We had a great time at our cooking class this past weekend. More than a dozen CSA members met in the home of Terry and John Burke this past Saturday, to learn about the wonders and fun of fermented food from Shane Brill. Class participants learned how to prepare a host of fermented foods and were able to take samples ad supplies home with them to fuel their new inspiration for fermenting. We all had a lot of fun as we cooked and ate together, sharing knowledge and community over the food products of organisms we often take for granted: microscopic organisms like bacteria and yeast.
The class helped me to better appreciate the vast microscopic communities of organisms around us. A seemingly whole other world, where vast colonies of alien looking creatures live out their lives; creatures that we live with symbiotically every day through our food. Many people have heard of the bacteria in our digestive systems that help us to process the food we eat, but people have also been working with bacteria and other microscopic organisms to make/prepare food since before recorded history.
Though they may not have appreciated that they were making a deal with invisible organisms to digest, prepare and preserve foods in exchange for steady meals, our distant ancestors reaped the benefits of bacteria and yeasts, same as we do today. In fact, many of the processes Shane taught about in the class had very old origins in the cultures they arose from. Kefir comes from the northern Caucasus Mountains, Kimchi from Korea, pickling from India and sauerkraut from Germany (although the process is thought to have been introduced to Europeans by Genghis Khan after he invaded China).
Needless to say, the class was a big success! Hopefully all those who participated are inspired to continue their own experiments in fermenting foods. One thing we learned is that the limits of what and how you can ferment foods (farm veggies included) seems to only be limited to your supplies and imagination. For all of those who missed out on the fun, don’t worry, we hope to offer more classes on fermenting in the future. Stay tuned! In the meantime check out more exciting cooking class opportunities with us over the next couple months, featuring locals chefs like Sabrina Sexton and Glenn May!
Summer is a beautiful time to be on the farm. The fields are teeming with life, in all shapes and sizes, and the world around you feels alive; you can hear it in the call of birds and the buzz of insects, and you can smell it in the hot air. Baby swallows sit atop trellis posts, waiting for their parents to bring them meals from the field. Gusts of wind blow countless specks of corn pollen from one stalk to another, a clever pollination trick. Dozens of species of plants (planted and wild) flash colorful flowers to advertise their wares; a giant bazaar of vendors shouting out with colors, shapes and pheromones.
There is no better time to see the farm in action than during summer. The fields are in full production, and the edible bounty of the planet is ripe for the picking. A meal cooked with the diversity of veggies we are harvesting right now will have you working in every color of the rainbow! The farm right now is a busy place, filled 24/7 with the endless interactions of organisms with each other and their environment. It feels rejuvenating when you’ve had time to go out into nature and feel a little closer to the environment around you, to see and be reminded of how you are connected to the land you live off.
Our farms mission statement explains that we strive to strengthen the relationship between community members, their farmers, their food and the land. Our endeavor is always to be a place from which you can find knowledge, comfort, wonder and fun as you connect with the natural world; indeed, we would agree with the Japanese farmer/philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka when he said that “the ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” What better way can we offer to serve you than to invite you out to the farm?
Talk to us about coming to volunteer some time out in the fields. Whether you can stay with us for a day or a couple hours, we’d love to have your help and to show you how your food grows. Whether you make it a regular thing, or a single experience I urge you to find the time to come out and connect with the earth, through your food. Take time with us to get a fresh perspective of the world around you, or to rejuvenate from a hectic schedule. We’re here all day, everyday, and we’d love to see you!