SUMMER CSA Weeks 7, 8 and 9

The rain storm on Thursday making its way across Massachusetts. Not much more than a half inch, but we were grateful. Thursday members, thanks for finding us in our altered spot. We are inquiring as to whether we can be in that spot for the rest of the summer. If not, it will be back to our usual spot (hopefully).

So, I skipped some of my blog posts the last few weeks and just sent some pretty basic emails out directly to the CSA (it takes about 15 extra minutes to post to both WordPress and Constant Contact). Time was tight, not just because of work but because we were trying really hard NOT to work. Taking time for myself and my family is really important to me, and sometimes, especially when the season is as intense as this one, it means cutting back on some of my responsibilities to make that time available.

There is a pervasive culture in farming of striving to be the person who works the hardest for the longest. I fell prey to it early on in my career and it lead me down a path of constant stress, panic attacks and amplified anxiety. I went to therapy for a year and half, art therapy specifically, and my takeaways were actually quiet simple (but took a lot of effort – I can still feel the physical strain my body went through to come to and accept these realizations, and I’m deeply grateful for my therapist and art therapy as a practice):

  1. I am worth while and valuable, regardless of what I produce (still working on this one daily, definitely not there yet)
  2. Process is more important than product. I’m an incredibly outcome based individual. Enjoying activities (or doing nothing . . . ) simply because of the pleasure of the process is really hard for me. Now, if I’m going to try to create something I work on giving up any expectations about what the results will be and try to be fully present and enjoy the project. And I try to make time for nothing (which almost never happens, but I still try). It’s especially important now that I have a son and need to make space for relaxation and play. Its way too easy to be constantly busy (even if its just in my head). I have to make concerted effort to be present and content without expectations. When this happens for me, it is truly blissful.
  3. Self-care is incredibly important. I’m not talking commercialized self-care. I’m talking (for me): make time to read more than one page of a book before I pass out from exhaustion at night, taking a shower, going to a yoga class with people I love regularly, taking a nap, taking a shower, doing something “unproductive”, saying ‘No’, making time to learn. Speaking my mind.

I struggle with the last part. I have some deep beliefs that I don’t speak about freely. In part because I learned in my early twenties that I was lead to believe that I am special and my opinions are important (and yes I am and yes they are) but so much so that I was taking up too much space. I didn’t listen to or see other people and their opinions so I got quieter because I was trying to make room for others and to just listen.

I love listening, maybe so much-so that I spend too much time internalizing what I listen to and I don’t make space for conversation, except with those I feel very close to. I’m starting to crack out of my listening shell. I hear myself speaking frankly often now, and it feels rich and full and right. Even if it makes other people uncomfortable.

But another reason why I don’t speak up is out of fear of conflict. I have been trained, like so many others, to “be quiet, polite, indirect and submissive, not to disturb the status quo,” as highlighted by adrienne maree brown in Emergent Strategy (I’m almost done . . .!). One of my current goals is to find healthy ways to engage in conflict, rather than avoiding it and teach myself better ways to engage with the world.

Now, a moment just to recognize all of my privilege: I could afford to pay for therapy, I could afford time for therapy, I was exposed to a culture that encouraged me to seek therapy, I can choose to avoid conflict. (I’m sure there is more.)

I’m hesitant to call my anti-racism work self-care, because the point of anti-racism work is to celebrate, protect and uplift Black, Indigenous and People of Color, but experiencing joy, compassion, empathy, human connection, learning and improving my ability to do good in the world are forms of self-care, and my anti-racism work so far has included all of these things.

Yesterday Kevin and I watch a recording of a lecture we signed up for but could not attend live (we are fairly unavailable from 6am to 8pm every day, so unless its a Sunday, we are watching recordings). The lecturer was EbonyJanice Moore, pronounced like “peace”, the Black girl joy expert, womanist, scholar and activist. The lecture was: “White Urgency is Violence“. It was a valuable lecture, and I encourage you to watch it in full. One of the important points she makes is that many of us do not have a learning ethic which requires us to be very humble when entering a conversation about something like Black Lives Matter, and we don’t respect that centuries of work has been going on long before we started listening. So instead of talking, we should listen. And think about what we are hearing, and listen more.

“Deep internal listening over reacting and response,” is one of EbonyJanice’s ethics and lived praxis. Slowing down and really taking time and making space to listen and internalize. “Listening deeply makes it more easeful and pleasurable to learn.”

As someone who loves listening, this makes me feel comfortable. Which I’m sure was not her intention. I have privilege and power and I need to be using that power to amplify the voices of the most marginalized and oppressed people. But it’s one of the valuable points in her lecture and I think worth sharing (watch the lecture for the rest).

Another example of white urgency which came up during her question and answer session, and which I experienced when ordering books from Frugal Book Store in Boston (when all of us white people realized we should own more books by Black authors that center Black people). In particular, especially since we aren’t going to the library now and we are reading the same books over and over (and over and over and over), I wanted to make sure Harvey was reading books that center Black characters. Too often there is a “token” black character who is not the main character in children’s books, or worse, just a few non-white characters depicted in crowds on the playground in the background.

So we ordered books. And a week later we get an email from Frugal Bookstore explaining that they are a small business and they had to hire a company to help them fill orders and they are sorry that our books hadn’t come yet. And they said some people were complaining and demanding their money back. As a small business owner I empathized so deeply with their experience and was not surprised but still enraged that a person seeking to do anti-racism work through purchasing books and supporting black businesses would behave that way. That is the violence of white urgency. How. How can people be so self-centered and impatient? How can they not have thought through what was happening: it’s a pandemic, the state is under a stay at home order, millions of white people are rushing to support black owned businesses and there is ONE black owned book store in greater Boston (if you know of more please share). Scaling a business takes time. Supporting a small business means subscribing to reality, maybe even subscribing to humanity.

Be patient. Listen. Listen more. Think and then listen. And just learn how to wait.

Notes for myself on other things I want to think more about/write about:
The urgency of food production and my daily life
Food donation as a band-aid not a solution
Land. Land. Land.

A few of the people I have been listening to that really touched me this week:
@vanessalgerman “On the Harvest of Sorrow And Cantaloupe”

Thanks for reading, now, onto the share.

House keeping:

BAGS – You can bring your own, reusable bags. You can bring them to the grocery store now, you can bring them to CSA.

SCALES – We started using scales a little bit again last week, just with potatoes. It has been very stressful to count every cucumber and zucchini to make sure we don’t run out. It might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but I try really hard not to run out of an item before the end of CSA (sometimes with choice its just the way it is, I’m not a grocery store, buying tons of food and throwing lots of it out just so I can have a full display for people to get whatever they want whenever they want).
So, there will be a weighted mix and match this week, really simple just cukes/zukes and fennel. I’ll give a weight range so you don’t have to feel like you’re trying to be precise. Try not to take fruits and then put them back. Aim for the biggest thing you want first.
I know this makes pick up a little slower for you, but I have literally spent hours and hours trying to make CSA pick up as fast as possible this year and I need to be spending that time growing food. If enough of you feel strongly about not having scales I can get you an estimate of how many added hours it takes for us to make that possible and maybe we can raise the funds to pay someone to do that work, but our business just can’t afford it anymore. We will still be dividing up the beans and tomatoes this week, so we aren’t doing nothing, but we can’t do it all.

What’s in the Share
Basil (we have to clear the bed). Make pesto. Or just stand your basil in a glass of water like a bouquet. If you change the water once in a while it will start growing roots. I had some from two weeks ago that still looked good on Sunday.
Scallions (we have to clear the bed). Guess what? Stand these guys up in water and they will keep growing too! We are basically harvesting a farm for your kitchen counter.
One Head of Lettuce. We are in between plantings and its a heat wave. Hopefully next week the new planting will be ready.
Green Beans. Not sure how much – have to pick them tomorrow, at least a half pound, maybe a full pound?!
Tomatoes. Same. At least a pound and a half, probably two pounds, or more?!
Green/Purple peppers, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, shishito peppers, tomatillos . . . all in some kind of choice scenario . . . again, have the pick them to determine quantities!


ROASTED TOMATILLO ENCHILADAS is my favorite way to use tomatillos. I usually make a big batch of the sauce as soon as I get tomatillos in my share and freeze it until I’m ready to make these amazing enchiladas.
GRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD WITH TOMATILLO MOLE recipe calls for pattypan squash but you can substitute summer squash or zucchini. The amazing tomatillo mole can be used as a dip as well.
SLAB TOMATO TART WITH BURRATA tarts are pretty much mandatory this time of year. This is an udpated version with burrata cheese which is amazing if you’ve never tried any.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SHISHITO PEPPERS you’ve never tried Shishito peppers they are AMAZING. They’re fantastic blistered in a skillet with a little olive oil sprinkled with salt.
WHITE GAZPACHO chilled soup is perfect for a hot summer night (and for using up your extra cucumbers)! 😉
GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH SUMMER MARINARA slow cooked tomato sauce layerd with grilled eggplant, mozzarella and fresh basil. Serve it family style with hunks of crusty bread for sopping up the extra sauce.
PEANUT ZOODLE SALAD WITH CHICKEN, red cabbage and carrots make this salad as colorful as it is delicious.
The farm CRV pulling it’s weight last week at Eliot St.

Summer CSA: Week 6

Let’s do a photo blog today.

We found the first cherry tomato while weeding around the plants last Thursday. It’ll be a week or two before they make it to the share, but they are on the horizon!

I can’t remember if we posted about the winter squash – but they are growing! So fast! The oats we seeded in the pathways to help hold soil together and suppress weeds are working wonders.

Harvey loves fennel, you might too!

We got to spend a day and half at a friend’s family cabin over the weekend. A Smithsonian Magazine from October 2019 was on the table. Along with articles about how George Washington may have actually fired the first shot that started the French and Indian War (7 Years War), women scientists who have not been credited for their discoveries, and a socialist uprising in Oklahoma 100 years ago, there was an article about how Indigenous people are finally being allowed to forage for some traditional food crops (specifically sochan) in National Parks. (A really good 4th of July magazine.) Imagine instead of intensively cultivating little (or vast) plots of land by turning soil and working tirelessly against nature, working with nature to cultivate vast ecosystems full of food, which is what Indigenous communities did for thousands of years on the very land we stand on today.

Imagination is an important part of “Emergent Strategy” by adrienne maree brown (the book I’m reading and referencing weekly on this blog). I actually was reminded of the book when LeVar Burton interviewed Walidah Imarisha after reading one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s short stories on his podcast “LeVar Burton Reads” (my go-to this March/April when working alone). Imarisha and adrienne maree brown co-edited a collection of short stories entitled “Octavia’s Brood”, “Science Fiction from Social Movements An anthology of visionary science fiction and speculative fiction written by organizers and activists.”

During the interview Imarisha states: “All organizing is science fiction . . . every time we imagine a world without borders, every time we imagine a world without prisons, every time we imagine a world without oppression, that’s science fiction because we’ve never seen that world . . . We can’t build what we can’t imagine.”

It’s important to remember, to know, that we are being fed lies constantly by people and institutions with power who benefit from the short-term profit of the current global/industrial agriculture complex. They say that there is not enough food to feed the world, that we constantly need to improve our yields through chemical input and technology. What we need to know is that there are examples of food production throughout history and around the globe that are capable of producing immense quantities of food in a much more sustainable and just way. We need to imagine the world that is well taken care of, feeding us what we need to thrive.

And always remember that famine is a result of social injustice. Not environmental disaster.

My evolving goal is to be as humble as possible and to listen and learn from people who are already working towards a more just and sustainable food system that steps outside the European/White Colonizer paradigm of food production. Below is a link to the broadcast I mentioned last week which has me thinking intensely about how flawed the paradigm of the family farm actually is, and how we might need to put it aside almost completely in order to move forward towards real, productive change.

Juneteeth Broadcast by A Growing Culture (htttp:// Chris Newman’s presentation begins at 2:55:00 and has been on my mind constantly for the last two weeks. The whole broadcast is important and should be watched.

I accidentally typed ‘sidway.b’ (my maiden name) into a google search the other day (I meant to try and sign into an old email account) and it linked me to a genealogical report on the decedents of “Elder John Strong” and early British Settler in New England (turns out he is one of my ancestors). A quick Wikipedia search revealed:

“He later moved to Windsor, Connecticut, on the Connecticut River where he was a leading figure in the new Connecticut colony. In 1659 he moved 40 miles further up the river to the Connecticut River town of Northampton, Massachusetts—then a frontier town surrounded by Nipmuck[3] and Pocumtuc[4] Indian nations about 100 miles (160 km) inland from Boston. One of the early settlers of the town, he operated a tannery for many years, helped defend the town against Indian attacks during King Philip’s War (1675-1676) and also played an important role in town and church affairs.[5]

A more accurate way to say “helped defend the town against Indian attacks” might be “violently prevented Indigenous people from reclaiming stolen land”. It doesn’t feel good to think about it like this, but it’s the honest way to think about it. I want to live in a society that is just, kind and generous. That can’t begin to happen until I fully acknowledge the long history that brought me here and the means that made my existence possible.

And now on to the share . . . it’s a really good one this week.


Peas (the last)
New Potatoes (quart)
LOTS of Zucchini/summer squash
Head Lettuce (a little damage from hail but actually pretty primo)
Choice of 3 more items (slightly smaller bunches this week so you can choose more items): celery, fennel, basil, cilantro, scallions, beets, radish, kale, chard, extra head of lettuce, cabbage, arugula, bok choy . . .


CRUNCHY ASIAN SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING I love the flavors and textures in this colorful and crunchy salad.

HERBED POTATO SALAD WITH FENNEL RADISH AND MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE Summer isn’t the same without potato salad. This is a fun twist with fennel and radish. Don’t throw out the fennel fronds – chop them up and toss them in for added flavor and color.



Too hot to think about cooking your chard? Check out this colorful summer slaw. If the dressing is more than you want to deal with just use your favorite slaw dressing either homemade or store bought if you want super simple.

SLOW COOKED SUMMER SQUASH WITH LEMON AND THYME This is a great dish to cook up on the weekend and then use it in meals all week. It’s perfect as a side with grilled meats, tossed with pasta or used in sandwiches.