Thursday, October 30, 2008

NPR on the Farm

Farrar Out Farm, where I buy my chickens and eggs, is featured on a story on NPR: Missouri Farming Couple Worries About The Future. Be sure to check out the Photo Gallery.


Today is our last pick-up for our CSA subscription this year. We really enjoyed it and will definitely be signing up for next year. It took some adjustments in the way we plan and cook meals, but they were usually tasty adjustments and even the failures were fun experiments.

Family Harvest is an all-produce CSA run by two farms: YellowWood in Hermann and Lee Farms in Truxton. We got mostly vegetables, but also all the watermelon we could eat in the summer and 2-4 baking apples each week of September and October.

They offer full shares and half shares. Our half share was plenty for two of us, stopping just short of overwhelming. In the summer, there were times when nearly every meal needed to include something from the CSA box in order to keep up. The fall has been just as abundant, but things keep better -- we'll be eating sweet potatoes, potatoes, and squash from our CSA boxes for several weeks to come.

The CSA has been my single best way to save money on food in 2008. For a half share, it worked out to about $1.75 a pound. That's the advertised rate and is a good price to pay for produce even at the grocery store, much less locally grown using organic methods. Since there were weeks we got more than the advertised ten pounds in our box, the cost turns out to be somewhat lower and an even better deal.

And, the CSA was my longest running healthy habit of 2008. Getting a steady stream of produce in the kitchen meant that I consumed a steady stream of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Family Harvest plans to take 65 more subscriptions next year than they did this year, so there is an opportunity for new members. They are working on the 2009 brochure and will be mailing it soon. If you want me to put you in on the mailing list, email your snail mail address to my yahoo email (joyweesemoll) and I'll send it to Family Harvest.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


With two nights of freezing temperatures predicted, I did my final harvest on Sunday. My garden did pretty well this year, given how little energy I really put into it. I only got three zucchini which is kind of embarrassing. Who can't grow zucchini? My bell peppers were pretty much a bust, too. I wanted to wait for them to ripen to red peppers, but most of them rotted on the vine before they got that ripe. I got gobs of jalapenos, though. I had most fun with the eggplant. My two plants provided a steady, but not overwhelming, supply of small to medium eggplants, mostly used in grilled eggplant and salsa and eggplant scramble.

My big project on Sunday was making pesto from the rest of my basil. I made pesto last year just before a freeze, too. That's a nice seasonal tradition -- I like having a reason to pay attention to first frost warnings. I am amazed at how much basil grows at the end of the growing season. We pretty well decimated my three plants in July and August during tomato season, but I had enough basil this week to freeze four batches of pesto!
I used the pesto in an apple salad I took to a gathering Sunday evening and it was a hit.
3 Gold Rush apples from Centennial Farms, chopped and tossed with lime juice
1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts
All tossed with a made-on-the-fly dressing of pesto, yogurt cheese, and apple cider. It was yummy, especially with the chicken that my brother marinated and grilled.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Election season

It must be nearly November of a leap year (aka Presidential Election Year) if a former president is speaking at the local high school. A friend and I are going to hear President Bill Clinton tomorrow night at Kirkwood High School for the Change We Need Rally. I wonder if he'll be well-briefed enough to address that we're a grieving and healing community.

I'm a little bit more than half way through the book for the Book Club of the Community for Understanding and Healing. This month's selection is Other People's Children by Lisa Delpit. It's a book by an educator for educators. At first, I was worried that it would be too technical, but it's been fascinating. I had to work out the definition of "basal" in teacher talk, but otherwise the jargon has been limited. I've learned a lot. This will be an excellent basis for discussion on Thursday night.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

November means NaNoWriMo

For thousands of people, October has a seasonal significance beyond being the peak fall color season. It's the time of year when you prepare for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month in November. Participants eagerly await the opening of the forums on the NaNoWriMo website in late September or early October to reaquaint themselves with writing buddies from previous years and to greet the NaNoWriMo newbies.

This year, I'm a NaNoWriMo newbie. I considered participating the previous two years, but this is the first time I've actually committed myself far enough to sign up on the site and start posting to the forums. If I enjoy the event as much as others have, I expect to make this part of my annual observance of fall.