Monday, April 26, 2010

Wow! didn't realize it has been so long since I posted anything. Right now, I am just trying to keep my head above water. Between the move of the Farm and everything else going on, I have been a slacker/blogger. I have posted a couple of things at my farm Facebook page (it is just easier that logging on to the blog) so if you want to see what's been happening at the Farm, check
New Moon Farm Organics over at fb. I linked my fb page to my Twitter, but haven't linked up the blog yet...least I don't think I did.
Are you as confused as I am?

Monday, April 12, 2010


Since my husband passed away several weeks ago, many things have changed here at the Farm. The main thing is that I have discovered that I simply cannot remain here without him. It is intolerable on many levels and for many reasons.

After a lot of agonizing consideration, I have decided to move New Moon Farm Organics back to my hometown, back to my own farming roots. I have access to a fine little piece of property and it will suit me well, eventually. I will be closer to my family, which is what I feel like I need right now. My parents and my son are really my support group at this moment and I just need to be closer to them. I just kept thinking, and wrongly so I might add, that New Moon Farm was about this particular piece of land. I find that is not so true as I imagined. The spirit of the Farm is that two incredibly dedicated people had a wonderful dream and made it into a reality. I carry that spirit inside of myself and so no matter where I might be, that will not change.

This move will not affect my May-July CSA, nor my participation in the Davidson Farmer's Market. I might have to shift some things a bit, but overall, it will hopefully be just a minor hiccup if things don't go as planned. I still plan on following through with the plans Dave and I made together before he died. Just in a new location. There is a longer, more detailed missive about all of this at my website New Moon Farm Organics so if you are curious, you can check it out.

The logistics of making this move are daunting and I am going to have to call on those folks who have graciously volunteered to come help me out. I will be posting a page here and also on the website with a "Wishlist" of things that I will need help doing and so hopefully, potential volunteers can choose what they feel they are able to help out with. I need to make this move quickly or I will lose some of my window of opportunity for planting some things for early summer.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Help Stamp Out Food Snobbery

This is a reposting of an article from this blog from about 3 years ago. I thought I would put it back up because I recently listened to something on NPR about things people pay big bucks for that are not the real thing...caviar was one of those things and there is something about that in this post.

I think that it is time that I do my part to bring attention to the issue of food prejudice. Since I am so in touch with food, I am going to address the food snobs of the world here on my blog today. That's right, it is my blog and I can say what I want to about whatever subject I am inclined to write love the power of the blog!! Okay, I am getting a power high so I better get back on subject. This just has to be said.

My simple definition of food snobbery: Refusing to even try or consider trying a particular fruit, vegetable, regional or local dish for any reason at all. If you are a food snob, let me help to set the record straighter on a couple of things:

Sushi versus Chitlins
I went to a Sushi restaurant in Japan once where there were a bunch of fish swimming happily together in a huge tank. We ordered and the next thing I know, the chef is screaming like a ninja and grabbing a live fish out of the tank and flinging it down on the table in front of us. When he pulled out a cleaver and hacked the head off right in front of me, I almost fainted. Needless to say, I didn't eat sushi (or much of anything else) for a while. Chitlins on the other hand are quite civilized by comparison. I have seen them being cooked before but that is it. Chitlin preparation has the good manners to stay out of the public eye as much as possible.

Grits versus Polenta
Grits and polenta are the same thing. If you let your grits simmer too long and they get really thick, you have made polenta. In Northern Italy, where polenta is a staple dish, it was first made when maize or corn was brought there by explorers. It is cooked down more than grits, but there is not much difference except for the seasoning and serving methods. Of course, grits can be pretty bland and boring if you buy those wussie white ones at the grocery store or you don't know how to cook them. I buy stone ground, organic yellow corn grits. Fortunately, I do know how to cook them (Granny taught me) and mine are delicious.

Livermush versus Blood Sausage
Do I even need to explain this one? Yes, I guess I do.
Livermush is decidedly Southern and Blood Sausage is decidedly disgusting.
Livermush probably had its origins with German settlers to the Southeastern areas of the US from Pennsylvania. Blood Sausage never quite caught on here in this area although I understand it is popular elsewhere. My best friend growing up moved to the US from Europe and we helped her mom to make BS at their house once. I repeat, ONCE. And I never ate any that I am aware of but sometimes when I ate dinner at their house, I was a little confused as to exactly what I was eating.

Okra versus anything
I already wrote an entire blog entry about okra, so refer back to that post from August 16th, to read up on okra. One quick note about okra: it is NOT indigenous to the Southern US (it just loves our climate); it is native to Africa; is an edible hibiscus; and is eaten all over the world.

Caviar versus Catfish Roe
I have eaten caviar once or twice myself, but don't remember particularily liking it. It tasted a little fishy. And speaking of fishy, there are people willing to pay $50+ an ounce for Beluga caviar yet look down their noses of folks who catch and clean their own fish and eat the roe. Joke is on them. Back in the late 1990's, the FDA busted a caviar "importer" who had been packaging and selling catfish roe as Beluga for years. Took DNA testing to determine that the roe in question was not from sturgeon, but in fact from the lowly Ictalarus punctatus or the common channel catfish.Nobody noticed the difference because, lets face it, who eats caviar on a regular basis? Do you know anyone who does? Neither do I.

Cow Peas versus English Peas
Cow Peas- A drought tolerant and warm weather crop, cowpeas are well-adapted to the drier regions of the tropics, where other food legumes do not perform well. It also has the useful ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through its nodules, and it grows well in poor soils with more than 85% sand and with less than 0.2% organic matter and low levels of phosphorus. In addition, it is shade tolerant, and therefore, compatible as an intercrop with maize, millet, sorghum, sugarcane, and cotton. This makes cowpea an important component of traditional intercropping systems, especially in the complex and elegant subsistence farming systems of the dry savannas in sub-Saharan Africa. English peas are just a cooler weather, slightly different cultivar of Fabaceae or Leguminosae, or the legume family. There is nothing sophistocated or gourmet about English (green) peas. In fact, if you compared the common field pea grown in the South to the English pea, the English pea is by comparison a thin and pale relative, as far as adaptability and usage.

Water Cress versus Creasy Greens
If you ever watched the Dobie Gillis show back in the 60's, you most probably remember Mrs. Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., Resident RB&S, who was forever giving parties where they served watercress sandwiches. This is probably about the silliest food affectation I know of, in all of my culinary experience. Watercress on buttered slices of bread with the crusts cut off was supposedly the height of snooty cuisine. Somehow the idea of a weed that grows along the sides of the road, in ditches where there is standing water pasted onto a tiny piece of white bread doesn't really impress me all that much. And why couldn't they even have a "big boy" sandwich with the crusts still on...did those rich people have weak choppers or just still long for mama? I don't get it.

I don't remember my Granny even planting "creasies", a delightful little spicy, edible green plant, but she certainly got excited once it showed up in the corn field in the fall. It grows in a rosette, kind of like arugula. Today, you can buy creasy green seeds (Upland Cress is how it is sold) and plant some for yourself, but in the foothills and mountains of NC, they were/are considered a wild, uncultivated food, not to be taken for granted. I think maybe planting creasys would not set well with some old timers. Creasy greens are cousin to watercress and the name "creasy" is probably an Appalachian mispronunciation of cress. They are peppery and add a little spice to other greens.

There are lots more foods I could mention, but my fingers are tired and I have to go feed chickens. My break is over and I need to get back to some real work. Hope you enjoyed my little tongue in cheek (Really? Maybe.) missive today.

Older posts chronicle drought, growing seasons, winter doldrums, etc.

Just looked back thru some of my older posts from back in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and realized that there is quite a chronicle of farm life there. So that it wasn't so hard to find them, I changed the archive to a pulldown menu to make it easier to read thru these old posts.

Cold nights, Jack Russells and Heirloom Veggies

We had a pretty chilly night here last night. Had to bring all 5 Jack Russells on the back porch. Any night time temps under 45 degrees get them a warm bed, in their kennels. When it is warmer, they like to be outside, in a puppy pile in the doghouse. But I have talked about that in older posts and so I will just leave it at that.

Everything in the greenhouse is still gorgeous this morning. It was about 75 degrees yesterday and so I wet down the floor of the greenhouse and left the doors closed tight all day. That kept the heat in. The evaporating moisture from the floor raised the humidity and so the ambient air was warmer after the sun went down. It wasn't cold enough to do any real damage in the greenhouse but you never know when the forecast might be wrong. We are generally at least 2 degrees colder than whatever is forecast and sometimes a little more, so can't be too careful. I babied all those plants for far too long and they look far too good to lose them in one cold night.
I plan on taking some pictures of them and posting here but my camera battery is dead and I can't remember to charge it at night.

In addition to my tomatoes, peppers and basils, I planted another several hundred squash seeds in flats this week. The varieties are my specialty ones, mostly using seeds directly from the regions of Italy and other places, where they are favorites. Regional varieties of zuchinni, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, basils and other herbs,winter squash and pumpkins abound. Most all of the ones I grow are heirlooms that have been grown in their respective regions for over 100 years. Regions like Cambria and Tuscany have favorites, small villages have favorites. The Italian people are passionate about their food and so they are equally passionate about having the freshest and best ingredients to start with. Many Italian cooks believe that if you don't have the specific variety to make your recipe from, it won't be the as good. I love that concept!

I also love the idea of growing a food plant that is growing somewhere else in the world. It is very cool to grow from seeds that came from a particular region, grown just the season before. Makes me feel globally connected to people in other parts of the world who are just like, growers, land stewards, whatever we are. I am especially enthralled with Italian varieties, obviously, for the reasons I already stated and because they are fairly accessible, if you know where to look. But I also love more elusive cultural food plants like African, Asian and South American varieties, which are a little harder to find, but it is ultimately rewarding when I get my hands on something new.

And for as much as I love my international heirlooms, I am passionate about Native American heirlooms, many of which are in danger of disappearing from the planet. Several dedicated orgainizations are currently seeking to establish heirloom seed banks to preserve this heritage from our own indigenous peoples.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What The Heck Happened to Earth Day?

This post is gonna get me a lot of flack, but I call them like I see them.

I don't acknowledge Earth Day any more. I have become a little jaded about the whole concept. Back in the 70's, I was a little hippie chickie with granny glasses and flowers in my hair and I cared about EVERYTHING!!!! Earth Day was a huge deal to me at that time. It was a chance for the citizens of the Earth to come together on something we ALL have in on planet Earth.

Margaret Mead said it:

"EARTH DAY is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord, is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space.

EARTH DAY draws on astronomical phenomena in a new way – which is also the most ancient way – using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making night and day of equal length in all parts of the Earth. To this point in the annual calendar, EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another. But the selection of the Equinox makes planetary observance of a shared event possible, and a flag which shows the Earth as seen from space appropriate."

That is the Earth Day I celebrated. What happened? Last week I heard an ad for an Earth Day Celebration at a water/amusement park in the local area, inviting everyone to come to the park to celebrate Mother Earth. Yes, let's drive our cars, make more trash, waste water and pay our money in celebration of Mother Earth. I just don't get it.

Don't you think Mother Earth would be better served if that amusement park hadn't covered her face with asphalt. Maybe if they had left the trees and plants? What if all the wildlife that lost their habitat had been left unmolested? That sounds like a celebration of our Mother to me.

Doesn't it kind of defeat the purpose of having Earth Day if you have to drive your carbon footprint to get the the celebration???? Shouldn't Earth Day be about staying home and taking stock of all the blessings that our planet bestows on us every day, not just on one day in April?

I guess, as with every other holiday we have in this country, somebody has found a way to make money from Earth Day, so the true meaning has pretty much flown out the window for most Americans. If you would like to read about what the original intent and purpose of Earth Day really was, you can visit .

More cool Earth stuff: Nasa site for pictures of Mother Earth Astronauts Views of the Home Planet Astounding pictures from the Hubble Telescope Not Earth, necessarily but WOW!!!

Moving on with life

If you have been reading this blog lately, you know that I have been dealing with the death of my beloved Farmer Dave. Dave was my best friend, husband, mentor, teacher, spiritual guide, counselor , alter ego, companion, confidant, comrade, helpmate, playmate and my soul mate. He was my kindred spirit, my knight in shining armor and the heart of my heart. I miss him so fiercely that it is like there is a fire burning my soul to ashes and I am helpless to stop it.

But, stop it I must, because I know that he would want me to get back to the business of living. To do otherwise discredits the things I learned from him over the years and it dishonors him for me to be wallowing in self-pity about being alone. Because I am not alone. I carry in my heart and memory 16 years of the most incredible journey. Without him, I would never have experienced most of the things that I did over those 16 years.

I have always been amazed that he so loved me and chose me to stand beside him. Not that I feel that I was unworthy of his love, but because I was given the opportunity to be loved by someone like him. When Dave and I had only been together for about 6months, I told the Universe that if I was only allowed to have 5 years with Dave, it would like a lifetime with anyone else. The Universe chose to gift me with 16 years and I am profoundly grateful for every second of those years.

Now, I will try to focus on the future and how I plan on moving through it. You may have to indulge me once in a while, since I am sure there will be some anecdote or story I will have to tell you. Dave was involved in everything I have done of any value for the last decade and a half, so it would be hard not to include him in most of my tales. But, I will try to keep my grief to myself and to refrain from waxing poetic about the enormity of our love for each other or how perfect our relationship was/is. I say "is" because the relationship still exists and always will. Death can not remove Dave from my heart and he is in every fiber of my being. So, if you take me on, you get him, too.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This is not getting any easier....

I miss Dave....