Winter Order Form (wk of 1/6/13)

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2013 by foragefiend

Bunny print card by Annie

Elder Fire Farm Arts

Winter Pick-up Order Form

Orders placed by 8pm Monday, and will be available for pick-up

after 10am the following Wednesday at:

Confections with Convictions (116 W. Crosstown Pkwy, Kalamazoo)

Name on order:

  price quantity total
Cultured Veggies
      Classic Kraut 16oz $7.00
      Apple Kraut 16oz $7.00
      Spicy Carrot Pickles 16oz $7.00
      Fennel Onions  8oz $5.00
      Culture Club (mildly) Hot Sauce  5oz $7.00
                            Total cultured veggies
Farmstead Jams 8oz
     Heart of Summer $6.00
     Hot Pepper Jelly $6.00
     Maiden Voyage $6.00
     Spiced Pear $6.00
     Spiced Pear Chutney $6.00
     Sunrise Spread $6.00
     Sunset Spread $6.00
     Tomato Marmalade $6.00
     Tropical Melon Moon $6.00
     Vanilla Ambrosia $6.00
                                    Total Jams
Hand-printed cards by Annie
     Hearts (pack of 3) $5.00
     Stars  (pack of 3) $5.00
     Bunny (pack of 3) $5.00
                                    Total cards
 
                                     Total purchases

 (paid with check or cash at pick up)

All items are available in limited quantities. We will notify you if there is any trouble filling your order.

Thank you for your support.

Please feel free to call (269) 352-4711 or email elderfirefarmarts@gmail.com  with any questions.

Elder Fire Winter Order Form (wk of 12/16/12)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2012 by foragefiend

IMG_1828

Elder Fire Farm Arts

Winter Pick-up Order Form

Orders placed by 8pm Monday, and will be available for pick-up

after 10am the following Wednesday at:

Confections with Convictions (116 W. Crosstown Pkwy, Kalamazoo)

Name on order:

  price quantity total
Cultured Veggies
      Classic Kraut 16oz $7.00
      Apple Kraut 16oz $7.00
      Spicy Carrot Pickles 16oz $7.00
      Fennel Onions  8oz $5.00
      Culture Club (mildly) Hot Sauce  5oz $7.00
                                             Total cultured veggies
Farmstead Jams 8oz
     Heart of Summer $6.00
     Hot Pepper Jelly $6.00
     Maiden Voyage $6.00
     Spiced Pear $6.00
     Spiced Pear Chutney $6.00
     Sunrise Spread $6.00
     Sunset Spread $6.00
     Tomato Marmalade $6.00
     Tropical Melon Moon $6.00
     Vanilla Ambrosia $6.00
                                    Total Jams
Hand-printed cards by Annie
     Hearts (pack of 3) $5.00
     Stars  (pack of 3) $5.00
     Bunny (pack of 3) $5.00
                                    Total cards
 
                                               Total purchases (paid with check or cash at pick up)

All items are available in limited quantities. We will notify you if there is any trouble filling your order.

Thank you for your support.

Please feel free to call (269) 352-4711 or email elderfirefarmarts@gmail.com  with any questions.

Elder Fire Winter Order Form (wk of 12/9/12)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2012 by foragefiend

IMG_1571

Elder Fire Farm Arts

Winter Pick-up Order Form

 

Orders placed by 8pm Monday, and will be available for pick-up

after 10am the following Wednesday at:

Confections with Convictions (116 W. Crosstown Pkwy, Kalamazoo)

 

Name on order:

  price quantity total
Cultured Veggies      
      Classic kraut  16oz $7.00    
      Fennel Onions  8oz $5.00    
      Culture Club (mildly) Hot Sauce  5oz $7.00    
                                             Total cultured veggies      
Farmstead Jams 8oz      
     Autumnberry Peary $6.00    
     Heart of Summer $6.00    
     Hot Pepper Jelly $6.00    
     Maiden Voyage $6.00    
     Spiced Pear $6.00    
     Spiced Pear Chutney $6.00    
     Sunrise Spread $6.00    
     Sunset Spread $6.00    
     Tomato Marmalade $6.00    
     Tropical Melon Moon $6.00    
     Vanilla Ambrosia $6.00    
                                    Total Jams      
Hand-printed cards by Annie      
     Hearts (pack of 3) $5.00    
     Stars  (pack of 3) $5.00    
     Bunny (pack of 3) $5.00    
                                    Total cards      
       
       
                                               Total purchases

 (paid with check or cash at pick up)

     

 

All items are available in limited quantities. We will notify you if there is any trouble filling your order.

 

Thank you for your support.

Please feel free to call (269) 352-4711 or email elderfirefarmarts@gmail.com  with any questions.

ELDER FIRE FARM ARTS COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 7, 2012 by foragefiend

We’re a small diverse farm part of the grassroots effort growing a sustainable and transparent food system, while building trusting/meaningful relationships as producers, consumers, neighbors, and with the land. CSA allows us to deepen and develop these connections by sharing some of the responsibilities and many of the joys of food production. Investing in our farm prior to each season of food production allows us to make it through winter, purchase seeds for the upcoming season and any tools or amendments necessary to continue to do this work in a sustainable way. We then show our thanks by growing great food for you, with passion and sincere gratitude.                                                                                   PICK UPS:

@ WEDNESDAYS 100-MILE MARKET (People’s Food Co-op)

@ SATURDAYS KALAMAZOO FARMERS’ MARKET (Bank St.)

TRADITIONAL C.S.A SHARE                                        

FULL SHARES–$350

18 weeks of FARM ARTS (May 26àSep.22). Each week you can look forward to our selection made just for you of the freshest, seasonal produce, grown using organic methods, which you pick up at either of our Kalamazoo markets. The tried and true way of C.S.A.  Limited availability.

MARKET STYLE C.S.A SHARE

$300 or $500

A pre-pay system that gives us the benefit of start-up season monies and gives you the option to shop at our market table cash free throughout the season, when you want and where you want. We keep the books of how much you’ve spent, but unlike the traditional style, we do not set aside produce or eggs or jams for you, it is a first come first serve membership system.

CONTACT US FOR MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT FORMS AND WITH YOUR QUESTIONS Elderfirefarmarts@gmail.com    269.352.4711     SEND CHECKS/CASH WITH MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT FORM BY FEBRUARY 1st 2013 TO: 10400 s. gurd road, dowling, michigan 49050        visit us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/ElderFireFarmArts

Elder Fire Farm Arts

Membership Agreement Form CSA 2013

 Name(s):____________________________________________*Phone:____________________

Address:_______________________________________________________________________

Email(s):___________________________________________________________

CIRCLE THE SHARE TYPE OF YOUR CHOICE:

TRADITIONAL (Full $350)

We grow produce specifically for you—specialties and staples that might not be available forother market goers or market style share members. This is a veggie heavy share that ranges in size each week depending on what’s in season.                                 

Choose your weekly pick up location:

      _____100 Mile Market/Wednesdays/3-7pm(Peoples’ Food Co-op of Kalamazoo)

507 Harrison St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

_____Kalamazoo (Bank St.) Farmers’ Market/Saturdays/7:30am-12:30pm

1200 Bank St, Kalamazoo, MI 49001

MARKET STYLE (___$300 or ___$500)

Come to either market to buy produce, eggs, jam, whatever’s on our table whenever you want during next year’s market season. We do the bookkeeping each market and keep track of your balance.

Member Agreement

☯  Depending on share type, I will receive a full, weekly share of Elder Fire produce that will vary in size and weight depending on the time of the season.

☯  I agree to support the farmers by sharing in the inherent risks of agriculture (poor weather, drought, hail, crop failure, pest problems, etc.) and the rewards (fresh, local, organically grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, etc. the harvests of a good season). I understand this principle and agree that there is no guarantee on the exact amount or type of produce I will receive in my share. By participating in CSA I am supporting the local farmers (and our foodshed), as well as allowing for more equitable food distribution.

☯  By purchasing a traditional C.S.A share, I commit to picking up my share weekly and understand that if I, or a designated other, is unable to pick up my share it cannot be saved or picked-up at a later date unless prior arrangements have been made with the farmer. As a market style member, I understand the value of my share can be redeemed only during the 2013 growing season and that produce is not set aside for me each week.

___________________________________________________________________________

Member’s Signature                                                                              Date

Please make checks out to Elder Fire Farm Arts and mail to 10400 S. Gurd Rd, Dowling, MI 49050

BY FEBRUARY 1st 2013          

*Enclosed is my check(s) of:  In Full ($300/ $500 or $350)______     OR       Initial Payment of $________with post-dated checks for the following amount $_______ $________=$300 $350 $500

Revolutionizing the food system…through jam

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by leekornhauser

Alright, I’m gonna say it: Eating jam can be a political act. Maybe I’m stating the obvious: Eating food that was sought out, scavenged, and/or produced with the intention to provide food in the future is food activism…nowadays. (Jam, of course, is also entirely devoid of politics—it used to be a very commonplace/non-radical item on folks’ agenda and for those simply interested in having (good?) food to eat in Winter/Spring.) Nutrients that would otherwise be unavailable made available (like during Winter) is magic to me, and an intelligent use of the human mind/body.

tart cherries: rescued

So often it feels like a rescue mission: nothing seems more sensible than capturing waste (i.e., food) from the plants/insects/soil/humans that worked so hard together to make. Deep in the throes of food activism, we rescued blemished or overripe melons rather than letting them die in the field, we braved insect stings, bramble wounds, questionable tree branches, and the extreme tedious task of handpicking to produce these gems, without mentioning the risks taken in the kitchen. One of our mantras since the beginning days of Elder Fire has been, ‘pick to preserve’, plus, when you’re working with limited funds and resources, you don’t really have a choice.

Jammaking is a true labor of love. It’s a farm kitchen art we hesitated to resurrect being pretty big sticklers about sweets, even towards ones that consciously cut back on them. Seriously, we were never jam people: never bought or made it until we started to farm and the fruit started calling to us from giant mulberry trees, when we took turns climbing, shaking branches, and catching berries with a sheet, a family fun event requiring many hands and no fossil fuels.

black mulberries bout to be jammed

Food grows wild all around us, and as farmers we have come to deeply appreciate native plants and fruit bearing perennials, i.e. things we didn’t have to plant and raise but get to enjoy and feed from/graze on. And it’s worth going through with making the jam and its entourage of dishes when you’re making enough to share. But it’s not only activist work we’re all doing here, it’s romantic and fun and sensational. Homemade preserves, like most slow food, tastes better than anything you can obtain commercially; maybe because opening a jar of a small batch, organic preserve, lovingly made and creatively crafted, conjures vivid memories of the growing season, voicing narratives of storm, drought, Summer, Spring and Fall and Winter in ways only real food can.  I’ve felt the real meaning in it all and its possible you will too: sharing food moments like these with friends and family connect us to each other and to the land a little bit., or a lot.  And, darn it, it tastes good.


You and your grandmother and your child can enjoy a season’s worth of wisdom and all its little triumphs tomorrow or a year from now, keep a little capsule of time in your cupboard or give to a friend, six bucks a pop for seriously handmade artistry. But our ability to offer them to you is, perhaps appropriately, seasonal at this time. Find us at the last 100 Mile Market (@peoples food co-op) THIS HALLOWEEN, (tomorrow) THIS Wednesday  from 3-7, and  one last Bank St. Market on Saturday 7ish-12:30. Now let me introduce your sweet little slow food friends, the spreads you’ve been waiting for:

jambow

Tropical Melon Moon, smooth as silk and breezy! Our heirloom French cantaloupes cooked down to a smooth preserve with notes of fresh citrus and pieces of crystallized ginger.

Tomato Marmalade, Bright from citrus, tangy from citrus peel, and perfectly sweet and fruity from our ripe heirloom tomatoes. This is a gorgeous and delicious marmalade.

Sunset Spread, our popular Orange glow watermelons cooked into a jelly with chili flakes and rosehips and sweetened with local honey—this one will bring back light from those summer months, and could be worked beautifully into a savory dish.

Autumnberry Peary, tangy and sweet wild harvested autumn olive berries blended with local no spray bartlett pears make a delicate, colorful, juicy and thick spread for toast, desserts, yogurt, or for pairing with cheese. The color on this one can’t be beat.

Vanilla Ambrosia, our heirloom cantaloupes cooked down with organic vanilla bean into a looser preserve, sweetened to make a creamy and luxurious topping for pancakes, ice cream, toast, you name it.

Maiden’s Voyage, we explored newish ground for this one! Our purple tomatillos, red jalapenos, and fresh lime make for a sweet and sour with a touch of heat jam. Use it for the base of a sweet and sour sauce, try on tacos like a sweet salsa, on a bagel, or with a soft cheese.

Heart of Summer, pink watermelon jelly made from the juice of our heirloom watermelons, cooked down with star anise—this jelly will turn around a gloomy day and remind you of being a kid. Put it on toast, pb+j, yogurt, or ice cream, or_____!

Spiced Pear, chemical free and locally grown/harvested pears picked by our friends blended with soaked organic Turkish apricots and dusted with Chinese 5 spice makes for a warming, sophisticated, and outspoken pear butter like jam.

Sunrise Spread, this sweet, glowing gem will catch your eye and brighten your day. Our golden husk cherries are the heart of this jam, paired with fresh organic oranges and cooked to a thick marmalade like texture—it melts on your tongue and has a slightly tropical flavor that is great on its own, eaten with a spoon. Our farmstead jams/jellies/marmalades/chutneys are made in small batches, on site in the farm kitchen (not inspected by the USDA). We’re proud because we use:

°   Wildcrafted SW Michigan fruits

°   Fresh fruits, herbs, vegetables grown by us using organic methods

°   Fresh produce grown by friends using organic methods.

°   Certified Organic fruits, herbs, spices grown by people we don’t know and purchased at our local cooperative grocer.

°   Organic cane juice crystals or local honey

°   Pomona pectin (allowing us to use less sweetener without affecting the gelling of the jam/jelly)

°   Fresh squeezed organic lemon/lime

°   Lots of love and inspiration

Mary’s (water)Melon Rind Pickles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 5, 2012 by foragefiend

I have been hearing a lot of talk about watermelon rind pickles this season. I am really quite surprised at how many people have been talking and thinking about them. When I was growing up we had watermelon rind pickles at every pickle-worthy family function, which was most all of them, and I have to admit they were not my favorite (sorry, grandma). My grandmother made watermelon rind pickles dutifully every year. Growing up in a time when nothing could afford to go to waste, folks got creative.  I know out here on the farm we have definitely developed the preservation mentality, and it requires a lot of creativity sometimes. Each week we harvest everything that is ready and most all those goodies have but one 4-6 hour chance to go home with some lucky shopper.  What’s left at the end of the farmers’ markets is destined to be salvaged and transformed into something that will last longer than most fresh produce will. I mean, why throw away something that could be eaten? I have been eating SO MANY watermelons it’s just a shame to throw out the rinds–perfectly edible, slightly tart, very crunchy, but in severe contrast to the sweet soft flesh of the ripe insides. So as promised to those following the farm’s  facebook page, I bring you, with the knowledge of my grandmother and some tweaking by me, (mostly) waste free watermelon:

WATERMELON RIND PICKLES

First you need a BIG ol’ watermelon (a few small ones will do). We use an heirloom variety called Chelsea because it has a nice thick rind on it. Peel the skin off the outside. (Now here’s where I recommend altering the recipe slightly.) It says to leave some of the inside pink on “for color” but I will tell you that this technique also makes it slightly slimey and kinda makes you feel like you’re eating someone else’s leftovers. You do what you want… that is just my opinion. Cut into bite-sized chunks. You should end up with about 8 cups.

Now dissolve 1/2 cup pickling salt in 8 cups of water and soak the rind in the brine for 4 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well.

Cover the rind with cold water, bring to boil for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and put in large non-reactive vessel.

Bring 2 cups sugar, 2 cups white vinegar, 2 thinly sliced lemons or limes, 2t whole cloves (or 1/2t clove oil),  2t allspice whole, 4 cinnamon sticks (or 1t cinnamon oil) to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour of the rind and keep submerged for 24 hours.

DAY2:

Drain off the brine into a pan and add another 1 cup of sugar. Boil until dissolved. Pour over rind and keep submerged for 24 hours.

DAY3:

Drain off the brine into a pan and add another 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the rind and bring back to boil.

Pack rind into hot sterilized pint jars with a cinnamon stick from the brine in each. Fill with brine leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Enjoy in the dark of winter and think of summer! Be happy that you just transformed something you would’ve  composted into something yummy!

Fermentation: One of the World’s Greatest Farm Arts

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 by leekornhauser

Fermentation and farming have gone hand and hand for us, always. As a fresh food lover and lover of food alchemy, fermentation is as deeply satisfying an art form as farming–at least for me. But the two seriously go together. For farmers that don’t have/can’t afford cold storage–and have a tiny fridge for ourselves that is already filled with ferments–we use fermentation partially as a means of waste diversion by allowing as much perfectly good produce, that had only one opportunity to find a home (market) but didn’t, to be preserved and glorified by the all magical lactobacilli.Image

 

Sometimes at Elder Fire we grow things specifically with the intention to lactoferment it: this year, it was primarily cabbage, more cabbage, pickling cucumbers, kohlrabi, turnips, hot peppers, and radishes that were sown with the intention to ferment. Most times we work with whatever is leftover from market, or whatever we have an abundance of in the field, in addition to produce from other growers that inspire us (like garlic/garlic scapes from Heron Homestead, yum)–but there is no end to the experimentation and plant food combinations, and some of the best ferments came about by chance or a wild and crazy idea. ImageWell, I’m here to tell you the joy and art of fermentation is not just ours as growers, though having an abundance of fresh veggies certainly initiates the process, it’s, of course, all of ours, as locavores and foodies and health nuts and artists and alchemists–nothing fancy or doled out or sold by the FDA is necessary to make delicious and perfectly safe lacto fermented food.ImageAs of several weeks ago, we started bringing fermented veggies to market, and have had great feedback!    With new ferments being made every week, new ones are then ready every week; it’s an exciting venture for us to have something new to add to the palate every couple of days. Here’s a list of some of the ferments we’ve brought so far:

Chipotle Kraut, Farmer (kim) Chi, Fennel Relish, Fennel Kraut, CROCK pickles, Mixed Veggie Pickles, Garlic Scape Chipotle turnips/radish, Sweet Chili Sauce, and Fire and SMOKE hot sauce. 

This week we’ll have new ones to share–so stop by for a sample and see what we’ve been up to. Oh, and there is a farm to fermentation workshop in the works out at the ole Elder Fire–so stay tuned, and in the meantime, eat some ferments.

Image

Elder Fire 2012 CSA Program: Almost Everything YOU Need to know about it!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2012 by leekornhauser

Elder Fire Farm Arts Community Supported Agriculture

                                                                                                                                            Why

Our CSA has sprouted, at last, from nearly a decade long germination process doing radical work towards building a more local and equipped foodshed with a sustainable infrastructure—one that’s good for the people and the land—while acquiring the skills to actualize our personal and shared dreams as a family and community. Being committed to the SW Michigan grassroots effort to co-create, localize, and grow a truly sustainable and transparent food system means building trusting/meaningful relationships between people as producers, consumers, neighbors, and the land, while at the same time transforming the obstacles and beliefs that allow/encourage a disproportionate number of people growing food to the ones consuming. CSA allows us to deepen and develop these connections, as well as become more sustainable on the local level, by sharing some of the responsibilities and the joys of food and medicine production, ultimately bringing us closer to one another and with the land that provides these necessities and more.

How

Indeed, the role we play in this scheme as a community food producer, but also as members of community and as stewards, demands us to be deliberate and intentional with the seeds we plant, the ‘what, where, how, and why’. We seek to make our methods, our values, and the skills we gain from this work as transparent and accessible as we can. Therefore, the plants and plant varieties we choose each year are based on a multitude of factors; organic/heirloom seed availability, hardiness to our zone, choice flavor, visual appeal, storage potential, potential to save seed, nutrient density, disease tolerance, and medicinal properties of plants are all vital in our decision making so that we’re able to grow a diverse range of staple crops and adventurous ones, alongside plants that heal bodies and the soil.

What

Based on obvious and variable seasonal factors, weekly shares will contain carefully selected varieties of vegetables using only organic methods (for instance, cooking greens/kale, lettuces/salad, onions, kohlrabi, cabbage, all sorts of roots, heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos, watermelons, muskmelons, sweet corn, cucumbers, husk cherries, parsley, dill, beans, peas, edamame, squash (and more), as well as wild and cultivated fruits, cut flowers, culinary and medicinal herbs, and mushrooms (like shiitake and oyster). We’ll share interesting family/farm inspired, seasonal recipes and, perhaps, other surprises along the way.

When

Our CSA is a 20 week program, starting the week of June 10 going through October 27.

Weekly pick up locations are:

Wednesdays 3-7pm @100 Mile Market (@ People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo) or

Saturdays 7:30am-12pm @ Kalamazoo (Bank St.) Farmers’ Market

 

At this point, we have a very limited number of Summer shares to offer for a cost of $350, which breaks down to $15-$20 worth of freshly picked produce each week. Share reservations are made upon receipt of the Member Agreement Form and check(s) made to Elder Fire Farm Arts. Payment can be made in full or with a “down payment” (approx. 1/3 of the total share cost) along with post-dated checks dated for the first of each consecutive month for the remainder of the share cost, ideally being all paid up by the first week of our CSA season so that we’re not having to keep track during the very busy parts of the season. As you may know, this up front investment helps provide the funds/seeds/operative tools/etc. needed for the chance at a successful growing season, it is a model we believe and have participated in for years both as shareholders and as beginning farmers—here’s to the (re)emergence of it all.

Elder Fire Farm Arts

Membership Agreement Form CSA 2012

Name(s):____________________________________________*Phone:____________________

Address:_______________________________________________________________________

Email(s):___________________________________________________________________________

Choose your pick up location

 

_____100 Mile Market/Wednesdays/3-7pm(Peoples’ Food Co-op of Kalamazoo)

507 Harrison St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

_____Kalamazoo (Bank St.) Farmers’ Market/Saturdays/7:30am-12pm

1200 Bank St, Kalamazoo, MI 49001

____Elder Fire Farm Arts/Saturdays/5-7pm/On-Farm Pick Up

10400 S. Gurd Rd, Dowling, MI 49050

 

Your payment plan

Please make checks out to Elder Fire Farm Arts.

Prior to April 1st, please mail to Elder Fire Farm Arts, 470 Egleston, Kalamazoo, MI 49001

April 1st and onward, mail to Elder Fire Farm Arts, 10400 S. Gurd Rd, Dowling, MI 49050

Enclosed is my check(s) of:

In Full ($350)______     OR       Initial Payment of $________with post-dated checks for the following amount $_______ $________=$350

Member Agreement

☯   I will receive a full, weekly share of Elder Fire produce that will vary in size and weight depending on the time of the season.

☯   I agree to support the farmers by sharing in the inherent risks of agriculture (poor weather, drought, hail, crop failure, pest problems, etc.) and the rewards (fresh, local, organically grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, etc. the harvests of a good season). I understand this principle and agree that there is no guarantee on the exact amount or type of produce I will receive in my share. By participating in CSA I am supporting the local farmers (and our foodshed), as well as allowing for more equitable food distribution.

☯   By becoming a member I commit to picking up my share weekly and understand that if I, or a designated other, is unable to pick up my share it CANNOT be saved or picked-up at a later date unless prior arrangements have been made with the farmer.

___________________________________________________________________________

Member’s Signature

Persephone, Hades, Demeter, Us

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2011 by leekornhauser

Perhaps you don’t know this, but I have a deep fondness for Greek mythology and Paganism, in fact, most narratives involving human nature, the celestial meaning of our seasons, characteristics/wisdom of beasts that roam Earth, the element of spirit that imbues life here–I could go on, but I won’t–this post is about Autumn and Balance. Persephone~Demeter~r80r95.jpgWhen I’m a crone, I will know truths about the earth that aren’t fully intelligible to me now–but the crone in me knows some things, intuits others: This time of year, this fleeting transition, this bridge between time and space and transformation and quiet on earth is also one of seeking the balance amid constant change, finding individual strength to face winter, overcoming fears of approaching dark/death, and, I think, taking risks. I won’t recap the myth involving Persephone, Demeter, and Hades, but I suggest finding several different readings of the story, all of which are easily accessible if googled– because these readings, myths, and interpretations help us, and I’m pretty sure helped millions before us (ok, maybe also hindered…but that’s a different post), find great solace/understanding/beauty, and perhaps most importantly, our place in this wild world. As a farmer, I find the responsibility even greater to observe and understand the language of earth and her seasons: living outside, living one step off the ground in our yurt separated from the earth only by canvas and wool–has pushed me further down the path of learning these truths, and facing these fears, and it is something I had expected, desired.

My favorite season, of course, at its Kore (another name for Persephone) is about balance: Balance between dark and light–balance between polarities of all kinds; It is true, I’ll make this post even more personal, my life’s journey has been a struggle with polarity: charted paths or (mostly) uncharted ones, a life of the mind (graduate school) or a life of the body (farming), a life of togetherness-We (I am a twin) or separation-I, and perhaps with the most pain, being a human being of the West having to choose between (intelligibly) inhabiting male or female–for some of us, this choice is best left undone; for all of our choices, we have to learn to follow our heart and take risks, discover if there is even a choice to be made. This either/or world is something we have, and with great harm, imposed on the earth, which, of course, balances all things if left to her own devices!Copyright ©2007 Susan Eleanor Boulet Trust

Seeking the balance on earth is harder than ever, so it seems, after what we’ve done. Can you feel it, too? I am one person of the Midwest, surrounded by woods and corn and soy and pasture, and it is quiet here, quiet enough to feel earth feel. I check the weather often, but have also gotten quite good at intuiting it–I see these fear ads of typhoons and hurricanes and threats, telling us how we should all be afraid to die at the hand of Gaia, and they’re real; has the earth always been this angry? I don’t think so. Storms like those are a serious warning signs of our bad choices, and will quickly swallow the earth if we don’t stop imposing our false needs and security onto this land and water and sky we’ve been blessed with as Stewards. We all know this–but how far do we each have to go to keep earth intact–is that even earth’s/our Destiny? 2012 is right around the corner, and after this season on the land I’m not sure what all the signs mean–where are the Crones? Please share your comments and your thoughts, your wisdom.

My fear of Death, the underworld, was seriously manifested this Spring and Summer with the great winds and storms; to me, they’re unforgettable. I spent many hours in panic of the winds and splitting trees and lightening and not having shelter, not being able to go underground, the safest shelter…and I’m pretty sure those levels of stress take years off one’s life: Yet, how does one come to Peace with the destruction of the natural order we’ve caused?

No, this time of year causes me no fear–these calm winds and rains that tell us Fall is here and coming all at once, that Persephone will soon descend and perhaps find shelter there, most likely to return again in Spring, is a great comfort. Thank you, Persephone, for choosing Balance, death and life, Mother and Lover, fertility and barrenness, both instead of either/or.

Perhaps it is simply time for us to share old, maybe ancient stories, recall myths, build altars to honor and celebrate the Balance that we each seek, that earth finds (even amongst all of the barriers and poisons we’ve unleashed and invented), to eat the seeds of the pomegranate and not fear Death, to honor and taste all the fruits that this season of chaos has given us before the barrenness returns, and darkness once again dominates light.

Hades & Persephone, enthroned in the underworld | Greek vase, Apulian red figure volute krater

Top 15 reasons to LOVE farming!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2011 by foragefiend

In no particular order:

Farming is a time to CONNECT with the EARTH everyday and an opportunity to OBSERVE and LEARN from it.

Farming provides the Rugged SATISFACTION of having worked an entire day outdoors in FREEZING weather, knee deep snow, pouring RAIN, or dripping SWEAT

Farming is FOOD: It is okay to talk about, make and eat food ALL day long

Farming is being a FOOD ACTIVIST (passionately  part of a sustainable local food system/ economy everyday)

Farming is EFFICIENCY: working and exercising at the same time

I get to spend everyday WITH my FAMILY when I’m a Farmer

Going out and PICKING whatever I want for DINNER (and it’s all fresh and grown to my standards of cleanliness)

Sitting around as a family and COMPARING MUSCLES

Connecting GOOD FOOD with HAPPY PEOPLE twice each week at FARMERS’ MARKETS

Farming is the most DIRECT method of PROVIDING for my family and myself

Farming INSPIRES CREATIVITY

To farm is to LIVE OUTSIDE of just about EVERY BOX

I LOVE seeing my KIDS take PRIDE and OWNERSHIP over our farm vision (just like I fantasized they would!)

Farming fosters UNDERSTANDING and APPRECIATION for where our food comes from and what it takes to get it to you and me

If you have never worked on a small vegetable farm (where most work and harvest is done by hand), I STRONGLY recommend at least one day. Through the course of a growing season you can get a pretty clear picture of what each crop (and farmer) goes through to get to your table each week. You may never see CARROTS or SALAD the same way AGAIN!