I've been thinking a lot about "identity" this past week: what labels do we use to identitfy ourselves? How do these labels, or markers, separate us from others? How do they shape what we do and who we associate with? How do they motivate us to dive deeper into our passions, and how do they restrict us from branching out to discover new horizons?
How does our perception of who we are in the world direct the life we lead? I think we are often under the impression that we are adapting to life's events and adjusting our identity along the way. In reality, though, I think the identity we hold so close to our chest dictates what life events we are open to. For example, if you identified yourself as a heavy metal rocker, you might disregard enjoying other types of music, only wear specific clothes to fit in with the crowd, prefer certain kinds of social events over others, and primarily associate with other people who hold a similar identity. And while I think there is something powerful about the sense of community found in shared identity, there is also something limiting about holding too tightly to certain identifiers. What if your best friend was listening to techno and you never met them because you were so afraid of risking your heavy metal identity?
What the hell am I talking about? We are finding ourselves in the midst of an identity shift at Small Feat Farm. The labels we've used to describe ourselves over the past few years aren't fitting quite right. And if we're being honest, they've been feeling a little uncomfortable for a while. If you've followed along with our journey, you know that this year has been one of rediscovering our purpose and redefining our vision in an authentic way. The labels of "vegetable farmer," "urban dweller," "service industry employee," and "scrappy side-hustler" have given us a way to talk about the life we live and find folks who share similar interests. On the other side of the coin, however, these labels have dictated what opportunities we view as available to us, what activities we participate in, and who we interact with. By marking ourselves with such specific identifiers, we have most likely been missing opportunities that would allow for a more creative, authentic, prosperous life.
I guess the goal is to drop one's identity - shed the ego...to remember one's only true identity: a living being. The possibilities in this life are literally endless and beautifully bountiful. But when we cling to specific identities or stories, it's like we put blinders on - blocking out any possibility that doesn't fit into our predetermined box of who we are. What if we simply identified as "alive" and lived with our eyes open to any possibility that felt fulfilling, authentic and joyful, creative and expansive?
Brian attended the Maine Grain Alliance Kneading Conference in Skowhegan this past week. He had the opportunity to be a work-study participant and worked very closely with one of the Northeast's best wood-fire bakers (Stefan Senders of Ithaca, NY). Brian learned so many skills and techniques and spent the week baking dozens of loaves of bread for the Skowhegan Bread Fair. He is jazzed about baking and scheming on ways to bring bread production into our business plan. Baking is something Brian has been mildly interested in for a few years, but never chose to explore it because it wasn't part of his matrix of identities. Since our commitment this past spring to redefine our life as one that brings joy, Brian took a leap by signing up for the Kneading Conference - and has found something that fuels him, inspires him, and fulfills him! We're excited to see where this new path leads!
Similarly, we are falling deeper and deeper in love with flowers. Aside from the magical and mesmerizing element they bring to life, the growing and marketing process allows us much more flexibility than vegetables - so we can adventure during these maniacal Maine summers! As of now, we are planning to transition to mostly flowers next year. There is still a lot of planning and scheming to do on how to make this a viable business, but we are really excited about this direction. It feels good to be able to drop the label of "vegetable farmers" and be open to other kinds of growing that bring us more joy and fulfillment.
Week #8 Veggies, Herbs, and Suggestions
Kohlrabi - It's like an apple and a cabbage had baby that looks like a spaceship. Kohlrabi is a versatile, albeit obscure, vegetable. We like to peel and slice it into rounds and enjoy it with hummus or a creamy dip. It is also tasty when shaved and tossed with shaved carrots and onions in a dash of vinegar, salt and pepper. This kind of slaw can be enjoyed on its own or on a bed of lettuce, sausage and bun, or toast.
Napa Cabbage - Also called Chinese Cabbage. This is the traditional vegetable use in kimchi along with carrots, onions, peppers, and spices. Instead of giving a recipe here (because I've never actually made kimchi), I will direct you chef Google to find a recipe that fits your needs. Napa cabbage is also great when made into a slaw with onions, kohlrabi, salad turnips, jalapeños, etc. Chop everything finely and combine in a big bowl with red wine/rice vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, other spices and fresh herbs. Let marinate for at least a couple hours in the fridge. Slaw gets better with age and keeps well for at least a week. It's the perfect snack, lunch, or side dish at a BBQ.
Ailsa Craig Sweet Onion - Sweet, crunchy, extremely versatile. Use like any other onion - especially nice raw or lightly sautéed. These onions are not cured, so they should be kept in the fridge.
Rainbow Chard - Although the deer had the first go with this crop, we'd like to introduce a delicious, nutritiously dense, thick green into your diet. Chard can be a little rough to eat raw, but is amazing when added to stir-fry, soup, or casserole. Chard should be kept in plastic or produce bag in the fridge - much like kale or lettuce.
Jalapeños - Spicy and fun! Get creative and add jalapeños to salad, a chicken marinade, ceviche, or fruit salsa. Anything that needs a little extra kick can benefit from a half-jalapeno. For less spice, do not include the seeds or outer membrane. Jalapeños are also great in cocktails - especially margaritas and caipirinhas. Or try infusing tequila or vodka with jalapeños (and strawberries or raspberries)!
Shishito Peppers - Scroll back to Week #7 for ideas on how to use shishito peppers.
Hakurei Salad Turnips - Scroll back to Week #7 for ideas on how to use these tasty salad turnips.
Romaine Head Lettuce - The perfect, crispy lettuce for most salads.
Summer Squash - Scroll back through the last few weeks for ideas on how to use zucchini and summer squash. For our favorite egg-free chocolate chip zucchini bread, go to this site: https://www.egglesscooking.com/eggless-chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread/
Cucumbers - General Lee slicing cukes and Suyo Long cucumbers - both are extremely delicious raw, on their own or mixed in a salad or refreshing drink!
Edible Flowers - A gorgeous, flirty addition to any dish or drink! We hope you're enjoying these as much as we are!
Extras - At MCD, we will have an array of broccoli, peppers, and maybe a few other goodies to take as you will.
***** We will have bulk salad mix ($4 per bag) and bulk basil ($5 per bag) for sale at CSA pick-up tomorrow, Wednesday August 1st. All members are welcome to purchase.*****
Black Peony Poppy - Poppies come in many varieties representing every color of the rainbow. Their paper-thin petals and delicate stamen are show-stopping and they make a statement in any flower arrangement. When we were ordering seed this past winter, I was intrigued by the "black peony" variety because I LOVE peonies and poppies. I had no idea they would be so beautiful! There are countless petals bursting from each flower of a deep eggplant color - they literally look like small peonies. The stems on this variety are a little funky - lots of crooks and curly-q's. This makes them a little tricky to work with in a bouquet, but the stunning quality is worth the challenge!