For a week in late October, when the CSA has ended and the season is all but wrapped up, there has sure been a lot of farming on the mind.
It began with the survey we drafted for our CSA members on Monday. Every year we ask our members to critique their experience. From quality to quantity to value to community-feel, we want to know how the people who support us most think we are doing as farmers. In these formative early years, it has great impact on our business. The responses have been fun to read and fill our minds with plans for next year. Along with the survey, our 2017 season sign-up went live to last year’s members. And we already had two members sign up! 2 members for the 2017 season by the end of October the year before. Now that’s got to be some kind of record!
Tuesday brought a meeting of farmers in Monroe, Wisconsin. Green County is at the center of a major fight to defend their farmland. The group that came together Tuesday evening was diverse. Rural folks of every conceivable farming background and political opinion. The conversation about what we wanted the future of agriculture to look like in our state united us. The speakers were deep and thoughtful. I got to meet incredibly awesome people. A whole bunch of them. And I left feeling like yes, this is our place in the world and yes, I will spend my life working to make things better for the future. I teared up a minimum of five times. It was all very empowering.
Then on Wednesday came a two-hour talk with my parents about the future of our farm. What we need, what they need, how we can continue to share this space as our business undeniably keeps on growing exponentially: succession planning on the family farm. Washing veggies on their back patio and storing things in their basement will only work for so long. We need to put up a building for washing, packing and storing our veggies, and possibly our own well. We need space that isn’t invading or intruding on my parents’ farm business. The conversation was the best we’ve ever had as a farm family. We all left the room knowing what our future looks like and a real plan for how to transition the family farm. It includes a pack shed in the not too distant future. It’s all so exciting and humbling and feels just totally right.
By Thursday, I wasn’t sick of talking about farming at all. I was in my element, inspired by all the conversations and possibilities. I headed to FairShare CSA Coalition‘s board retreat where we dined on Banzo and root beer floats, drank wine and discussed real substantive things like the priorities and vision of the organization. It rocked! I was in the perfect brainspace for such deep conversation.
When hubby and I headed out on a much-needed fall hike over the weekend, we slid in and out of talking about the farm with ease. A topic once riddled with confusion, frustration and inexperience (ultimately leading to conflict) now feels like the most comfortable conversation between a man and his wife. We both have our roles. We are finding our rhythm. We are gaining confidence on our path. And most importantly, year by year, we’re finding our community.
In between all the farmy happenings, I continue to try and spend every spare minute in the kitchen. Alas all the free veggies will be done all too soon and I just can’t let anything go to waste! Not even the black radishes that stump even I the vegetable farmer (any good ideas for these blogger friends?).
This soup may not contain black radishes, but it is the picture perfect way to celebrate fall. It’s packed with all the harvest goodies and each adds something a little different to the end result. The celeriac is earthy. The carrots are sweet. The kale is hearty. The jalapeno lends heat. The ginger and turmeric with their herbal overtones will surely cure any seasonal cold that come your way. And the creamy coconut broth is rich and nourishing. It’s exactly what I want to be eating on cool days with even cooler nights.
Lots of love and fall gratitude on this lovely Monday,
GINGER TURMERIC SOUP WITH CELERIAC & KALE
Inspired by and adapted from my friend Sarah’s dynamite recipe
I’m a big fan of adapting recipes with whatever I have on hand. I started out making this soup just like Sarah: with shallots instead of onions, spinach instead of kale, chicken breast and no carrots or celeriac. Then I began making this soup every time I was sick and throwing in whatever I had on hand for veggies. Sweet potatoes, bell peppers, butternut squash and leeks have all been tossed into the mix. When I made this soup last week with carrots, celeriac, a super spicy jalapeno, no chicken and a ton of kale, I knew I had a winner. The celeriac really adds something powerful to the almost herbal Thai-inspired flavors. I love this combination of robust, hearty fall vegetables in this warming bowl of soup and I think you will to.
Takes 40 minutes
2 tablespoon butter (substitute oil of your choosing if vegan)
2 carrots, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 celeriac, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup white rice
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegetarian or vegan)
1 can coconut milk
1 bunch kale (6-8 leaves), stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Lime wedges, to serve
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt butter. Add carrots, onion, celeriac, jalapeno, garlic and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add turmeric and salt and saute 5 minutes longer.
- Add rice. Stir for about a minute to combine rice and toast it gently. Add chicken broth, bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, kale and fish sauce. Simmer gently until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Serve with lime wedges.