Full Share: Salad Mix, Arugula, Spinach, Radishes, Hakurei Turnips, Baby Bok Choy, and Red Russian Kale.

Partial Share: Mesclun Mix, Spinach, Baby Bok Choy, Radish, Hakurei Turnip

Hello CSA members!

Well, I think we made it through Week #1 CSA distribution with only a few bumps and bruises. We’ve updated our software and made some corrections, so hopefully it’s smooth sailing from here!

I hope you enjoyed your first week of fresh produce…I know the fresh greens have been a welcome addition to my own diet. The past couple weeks have been really warm and dry for spring, but that looks like it’s going to change today as frosty nights are coming back into our forecast. For today though, we battle the wind. Overall, the farm is on schedule, the crew is hustling, and the crops are looking good!

The face you make after reading this newsletter, or after sitting in the Two Bear Farm stinging nettles patch in your adorable, but sleeveless, outfit.

I was laughing, or was it crying, with Rebecca this morning that the newsletter this year is a real struggle for me. I’m suffering a bit from a Pandemic hangover. I am deeply frustrated that the most important issues that our society needed to discuss regarding human health, chronic disease, and Covid were never part of the national dialogue. The media is inundated with coverage of the vaccine, which is a bandaid fix to a much bigger underlying health issue for us, yet mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about nutrition or lifestyle changes or how quickly our chronic disease rates are changing for the worse. When it comes to the newsletter, a part of me just wants to keep it light by celebrating the joy of farming and good food, and give all the CSA members a boost of positivity, but that is not where my energy is this year. Do you give people what they want, or do you give people what they need? Ah, isn’t that the crux of the entire issue! That one question seems to sum up the issues that we face as a society today.

Here’s an analogy. Imagine you’re on the Titanic, and you just hit the iceberg. There are all sorts of groups of passengers doing different things. One group wants to help or engage, but doesn’t know how to do it, so they are feeling really uncertain and a bit paralyzed. Ready to jump in and help, but they need direction, and so they mull around or sit in their chairs in the mean time. Another group is on the speaker trying to convince everyone that the ship is actually not sinking (even though the leaders of this group are desperately looking for a life boat for themselves). Yet another group is frantically trying to run the bilge pumps and bail the ship with buckets, staring in disbelief at why more people aren’t joining in to help out, given what’s at stake. And then there is a group that is headed up to the bar to check the sports score and order another cocktail as they wait for their turn to play shuffle board. Oh (and this is a bit dark, but accurate), there is this really large corporate retreat group of salesman from the welding and drilling industry who are trying to convince the captain that rather than weld the damaged holes shut, he should drill more holes in the boat because the profit margin on drill bits is higher than that on welders. And this last group is super important to mention, because this group has the ear of the captain, and regardless of what all the other passengers choose to do, it all hinges on the corporate group choosing (or being forced) to do the right thing.

You notice I didn’t mention a group actually getting the life boats ready…that’s because in this analogy, despite Elon Musks efforts to get us to Mars, there is no life boat. So now think about that analogy. If there are 1,000 people on the ship, what sort of ratio of people in each group would you say represents real life? The numbers you assign are based on your world view, the information (some facts, some not), and your faith (or lack thereof) in humanity. Some of you would assign numbers that sound very optimistic, others assign numbers that sound very pessimistic. And it’s super important to understand that each group on the ship has a narrative, or story, that it believes in. This narrative allows the group to act the way it does, whether it’s based in reality or not. And it begs the question of “what is the reality?”. Is the boat sinking a foregone conclusion? Can it be saved? Without knowing, whose approach makes the most sense? Is it best to enjoy your last moments to the fullest, or is it better to go out fighting? Do you engage, or do you disengage, because in this country you have the ability to choose.

This is something that I’ve really been pondering in my own life with regards to the effort, energy and passion we expend in the hopes of creating positive change. Do you do what you believe is the right thing, or do you calculate the odds of success and base your decision on that? After all, it’s hard to choose to bail water when you’re watching other folks drink cocktails.

At risk of taking the analogy too far, one can envision that as time passes in this scenario, no matter what approach one takes, the quality of life on the ship is going to continue to get worse unless the holes can be welded shut. Eventually the tilt of the angle of the ship is going to make sitting in a chair, drinking a beer, or playing shuffle board less fun, and eventually impossible. I suppose you could call this the “tipping point”, both literally and figuratively. What deck angle is that exactly? That’s a good question. And does hitting this “tipping point” make everyone reassess their approach and start bailing, does it make them realize they need to force the corporate group to weld the holes shut, or does it make everyone stop what they are doing and stare in disbelief, pondering how it ever came to this?

I think the pandemic (and the Black Lives Matter protests) )was an opportunity for us to look at the narratives that we believe in as individuals and as a society. What stories do we tell ourselves that allow us to rationalize our decisions and go about our daily lives? What role does the media and/or ones religion play in this? Do we feel empowered to make choices that create positive change, do we feel like it’s a lost cause, or do we choose to not think about it at all? I think these are important questions that everyone should ask themselves.

As CSA members, perhaps I am preaching to the choir, as you have obviously made a choice in your lives to support local, organic agriculture. Maybe it was a simple as wanting fresh produce that actually has flavor? Maybe you are concerned with health and understand the issues of pesticide residue and low nutrition in so much of the food on grocery store shelves? Maybe you see a rapidly growing valley, and want to see your community continue to have working farm lands and a unique character?

In my mind, focusing on growing healthy organic food and being good land stewards is like bailing water. Starting the retail market, The Farmers’ Stand, is like bringing in a bigger bilge pump (part act of hope, part act of desperation). But, writ large across the landscape, relocalizing our food systems where possible, putting nutrition back into food, and removing toxic agricultural chemicals from our food and landscape by using organic practices I think is the equivalent of welding the holes shut. But that relies on all of us taking part in that decision. And on creating a positive narrative that brings people together towards that end.

You probably want that recipe for Baby Bok Choy now, right? How about this chicken dish for both your BBC and Radishes? And while the kale can be steamed or sautéed, one of our favorite uses of it is to blend it with olive oil to make a kale pesto that can be used on virtually anything…sandwiches, toast, pasta, rice…you name it!

Oh, and one important note for C. Falls CSA members. The shares at Armored Exteriors are in the garage bay at the back of the building, so if you see the front all closed up, please drive around to the back. If you forget to pickup your share Thursday evening, they will get left in a cooler outside on Friday.

OK, that’s certainly enough for week #2 🙂