2013 Oxbow Newsletter #20 — I cleaned out the crisper last night…

In search of soup ingredients.  I want you to know that farmers find gooey cucumbers from time to time in the bottom of their produce drawers too! We know that making it through a CSA box requires some dedication and creativity. We thank you for making this commitment.

Back to the crisper: As I cleaned I just started cutting up what I could and putting it into my soup. Some beets and carrots were a little spongy, but they weren’t rotten, they were fine… In the soup!  “Oh no I put this bag of radicchio in here like 3 weeks ago…Yuck!” Actually it wasn’t that bad. I cleaned off the outer leaves and it looked fine.  A wee bit peeked but who cares? Cut them in half, a little olive oil, salt, and lemon juice and threw them on the grill. Point is, when I started “cleaning the crisper” I thought I was going to be composting a lot. But I didn’t. This soup fed us for 2 nights and we put the rest in the freezer for later.

There is a growing trend these days to not only buy local farm product, but to make that product go as far as possible so as not to waste.  It is a good trend! This is being done by bringing back the techniques of pickling, canning, drying, fermenting, and making stock. But even more important than that, people are learning how to plan and act to minimize food waste.
The organic, local food phenomenon has garnered the reputation of being elitist. I think this is unfair when you consider that, according to a recent NRDC study, American households throw away approximately %40 of their food every year.  This equates to $165 billion annually on a national level. The average American family of four ends up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 worth of food annually. It is possible to eat locally, organically, and affordably. We just need to learn how!

Tangent!  We farmers do that. A new concept was introduced to me this year. Instead of calling what we do “Sustainable Farming”, we should call what we do “Regenerative Farming”.   I like this so much because small, diverse, operations like ours really are creating a new paradigm. We are not just sustaining. We are improving! It is not just about the healthy food we are growing. It is about the community that grows around that food. The happy social connections that grow when people come together on the farm, at the farmers market, at their CSA pick up, at restaurants who serve local farm fare, at potlucks, etc. It is about the kids who will now eat broccoli because it’s from “their” farm.

Another thing that makes me proud to be a part of this farming community out here in the Snoqualmie Valley is the fact that most of the valley’s farms are actively engaged in restoring the native habitat around their fields where this wholesome, vibrant, alive food is grown. We are not just sustaining, we are rehabilitating, revitalizing, and yes regenerating our landscape and communities. Yaaaay! Woo hooooo! Go farmers!

I don’t mean to sound like I am tooting my own horn. I just think this valley is pretty awesome and the farmers in this valley are creating something pretty special. But most of all I think that the people who support all this, particularly you CSA customers, need to be celebrated. We know that it is so much easier to go to the store and buy what you want when you want it, damn the season. But you have made a choice to eat locally and seasonally.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!  We hope you are continuing on with our Winter CSA and we hope to see you back next year.

(This week’s newsletter, and crisper clean-out is brought to you by Farmer Luke)

Luke, Adam, Sarah, Megan, Bridget, Tino, Yolanda, Valentin, Julio-Cesar,Mike, Marianna, Lisa, Alice, Sarah D, Dana, Joshua, Arwen, Grace, Brandon, (and our inspiration Pearl, Emuna, Avi Ray & Zoe Rose).