Winter Week 6: The Choices We Make

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THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Delicata” Winter Squash
• Topless “Nelson” Carrots
• Topless “Yellowstone” Carrots
• “German Butterball” Potatoes
• Cabbage
• Leeks
• Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Brussels Sprouts, Horseradish

The first freeze did a lot of damage. The second freeze was worse. Now we are left with lots of the super hardy crops outside: carrots, cabbage, and leeks, and lots of squashes, onions, and garlic inside.

After a careful evaluation, we have decided that we don’t have enough product to do it all. We have enough to complete our Winter CSA, and not much more. This is where the choices come into play—continue going to farmers markets and give the CSA folks a credit toward next year, or complete our CSA obligation and stop going to markets.

So, we have decided to abandon the markets for this weekend. We WILL attend the Solstice weekend markets because, well, they’re fun. And, it seems like a good plan to go out with a bang. That will be our last for the year. If you pick up your CSA at either University District or West Seattle market, you have received an email with the CSA pickup information. Please let me know if you don’t get it.

We are so thankful to those faithful, loyal CSA families who have already paid for 2015’s harvest. Just last week I was driving the market van and lost the alternator—yes, the bracket broke and the alternator fell out on the freeway. Since the repair involves taking the front end of the van apart, we decided to replace the aging suspension in the van as well. And we were able to make that choice based on the income we received from YOU. Thank you!


One of the great things about the Seattle Farmers Markets that we attend are the many programs that allow us to help the needy. Food banks pick up food at the end of the market day, and distribute it to their clients. We have the EBT and Fresh Bucks programs to help lower-income families buy fresh, healthy farm produce. But we also have the opportunity to talk with the everyday needy folks. Those that need to talk to someone about their farming childhoods, or their situation, or their medical treatments and cures attributable to fresh, organic food.

For years at the West Seattle market, I have had a regular observer. I don’t know if she’s homeless, or if she’s frugal. If she’s in need of help, or just interested in the scene. I had never spoken to her in all of our years at that market. But last weekend, she visited my tent at closing time. Usually, by the end of a market, we are all anxious to pack up and get home. Market days are long—longer than the 4 hours we are open, so generally we make sales while we take signs down, but after 5 or 10 minutes, the grace period ends.

This old woman came at about 15 minutes after closing. I was irritated and continued packing up and chatting with other vendors. But she was so thoughtful, gently picking up the tiniest squashes and eying them like treasure. First a Sweet Dumpling, then a Honey Bear. But she settled on a Gold Nugget—the smallest one in the basket. She fondled it lovingly, and then gently put it back in the basket, and then she started to walk away.

But I was feeling outgoing, so I asked her if she wanted one of the squashes. She turned around and looked at me, wistfully. “Really?”

I said, “Sure. You should take it. It looks like it will make you happy.” She got a tear in her eye, and then she started to tell me her story. She said she grew up in Kent. In O’Brien, actually, and did I know where that was? I’ve spent a fair amount of time perusing old maps and photos of the Kent area, so luckily I could say yes. It’s south of Orillia, but not as far as Langston’s Landing. It was where Cruz-Johnson Farm used to be, and where Albert Drisow used to grow radishes and green onions. And it’s where O’Brien Nursery used to be. All of these agriculture ventures pushed out by the sprawling housing of the likes of Paragon, and the industrial development started by Boeing. I told her that we are in Thomas, between Kent proper and Auburn.

“Oh, I remember Thomas.”

 

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