So it is that Thanksgiving week brings with it a tempest. Wild winds to scatter the last of the Fall colors; pounding rain to swell the rivers and invite in the spawning salmon; and mud, glorious mud, to weigh down the slogging farmers as they excavate yard-long parsnips out of the ground.
What a week it’s been, and we’re only two days deep. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, our usual 6-day week of harvest and delivery gets compressed into three days – which means that the past 48 hours have seen Roberto and I suited up head-to-toe in our raingear, heaving a couple thousand pounds of food out of the field, into the barn, onto the wash table, and into totes. Cleo even made some guest appearances, weathering some of the storm on my back in her Muddy Buddy rainsuit while I hosed off parsnips in the field. (She wasn’t crazy about the situation and ultimately opted to nap for 2 hours in the pickup instead. Smart girl.)
There have been moments during the past two days when I doubted we were going to pull it off: racing the early dark to get the harvest in, fighting achey vertebrate, and negotiating our first whopper of a storm with a 10-month baby on my back. It took a village: my family helped enormously with childcare; Tom lent an invaluable pair of hands in the field and during pack-out in the barn; Roberto came early and worked late. And by this evening, our cooler was stuffed to the gills with 105 bulging totes of a heavy Thanksgiving harvest.
I am sitting by the woodstove now, nearly 11 pm on Tuesday night, with a baby asleep on my lap and the storm still hurtling itself at our windows. I am tired, and infinitely grateful. For a good harvest. For loamy soil. For abundant water (especially this week…). And for all of you who have chosen to eat locally, from our farm. Thank you for enabling us this livelihood: for making it possible for us to live here, raise our kids here, and call this place home. It is the greatest gift of all.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. And remember. Eat your parsnips.
Gnarly Food Inspires Poetry
Francis Quinn, a Bandon Harvest Basket member, was so inspired by a recent tote of produce he received from us that he took up the pen and inked this poem. I am happy to publish it here:
Vengeful Veggies Strike Back
Run, run, oh little one,
run, and don't look back!
Rudely uprooted, stems hacked,
Raging veggies are striking back!
Ick! Gack! leading the pack
is, oh, ugh, hairy celeriac!
There's none scarier than that!
Oh none! Run, run, little one!
Next, big, bulbous, and all knobby,
rolls in mean, green kohlrabi
bowling over and mauling everybody,
bashing all about, sparing no one!
Oh, run, run, little one!
lest, caught in the final rout,
you're savaged by a brussel sprout.
So ghastly a fate! Rush!! Get out!!
In your share this week:
- Head Lettuce (the last of it for 2011!)
- Carrots (still ugly!)
- Shallots (I hope they’re not rotten like the onions!)
- Brussels sprouts (green, but they take some time to clean)
- Celeriac (big and furry!)
- Sunshine Squash (orange and hefty)
- Yellow Finn Potatoes (please mash me!)
- Parsnips (4 whopping pounds of ‘em!)
- Parsley (I am such a hardy little herb!)
Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.
Introducing yet another less-than-common food on the American dinner plate: parsnips. These are the white, carrot-like roots in your tote this week. Some people love them, others loathe them, but if ever there was an opportunity to give them a chance, this is it. We dug these yesterday in the driving rain, battling gale force winds and knee-deep mud, and then washed them in the dark by the glow of my headlights – so if nothing else, please humor us by cooking some up and trying them. If you’re skeptical, choose one of the recipes that has lots of butter and maple syrup in it.
We have a handful of recipes on our website: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/parsnips
And on Epicurious.com: http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=parsnips
Sunshine Winter Squash
My next favorite squash, after Delicata. Almost tropical in flavor, incredibly sweet, with a dry flaky flesh. Great for making pie, mashing like a potato, turning into soup, filling raviolis, or stuffing like a turkey.
Here’s a fantastic recipe that uses your Sunshine and some parsnips to boot! Would be a great accompaniment to turkey and all the other fixins:
Farm Fact of the Week
This week’s Thanksgiving totes average about 23 pounds each, which means that we will be delivering about 2,500 pounds of food on Wednesday to all of our Harvest Basket members. May your Thanksgiving feast be resplendently seasonal, local, and delicious!