Ups and downs on the farm
“I almost love the CSA I’m participating in,” I thought last night, as I sipped the homemade chamomile, sage, and mint herbal tea “my” farmer, Dana Mast of WindyView Acres, had included in yesterday’s box of goodies.
I more love it than not, but it hasn’t provided the overflowing basket of abundant greenery I thought I’d be receiving weekly. We had a weird winter here in south-central Arizona, and the location of the farm (Dewey, AZ) had freezing night temperatures into May! Dana has been farming there for fifteen years, and she said it was the longest, coldest spring she can recall. Logically, I can extend her some grace; of course the freezing temps could stunt growth… and that is one reason why CSAs exist — to help the farmer offset some of the risk associated with farming. I appreciate her efforts to make up for the lack of produce by adding extra eggs, milk, cheese, and even farm-raised, chemical-free meat and home-baked goodies… And, I extend her grace when she doesn’t communicate all that well; I know she’s super, super busy. But, it does make me at least start to have second thoughts of the cost-benefit of the endeavor. One friend of mine has even dropped out, due to her disappointment. I haven’t given up on Dana and the farm, but I’m kind of waiting until the end of the season to pass my final judgement on whether or not the whole adventure is worth decreasing my already-tight grocery budget by $25/week to accommodate the cost of the CSA.
Yesterday, she said that a pack of coyotes got into her chickens and killed 80 of the 120 (if I’m remembering the numbers correctly). On top of that, the remaining chickens are molting, which decreases egg production. So, no eggs are likely for the rest of the season. 😦
Still. Last night, we enjoyed dinner, largely courtesy of the CSA. I made a delicious scramble with Egyptian Walking Onion bulbs (like shallots), garlic, green onion tops, red bell pepper, banana peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, sheep milk feta cheese, fresh oregano, and fresh Thai basil, two goose eggs, and 18 chicken eggs. (All items in bold were from the farm.) I served it with fresh farinata and gluten-free sour-milk biscuits (made with this flour mix), on which we gleefully slathered butter and honey.
My son Wesley, who as I have mentioned previously, gets a severe asthmatic reaction from dairy, has been able to drink raw goat milk from the farm. Last night, he ate two and a half biscuits made with sour cow milk, and he didn’t even wheeze. Not at night, nor this morning. Hmm…
Yesterday’s haul had:
- black Spanish radishes (have to look up recipes for these huge, spicy radishes… found these… looks good!)
- Button red radishes
- Egyptian walking onions
- green (spring) onions
- a small bag of about six assorted hot peppers (banana, jalapeno, and Thai hot)
- several sprigs fresh oregano
- several sprigs fresh Thai basil (I love Thai basil!)
- about one cup of the above-mentioned dried herbal tea mixture
- a plate with six (wheat) egg & onion dinner rolls — I kept four and gave two extra to my friend who is doing the CSA as well, since we only have two gluten-eaters in our family of seven.
- 1/2 gal raw goat milk
- 1/2 gal raw cow milk
- 2 goose eggs (each equivalent to 3 chicken eggs)
- large pork shoulder roast — a good 4 pounds or more
- two packages (about 3 lbs total) beef liver — I would never consider eating liver from any “commercial” cow… Pastured beef, though… I’m still a little hesitant, but I’m gonna try it!
Definitely, money-wise, worth more than $25 — since raw milk is $10/gallon and natural/organic meat is at least $3/lb, those items by themselves make it worth the cost. But still, I mostly got into it for the produce, which has been less abundant than I’d anticipated.
We’ll see. 🙂