"Eating is an agricultural act."
Dear Members, Family, and Friends,
We did it! We got married, we grew some food, we ate some food: we made it through the season together. Congratulations to us all! I hope you found the experience of being a CSA member--either with Good Work Farm or perhaps elsewhere--to be delicious, interesting, fun, experimental, educational, spiritual, and grounding. I hope the sensory inputs of the farm filled you with awe and wonder for the divine (Behold the scent of digested grass decomposing in the summer sun! The sight of sunflowers bigger than your head! The taste of local garlic!), and left you feeling full of your own humanness--tied to the earth in a very real way.
24 Weeks of Harvest: No doubt some weeks stimulated your creativity, some were just boring, some full of the most delectable taste sensations of your year (or life), some went to rot in the fridge (whoops), some were savored, some shared, some stored and are still filling-up your dinner tables in mid-January.
In choosing CSA, you are not just choosing local, but also choosing to eat how our species has probably eaten for centuries--with failures, with abundances, with the fate of our dinner, and our health, tied to the earth rather than to the seemingly-infallible grocery isle, where food is seemingly-always available, in season, and exactly the same. Although we all readily notice the superior flavor of farm food, the decision to eat by CSA is still a hard choice, and we should all recognize that in ourselves: farmers, eaters, consumers, growers--we are not making the easy choice when we choose CSA. We have grown accustomed to a diet of ease and availability; while flavor, nutrition, and integrity are sacrificed (among other things), unlimited options are offered as compensation. Through CSA, we are not only choosing local, and choosing to support the successes and unsuccesses of one farm, but also choosing to cook, to experiment, to try new foods, to taste new, strong, flavors. We teach our children to "try everything once" or to "take a no thank you bite," but sometimes, it is hard for us adults to take home that Kohlrabi, Bok Choi, or Escarole ourselves--and then to find a recipe for it, make it, eat it, and convince our partners and children to eat it too. If they haven't already, they'll thank you later.
At one point this summer when my adrenals were somewhere beyond taxed and the frustrations of tomato diseases and crop losses felt insurmountable, a close friend and adviser asked me: well, what does "crop failure" offer us: what is the lesson to be learned? The answer came to me immediately: the role of crop failure is to teach us, and our children, that we cannot always have what we want, and that this conditionality is okay and right: it is not an "imperfection" to be fixed by importing food from Somewhere Else or controlling the growing environment more absolutely with synthetic fungicides (Etc. Etc. Etc.). Sometimes, despite effort and hard work, despite extension agents and soil science and fertility and so so much planning, living beings die, and this death is deeply embedded in our living: our own deaths are what make us human, the early death of our plants reminds us that we cannot always control food production: some years we have a shorter season of tomatoes, or lower yields of onions. We learn to eat what thrives, we learn to preserve the abundance, we learn to live without, and we enjoy the ebbs and flows.
If you successfully took home, cooked, and tried everything we grew this season, you ate a total of 54 different kinds of vegetables, and at least twice this many varieties of vegetables. In total this year, these 3 1/2 acres in production offered our breakfast-lunch-and-dinner tables:
1,900 bunches of cooking greens
2,900 heads of lettuce
over 4,000 heads of garlic
over 7,300 pounds of root vegetables
3,500 pounds of tomatoes
500 Quarts of strawberries
1,400 Quarts of Peas and Beans
And so much more that cannot be summed up in a number. Thank you for participating in this agricultural act of eating with us.
Maybe you've noticed too, the days are getting longer. Despite the cold, the chickens are enjoying those extra 28 minutes of daylight. We're preparing for 2016: the season will be here so soon. We'll likely start the greenhouse seedlings beginning the last week of February, which gives us exactly 6 weeks to hire two employees, make some major purchases to increase our growing efficiencies, flag out and measure our growing fields, set-up and clean-up the greenhouse, build our CSA membership to 100 shares, and maybe even squeeze in a small honeymoon (!). While winter is not quite the whirlwind of summer, we do keep ourselves busy enough.
If you haven't sent in your CSA Commitment Form yet, we are not quite full for 2016; we hope you'll join us and encourage your vegetable-loving friends & neighbors to do the same.
Happy 2016! To Your Health!
Lisa & Anton
Anton M. Shannon