*** This week is an even week, therefore half shares will be delivered to the following cities: Americus, Blakely, Cordele, Dothan, Harris, Tallahassee, Warner Robbins, and WOP.
Wishing all of our CSA members and friends a beautiful sunrise. Sitting in the front office of the plant, facing highway 27, I watch the sun gently grace us. Bringing warmth and light to the day.
Lately, I have been filled with many thoughts about our food system. There are so many buzz words and advertising schemes playing off our innate desire to be connected with our food. Walking through a grocery store requires a user guide and a glossary for terms. Each year, new advertising schemes flood the market further diluting any understanding or semblance of what is healthy. Such as: cage free, free range, organic, local, natural, etc., Our culture has become so removed from its proteins and produce and their varying sources. It leaves us defenseless and severely lacking in knowledge of what we are consuming.
Purity, is such a simple concept, yet so difficult to attain. Whether we like the current conditions of our food systems or not they are rapidly moving forward and distorting what “real” food looks and tastes like. All of these thoughts, are what started my journey into farming. The concept of growing food for my neighbors seemed so pure. In a climate where organic foods can be industrial, global, and even partially organic (70% organic), it leaves me frustrated and at a loss. Don’t get me wrong I love asparagus year round and am guilty of purchasing it out of season. However, just because I can, should I?
I recently read that you know your food when you know the first name of your farmer. That seems pretty simple to me. I am lucky in that I live on the farm so I know the names of most of our staff, from the egg collectors, to the crews that tend to the poultry, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, etc. However, you as a neighbor also are centrally located to be within reach of your farm. This little microcosm of activity is a blessing to anyone who wants to see their food up close. You can dine here, shop here and even spend the night right on farm. Can you imagine an industrial farm allowing the same transparency? One of the greatest achievements this farm has accomplished is its ability to welcome all who come through its doors, and proudly display each aspect of the farm.
Don’t get me wrong, it is most definitely a business, and run as such. However, the treatment of the animals is the primary focus, that being said they are animals fully content. My house is a peninsula surrounded by pastures on three sides, each containing a different animal: pigs, goats, and sheep. Everyday as I go to and fro from my house I see the animals, playing feeding, breeding, sleeping and roaming. I encourage you to seek out the first names of your farmers, as am I.
This brings me to introductions of some of your growers. Our team consists of many unique individuals from all walks of life. Our current garden staff originates from Maine, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. We are a crew of all ages, and unique back stories. We have all been drawn to agriculture for different reasons, but ended up at White Oak for the same. White Oak has high standards for the land they work, and make each of us welcome. We all love our work, and greatly enjoy each time we are able to meet the families that enjoy our labor. I have included some photos of our staff, and some dishes made from local products.
New Share Items: Gourds, Cilantro, Head Lettuce, Baby Carrots, Totsoi.
Decorative Gourds: Birdhouse or bowls, jars, lamp shades and outdoor décor. I have read that a well preserved gourd can last 30 years! The highlighted birdhouse link informs you how to prepare your gourds. I would then suggest using pinterest to find the craft that best suits you!
Cilantro: Place cilantro in a jar of water, covered with a plastic bag on top, refrigerate. Stems and leaves are edible. This pungent herbaceous green adds a freshness to so many dishes. Roasted sweet potatoes with cilantro pesto. Pico de Gallo to top burritos, tacos, fish fillets, and any other dish that could use a brightening flavor boost.
Head Lettuce: Everyone’s favorite fresh beauty. Each head is like delicate lace. Perfect for salads and sandwiches.
Baby Carrots: These slender tender roots are prime for snacking. They were harvested in order to allow their brother and sisters to grow up into full sized hearty carrots. The tops should be removed prior to storing, leaves pull moisture out of the roots, leaving roots limp and unpleasant. The carrot tops, can be used in in veggie stocks, used to beautify a flower arrangement, or if you are daring and want fully utilize them try carrot top pesto.
Totsoi: The Kitchn gives an introductory lesson into Asian greens that would be helpful as we venture cooler weather and green season. This green can be treated just as Pac Choi and Bok Choi. Steamed, sautés, baked with cabbage, braised, and many other lovely cabbage preparations.
Organic Share Items:
Cilantro – Pico De Gallo, pesto, creamy sauces, falafels, mixed drinks and more.
Malukia – This green is well paired with summer salads. It is bright and refreshing a great addition to any dish requiring a pop of freshness!
Decorative Gourds – After reviewing the birdhouse link, pick a craft project and begin your crafting fun. Birdhouses, lamp shades, bowls, jars, basket, night lights etc.
Braising Mix OR Head Lettuce –These babies pair well with soups, stews, braised meats, pasta dishes, pizza, burritos & tacos. Add some of these nutrient dense greens to any of your favorite dishes for a vitamin boost.
Baby Carrots OR Salad Radishes – Baby Carrots are sweet tender and ready to eat raw, they can be included in salads, roasted, braised, in soups. Radishes can be found in, slaw, pickles, relishes, soup & sandwich garnishes.
Sweet Potatoes – Souffle, pie, fries, hash, mashed, chips, casseroles, scalloped, soup and cheese cake. They are a holiday favorite, and have gained popularity in the everyday. **Please take these sweet babies out of their plastic bag, and place on the counter or windowsill.
Tokyo Bekana OR Totsoi OR Pac Choi – These delicate cabbages, are perfect for salads or light sautés. It can be sauteed, stir fried, eaten raw, added to soups, stews, dumplings, spring and egg rolls!
Collards OR Kale OR Swiss Chard – Pesto, wraps, sauteed, stir-fry, creamed, risotto, braised and incorporated into soup and stews. Try pairing with bacon! Sauteed with onions and garlic or torn as a salad mix, get some greens in your daily meal adventures. These hearty greens make fabulous Kale chips!
Okra – The Okra can be enjoyed raw, steamed, fried, baked, or stewed.
Squash OR Sweet Peppers OR Tomatoes – Scrumptious Squash, yum. Saute, grill, bake, fry, and roast. Be sure to send your recipes! Peppers are perfect on the grill, in the oven or on the stove. Enjoy them sauteed or blackened, in any dish you can imagine. I encourage you to try eating these peppers raw, however they are delightful roasted, grilled, stuffed, pepper jelly, pickled and stir-fried. These beautiful tomato globes can be eaten fresh or made into sweet jams and preserves.
Pesto – A bag full of opportunity! Delicious on pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. It can also be mixed with dressing or tossed with cooked veggies to add a new dimension.