Spring CSA – Week 5

Error Correction:

**This is an Odd week, therefore we will deliver half shares to the following cities: Columbus, Dothan, Thomasville & Tallahassee.

This is week 5, an odd week!

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Spring CSA -Week 5

**This is an Odd week, therefore we will deliver half shares to the following cities: Columbus, Dothan, Thomasville & Tallahassee.

The clouds hang low in their sky, they darken the heavens, and release sweet rain. Spring is the delicate dance between temperature and rainfall. We pray that late season cold snaps don’t arrive, and that rain is consistent but not overwhelming. The warm damp climate that comes with spring, creates an ideal environment for critters: bug and fungal alike. All souls love the spring, it foretells of life and love and new beginnings. As you enjoy the spring beauty, please think to your farmers in the rain, and your plants in the elements. Think of your plants when the temperature drops to freezing, and when torrential storms come to town.

All of these things effect the growing cycle of the plants, we are the caretakers of the vegetables, but they do all the work. They convert sunlight, water and nutrients into pure energy, harvesting and growing with each day. It is a beautiful thing to behold. They are resistant to so many things, and yet produce lovely edible matter. Think of your vegetables, connect through the weather. As the spring sun warms the skin on your face, it also lend life to the plants of the garden. The water that you wipe off your windshield, is also harvested through the roots of the ground dwellers. It is an interesting thought, to see the weather we encounter through the perspective of a plant.

New this Week: Collards, Baby Fennel

Collards: leaves can be used as a sturdy wrap for sandwiches, or to wrap fish in as it bakes in the oven, or even as a new take on cabbage rolls. The leaf is versatile, and wonderful lightly braised. It can be stored as you would a kale, or chard.

Baby Fennel: Fennel is most notable for its sweet flavor. Braising it with your baby carrots would make an excellent side dish. The fronds will cook down for a lovely vegetable/chicken stock. We encourage you to freeze the fronds, until you are ready to use them.

Spotlight Veggie: Collards

The original collard was non-heading cabbage. There was a divide among the southern and northern states about what a proper cabbage should consist of. Many of the northern families thought that the non-heading cabbage was defective, whereas the southern families began collecting seed and cultivating the modern day collard. The first recording of seed swapping for collard specific varieties was during 1860-1870, and were first on the market for sale in 1875.

They are notably a southern favorite, and have long held a place at family dinners. There beautiful leaves create a rosette in a mature plant, they are known for their prominent flavor and heat tolerance.

Organic Share Items

Baby Carrots: candied, juiced, muffins, raw, salad, steamed.

Storage: Remove rubber bands. Immediately remove leafy greens, approx. ¼ away from root. Leaving greens attached causes the roots to wilt & become soft. Keep roots in a gallon sized Ziploc with the bag half closed. *See above green storage for the removed tops.

Kale: creamed, pesto, risotto, salad, sautéed, stir-fry, stew

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Head Lettuce: burgers, fresh salads, sandwiches, braised, raw, wraps

Storage: Remove from bag, store in an airtight container.

Spring Mix: burgers, fresh salads, sandwiches, braised, raw, wraps

Storage: Remove from bag, store in an airtight container.

Braising Mix: braised, fresh, burritos/tacos, pasta, pizza, salad, & soup/stew.

Storage: Remove from plastic bag, place in open container, wrap with a dry kitchen towel to absorb moisture.

Baby Fennel: braised, raw salads, risotto, roasted, stews & soups

Storage: Short term storage- in a shallow dish of water on the counter. Long term storage- place in an air tight container with a little water.

Swiss Chard: braise, pesto, pickling (stems), raw, salads, stir-fry, sautéed, wraps.

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Collards: dumplings, egg rolls, pesto, pot stickers, raw, risotto, salads, sautéed, spring rolls, stews, stir-fry, & wraps.

Storage: Place in a Ziploc in the back of your fridge, outer leaves will wilt. If the outer leaves are wilted, discard outer leaves the inner leaves are perfect!

Lemon Balm: lovely in teas, mixed drinks, and paired with items needing a perk of herbal lemon.

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

Mint:

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

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2015 Spring CSA – Week 4

**This is an Even Week, therefore we will deliver half shares to the following cities: Albany & Atlanta.

Greetings from sunny South Georgia.

Spring is officially here and the heat is beginning to settle in. This warm weather is waking up hibernating critters, causing our reptilian & amphibian friends to make appearances in the garden.

While the season is still fresh, we wanted to take the time to introduce our crew, there is a mini photo shoot below. This season’s crew is comprised of New Interns, Familiar Faces, Southern Natives, & Northern Transplants. Thank you for letting us be your growers!

Spotlight Vegetable: The Carrot

In the Americas, carrots were primarily used as a livestock crop. They were inexpensive, nutritious and highly favored by livestock. In cookbooks, they were not mentioned as being served raw previous to the 1900’s (check out this site for more carrot facts). Many of the recipes treated the roots like sweet potatoes, they would boil them and serve with butter, early home cooks would even serve carrot pies and puddings, similar to that of a modern day sweet potato pie. Many households didn’t enjoy the carrot, however the modern carrot enjoys a being a favorite for many vegetable lovers.

New Items: Green Garlic, Baby Carrots, & Sage

Green Garlic – Taste profile similar to garlic flavored leek. It is the size of a scallion, the white bulb is edible, as well as the green stem. However, the further up the stem you move the more fibrous the green stem becomes. Used in pesto, potato latkes, soups, spinach pies, Braised in White Wine.

Baby Carrots – The sweet gentle crisp of a true baby carrot cannot be matched. We recommend eating them raw, or only using slight heat, pickling them is another excellent idea.

Sage – Is wonderful paired with savory items, potatoes, breads, meat dishes, and pasta. Interesting ideas to try: tempura coated sage leaves fried in olive oil (garnish or as an appetizer), Browned Butter pasta & fried sage,

Organic Share Items

Green Garlic: To be used in aoli, butter & oil infusions, dips, hummus, marinades, pesto, pickled, roasted, salsa, sauces, sautéed, soup/stew.

Storage: (Bunching Onions) Remove rubber band, wrap bulbs in damp paper towel.

Baby Carrots: candied, juiced, muffins, raw, salad, steamed.

Storage: Remove rubber bands. Immediately remove leafy greens, approx. ¼ away from root. Leaving greens attached causes the roots to wilt & become soft. Keep roots in a gallon sized Ziploc with the bag half closed. *See above green storage for the removed tops.

Kale: creamed, pesto, risotto, salad, sautéed, stir-fry, stew

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Head Lettuce: braised, raw, wraps

Storage: Remove from bag, store in an airtight container.

Salad Mix: burgers, fresh salads, sandwiches,

Storage: Remove from bag, store in an airtight container.

Spinach: sandwiches, soups/stews, wilted.

Storage: See Salad/Braising Mix.

Swiss Chard: braise, pesto, pickling (stems), raw, salads, stir-fry, sautéed, wraps.

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Pak Choi: dumplings, egg rolls, pesto, pot stickers, raw, risotto, salads, sautéed, spring rolls, stews, stir-fry, & wraps.

Storage: Place in a Ziploc in the back of your fridge, outer leaves will wilt. If the outer leaves are wilted, discard outer leaves the inner leaves are perfect!

Rosemary: lovely in teas, mixed drinks, and paired with items needing a perk of herbal lemon.

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

Sage: Brown butter dishes, Brussels Sprouts, pasta, potatoes, rich & creamy dishes, roasted squash, sausage,

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

Braising Mix: braised, fresh, burritos/tacos, pasta, pizza, salad, & soup/stew.

Storage: Remove from plastic bag, place in open container, wrap with a dry kitchen towel to absorb moisture.

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2015 Spring CSA Week 3

This is an ODD week, therefore we will deliver half shares to the following cities: Bluffton (On-Farm), Columbus, Dothan, Thomasville & Tallahassee.

**ANNOUNCEMENT**

Columbus Pick up Location has been relocated.

The tent location at the Columbus Farmers Market has been moved down a block. It will be next to the fountain across from The Rivercenter for the Performing Arts.

Farm Musings

At this point in the season, everyone has received their first box!

We hope that you have enjoyed your first experience. On Monday mornings, our crew swap CSA pick up stories, we tell of families seeing their first treasure box, and holding up strange new items with wildly excited eyes.

Market days, are the most gratifying parts of the week. It is the culmination of all of our effort, and then we get to see your cheery faces as we pass out share bags. We answer questions, and offer recipe suggestions, it’s a wonderful day for an organic farmer. To see people gush over your hard work, the beauty of your labor. There is nothing quite like it.

For all of our patrons out there, we love it when you come visit us. Share stories, recipes, and your own experiences in the garden. Ask us questions, we eat it up! We were recently featured on WALB, for our Albany Farmer’s Market. Check us out: http://www.walb.com/clip/11288914/new-organic-food-market-in-albany?autostart=true

New this Share: Lemon Balm

A fragrant herbal lemon plant that boast calming properties. It is known to hang out in teas, but more recently as a component of cocktails. Try out this Beekeeper’s Balm Cocktail, it is sure to put you at ease on a lovely evening.

Spotlight Item: Swiss Chard

This is one of the most beautiful plants in the garden.

Wild beets are the ancient ancestors to the modern day Swiss Chard & Sweet Beets. These wild forms had small leaves & little to no roots system. From this one plant, two modern day favorites were cultivated, some plants were directed to produce fleshly sweet bulbs, whilst others were groomed for broad leaf production.

It was originally brought over to the states in the mid 1800’s and mostly cultivated only on the eastern seaboard, until after the civil war. Swiss Chard stems were treated as Asparagus in recipes, where the leaves were often treated as spinach. The stems were as prized as the leaves. Here at White Oak, we grow two varieties Rainbow (colored stems), and Fordhook (white stem).

A twist on heritage chard stems.

First you parboil them to soften their rigid nature, pat dry, toss in olive oil, S&P then Broil them for 1-3 min, serve warm with Hollandaise.

Organic Share List

Kale: creamed, pesto, risotto, salad, sautéed, stir-fry, stew

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Head Lettuce: braised, raw, wraps

Storage: Remove from bag, store in an airtight container.

Spinach: sandwiches, soups/stews, wilted.

Storage: See Salad/Braising Mix.

Swiss Chard: braise, pesto, pickling (stems), raw, salads, stir-fry, sautéed, wraps.

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Pak Choi: dumplings, egg rolls, pesto, pot stickers, raw, risotto, salads, sautéed, spring rolls, stews, stir-fry, & wraps.

Storage: Place in a Ziploc in the back of your fridge, outer leaves will wilt. If the outer leaves are wilted, discard outer leaves the inner leaves are perfect!

Lemon Balm: lovely in teas, mixed drinks, and paired with items needing a perk of herbal lemon.

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

Mint: butter mints, chickpea salad, chutney, coolers, cocktails, Feta-watermelon salads, grain salad, infused waters, pesto, smoothie, simple syrup, sorbet, tea, & yogurt dip.

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

Braising Mix: braised, fresh, burritos/tacos, pasta, pizza, salad, & soup/stew.

Storage: Remove from plastic bag, place in open container, wrap with a dry kitchen towel to absorb moisture.

Rutabaga OR Hakurei Turnips OR Bunching Onions: (Rutabaga)hash, mashed, soup, smashed, & whipped!(Turnip) braised, pickled, raw, roasted, stir-fry.

Storage: Remove rubber bands. Immediately remove leafy greens, approx. ¼ away from root. Leaving greens attached causes the roots to wilt & become soft. Keep roots in a gallon sized Ziploc with the bag half closed. *See above green storage for the removed tops. (Bunching Onions) Remove rubber band, wrap bulbs in damp paper towel.

Garlic: To be used in aoli, butter & oil infusions, dips, hummus, marinades, pickled, roasted, salsa, sauces, sautéed, soup/stew.

Storage: (Garlic) Store on the Counter in a well ventilated area, do not allow to come into direct contact with sunlight.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/vegetabletravelers/beets.html

http://lichen.csd.sc.edu/vegetable/vegetable.php?vegName=Swiss%20Chard

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2015 Spring CSA – Week 2

**This is an Even Week, therefore we will deliver half shares to the following cities: Albany & Atlanta.

Farm Musings:

Our fields are planted, our high tunnels are lush and our orchards are abundantly blooming. Spring has officially arrived, and our garden is displaying an array of life & vitality.

This garden has become a wild symphony, orchestrated only by the sun, soil & water. Wild flowers and clover taking over any vacant soil, meanwhile the crops are displaying various degrees of lushness.

Each step stirs with life. Bees, crickets, & butterflies dash around you, as if you have stepped into wonderland.

Looking through our photo collection this week will tell of spring crops (collards, kale, carrots, turnips) as well as summer favorites (tomatoes, onions, garlic). This year’s bounty will surpass expectations, our land is beautiful and alive!

Spotlight Veggie: Kale

We currently grow two varieties the Red Russian & Lacinato (AKA Dino kale).

Is a member of the brassica family, cousins include: cabbage, collards, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, turnips, as well as so many others. It was recently tested and classified as a Powerhouse Vegetable by the CDC, it is nutrient dense and aids in disease defense & repair functions.

New This Share:

Kale – This dark green is loaded with flavor and nutrients, it can be eaten raw and enjoyed in many creations that require a prominent flavor profile. Kale is beautiful on its own, but can be highlighted with a simple sauté, risotto, quiche, pesto, juiced, or even as a breakfast omelet.

Kale Zipping: with your dominant hand hold the bottom of the stem between your index finger and thumb. With your free hand, grasp higher on the stem with your index finger & thumb, slide your fingers up the stem & through the leaf until the “leaf zips off” the stem. You have now successfully removed the stem from the leaf. You can enjoy fresh or freeze for later!

Organic Share List

Kale: creamed, pesto, risotto, salad, sautéed, stir-fry, stew

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Head Lettuce: braised, raw, wraps

Storage: Remove from bag, store in an airtight container.

Spinach: sandwiches, soups/stews, wilted.

Storage: See Salad/Braising Mix.

Swiss Chard: braise, pesto, pickling (stems), raw, salads, stir-fry, sautéed, wraps.

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Pecans:

Storage: Keep in the air tight container that they are packaged in.

Rutabaga: hash, mashed, soup, smashed, & whipped!

Storage: See Radishes.

Garlic: To be used in aoli, butter & oil infusions, dips, hummus, marinades, pickled, roasted, salsa, sauces, sautéed, soup/stew.

Storage: Store on the Counter in a well ventilated area, do not allow to come into direct contact with sunlight.

Rosemary:

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

Bunching Onions: garnish, marinades, salsa, & soup/stews.

Storage: Remove rubber band, wrap bulbs in damp paper towel.

Pak Choi: dumplings, egg rolls, pesto, pot stickers, raw, risotto, salads, sautéed, spring rolls, stews, stir-fry, & wraps.

Storage: Place in a Ziploc in the back of your fridge, outer leaves will wilt. If the outer leaves are wilted, discard outer

leaves the inner leaves are perfect!

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2015 CSA Week 1 – Update

Sadly our Brussels Sprouts have succumbed to the warmer weather and have bolted. Unfortunately, there will not be any in this week’s share. We are very sorry.

However! The rest of the share looks beautiful, the first delivery was hand packed this morning! We are looking forward to seeing you at this week’s markets!

Sincerely,

The Organic Vegetable Farm Crew!

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2015 Spring CSA – Week 1

**This is an Odd week, therefore we will deliver half shares to the following cities: Bluffton (On-Farm), Columbus, Dothan, Thomasville & Tallahassee.

Announcements:

New this season reusable grocery bags! Hooray, to minimal plastic waste. Each week your veggies will be packed into 2 Reusable White Oak Pastures Grocery Bags, these bags must be returned each and every week.

There will be a designated return box for the reusable bags, please return last week’s bags into that box.

If, you forgot last week’s bags (at home, in the other car, in your gym bag, etc.) we ask that you leave this week’s bag in the bag bin. You may use the bags to transport your veggies to your car, but please return the bags after you have unloaded your vegetable goodness. In order for the system to work we need both bags returned each & every week!

Farm Musing:

The concept of a CSA is a beautiful one, a community rallies together to provide funding for a passionate farmer to provide a season filled with flavorful, fresh, local produce.

Our farmer’s follow the age old growing practices, starting with planning, planting, cultivating, harvesting & most rewarding: providing their labor in tangible form to awaiting families.

When you see us at market, or dropping off vegetable boxes at your pick-up locations. Please know that your words of encouragement echo into our work week.

Veg History:

The Rutabaga “The turnip rooted cabbage”

Scientists believe that this peculiar root crop is a cross between the turnip & traditional cabbage. It has a bulbous root body, with cabbage like leaves.

The greens are edible, and can be cooked in a similar manner as other greens (turnip, kale, radish, etc,).

Sauté with garlic & butter for 3 minutes, add in S&P and a splash of fresh citrus or vinegar (balsamic, apple cider). Serve & enjoy!

The root can be treated like a potato: boiled & mashed, or roasted & herbed.

Be daring and have pulled pork on top of some rutabaga hash!

New this Share:

Everything is new this share, it’s the first week of the season!

Please check the Organic Share Item section for storage, suggested preparations & flavor pairings.

Organic Share Items

Salad Mix OR Braising Mix: braised, fresh, burritos/tacos, pasta, pizza, salad, & soup/stew.

Storage: Remove from plastic bag, place in open container, wrap with a dry kitchen towel to absorb moisture.

Spinach: sandwiches, soups/stews, wilted.

Storage: See Salad/Braising Mix.

Swiss Chard: braise, pesto, pickling (stems), raw, salads, stir-fry, sautéed, wraps.

Storage: Remove rubber bands from greens and wrap in a damp towel, and place leaves first into a plastic container. If stems stick out, wrap in a damp cloth to prevent moisture loss.

Pecans: baked goods, candied, granola, roasted, pesto, pies, stuffing/dressing.

Storage: Keep in the air tight container that they are packaged in.

Radishes: omelets, pickled, relishes, slaw, garnish (soup, salad, sandwich)

Storage: Remove rubber bands. Immediately remove leafy greens, approx. ¼ away from root. Leaving greens attached causes the roots to wilt & become soft. Keep roots in a gallon sized Ziploc with the bag half closed. *See above green storage for the removed tops.

Rutabaga: hash, mashed, soup, smashed, & whipped!

Storage: See Radishes.

Garlic: To be used in aoli, butter & oil infusions, dips, hummus, marinades, pickled, roasted, salsa, sauces, sauteed, soup/stew.

Storage: Store on the Counter in a well ventilated area, do not allow to come into direct contact with sunlight.

Mint: butter mints, chickpea salad, chutney, coolers, cocktails, Feta-watermelon salads, grain salad, infused waters, pesto, smoothie, simple syrup, sorbet, tea, & yogurt dip.

Storage: Keep in fridge in a plastic bag, or out on the counter in a shallow glass of water (stems only).

Bunching Onions: garnish, marinades, salsa, & soup/stews.

Storage: Remove rubber band, wrap bulbs in damp paper towel.

Chinese Cabbage OR Pak Choi: dumplings, egg rolls, pesto, pot stickers, raw, risotto, salads, sautéed, spring rolls, stews, stir-fry, & wraps.

Storage: Place in a Ziploc in the back of your fridge, outer leaves will wilt. If the outer leaves are wilted, discard outer leaves the inner leaves are perfect!

 

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Life on the Farm: New York Times!

Hey everyone! Can you believe we made it onto the front page of the food section in THE NEW YORK TIMES? We are so excited to be included and we’re all still on cloud 9! What an honor! It was lots of fun having the writer, Kim Severson, down on the farm with us. If you haven’t already, please check it out:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/11/dining/at-white-oak-pastures-grass-fed-beef-is-only-the-beginning.html?_r=0

Thank you all for your continued dedication, loyalty and support of our farming practices. We can’t continue to do what we love without you. If we could sit down with each of you face-to-face to say “thank you,” we would.

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Life on the Farm: Interview with Buck Wiley

Good Morning! It finally stopped raining! The pastures are well saturated, the ducks are swimming, we’ve had a couple of really exciting visitors on the farm and it’s almost the weekend! What a great day! You’re probably thinking it can’t get much better than this, but you’re wrong! I conducted another interview this week, with a really important and special guy at the farm. Without further ado, meet Buck…

Justin “Buck” Wiley began working at White Oak Pastures in July of 2009. He was hired as a butcher and worked hard to prove himself until he was promoted to Beef Plant Manager. Buck takes pride in his work and in making our customers happy. He manages 38 employees and 35 head of cattle each day in the Red Meat Abattoir. He arrives at the plant early in the morning and is typically one of the last people to leave. He carries a lot of responsibility, but also has the pleasure of working with some of his best friends every day. He’s a great guy, with a huge heart and a constant smile on his face…and yes, ladies – he’s single! We couldn’t be happier to have him as part of our work family!

1. What’s your favorite part of working at the farm? THERE’S NEVER A DULL MOMENT. THERE’S ALWAYS A NEW ADVENTURE GOING ON FOR A MANAGER TO TACKLE EVERYDAY. ALL OF US LOVE NEW CHALLENGES AND ADVENTURES.

2. Do you plan to retire as a WOP cowboy? YES! I’LL BE HERE UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME.

3. It’s a Friday night in Bluffton, Georgia…where can we find you? IN THE BEEF PLANT UNTIL AROUND 7PM FINISHING UP A LONG WEEK. THEN ON DOWN TO THE PAVILION FOR A NICE DINNER AND A COLD BEER TO START PLANNING OUT THE NEXT WEEK.

4. What’s your favorite Will Harris quote? “YOU TAKE CARE OF THE LAND AND ANIMALS, AND THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.”

5. You began your career here as a butcher. What motivated you to work your way up to Beef Plant Manager? I WAS SO IMPRESSED WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON AT THE TIME, WHICH WAS 3 YEARS AGO. I HAD NO IDEA WE WERE GOING TO BE ALL THAT WE ARE TODAY, BUT I KNEW I WANTED TO BE A PART OF THE EVERYDAY PROCESSES OF WOP AND TO NOT ONLY CUT MEAT.

6. What’s the funniest thing you’ve witnessed at the farm? THE DAY WE TRIED TO COORDINATE A DANCE IN THE CUTTING ROOM CALLED “HARLEM SHAKE.”

7. What’s your favorite hobby, outside of work? HUNTING, SPORTS AND OUTDOORS

8. If you weren’t at WOP, where would you hope to be employed? I NEVER WANT TO FIND ANYWHERE ELSE TO BE EMPLOYED.

9. WOP is a unique place to live, work and play. What do you think makes it most unique? ALL THE CONTINUING CHALLENGES THAT GO ALONG WITH HAVING SO MANY DEPARTMENTS WITHIN THE COMPANY, AND BEING ABLE TO HELP WITH THE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION OF WOP.

10. What’s the biggest challenge you face on a daily basis in the beef plant? KEEPING UP WITH CONSUMER DEMAND AND THEIR EVER-CHANGING SPECS. WE SELL TO GROCERY STORES, CHEFS AND INDIVIDUAL CONSUMERS, WHICH ALL HAVE MANY DIFFERENT SPECS. IT’S A CHALLENGE EVERY DAY.

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Winter CSA 2014 Week 6

What a lovely wet morning. The birds are serenading me through the window & the sun is hiding her face. Mornings like these make you feel as though the whole world has slowed down. Whether you read this post over morning coffee, or during your evening glass of wine please prepare yourself with enough time for some reflections.

This past weekend was the Georgia Organic’s conference, this is a great program connecting Georgia’s food web. Attendees & presenters came from all over the state along with visitors from our neighboring states. Georgia Organic’s is unique in that it is the only state centric program of this magnitude in the southeast. Grower’s, chefs, grocers, community activists, eaters, home gardeners, professors, researchers & students in various agriculture focused majors were all in attendance. It provided for a very interesting dynamic, with loads of wisdom from leaders in every field.

If you have not yet visited their site I encourage you to check out what events, & projects are happening in your part of the state. For home growers & eaters they have a plethora of information on getting started & troubleshooting.

This conference was a culmination of my first year of farming. You have all shared in a year of my thoughts & growth as you have read the CSA blog. You have shared in the army of gnats, the sweetness of melons & the mercy of the weather patterns. Our farm is so grateful for your continued support, your choice to be a part of our CSA has required sacrifice in many forms: time required to prepare meals, the financial commitment, scheduling to pick up your box, among many other sacrifices.

A question was presented in one of the discussion classes, it has since lingered like a fog at the edge of my thoughts. Think on this question and try to answer it for yourself & your family.

What do we need to sacrifice in order to make the local/organic movement sustainable?”

As a collective most people will say one of the largest obstacles for moving over to a healthier/organic/local/natural “diet” is the prohibitive cost. I want to challenge this notion, for an alternative perspective. What if it is not that the food is too expensive, but rather we do not value food?

The average American household spends 10% or less on food expenses, whereas Europe…. spend between 15-20% on their diets. If you doubled your grocery budget, would it be as prohibitive? If you increased your grocery budget, you would have to sacrifice portions of your cable/smart phone/going out/online shopping/etc. Is it a sacrifice worth making? Is your long term health worth giving up some present indulgences?

Other thoughts could be as simple as frequency & volume. We are jokingly referred to as the “supersized nation” our meals are portioned to sizes that are more than what is needed by our daily energy requirement. We are eating in excess, and it shows. If we ate smaller portions, we would not need large volumes of organic/local produce & meats. The topic of frequency is a touchy subject as well, we are taught to eat meat protein at each and every meal. The only way that an average American family can afford to eat to like that, is to eat commodity produced meats. We all know what that looks like for the animal, the environment and for our health. I am not advocating for not eating meat but rather eating better quality, less frequently. Feed your family a chuck roast or tenderloin once a day rather than “cellulose injected meat like products” three times a day. If you need higher protein intakes, eat eggs they are inexpensive and a complete protein packet.

If cost still seems prohibitive, be creative think outside the box. Organ meats are an inexpensive nutrient dense option, buy in bulk (purchase ½ or ¼ of an animal) you can split the cost with a friend, start a garden to offset some of your vegetable needs, save scraps(veg, meat & bones)to make broth/stocks, learn to cook/pickle/preserve/can/ferment. Any steps that you can learn so that you don’t have to purchase “produced products” saves you money. If you learn how to “break a bird” (check youtube), you can eat all of the beautiful pieces as well as using the bones & scraps for soups.

The sacrifice is not only a financial burden, but one of time. It takes time to cook, time well spent, but time just the same. As our work days become longer, our time in the kitchen becomes smaller. Believe me I know what a burden cooking can be, we leave the field after 8+ hours in the heat/rain/cold etc. the last thing I want to do is spend another hour in the kitchen working. We get it. However, there is this wonderful invention known as the crockpot. Or plan ahead, I like spending Sunday’s in the kitchen prepping veggies for quick meals during the week, or making meals ahead of time.

For you out there feeding a family, we support your struggle. You are making a wonderful choice for your family, even if they don’t always appreciate weird vegies & strange meals. Stay strong, you are protecting their health and healing the earth with each thoughtful meal you prepare. It is difficult to make a healthy choice for your family if they aren’t on board. Pinterest is a wonderful resource for making meals that are appealing to the pickiest eaters!

The next time you struggle with eating well, whether it be cost or time, reconsider your options. Give up the weekly visit to Starbucks in favor of a cartoon of pastured eggs, or going out to the movies on Sunday in favor of entertaining yourself in the kitchen with cooking meals while watching Julia Childs on youtube. You always have options, you can alter your perspective on a problem.

I stared you with a question, and I want to leave you with a quote:

“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough” –William Blake

Please send me your thoughts & struggles to my email, I would love to continue this discussion: Mary.Bruce@whiteoakpastures.com

Organic Share List:

Pecans: Raw, muffins, scones, cookies, pies, desert pies, ice cream toppings.

Braising Mix or Salad Greens: These specialty greens have a variety of uses that are sure to tickle your taste buds. Sauteed sides, hearty salads, stir-fry creations and so much more.

Brussel Sprouts: You will have a stalk of little glorious cabbages in your share this week. They are highly coveted on the farm so enjoy them fully!

Sprouts OR Spinach: Please! Please! Please! Check out their website. This will give you tips & tricks on best sprout practices. Our first Spinach leaves have arrived! This highly desired plant is nutrient dense & wildly versatile.

Carrots OR Beets OR Rutabaga: Sweet tender and ready to eat raw; carrots can be included in salads, roasted, braised, & in soups. Try beets pickled, in a salad, roasted with goat cheese, as a dessert sweetener, or in juice. Rutabagas are perfect for roasting, smashing & creaming. They are a lovely side accompaniment.

Arugula: This nutty green can be eaten raw, enjoyed sauteed, or even added to sandwiches & soups.

Swiss Chard: Wonderful greens for several culinary options! Showcase these beauties in your next quiche, sauteed side, or salad creation!

Chinese Cabbage: This elegant green can be sauteed, stir fried, eaten raw, added to soups, stews, dumplings, spring and egg rolls!

Garlic: Spicy earthy heat. A root with sensational properties. Include in tonics, roasted, stir-fry, pickled creations, dressing, and freshly juiced

Rosemary: Breads, soups, herb rubs, olive oil infusions.

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