News from the Farm…
This is your farmer Ray’s long-time comrade and friend Deb, guest editing the newsletter this season! Once upon a time, many moons ago, young Ray and I were in a theater troupe called The Liberty Cabbage Theatre Revival, and we toured the country in a bus converted to run on used fryer grease. Our first show together was a puppet-filled musical about agriculture, gardening and the politics of genetically engineered seed called A Sense of Humus. (That’s humus, the organic portion of the soil, made up of decomposed plant matter and aerated by worms, prized for its ability to retain moisture and nutrients – not to be confused with hummus, a blend of mashed chickpeas and ground sesame seeds from the Middle East.) High up on stilts, Farmer Ray played a fabulously evil Monsatan…
I’ll be around this season, collecting photos, crashing field walks, and sharing recipes, interviews with Ray and other crew, poetry, articles, podcasts and other gems about food justice, sustainable agriculture and local food movements. If you ever want to submit a photo or a link to a recipe for the newsletter, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Share:
mixed salad greens
mixed braising greens
mix and match options:
Pick Your Own:
herbs: cilantro, basil, dill
sugar snap peas
During this pandemic season, please: bring your own scissors, containers & water; no sampling; wash your hands & wear masks; and keep your kiddos close!
Ideas & Recipes
Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime and Mint
Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake
Marinated Zucchini with Hazelnuts and Ricotta
Napa Cabbage & Cucumber Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing
Chickpeas & Kale in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce
We’re leaving you today with Walt Whitman’s This Compost (1867), in which the poet marvels at Nature for her ability to take diseased, dead and rotten materials and transform them into the soil that grows food, flowers and trees.
Something startles me where I thought I was safest,
I withdraw from the still woods I loved,
I will not go now on the pastures to walk,
I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my lover the sea,
I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other flesh to renew me.
O how can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs, roots, orchards, grain?
Are they not continually putting distemper’d corpses within you?
Is not every continent work’d over and over with sour dead?
Where have you disposed of their carcasses?
Those drunkards and gluttons of so many generations?
Where have you drawn off all the foul liquid and meat?
I do not see any of it upon you to-day, or perhaps I am deceiv’d,
I will run a furrow with my plough, I will press my spade through the sod and turn it up underneath,
I am sure I shall expose some of the foul meat.
Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick person—yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noiselessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch’d eggs,
The new-born of animals appear, the calf is dropt from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato’s dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk, the lilacs bloom in the dooryards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead.
That the winds are really not infectious,
That this is no cheat, this transparent green-wash of the sea which is so amorous after me,
That it is safe to allow it to lick my naked body all over with its tongues,
That it will not endanger me with the fevers that have deposited themselves in it,
That all is clean forever and forever,
That the cool drink from the well tastes so good,
That blackberries are so flavorous and juicy,
That the fruits of the apple-orchard and the orange-orchard, that melons, grapes, peaches, plums, will none of them poison me,
That when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was once a catching disease.
Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.