MOSES conference + RECIPE: Butternut Squash Mustard

Sorry everyone!!! It’s been too long! I feel like I haven’t cooked or talked to you in forever! I know it hasn’t actually been very long at all but my mind has been so preoccupied that it feels like months and months have gone by since we last spoke.

What has my mind been so preoccupied with you ask? Well this weekend was the annual Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. The annual weekend where 3000+ farmers and organic enthusiasts head to one small city for two days of learning and mingling and idea sharing and just being totally immersed in wonderful, idyllic happiness. It’s my heaven. It’s so wonderful. Every year I leave feeling like “oh yeah, this is why I do this.” (Mr. Carrot leaves with a bunch of nerdy facts; he doesn’t seem to share my trend of existential crises).

But for this little Leek, who is no where near as strong as her loving Carrot, sometimes I find it hard to be a veggie CSA farmer, being on a “unique path”, being someone who isn’t ready to buy a house or have kids or do normal societal things at a normal societal pace because instead we’re investing all our time and energy (and money) into this farm business, but then at MOSES I meet 500 hundred people doing the same exact thing and another 500 people who once felt that way but are now totally kicking ass and way successful and uber happy and then yet another 1000 people who want to one day do what we’re doing now and a final 1000 who are the beautiful support glue holding all us crazy farmers together and suddenly I remember that we may be a minority but we are a damn strong one at that. So although I might never fit in with the masses (and I suppose who would want to anyway!?), I fit in here, in this astounding group of creative, intelligent, entrepreneurial folks who hope to make our world a better place. And that feels pretty great.

You guys, I cannot overstate my love for MOSES. It makes me whole.

This was our fourth year in attendance (because we’re somehow coming up on our THIRD season of farming!) and we actually know quite a few people at this conference now. It feels like so long ago when we were just this shy little lost couple with no direction and a handful of brochures. I stared up in awe at people that first year, people we actually now know.  It’s beautiful, this whole progression of life thing and the paths we find ourselves on.

workshop learnin'

This year, we attended spectacular workshops (some of the best I’ve ever been to) on a broad range of topics. I learned about farm diversification and running a sound, smart business as well as how to present myself  and our farm well to the masses both on the internet and through conventional media and ultimately just how to conduct myself well and be a better human. I listened to a luminescent woman speak about her medicinal herb farm and learned the basics of where I want to start with my own self healing. I learned about ingenious pack shed design from the infamous Chris Blanchard. Mr. Carrot learned about the European style of vegetable farming, folier feeding for better nutrient management and “more efficient uptake”, preventative disease management, how to use less water on our fields and how to grow better potatoes from a man “who knows well what not to do because his 15 year potato farm went under”. Obviously the topics covered at MOSES are diverse, appealing to both the leeks and the carrots of every farming team.

Given all of that, plus all the titillating conversations held between workshops, we always leave with a bazillion ideas (I actually kept a “Good Idea Log” at the back of my notebook this year. Ridiculous? I think not. Brilliant? I think yes.) and so much energy and enthusiasm for our farm that I can’t stop e-mailing people and updating spreadsheets and making to do lists and getting more and more prepared for not only the year ahead, but possibly even five years ahead and what our farming enterprise might look like and what kind of funds we’ll need to get there. This year, one year older and wiser, I only purchased books on farm financing because that is what the MOSES bookstore should be for. Not for 7 more cookbooks and a handful of farm-y memoirs, though they will never stop tempting me.

new books!!

So that was our weekend, in a very brief nutshell. We left MOSES running on high, returning back to our beautiful home in the country with beautiful sunsets and a jog with the doggies and too much cooking (and the new season of House of Cards on Netflix!). If you can tell through the computer screen, I am positively glowing.

All the love in the world as this blissful weekend comes to a close,
Your one and only Leek

Adapted from Food Truck Road Trip: A Cookbook

Takes 1 hour-ish
Makes 2 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium butternut squash (around 2#)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup whole grain mustard
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim the ends off squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place skin-side up on a cookie sheet greased with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender.
Scoop the squash from the skin as best you can and into a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add a bit more salt and pepper to taste. Add both mustards, along with the honey and puree until well combined.
Spread on sandwiches of all kinds (hot ham and spicy cheese with this mustard was our favorite) or add to a cheese board or slather on pork of all kinds, or my absolute favorite to date, make these pretzels (a whole damn bunch of them) and dip them into so much of this mustard! Yummmmmy!

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