|Hello and Happy New Year!|
They say that every new beginning comes from some other new beginning’s end. Last year was a completely new beginning for us here at Dancing Seeds Farm as we started up our farming operations, and along the way we sure learned a lot. That year has ended and now we’re moving forward, building onto those great lessons and the relationships we built, and developing exciting new plans for 2019. We’re especially going to be focusing on increasing our production capacity and improving our processes, and of course doing all that we can to keep our customers happy. Thank you so very much for welcoming us into your community.
|Announcing our new CSA!|
Community Supported Agriculture is a common practice in the agricultural community. It’s a grower-customer relationship in which the customer agrees to pay for produce at the beginning of the season for an agreed-upon amount of weekly produce during the growing season. Customers enjoy a variety of the freshest food possible at a reasonable price, and farmers get a better idea of how much food to grow.
We are now accepting orders for full-share, half-share, and flexible timing produce CSAs. We’re also offering fresh flower shares, which you can order separately or which you can add onto your produce CSA membership. Visit our website for details.
|Another Change in Farm Store Hours|
As many of you know, the islands nearly shut down during the winter months. Humpbacks and snowbirds flee to warmer places, while shops and restaurants shut down for several weeks or more. Farmers produce a lot less food, too, during these dark and cold days.
We’ve therefore decided to close our farm store until April 1st; by then we should have plenty of good food to offer you. We’ll let you know when we re-open. Meanwhile, you can still swing by for eggs — we recommend you call first to be sure someone will be here. And we’ll be at the SJI Farmer’s Markets in March.
We hope this change in our hours doesn’t inconvenience you.
We promised! And now here it is: a fire safety workshop! It will be held at our farm on Saturday, February 2 at 2pm in conjunction with the SJI Agricultural Summit, and San Juan County Fire Marshal Richard Myers will be there to talk about wild land fire safety and preparedness. The workshop will include demonstrations for digging effective fire breaks and putting out fires with water and fire extinguishers. For more information, check out the Ag Summit schedule.
|What We’re Cooking|
Greg’s holiday gift to himself this year was The Noma Guide to Fermentationby Rene Redzepi & David Zilber. Noma is a world renowned restaurant in Denmark, known for its combination of traditional wild and local flavors with the scientific side of gastronomy. They began their fermentation experiments while trying to creatively stock their pantry with local foods for the dark winter months, of which they have many. Cured meats, brined wild capers, and lacto-fermented wild gooseberries were just the beginning. The restaurant chefs became so enthralled with fermentation that they built a test kitchen and lab just for creating new ferments and other concoctions for the restaurant. Though he hasn’t had the time to delve into their recipes, Greg’s looking forward to trying their many interesting deep dives into lacto-fermented fruits and veggies, vinegars, kombucha, miso, and more.
Greg is also intrigued by a great book for simple, local eating: Eating from the Ground Up by Alana Chernila. A section of the book called “barely recipes” offers a selection of delicious and innovative ideas for local produce. If you’ve seen our kohlrabi at the farmer’s market, for example, and wondered what the heck you would do with that, this book–and its recipe for kohlrabi fries–might be for you!
|What We’re Reading|
It’s that time of year when the pages we’ve been looking at have mostly been seed catalogues. The tantalizing photos and descriptions from companies such as Uprising Seeds, Baker Creek, Territorial, Johnny’s, Siskiyou, Adaptive, and Kitazawa have captured our imagination for what the coming season could bring. Crop planning and seed selection are fun but difficult tasks that growers of all sizes grapple with. We want to try everything–but what’s actually practical? This year we’ve selected a smaller range of varieties as we endeavor to focus more on what our customers love, but we definitely have some fun and unique items planned as well. Greg is particularly looking forward to the Lucid Gem tomato from Baker Creek’s line of cosmic tomatoes, from breeder Brad Gates, and Zach is excited about what he’s always excited about: Red Cabbage!
When not poring over catalogues, Greg’s been reading In the Shadow of the Mountain: The Spirit of the CCC by Edwin G. Hill. This small book recounts Ed Hill’s time building trails and dams, fighting fires, and performing other tasks with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. The CCC, which was a main pillar of FDR’s New Deal, put nearly 3,000,000 young men to work all over the country at a time when people desperately needed to work and our nation desperately needed new infrastructure for soil and water conservation, roads and bridges, and recreation areas.
Hill recounts that the work, while grueling, was also “the most enjoyable and rewarding years” of his life. The crews that he worked with learned skills that could be transferred to other careers when they left the Corps, and they were also offered an education at a time when access to advanced degrees was limited. Most important to Hill, though, was the lifelong bonding brotherhood that developed among the workers. Although Hill’s story was set decades ago, it seems particularly relevant now with our country in need of affordable education, revived infrastructure, meaningful work for all of its citizens, and a renewed connection to the land.
|Where You Can Find Us|
Watch for us at the SJI Farmer’s Market on the first and third Saturdays of March. You can also find our food at the SJI Co-op or on the menus of select restaurants around town.
Thank you for your support! If you know someone who might like to hear from us, please feel free to forward this newsletter to them.