2014 Winter CSA Week 5
Greetings from south Georgia & apologies for late arrival of the blog.
After completing a marathon migration from Michigan to Georgia, I can proudly say I am so glad to be back home. Over the past 11 months Bluffton has become my home, and the farmers, butchers, & Harris’ have become my family. Last week I began my journey north to Detroit, picking up my partner & spending time with my parents. It was wonderful, but it made me greatly appreciate my time on the farm.
The most obvious difference is the weather; we had over 16 inches on the ground and more fresh snow falling by the hour. The temperature varied between the 30’s and below freezing. The traffic was also quite menacing. Atlanta is rough in a moving truck, when you are used to a town with no traffic signals.
However, we were greeted with a large heaping of southern hospitality from the moment our moving truck arrived at our new home. Ryan, my farm manager & good friend, arrived with his wife to help us move in. This morning’s trip to the grocery store was more of the same kindness, an attendant even offered to host us for dinner since we were new to the area! This is a warmness that I have come to know and appreciate, whereas it took Greg a moment to digest. Where we are from, most people don’t linger long to exchange pleasantries with strangers, let alone invite them for dinner.
Our move is reminiscent of something Jenni Harris shared with me, “White Oak pastures is worth more than a simple special occasion, White Oak pastures is an organism that thrives seven days a week, 24 hours a day in the hot in the cold & in the rain, White Oak Pastures is a lifestyle” When I first arrived, I felt like a guest, just passing through. However, over the weeks & months of spending time on the farm it became a life saturated with experience & close knit relationships.
For starters, I traded in my blue Michigan license for Georgia’s pink peach card. Followed by, explaining to my family why I had chosen this path, and that it would not be a pit stop, but rather a long term commitment. The step that made my transition an immersion was fulfilled yesterday as we moved Greg and our two precious Bengal kittens into our new home.
Both Greg & I are just one example, of the transformative power of White Oak. Families from large cities like Atlanta, Brooklyn, Detroit, Macon, Pittsburgh & even a transplant from Spain have arrived at our doorstep, drank the water, and decided to make this place their home. Our farm offers tranquility of spirit, the sense of community, a worthwhile work day, and the most beautiful sunrises.
Families come from far & wide to be a part of this farm not because of what is produced, but rather how Mr. Will has masterfully orchestrated this closed loop system, where each species of flora & fauna is cared for with respect. Our animals are honored, and our fields are well nurtured & allowed proper rest. People can get behind a something where intrinsic value is actualized. White Oak Pastures showcases its value every single day, workers are treated like family, herds & fields are always on the minds of the staff. Our specialty products manager, Amber said “The baby lambs, goats, and pigs are almost too cute for my heart to handle. Why would I ever leave this beautiful, thriving, family and farm?”
When you sign up for a CSA, purchase eggs, place an order for grass fed beef, or eat at our on-farm restaurant you are directly participating in our long term sustainability efforts. Every great thing comes with a price, for the families that live and work here, they can expect long busy days & an hour’s drive for the nearest movie theater. It is worth the sacrifice, it is an intentional decision & way of living. The same is true for those who purchase from us. They are choosing to cast votes with each dollar they spend. You are choosing to support a local family business that treats its livestock with dignity from conception to death, and that cares for the health of the soil that the microbes & plants live in. In a world where commodity is king and flavor & animal welfare suffer in the low price marketplace. Our labor intensive products provide jobs to a depleted economy; they also allow our staff to revive specialized techniques such as leather tanning, candle making, hand butchering, canning/pickling, and even the job of head cowboy, yes that’s right we have cowboys!
In a market saturated with buzz words, and “engineered food stuffs” it is hard to know what you are purchasing and what you are consuming. Believe me when I say this, we are transparent. We allow our customers to view the entire farm, from the grassy pastures to our USDA inspected abattoirs, you are welcome to see where you food comes from.
When I walk into the grocery and pick up a carton off eggs in the grocery I now think to myself “who collected and packaged these eggs?” I have the luxury of knowing these people by name, and so do you. You have the unique opportunity to be as invested as you choose. You can have lunch with us in the restaurant, or pull weeds with us in the garden. We are always here and always excited to meet people who love our meats & veggies as much as we do.
So the next time you are debating on where to eat dinner on a Friday night come visit us, or the next time you plan your grocery list keep us in mind.
On to the veg goodness of the fifth box in a series of six!
Organic Share Items:
Pecans OR Baby Chinese Cabbage: Raw, muffins, scones, cookies, pies, desert pies, ice cream toppings. This elegant green can be sauteed, stir fried, eaten raw, added to soups, stews, dumplings, spring and egg rolls!
Lettuce OR Arugula OR Braising Mix: 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!
Carrots: Sweet tender and ready to eat raw; they can be included in salads, roasted, braised, & in soups.
Micro Greens: Sandwiches, burgers, salads, quiche, frittata, mini greens that can go on anything.
Rosemary: Breads, soups, herb rubs, olive oil infusions.
Sweet Potatoes: These beautifully sweet roots can be enjoyed in pies, soufflés, casseroles, fries, roasted, smashed & more!
Sprouts –French Garden Mix: http://sproutpeople.org/growing-amber-waves-of-grain-sprouts/ Please! Please! Please! Check out their website. This will give you tips & tricks on best sprout practices.
Cabbage (Heirloom OR Traditional): Cabbage rolls, cabbage slaws, cabbage salads, pickled cabbage, fermented cabbage, steamed cabbage, raw cabbage, your choices are limitless. Carrots: Sweet tender and ready to eat raw; they can be included in salads, roasted, braised, & in soups.
Garlic: Spicy earthy heat. A root with sensational properties. Include in tonics, roasted, stir-fry, pickled creations, dressing, and freshly juiced.
Bunching Onions: Beautiful aroma of onions wafts in the air when these fresh green babies are present. Soups, fried rice, salad, omelet, grain salads, pizza, scallion pancakes, scallion noodles.
Swiss Chard – Wonderful greens for several culinary options! Showcase these beauties in your next quiche, sauteed side, or salad creation!
***Photos to arrive tomorrow!