Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Homegrown tortillas just got easier

Hominy, hominy ground in a corona mill, tortilla in the new press, fried tortillas
Sometimes, a new tool can make all the difference.  We recently bought a cast iron tortilla press.   After the first tortilla, Melissa was convinced we should have gotten one years ago.  The tortilla was a beautiful perfect circle and the right thickness.  But most important, the press was really quick and even the younger kids could help with great results.  While we enjoy cooking our heirloom white corn into hominy fairly often, making tortillas was more for special occasions.  The press has made it possible for homemade tortillas to be more of a staple for us, including frying tortilla chips after the day old extras.  (The press was just $20 at Compare Foods in Statesville.)

Today's share

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

CSA share

Leeks, shitake mushrooms, green beans, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, banana and bell peppers

Thursday, September 7, 2017


  The story of dicamba (an herbicide used together with crops that have been genetically modified for resistance to the herbicide) has been in the news for a while now, but more and more evidence seems to be filling in the story, and the following article seems to do a good job of bringing it together pretty succinctly.  We recommend you read it.


A point the article touches on in passing that we'd like to focus on is how the early steps away from local food sovereignty may not be so bad, at least as far as science is able to clearly demonstrate at the time those choices are made, but even in the early stages science can point to the fact that the bio-tech and chemical solutions are only going to be temporary solutions, and nevertheless we can also know ahead of time that accepting those temporary solutions means burning bridges to more traditional ways of farming.  For example, suppose some bio-tech trait coupled with a chemical herbicide offers the possibility of labor-savings that would allow farmers to grow two or three or four times as many acres as before: what happens after, in order to make way for the greater profitability and efficiency of the new way of farming, all those family farms that have sold out or gone broke or have ceased to be worth passing on to the next generation... what happens when the high tech solution quits working?  Our agriculture will then have become dependent on finding and accepting a new generation of chemical and bio-tech solutions; those relatively smaller family farms that could have dealt with the problems without the same kind of chemical dependency but that gave way to "greater efficiency" will likely be gone for good; and all those smaller farms will likely require generations to reestablish.  We will have then created for ourselves an emergency (an emergency we should have foreseen) where the only minimally disruptive remaining solution will be to accept chemicals and bio-technology with already known adverse side effects we never would have accepted to start with.  And this is almost exactly what seems to be unfolding with dicamba right now. 
  So what can farmers and the consumers that support them do now?  Do we keep heading further down the same path, setting ourselves up for having to face even worse choices in the near future?  That's surely the direction mainstream agriculture is going to go, but our hope is that stories like that of dicamba will be a wake up call to many in our community (and elsewhere), that more people will recognize the overlooked costs of conventional agriculture, that they'll open their eyes to see how many bridges have already been burned, that they'll see the short-sightedness of choosing the short-term cost savings and conveniences of conventional food, and that they'll invest themselves in building alternatives that offer a thorough-going alternative to the series of foreseeable emergencies and gradual impoverishment that conventional agriculture represents.  Or to put that more simply: we hope you will increase your resolve to find the most thoroughly homegrown alternatives to the kind of food sold in supermarkets, not just tasty and colorful but calorie- and acreage-marginal things like vegetables (although that's often the best and easiest place to start), but also crops (like the soybeans in this story) grown for "vegetable oil" and feed for animals to produce the animal products you consume (and their substitutes like butter from grass-fed cows and other grass-fed dairy and meat.)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

CSA Share

Field peas, butternut squash, roselle, edamame, beans, snacking peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes

Thursday, August 24, 2017


  We've had more apples from our trees this year than ever before, still not all we'd like for ourselves but a substantial quantity and enough to start thinking about what we'll do in the future when we do have sellable quantities and whether we should continue planting trees even though we probably have a very generous number of trees for our own use already.  We grow our apples (and all our fruit) without any purchased fungicides or insecticides (or any other pesticides), which is very different from both conventional fruit growers and certified organic orchardists.  We've written before about our reasons for not wanting to grow apples like certified organic growers do, which you can see here.  Of all the realistic options for how to have apples, the apples we're eating now are exactly what we want, but every option comes with trade-offs.  Some trade-offs aren't very apparent to consumers, but as both growers and consumers we see a pretty full picture, and that leads us not to want to use and rely on purchased pesticides.  (The closest we come to using any pesticides at all on our fruit is to set out a bucket of rejected blackberries or blueberries steeped in very hot water to attract and drown June bugs.)  With some other fruit fruits, like strawberries or blueberries or watermelons, and with most vegetables, we're able to sell fruit more or less as perfect as conventionally grown fruit, requiring only that we cull harder with some crops -- we keep strawberries with bad spots for ourselves and carve those out, for example -- but almost every apple we eat has noticeable imperfections, at least cosmetic imperfections (like sooty blotch on the skin) and very often imperfections that might require or at least benefit from carving out bad spots, too.  Given the costs and risks and dependencies associated with the other options, completely no-spray is the option that clearly makes the most sense to us, but we wonder to what degree it could make sense to our customers, even our Full Farm CSA members.  Apples like ours have various and inconsistent imperfections, take more time to process, and don't keep as long (without pre-processing into sauce or cider, into the freezer, etc.), and if you didn't really care about where your food came from or what was involved in growing it you probably wouldn't ever choose apples like ours, but these are first order concerns for us.  Obviously a lot of customers don't share our food and farming values, but surely some more or less would, especially if they knew everything about their food that we know about ours.  We want to do everything we can to enable our customers to get to know us well enough that if they do generally share our values, they can trust us to provide them with the same kind of food we choose for ourselves and to trust that that's best, even when it's not superficially obvious.  In the meantime, we're continuing to cautiously expand our apple (and other similar fruit) plantings, hoping to be able to offer apples to our Full Farm CSA members soon.