As we round the year, and pull out the next calendar, I am reminded of the push-pull of this time of year in my own mind: is it still this farm season or is it the next farm season? The answer must always be “this farm season”… but you get what I mean. The winter crew spends our few work days packing food grown this past year, but we look forward in planning to the next growing season. There is much to be grateful for from this past growing season- even though it was also very challenging. There is reason to hope too, for good in the coming season on the farm.
The end of one season, and the beginning of another on a farm is evocative of the cyclical nature of so many aspects in life. Winter gives way to spring, which lends itself to warmth and melting creeks. Fallen leaves of a season become next summer’s worm food. Pallet boxes full of potatoes and carrots are emptied, which leads to fields again full of the same.
Of course, the cyclical nature in most things around us isn’t a guarantee of anything particularly. Some things appear to go on and on no matter what, but behind the scenes much has to align for farm seasons to come and go, for seasonal changes to go on without interruption, for insect and bird and whale migration to continue unimpeded.
In these insane times we find ourselves in, I am often reminded, with the clarity of lemon juice in a cut, that very little is guaranteed. Even things set in stone can be shaken. I don’t know if the pain of what we are facing is the pain of birth, or the pain of death. Where are we in the cycle, and is there room for us after the turn? It feels imperative to acknowledge that much of what is good in life, and in the world, is very delicate, and in need of defending. Tearing down, ripping, breaking trust, poisoning land is all so easy. It can be done in a moment. The work of building back up, or reaching for a better stronger future for everyone, and all the living things sharing this planet, is slow hard work. Work that may feel almost undoable.
My hope for you this month is that the slow food from your share be a starting point of health and healing. In the setting of your table, the roasting of vegetables, the breaking of bread and sharing of drink may we all find ways to gather our strength together. Though the strength may feel as illusive as vapor rising from the lake, it can grow, rise, gather slowly, return to cloud and gain enough of itself together to become a healing deluge in time.
With care and love to you all in this time, and for the Farm crew whom you support,
In your share this month:
Chioggia Beets, Green Cabbage, Carrots, Red and Yellow Potatoes, Onions, Rutabaga, Winter Sweet and Delicata Squash
Raw rutabaga and purple carrot salad
3 purple carrots (any carrots work – these are just pretty in the salad if you have any left over)
1 large apple
1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional)
For the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
Shred the rutabaga, carrots and apple in a food processer, spiralizer, or grater (or do small matchsticks). Add the walnuts (optional).
In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss until coated.
Enjoy chilled or at room temperature!
Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed winter squash (1-inch cubes) (from about a 2-pound squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika*
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
4 cups arugula (optional)
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
Roasted seeds (about 1/2 cup) from your butternut squash
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
Combine lentils, pumpkin, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired. Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.