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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Several people at markets and CSA pick-ups expressed that they need new ideas for what to do with the cabbage we have in season right now. Well ask and you shall receive! I’ve compiled four different recipes here to give you some ideas about what you can do with this delectable veggie, besides coleslaw of course. The first two recipes contain meat, while the second two do not and could be used for vegetarian dishes. All four recipes come from the website http://www.thekitchn.com/. Having tried all four recipes at this point, I will personally attest to their deliciousness. I also found that they are easy recipes to mess around with when you like (for instance substituting one meat for another or choosing different herbs to change the spiced flavor of the dish).  These culinary delights are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cooking with a seemingly plain head of cabbage; hopefully these recipes inspire you to do your own exploration with cabbage in the kitchen that you can share with us online or at a market!

#1 — Asian Cabbage Rolls with Spicy Pork:

 

 

 

A delicious, simple but complexly flavored dish featuring pork, rice, mushrooms, cabbage and ginger soaked in a soy sauce/vinegar sauce. This mixture is then wrapped in a cabbage leaf (green or red) and baked. This dish serves 4 people and takes ~35 minutes to bake. Find the full recipe at: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-asian-cabbage-rolls-wit-137820

 

 

 

 

#2 — BBQ Cabbage and Sausage Stuffed Sandwiches:

These easy to make sandwiches are great for any summer cook-out or picnic! Plus, once prepared, they can be stored in the fridge or freezer to enjoy later. This recipe has you stuffing dough with cabbage, sausage, garlic, onions, provolone and of course BBQ sauce before baking it into a roll with a crunchy crust and succulent filling. This recipe makes 8 sandwiches that take 15-25 minutes to bake. Find the full recipe at: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-bbq-cabbage-sausage-stu-140577

 

 

 

#3 — Cabbage in Mild Yogurt and Mustard Seed Curry:

 

What can’t you put in curry? I have yet to find a veggie that can’t be worked into one of the many styles of curry that are out there, and cabbage is no exception. This simple curry, with classic flavors like cumin, turmeric and coriander, uses the mild crunch of cabbage as the main texture and substance of the dish. This recipe serves 6 people and takes 20-30 minutes to prepare. Find the full recipe at: http://www.thekitchn.com/cabbage-in-mild-yogurt-and-mus-157670

 

 

 

 

#4 — Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Dressing:

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best, and this one (usually prepared as a side dish or appetizer) manages to overwhelm with good flavors and textures just by having grilled cabbage with dressing on top. The whole thing can be prepared in a matter of minutes; grilling the cabbage will take no more than 14 minutes and the sauce is just a matter of mixing everything together before pouring it on the cabbage. If you can’t grill the cabbage try roasting it! This dish serves 8 people. Find the full recipe at: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-grilled-cabbage-wedges-157671

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Keifer relaxes after work with his buddy, Aristotle.

Keifer relaxes after work with his buddy, Aristotle.

My name is, Keifer Russell, and I am from Casper, Wyoming. Aside from this work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, exercising, and listening to music. I am lucky to be here in what is now my second season of organic farming as I spent the last season in London, Ohio. Finding this path, what I now consider to be my career path, has taken the entirety of my young life. There were signs all along the way that I didn’t see until I looked back, until I started listening more equally to my head and my heart. I will try and explain this path as briefly as I can.

When I first started in college all I really knew was that I wanted to do something health related. At Casper College, a community college in my home town, I earned an Associate’s Degree in Athletic Training as well as one in Physical Education. Neither of these programs really reached me and upon graduating I took the next two years off. I had already been working construction while attending school but the two years of full time work that followed, for many, many reasons, motivated me to go back to school. I felt I owed it to myself but also, more than anything, I wanted to enjoy the work I did, to have a sense of purpose. I decided to apply for the Kinesiology and Health Promotion program at the University of Wyoming. I didn’t like the limitations of completing either of my original degree paths and was hoping to have more options upon graduating. Thankfully I was accepted and began to become genuinely interested in the field of public health and of preventative health efforts. I was especially motivated to pursue this course when I began to learn more about the incredible disparities of our time and of the idea of undeserved power and privilege.

I believe that a majority of our world’s health problems stem from unequal access to resources (food, health, justice, etc.). In a world where it seems that anything can be bought and sold, those who have the money have the ability to buy food, health and justice. In our country, as evidence shows, the vast majority of wealth, and therefore access, is in the hands of a few. This is the exact opposite of justice and, as a result, we are faced with the enormous disparities that plague us today. I have enjoyed a great deal of power and privilege in my own life and have come to realize that some of which, perhaps more than I will ever know, has been unearned. Being a heterosexual, middle-class, white male makes me part of the dominant class in our society. It should be no surprise then that I am in good health. Realizing this, learning that to remain neutral is to side with the oppressor and not the oppressed, I decided I had to find a career path which allowed me to give back for the unfair advantage I have had. In pursuit of such work, I took an internship at a Public Health office and worked under the Public Health Response Coordinator for roughly two school years. While this was a very interesting position and taught me a lot, what it taught me more than anything was that I did not have the patience for the pace of government and was simply not happy sitting at a desk. Luckily for me, my search within my major for everything public health lead me to take a Food, Health & Justice course (Hints my repeated use of the phrase). In learning about the food system, in working in community gardens, I found what I knew in my heart to be my path.

Food system work has provided me the much needed hope and optimism in the field of social reform. I am very attracted to the hands-on, community-level nature of the work itself, along with the quick positive return. This is certainly not to say that community gardens or organic growing operations are fool-proof, but rather that such projects can, in my mind, be undertaken with lower cost and greater ease than projects in other areas of social change. Also, there is a myriad of potential positive benefits to this type of work which include: Increased food access/availability (esp. healthy, sustainable, fresh, tasty food), social support, physical activity, stress relief, education, fulfillment of civic duty, positive role modeling, preservation of open space and natural systems, and the strengthening of local communities, economies, and food system defense. These co-occurring benefits to food system reform essentially improve the wellness of a community’s members. Wellness refers to overall well-being and incorporates the mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life.

This work is also is a nice reminder of the construction work aspects that I actually do miss and an even better reminder of why I went back to school. In many ways this work is brand new for me, despite the countless hours I’ve spent shoveling. While I did help to “build” some important infrastructure in my day, none of which, nor the total amount of which, could equal the importance and the satisfaction of the outcome of this shoveling. Being involved in this sort of food production was a first for me, as I barely remember the gardens we had when I was younger. Not only do I have my hands in the actual production of healthy, organic, sustainable foods, but I have my hands in social change as well. This farm, this food, is a challenge to current social norms, many of which I feel are flawed. Working to feed someone, to change my community, to change our relationship to the natural world and to change not just the food system but the whole system, brings a reward that is, for me, more satisfying than any pay check I have ever earned. Though minimal, my food system experience and knowledge gained have given me great hope that I might be able to not only do what I love for a living, but to do so for the sake of the greater good.

While I may have stumbled into this work, that certainly does not mean I take it lightly. I like to think that my food system reform beliefs are founded in unbiased, undeniable scientific evidence. As it turns out, and despite the claims of conventional agriculture, small scale, organic farming is the best option for feeding the world as it produces competitive yields in a healthy, sustainable way while also supporting local communities and cultures. Organic systems also produce a more diverse array of food and nutrients and are better positioned to produce yields in adverse conditions, which are sure to come given global warming and the global fight for water. What I also like about this movement is that it reminds us to think about food in terms other than just production. Our goal should be not just feeding the world, but feeding the world well—returning as much as we take in order to ensure our future.

In summary, I took this position to continue my journey to find my place in the closing of the inequality gap. The more I learn, the more I see, the further I push myself outside of my own bubble, the more I feel that I truly am either part of the problem or part of the solution. “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” ~Lyndon B. Johnson.

IMG_20140606_090715926I spent my childhood summers running barefoot in the grass, digging up worms, swimming and catching crayfish in the Upper Delaware River, catching fireflies, and sitting around a fire under the stars with my family. That’s when I fell in love with nature.

Virgil said, “Happy were he who could know the causes of things.” Digging your hands and toes into the cool, moist earth, you quickly get in close touch with the causes of things. In today’s industrial world where people become dependent on gadgets and globalization, it’s far too easy to lose touch with the living roots of human society—the substance from which we draw our existence—that is Mother Nature and her Divine Creator.

The following quote from the Preface to The Outline of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton sums up nicely my beliefs about how things are and how it’s the most basic things in life that are the most important:

“ … Political and social freedom without economic freedom is a cruel illusion. … Economic freedom in the modern world is simply the right to compete with others for a job which provides wages; it is an illusion which can be quickly shattered by the shedding of jobs, corporate restructuring, or budget cuts. In contrast, the man who owns not merely his mortgage paperwork, but his own house and land, who grows his own food, who draws water from his own well, is not so easily treated in such a cavalier fashion. He is always the free man, the man who chooses what, where, when, and how—choices that are frequently less open, if at all, to his wage-earning counterpart who is a slave in all but name. Living among other free men with the same freedom, independence and self-sufficiency, he is confronted with a social fabric that by its very nature demands that he use his freedom with a clear understanding of the needs and rights of his neighbor. […] What man needs is neither an ever-increasing cash flow nor a continually expanding investment portfolio, but rather a society that gives him a chance to procure what he needs for himself and his family, and to use what he procures virtuously.” (excerpt from the Preface to The Outline of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton)

For my own sake and the sake of my neighbors, it is important for me to not only know where my food comes from, but to know that nature is being respected and that resources are not being wasted. It is also a strong desire of mine to invest my own energy into nurturing nature to grow food for myself, for my family and friends, for my neighbors. This piqued my interest in local, sustainable agriculture, especially CSA’s.

Thus, my appreciation for the foundations of the natural order, my Catholic faith, and my Distributist ideals have together brought me to Colchester Farm CSA.

I’m excited to have the opportunity for a hands-on education in small-scale, sustainable farming practices. I want to learn everything I possibly can about nourishing the soil, growing healthy crops, and keeping chickens and dairy goats. I would like to learn more about the business of farm management and farmer’s markets. And I hope to educate myself further on the history, culture, and practical application of sustainable-farm and craftsman based communities.

In my life after this apprenticeship, whether I choose to become closely involved in the inner workings of a CSA or whether I can bring to life my dream of homesteading, I know my time at Colchester will be the perfect groundwork for that future adventure.