Here we are on the verge of New Year's Eve--just chomping at the bit for 2017 to begin. We are excited to announce some changes--partially because we think our idea is a good one, but also because we're nervous that you may or may not agree! Change is hard and we've done it every single year. We are still a "new" business and we are still figuring out how to make a living and please our customers. It's a hard balance! Tomorrow, we will be officially sharing our 2017 brochure, price list, and application, but I'm going to give you a sneak peek right now, so if you happen to be perusing our site tonight--here you go!
HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Hope to see you in 2017.
First up is a very experimental event (not the event itself, but how we are delivering the event). On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 at 6 PM, we will be using Facebook Live to broadcast this class. Pickling 101: We'll demonstrate a simple pickling recipe and discuss what you need to get started with this fun home food preservation technique. http://bit.ly/2bfQypR
DUTCH OVEN COOKING
Next up is our Dutch Oven Cooking class on Sunday, Sept 4, 2016. This has been our most popular class the past two years. During this class, we'll talk about proper Dutch Oven maintenance as well as cook a delicious Dutch Oven meal before your eyes. Once it's cooked, YES, you WILL get to eat it. We're offering this to shareholders for free. We will open it to the public eventually for $10 per person. Our shareholders get "first dibs" on class spots, so RESPOND as soon as you can with the number in your party. We will do our best to accommodate any dietary restrictions, if we know about them well ahead of time. Here's the link to the event: http://bit.ly/2bv2lCC Remember, the sooner you tell us you are coming, THE BETTER! Please BYOchair!
OTHER CLASSES NOT ON THE CALENDAR ... YET
Finally, we hope EVERYONE can attend our annual Harvest Party! It will be on October 8 at 5 PM. This event is only open to CSA Shareholders (egg, veggie, or hog shares). This annual event is one way we say THANK YOU to our farm family.
Especially early in the season, when people are just getting used to the concept of having greens, greens, and more greens arrive on their doorstep, we always have questions about what to do with all those greens ...
We DO love salads here at Truth Farms--really deluxe salads with many different types of greens--mustards, collards, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes--radishes--more radishes--maybe cilantro, definitely onions. Sometimes we add some cheese or meat; often we'll dice up one of our delicious hard boiled eggs. Sometimes we keep it simple with a little lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil--other times we render the bacon fat for a wilted salad. However, even for a family who lives on a vegetable farm, there are only so many salads one family can endure.
When you tire of salad, here are some ideas:
Mustard Greens, collard greens, spinach, and chard can all be sauteed. We have found that keeping things simple is the tastiest way to go. A little olive oil or a little butter, salt, lemon juice, or wine all add a dimension to the greens. Experiment with herbs, garlic, and onion to get the flavor you like. Rendered bacon fat and bacon pieces also make the greens yummy, but obviously that adds fat content (as does the butter and olive oil). A tiny little bit of oil/fat will do though. You truly can keep it pretty light.
Here are some recipes (that we have tried) for each of the above-mentioned greens:
One of our shareholders showed me this recipe last year. Yum. --> Mustard Greens and Caramelized Onions
Also, mustard greens go well with bagels, cream cheese and smoked lox.
Collard Greens (with a vid!)
I was addicted to this collard green recipe last year. --> Spaghetti with Collard Greens and Lemon
NOTE: I just made these tonight and Caleb couldn't get enough. I typically don't use the oven very often in the summer, but I'm getting ready to go out of town, so I cooked a big meal tonight, because Caleb will be playing the bachelor for about a week. --> Salmon Wellington
We also like to add any of these greens to sandwiches, but especially Swiss chard. It adds the crunch that lettuce adds to a sandwich, but gives a little different flavor.
If you have ideas for any of the veggies you receive, and you don't mind, share them with us, so we can share them here and on our Facebook page.
'This is cross-posted HERE.
Last night the Truth Farms crew was fortunate enough, to see Dr. Jane Goodall speak on the opening night of her lecture series in our hometown of Omaha. The tickets were free to the community thanks to the sponsorship of Dr. Goodall's good friend, Omahan and fellow conservationist, Tom Mangelsen.
My mini-takeaways from Dr. Goodall's lecture:
United Nations Photo via Compfight
A mix of takeaway and reflection:
Apathy is a problem today--for adults, but of even more concern--for young people. (I am a teacher, so this is something I see everyday.) One thing that Dr. Goodall said that touches on this is: "When youth loses hope, there is no hope." Something that I would love to be able to do is to tap into my students' passions and ensure that apathy is not an option for them. I want them to care about something--anything--so much that they can't be apathetic about the world. I have felt the sting of apathy in my own life. It is easy to become numb. It is easy to brush off the things that we care about because sometimes caring about things hurts. Apathy can be a form of self-preservation. When you know that there are people out there hurting animals, when you know that there are people out there raping the land, when you know that there are people out there who don't care about other people, sometimes it's easier to steel yourself to avoid the pain of awareness. The pain of awareness can force one to act. Action isn't easy. Apathy is. This is exactly why apathy is so dangerous.
It's hard to be one person trying to make a difference, especially when it feels like, as an individual, you can't make one. Last night, Dr. Goodall addressed that. She reminded us that there are people in this world who do care. The reason we have 500+ whooping cranes in the world right now, when not too long ago we only had 12, is because people cared about them (and what it would mean to lose them).
Dr. Goodall spoke of the children she worked with through Roots and Shoots. (Some from the Omaha group were in the audience last night.) She talked about how kids "get it". She talked about a young person who made sure to turn off the tap to conserve water, instead of allowing the tap to run unnecessarily. That one young person might not make much of a dent in the water conservation movement, but if that young person and other individuals band together, it does make a difference. When there is a network of people working toward the same goal, a change will be made. Sometimes it's hard to see the big picture when you're just existing in your own little bubble. But that shouldn't stop you from doing what is right. When you do the right thing it adds to the sum of all the other people doing the right thing. When you give up, it subtracts from the good of the cause.
There are so many things that we do every day that are detrimental to the world around us. When you go to the gas station and you buy a disposable beverage container, that's a decision that is detrimental to the environment. That's a decision that I make far too often. When you decide to drive somewhere when you could easily walk or ride a bike, that's detrimental to the environment. When you give in to societal pressures on food choices, on the vehicle you drive, on how you spend your time and money, ask yourself if it's something you need, or how it might affect the environment.
There are four things that give Dr. Goodall hope. 1. youth (As long as we have young people who care, we have a fighting chance.) 2. the human brain (The human brain can be used to think up all sorts of awful things, but it can also be used to think up amazingly wonderful things too. It's the wonderful side of things that give us hope!) 3. the resilience of nature (Dr. Goodall's discussion of Gombe National Park's regeneration is good example of this.) 4. the indomitable human spirit (Dr. Goodall herself is this personified!).
She shared with us stories from her time on her grandparent's farm. She grew up in London, so although she was able to interact with pigeons and earth worms, she didn't have much face-to-face time with animals, until she spent some time on her grandparents' farm. She says she was born loving animals, so this was nothing new, but this face-time awakened the young scientist in her. She recounted wondering from where an egg was issued, since she couldn't observe a hole the size of an egg anywhere on any of the hens she'd encountered. No one in her family seemed to have a satisfying answer, which spurred her to seek the truth on her own. This led to her hiding out in the coop quietly, (much to the astonishment of her family, who had no idea where she was) long enough to find the answer to the question that no one seemed willing to give her.
She also had no problem naming some of the things that are harming our world in a scary way (in her word's "Climate change is real. Science tells us so.")--reckless burning of fossil fuels, cutting down trees (something that gets worse and worse each year in Nebraska--the supposed "Tree Planter's State"), and the consumption of cattle. She said, "It's strange that people believe in unlimited economic growth on a planet with finite resources." She mentioned all of the similarities between chimpanzees and humans and noted that humans are the smarter of the two species. Our DNA is very similar, but humans are superior in intelligence. She noted sadly, "The creature with the most intellectual capability is destroying its own home." The message here? Ask yourself, "How will what I do today--in this very moment--affect future generations?" It seems so lofty, but if we work toward a better future, we will have a better today.
Dr. Goodall's lecture last night made me feel so much better about Truth Farms CSA. We started this business three years ago. We had fantasized about it for long enough. I finally told Caleb that if we weren't going to do it, we could no longer talk about it, so we did it. He quit his job (big risk) and we shifted our focus to learning everything we could about responsible, sustainable farming. (He already had a background in horticulture, but there is always more to learn.) Then we put what we already knew and what we learned into practice as best as we could. We made our mission to treat our animals kindly and with compassion and to be stewards of our land. Even though we're doing many things right, there are so many more things we could be doing. Dr. Goodall touched on the detrimental effects of agriculture, which is not a popular stance in Nebraska, understandably, considering how much our economy relies on the industry. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't think about how to make it better. That doesn't mean we shouldn't act on making it better. We don't make very much money running our CSA, but we believe in what we do. Our hope is that one day all of our customers will have gardens of their own and we can share and barter the way people used to.
Hearing Dr. Goodall speak of her hope for the future gives me hope and it also reminds me that apathy is not an option. Even though it hurts to build awareness of all of the ugly things going on in the world, it is up to us to confront it and to take small steps to add to the network of small steps that people are taking around the world.
Seeing one of the people that I've admired since childhood speak last night was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I don't want to squander her message. Apathy is the enemy because apathy makes it easier to ignore the things that you can do better. I am happy to think of the things that my family and I do right, and I am overwhelmed to think of all of the things we do wrong or could do better. The hard part is keeping that fire alive so that we continue to care and continue to strive to do better.
I encourage you to learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute and consider supporting this worthy cause.
Also, if you live in southeast Nebraska, or are visiting, please stop and see Tom Mangelsen's amazing art gallery too. Tom, if you're "listening," know that you gave Omaha a huge gift when you sponsored Dr. Goodall's lecture. It's easy to look at Dr. Goodall's body of work and be inspired by it from afar, but it there's no comparison to seeing her speak in person--the compassion in her voice and the kindness of her posture. A sincere thanks to Tom Mangelsen and anyone else who made it possible for the Omaha community to see her speak in person. My daughter, who is 13 will remember this for a lifetime.
This week, we'll be delivering Jerusalem artichokes AKA sunchokes AKA earth apples to our fall shareholders. Caleb tells me they are NOT artichokes, nor are they from Jerusalem. Apparently, the pronunciation of “Jerusalem” is a bastardization of its original name, which is a fancy Italian word that is apparently too fancy for English speakers to take the time to pronounce correctly. I won't even try to pronounce it--that's how lazy I am! Jerusalem artichokes ARE the root of a type of sunflower, thus, sunchoke, but they are definitely not apples. Since these are one of the less common veggies (actually a tuber) that we deliver, we thought we would explain some basic treatments for this yummy little guys.
1. Scrub them, but don’t peel them.
2. Cut out “eyes.”
3. They are easier to use and cook more evenly, if you cut them into 1 inch pieces.
4. You can fry them, but roasting is the healthier option and just as tasty.
5. You can add flavor to them in many ways, but some basics work really well …
Start with a bit of olive or grape seed oil and the herbs or spices of your choice. Thyme is a first choice for me. Garlic can be nice too, but be careful not to burn it (which can make it bitter). Onions will add flavor too. Pepper? Maybe. Salt? Always.
I like to try different things each time I make something. Online I’ve seen that many people use a marinade with balsamic vinegar for these too. Bay leaves keep coming up too. Those will be some things to try!
Other things that I think would be good would be chili oil or butter, and Caleb thinks we should wrap them in bacon—like those water chestnut hors d'oeuvres you run into at really awesome parties sometimes. :)
6. Once you’ve settled on your flavors, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
7. Coat your clean sunchokes in whatever marinade you concocted.
8. Roast them between 35 and 45 minutes (but watch them because ovens vary). They should be golden brown when you take them out. YUM!
If you try something and it turns out well, please let us know, so we can share here on our blog and with our shareholders.
This year, we will be raising Red Wattle Hogs. In fact, we were just talking today about how excited we are for the arrival of our little piggies. We have 13 shareholders who have purchased either a whole hog or a quarter hog. (Some of them have purchases traditional veggie and egg shares too, and some have just purchased a hog or quarter hog.)
Our shareholders will have the option to name their hog. (Those who purchased quarters will have to come to a consensus.) Those hogs who have owners who do not want to name them will be named by one of our naming specialists. We look forward to giving these hogs a good life, with lots of fresh veggies, and grass to eat and regular humane interaction. Each pig will be called by name every day. On the day of harvest, the pigs will be given a good, honest death and we will give thanks for their lives. One of the things we hope to do as farmers is make sure that the people who purchase these animals, get to know the truth about them--to connect with them--to not take for granted their sacrifice.
We specifically chose red wattles for their docility, hardiness, and gourmet meat quality. According to the Livestock Conservancy,
"The Red Wattle is a large, red hog with a fleshy wattle attached to each side of the neck. The wattles have no known function. They are a single gene characteristic and usually pass to crossbred offspring. The Red Wattle comes in a variety of shades of red, some with black specks or patches, and red and black hair. Some individuals are nearly black. The head and jowl are clean and lean, the nose is slim, and ears are upright with drooping tips. The body is short coupled and the back slightly arched. Mature animals weigh 600-800 pounds, but may weigh as much as 1200 pounds and measure up to four feet high and eight feet long.
Red Wattle hogs are known for hardiness, foraging activity, and rapid growth rate. They produce a lean meat that has been described as flavorful and tender. The sows are excellent mothers, farrow litters of 10 – 15 piglets, and provide good quantities of milk for their large litters. They have a mild temperament. Red Wattles adapt to a wide range of climates. Their active foraging makes them a good choice for consideration in outdoor or pasture-based swine production. Their gentle nature recommends them to the small-scale, independent producer."
You may notice that when you purchase pork at the grocery store that many times it is very dry and flavorless. Red Wattles have fat, so their meat is marbled and juicy. They are also classified as a "threatened" livestock breed, according to the Livestock Conservancy because in factory farming (we theorize that) they favor the breeding of lean, slender animals that fit better into chutes. We let our hogs get as fat as they want, because there is plenty of room for them here at Truth Farms.
Once our pigs arrive, we hope that you will come out and meet the meat, whether you've purchased one or not! We believe that the more interaction they have with people and the more they know they are appreciated, the better.
Even though it is January, we are already thinking about May!
We've been poring over seed catalogs, clearing obstacles to new tillable ground, composting our scraps, tending to our chickens, and striking deals with hog farmers. We are still looking for new shareholders though. We have shares available during ALL of our seasons and we still have room for more hogs, if anyone is interested in a quarter, half or whole grass-fed hog with their fall/winter share.
Contact us at 402-320-1895 or firstname.lastname@example.org for specifics.
To learn about what our 2014 shareholders received, CLICK HERE.
To download an informational brochure, a 2015 application, or a coupon for 75% off delivery fees for 2015, CLICK HERE.
Greetings and Salutations!
We hope that this message finds you in a healthy state and a happy mood.
Are you read to commit to a season (or two or three) of delicious foods delivered to your door (or picked fresh while you wait)?
Would you like to learn more? CLICK HERE --> ABOUT TRUTH FARMS
Would you like to apply? CLICK HERE --> TRUTH FARMS 2015 APPLICATION
If you think you will or might sign up for at least one seasonal share, will you please just drop us a quick email stating so much? (A quick note of "We will" or "We might" will do!) Believe it or not, even though 2014 isn't over yet, we are already making plans for what to grow in 2015, so if we could get a rough estimate of interest, that would be helpful. Please note that our Fall&Winter share includes grass-fed pork! That is a new feature of our farm this year.
Also, if you are unsure how to calculate your distance from the farm (for the delivery fee), just send us your physical address and we will help you.
If you'd like to see what shareholders received last year, you can visit this page on our website to see a week-by-week breakdown. ---> http://truthfarmscsa.weebly.com/2014-deliveries
We are planning to expand the number of shares we sell this year, but we want to keep our farm manageable, so we must limit the number of shareholders for each season. We will do this on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore, the sooner you secure your spot with a deposit, the better.
We hope to hear from you soon. Can't wait to begin Year 2 of our veggie (and now piggy) adventure!
Jodie and Caleb Morgenson