Farmer Ancestors…plus CSA & mkts for 8.4.2018

We’ve been thinking a lot recently about our ancestors that farmed. Like many, we are only a couple of generations removed from farming families. Between the two of us, we have at least 3 grandparents that grew up on farms. Yet it was considered preposterous that we would want to farm for a living instead of working a “white collar” job. Our culture moved so quickly away from an agrarian base. We wonder what the next two and three generations hold. The number of small farms like ours are increasingly, but industrial agriculture is continuing to become bigger and more centralized. What interesting potential lies ahead for our grandchildren and all the generations after.

Spurring on these thoughts are the unique details of this week. Last Sunday, Dan took a maddeningly fast trip to visit the farm where his grandfather grew up. Dan, his father, and two of his brothers drove from Boston to the tiny town in the very most northern peak of Maine where his father’s father grew up. This town’s population is smaller than the entire student body of any elementary school around here. It’s farther north than Montreal, and it’s farther north than Quebec! It’s way up there, on the Canadian border. It’s called St. Agatha. Look it up and stare in amazement at the map.

Anyway, they were able to find some locals (who turned out to be Dan’s dad’s second cousins) who could show them the land that was Dan’s grandfather’s family farm in the 1920’s. Back then, it was a subsistence farm for the family, and they grew potatoes as a cash crop. The Great Depression changed all of that and the family ended up in the Boston area, losing connection with the town and farming. We can thank one of Dan’s brothers for incredible genealogy research that helped them discover details about their family’s history. Dan flew back home very early Wednesday morning with his head full of thoughts and emotions. A very rain-soaked mixed vegetable farm awaited him, and a few crates of scraggly potato seconds from our modest potato harvest of early July. (The potatoes in Maine this week are flowering…not yet ready for harvest. Dan saw fields and fields of these.)

Janet has grandparents that grew up on farms in Nebraska. Not much research has gone into tracing down the details, and grandparents passed away decades ago. We know the Nebraska farms were very different than ours.

But a sure similarity between our grandparents’ farms and ours is the way in which we all try to feed our families as much from this land as we think reasonable. August is the month in which we preserve most of the food that we put up for the winter. Our farms our different – we have no animals here. We grow more kinds of vegetables and flowers than our grandparents would have, and we enjoy all sorts of modern methods of organic growing.

We don’t have just a couple of different cash crops. We have more preservation methods and embrace our vacuum sealer, our freezer, and our generator during hurricane season. But slicing and cooking and sealing and drying food at night after our work days, we feel a connection with our farming ancestors. We grow food for our community, but we put up food for our family for the winter. It’s a unique thing in this part of the world at this time. But we enjoy it, we enjoy the flavors and sustenance during the colder months, and we are grateful to be able to do this. We’ll keep on reflecting on our ancestors – both the farmers and the city dwellers. Maybe next year we’ll swing through Tecumseh, Nebraska and search out Janet’s grandmother’s farm. The town population is almost as big as the student body at our nearby high school!

Saturday’s Farm Share will likely include:
Salad Mix, Green Beans, Onions, Garlic, Sweet Peppers, Shishito Peppers, Tomatoes, plus Okra and Watermelon both as optional

Vegetable Notes & Recipe Suggestions…also cataloged on our Recipe Page and see our Pinterest Page
Shishito Peppers – Pictured above. These are frying peppers and their flavor really comes out when you cook them whole – stem and all! – in a pan with your favorite oil (or not) and a touch of salt. Cook them this way until they blister and then enjoy their flavor. They aren’t spicy. See here for Blistered Shishito Peppers.
Green Beans – You can get fancy, like with Charred Snap Beans with Whole Lemon Dressing and Mozzerella, or simple, like with Sesame-Soy Green Beans, or in-between with Green Bean Salad with Asian Dressing. Or you can simply break them into pieces and add on top of a green salad.
Watermelon – If this cool and rainy weather has you eating less watermelon (on the porch, in bathing suits is our family’s preference!), then you can make Watermelon-Mint Slushie. (It’s good with our without the lime juice. You choose.) Or you can make Watermelon Basil Slushie. We made both last week and added no sweetener. We all loved it. AND – you can freeze it and enjoy it later – like when August is hot and we no longer have watermelons! You can also add alcohol to frozen watermelon slush if you are so inclined. We stubbornly grow only seeded watermelons, as we believe in the importance of fruits containing seeds, as they are meant to. We know this means you will likely want to pick out the seeds in order to make these slushies, and we hope you think it’s worth it. And we grow this yellow variety because it won our taste tests in previous years.
Tomatoes – If you aren’t eating them all on sandwiches or salads or as salsa or relish, then here are some fancier ideas: Buttered Tomatoes with GingerQuick Tomato Chicken CurryTomato and Roasted Garlic Pie.  Pasta with No-Cook Tomato SaucePeaches and Tomatoes with Burrata and Hot SauceOven-Baked Tomato Basil & Goat Cheese Risotto.
Sweet Peppers – Most of the peppers we grow are bullhorn-shaped. We think these grow better organically than bell-shaped peppers and taste better, too. But it’s hard to find recipes online that feature them. However, see this Stuffed Bullhorn Capsicum recipe (capsicum = pepper family) and this 15 Minute Charred Capsicum with Baby Tomato Spaghetti. (This author appears to be based in Australia and so temps are in C and there are some units that we are not familiar with. Feel free to enlighten…What’s a punnet of tomatoes? A pint?) See also this simple Peppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese instructions, or get more complicated with this seasoned Fiesta Stuffed Peppers recipe. (You can stuff small peppers and large peppers the same.) Make it the way your family prefers!

Our harvest for Saturday’s farmers’ markets will include: 
Basil, Rainbow Chard, Cucumbers keep plugging along, Fairy Tale Eggplant, Italian Eggplant (Beatrice), Flower Bouquets, Garlic, Lettuce, Okra, Onions, Peppermint, Sweet Peppers (bullhorn shape and bell shape), Shishito Peppers, Salad Mix, Summer Squash, a multitude of Tomatoes, Watermelon…and our Organic Hearth Baked Bread (Roasted Pepper & Onion, Whole Rye, Raisin, & Seed loaves for this weekend).
{Our farmstand is open Thurs & Friday with most of the above items…see here for updated inventory}

Anything remaining after CSA shares are distributed and our farm stand is shopped (plus the bread we bake Saturday morning)… we’ll bring on Saturday to the Brandermill Green Market or the Farmer’s Market @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the West End of Richmond. Keep an eye on what we have available via the online farmers’ markets: FallLineFarms.com and Local Roots Food Coop.

~Market Share CSA member? You’re likely looking for this link here.

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork crew

Want to follow along during the week, including Farm Stand updates? Visit us on Facebook or Instagram

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