Full Share: Salad mix, Purple Broccolini, Baby Bok Choy, Red Butterhead Lettuce, Spring Onions, and Green Garlic

Partial Share: Salad Mix, Romaine, Baby Bok Choy, Spring Onions, Kohlrabi, and Purple Cauliflower

Hello CSA Members!

If the farm was a western movie, I think it would have to be The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Or maybe True Grit. It’s definitely a mixed bag out there from a production standpoint. The good is that the corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, and salad mix are looking fabulous. The bad is that the carrots are looking good, but they are slow growing, and the outside successions are not growing fast enough, and the high tunnel production is running low. And the ugly….well, there are few things. One, the cauliflower, broccoli, and squash successions that got flooded and sat in waterlogged soil have shed all their roots, and so they are looking rough. Some might survive, others are toast. The really surprising thing is that nothing has really grown in the last few weeks…not even the weeds! And that’s saying something. As things dry out and heat up, I assume growth will start up again, but we’ve lost some valuable time in what is typically a very short growing season to start with. While you may not notice it this week, I am expecting that there will be some gaps in the upcoming weeks…but time will tell.

As CSA members, fortunately you receive top priority for what we grow. But other customers of our store, farmer’s markets, and wholesale accounts are already facing cut backs. Which its not going over well. And unfortunately, as CSA members, you have to read my newsletters where I therapeutically voice all my concerns in the name of catharsis, even if it has nothing to do with you.

While the weather, farm issues, and world events provide plenty of fodder for a newsletter, I keep coming back to a basic thought that I learned this winter. And that is…we are each on our own path. It’s not my place to tell others how to act, what to think, or what to do. But I do see that as a consumer-based society of” specialists”, we have been taught to focus on just one thing in our lives in order to maximize economic activity, which has made many of us unwittingly become highly dependent on the system to provide the vast majority of our wants and needs. Self-sufficiency has become a lost art. I can’t tell you the number of adults who approach us each week asking us to teach classes on how to grow food. America used to be 80% farmers. As recently as World War II (1945), Americans grew 45% of the food they consumed in backyard gardens….Victory Gardens. Today, .01% of food is grown by every day Americans for our own consumption. That’s a pretty shocking statistic to me. As a society, we have completely handed over this empowering and necessary role to others so that we can have more free time, or so we can focus on our specialty. And we’re at a point in history where “others” are struggling to get the job done. Whether it’s due to wars, industrialization, weather volatility, greed, or pandemics, I think we are at a point where people are realizing just how dependent they are on a problematic system. And this elicits a wide variety of emotions…fear, worry, stress, entitlement, and anxiety. And rightly so. I’d be worried too. As a culture, we pride ourselves on our freedom, but are we really free if we are completely dependent on others (primarily corporations) for our survival? Chew on that one a bit. As others have said, we are only as free as the system wants us to be.

We have been taught and conditioned as a culture to believe that everything we want or need will be available whenever we want it, for a price. And in the current moment, that’s not the case. And it’s creating a lot of stress for many people. But if we’re honest, access to good food is not a constitutional right, nor a guarantee. I think it should be, but it’s not. And in fact, much of our policy in this country appears hostile to the production of nutritious food. Industrialization is the path they have set for us. As an owner of a farm and now a retail grocery store, I’ve felt the stress people are feeling passed along to us. And I don’t have many answers, although I do have one recommendation. If these things worry you, start growing your own food. I have always had a farm/garden in my life, and it has provided me a solid foundation of security in my own life. Between hunting, farming, and construction skills, I know that I can provide for my own basic needs. And I think as a society, more people would feel empowered and at ease if they felt the same way. Not to mention, it re-connects us to nature, it helps us be more aware of the challenges of production, and it provides us tangible satisfaction. Even if you start small.

When I was younger, I enjoyed talking to “older” people, because all they seemed to talk about was the weather. No politics, no ideology, no sensationalism, no conflict….just whether it was a good or bad year for tomatoes, roses, or pests. Gardening, as it turns out, is one place where everyone can find common ground, and some sense of self reliance. In a world that is desperately in need of healing, I am proposing that starting gardens is the first step. Who knows, maybe then we’ll actually have something we can all agree upon.

See you at CSA 🙂