very hard to grow fruit organically in our climate. Ed, the farmer, is a very special individual and we were lucky enough to get two bushels of superb fruit.
The apple on the left is Grimes Gold, a “tart citrusy crisp dense firm fruit is excellent for both dessert and cooking: wonderful spicy fresh eating, pies, applesauce and cider.”
The apple on the right is Winecrisp, a new cultivar. “[It] is a modern disease-resistant variety developed by the Universities of Prudue, Rutgers and Illinois and introduced in the 1990s. Flavor, as well as disease-resistance, was clearly a goal in the development of WineCrisp. As the name suggests, this is a crisp apple with a fruity flavor.
Ed’s farm is aptly named Long Run Farm, since you’ve got to be in it for the long run to make investing in fruit, especially organically managed fruit, worth it. We are very lucky to have a small portion of is absolutely precious harvest to offer.
We’ve also got IPM Heirloom Cranberries, grown by our friend Will at his farm, Old Earth Orchard. Although we are usually skeptical of the IPM description because it is so vague, (as long as you identify a pest before you spray it you are considered to be on the “IPM spectrum”). But, he is our friend, and we have worked together in the past and I trust his judgement. He has two varieties to offer, Howes, which are great keepers and make great relish and Early Black which makes excellent sauce.
What’s in the share?
5-6lbs of butternut (2 medium, 1 large)
2 lbs sweet potatoes
1 bag lettuce mix
1 bag spinach
1 bag pea tendrils or mustard greens
1 pint shallots/garlic
10lbs mix and match: carrots, beets, parsnip, turnips (hakurei and purple top), rutabaga, celeriac, cabbage, onions, acorn squash, potatoes, more butternut and sweet potatoes, watermelon and daikon radish.
And now, Jess’s Recipes!!
This is it people! THIS is what we’ve been training for – THANKSGIVING. That beautiful holiday that combines thankfulness and the most delicious foods. Whether you’re picking up your share before or after Thanksgiving, these recipes will help you celebrate the bounty of this harvest season.
These delectable little toasts would make the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer or live it up and have them for breakfast. Toasts spread with creamy mascarpone cheese, topped with seasoned squash (you could absolutely use your leftover mashed squash here) and caramelized onions and a drizzle of maple syrup.
ROASTED CABBAGE WITH WALNUTS AND PARMESAN
I’m the first to be skeptical of a cooked cabbage but click on the link and look at these beauties and see if you can resist them. I know I can’t! crispy wedges drizzled with a lemony vinaigrette and dusted with parmesan cheese.
HASSELBACK BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SAGE BUTTER AND PROSCIUTTO BREADCRUMBS
These gorgeous hasselback squashes are surprisingly easy but you can definitely pretend that they were as complicated to make as they look to get out of doing the dishes. I won’t tell.
MASHED POTATOES WITH CRISPETY CRUNCHETIES
I don’t know if I can ever eat mashed potatoes again without Crispety Cruncheties.
Gorgeous whole-roasted kohlrabi with feta cheese and jalapenos – talk about a flavor explosion!
MASHED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH BACON VINAIGRETTE
I love this recipe for using up whatever root veggies I have left on hand. Parsnips, kohlrabi, celery root, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, you name it and you can use it in this recipe. Coarsely mashed with a bacon vinaigrette with just a touch of sweetness. So good!
POTATO-TURNIP MASH WITH CRISPY FRIED SHALLOTS
This one is great for a mixed crowd that may not go for straight-up pureed turnips. Mix them with potatoes and add some crispy sautéed shallots on top and the whole extended family will be asking for seconds!
SAUSAGE AND KALE THANKSGIVING DRESSING
What’s the most loved part of Thanksgiving dinner? The stuffing of course! This one has sausage, leeks, butternut squash and kale – it’s practically a meal on its own!
TOASTED MARSHMALLOW SWEET POTATO PIE
Last but not least – don’t forget the pie! Yes, you can do Thanksgiving dinner all the way from appetizers to dessert with your CSA haul. I love how this pie uses regular and mini marshmallows for the topping. If you have a food torch you can use it to make extra crispy bits on the top if you prefer your marshmallows well done.