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Forethought and Afterthought
July 3, 2017
Lead -Mary Oliver
Here is a story to break your heart. Are you willing? This winter the loons came to our harbor and died, one by one, of nothing we could see. A friend told me of one on the shore that lifted its head and opened the elegant beak and cried out in the long, sweet savoring of its life which, if you have heard it, you know is a sacred thing., and for which, if you have not heard it, you had better hurry to where they still sing. And, believe me, tell no one just where that is. The next morning this loon, speckled and iridescent and with a plan to fly home to some hidden lake, was dead on the shore. I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.
As was discovered, 44% of loons in New Hampshire died from ingested lead tackle from fishing between 1989 and 2015. The ban on lead bullets which is currently killing eagles and a lot of other wildlife was just lifted, so this problem will not be going away anytime soon. As I read about how lead bullets explode into a million pieces and reflect on the lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan and many other cities (including Allentown, PA), I am reminded of how pesticide use on a farm can have far reaching consequences as well.
We cherish the wildlife on our farm and in the streams and waterways surrounding it. The stream around our fields feeds into the Delaware River. This river in turn feeds into the Delaware bay and the Atlantic ocean. For this reason we recognize that our daily agricultural practices effect not only our own health upon eating the crops, but the health of the birds, mammals, microorganisms, insects, amphibians and aquatic life that rely on all this water for themselves.
As many of you know, we do not spray harmful pesticides. A lot of the organic pesticides are pretty harmful to both humans and other life as well as the conventional pesticides. This may mean that sometimes your greens have a couple holes from flea beetles, or every now and then you find a caterpillar or ladybug, but thus is life. We need to ask ourselves what is being put onto the crops we are eating that never have a sign of life on them? When something always looks perfect, what is happening to the surrounding habitat and how is this food causing harm?
Our Winters are spent pouring over our field map, crop plan, greenhouse schedule and supply order list. We spend hundreds of hours over the Winter making sure we have our plan locked down. We know what is being planted where so there is a rotation of crops to avoid diseases and pests. We know how much row cover and insect netting we need to order so we can cover crops that tend to get eaten so they stay looking as perfect as possible without ever needing to be sprayed. All this time is spent so that in the craziness of Summer we don't need to have an afterthought as to something we needed to do. It has all been planned out. This helps us greatly in the Summer months when the days are hot and long, the weeds grow like crazy, and the weather is unpredictable.
We've got so many options in the share this week! Celery is here and it is not your normal celery. When thinking of celery, most picture a crunchy, watery, flavorless vegetable. Our celery is loaded with flavor. The stalks and the leaves can be used (the leaves are delicious in any potato/pasta salad). Sauteed with carrots and onions you will have the most delicious mirepoix you have ever had.
Also, if you haven't tried our kirby (pickling) cucumbers fresh yet, give them a chance! Their skins are thinner then the larger cucumbers, not as bitter, and the seeds are a lot smaller. I've been enjoying them sliced up in my water every morning and we've been making lots of cucumber salads for a cool, crisp treat.
Makes approximately 10 thick slices
What You Need
Ingredients 1 cup torn-up bread pieces, or 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk 1 small onion, diced small 1 small carrot, peeled and diced small 1 stalk celery, diced small 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 pounds ground meat — beef, pork, veal, lamb or a mix 2 large eggs, beaten 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon salt Pepper to taste 1/2 cup ketchup, bbq sauce, or other sauce to coat (optional)
Equipment Baking sheet, roasting pan, casserole dish, or loaf pan Aluminum foil Measuring cups and spoons Fork Skillet Mixing bowl
Heat the oven to 350°F: Set the oven to pre-heat and place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Line a baking sheet or other baking dish with aluminum foil.
Soak the bread pieces in the milk: Combine the bread pieces and the milk in a small bowl. Let stand until the bread has broken down into a thick porridge, occasionally stirring and mushing the bread against the sides of the bowl. You can leave the crusts on the bread or trim them off before soaking; if you leave them on, remove any large pieces that haven't broken down after soaking.
Cook the veggies: Warm a few teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots have softened, 6 to 8 minutes. If the vegetables begin to brown, turn down the heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the thyme and tomato paste, and stir until coated. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Make the meatloaf mix: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, beaten eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, soaked bread and milk, and the cooked vegetables. Use your hands to work the ingredients together until just combined.
Shape the loaf: Transfer the meatloaf mixture to your foil-lined baking sheet or baking dish. Shape it into a loaf roughly 9 inches by 5 inches. (If using a loaf pan, just pat the meatloaf mixture into the pan.)
Coat the loaf with ketchup: Spread 1/4 cup of the ketchup mixture over the meatloaf (reserve the other 1/4 cup for later).
Bake for 45 minutes: Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes, then spread with the remaining 1/4 cup of ketchup, if using.
Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes: Bake the loaf for another 10 to 15 minutes (about 1 hour total), until the middle of the loaf registers at least 155°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Cool 15 minutes before serving: Let the loaf cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. If you baked your meatloaf in a loaf pan, carefully drain off the liquid fat before transferring the meatloaf to a cutting board. Cut into thick slices and serve. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week, or can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.
Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad
Serves 5-6 side servings
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small cucumbers or one large, very finely sliced (see photos)
4 tablespoons minced cilantro, to taste
Dice the jalapeno and garlic and add to a medium-sized bowl.
Add 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to incorporate the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
Finely slice the cucumbers. Use a mandolin if you have it, but a very sharp knife will do the trick. (See photos below.) Add the cucumbers to the dressing and stir together.
Finely mince the cilantro and add it to the bowl. Stir to combine. You can either let it sit in the fridge to marinate for a couple hours, or serve immediately.
Make sure that you let the salad sit on the counter for a little while before serving if it's been in the fridge; the olive oil solidifies slightly when it's cold.
Fennel Salad with Peaches and Avocado
This Fennel Salad recipe with peaches and avocado only requires a mandolin to make this light, yet filling summer salad. (Recipe Credit: Adrianna Adarme of Fresh Tastes)
2 bulbs fennel, halved and center removed
Juice from 1 orange
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons shelled pistachios, finely chopped (or any nut)
1/2 peach or nectarine
1/2 avocado, sliced
Definitely start this salad with removing the center bit of the fennel. I find it super biter and not so pleasant. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the halved fennel bulbs very thinly. Transfer to a medium bowl (or in my case, a baking dish that I used to serve).
In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon ju
ice, olive oil, a few pinches of salt and pepper. Pour it over the fennel and toss. Give it a taste and add a bit more salt to your liking (I added about a teaspoon more).
Toss in the pistachios and peach or nectarine. Top with the avocado. Garnish the avocado with salt and a fennel frond if you’re feeling fancy.