Flexibility

I consider myself an organized person. I like to have my ducks in a row and my plans made well in advance, and can usually manage to juggle a number of balls. But sometimes something slips. Sometimes I forget to mark a commitment on my calendar and it escapes my mind. Sometimes I remember to mark a commitment on my calendar and it still escapes my mind. Sometimes I miss adding a veggie to someone’s order. Last month I almost missed adding the carrots to all the North Battleford half orders.

I am far from perfect. And so, truth be told, we all are. But life carries on, and so does this precious CSA community. I feel as though we have had more than our share of glitches and changes lately: schedule changes, missing parsnips, forgotten bags, egg confusion, etc. Apologies and gracious acceptances of apologies have abounded all round. And in the midst of it I am reminded that it is the give and take of relationship that lies at the heart of this farm.

Our relationships are not those of a store – or even a market stall – and customers. We are all members of a farm community who give what we are able to keep the community running as smoothly as possible. Sometimes this means picking up vegetables on a different day (or at a different location) than what we had anticipated. Sometimes it means going back to exchange bags or pick up missing eggs. Sometimes it means offering to do an extra pick up or to bring someone else’s vegetables home from fall harvest. Sometimes it means offering to host a spring potluck at your home. There are so many people in this farm community who go the extra mile in so many different ways.

With email and texting and farm residents travelling to the cities more often than before, we too are able to be more flexible. We can adjust dates and times for pick-ups. We can make the occasional delivery. We can hold your vegetables when you are away and send extras when you get back. We can adjust orders to accommodate dietary needs.

And why? Because we have real relationships with one another. Because we are not names and numbers to one another, but real people with real stories. Because together we are part of something bigger than ourselves, part of an integrated community of people, plants, animals, soil, and so many other beings living in mutual interdependence. The farm is alive with roots of connection extending as far as the communities our members live in.

A living farm is not always neat and tidy. It does not always feel organized. Mistakes happen. Plans change. Snow is slow to melt. But a living farm is vibrant, and rich, and real. Many thanks to all who are a part of this living farm.

We often think of spring as a time of new growth, and of course, there is truth to this. Most obviously, at the moment, is our growing egg supply after a winter of not quite meeting all our members’ egg requests. But as the cellar fills with eggs, it is emptying of vegetables. This is the season of clearing out and finishing up to make room for the new season’s produce, and only the hardiest of vegetables remain.

This month’s orders consist simply of potatoes and carrots, 4 pails of each for a full order. For the most part, they are as delicious as ever, but there has been some spoilage in the carrot bins. Most has been culled, but you may want to give your carrots a quick rinse or wipe with vinegar to prevent any surface mold from spreading.

As for recipe ideas, I don’t have a lot of carrot recipes. We frequently use carrots in soup, but mainly we just eat them raw. I clean and cut a large bowl of carrots before supper nearly every day, and they are usually gone before the meal begins. Tough luck to those who are hiding out in the basement during that time!

Some of the ways we have enjoyed potatoes recently include baked potatoes (served with refried beans, salsa, and cheese), stuffed potatoes (leftover baked potatoes cut in half, hollowed out, stuffed with a mixture of the potato centres mixed with cream cheese, and topped with grated cheddar cheese), and mashed potatoes (served with baked paneer and Finnish cabbage). If you are wondering why you didn’t see any cabbage, suffice it to say that we had a grand total of 8 cabbages that made it through the season! This dish used up the last of our family’s share.

Finnish cabbage:

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 cups shredded cabbage

Saute the onion in oil in a heavy skillet until almost translucent, then add cabbage. Saute until somewhat reduced (about 5 minutes) but do not let the onion brown.

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp dried dill

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup water

Combine these sauce ingredients and pour over the cabbage. Add 1 Tbsp currants and stir to coat the cabbage evenly. Cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

And if you still have any spaghetti squash left in your pantry, here is a recipe shared by one of our members.

Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

3 small spaghetti squash
Olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 small onion, minced
2 tbsp bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Pico De Gallo

1 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 jalapeño, minced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds and soft yellow strands. Brush insides with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place squash facedown on baking sheet(s) and bake approximately 50 minutes or until they pierce easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, brown turkey in large skillet, breaking into small pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add dry seasonings and mix well. Add onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer on low 20 minutes.
Combine pico de gallo ingredients and refrigerate until needed.
When squash is cool enough to handle, use fork to scrape insides so strands appear. Divide meat mixture between each squash bowl. Top each with cheese and return them to the oven and bake 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, top with pico de gallo  and serve immediately.

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