Friday, May 9, 2014

Chapels, Chives & Community

News from the Farm:  Chapels, Chives & Community

Last winter when we were in St. Croix, and I was trying to figure out a way of staying there permanently, I picked up a book from one of those racks where vacationers leave dog-eared, sunscreened-blotched, cheap paperbacks.  Little Chapel on the River by Gwendolyn Bounds.  Sitting on the sand under the blue sky with the blazing sun, just a stone's throw from the Caribbean blue waters, reading that book brought me back, to New York, 911 (ugh!), the Hudson River and to the Irishmen, generous Irishmen, who were my life growing up, in Illinois.

It was one of those books that you want to read slowly and savor.  It was one of those books that reminds us that it's not "out there" it's here. Right now. A barstool and an early morning edition of the New York Times picked up at Guinan's (Garrison, NY -- just a row-boat ride across the river from West Point).  It's one of those books that recognizes the heroes among us...not the movie stars, or Wall Street brokers, or wealthy men (though it could be. You just never know) just real people doing real things every day.  And not because they ought to.  Or should.  Or even for the money.  It's just who they are.  Who he (Jim Guinan) was.

I know those men.  My father was one of them.  And he was the grandson and nephew of a whole long line of Irishmen and farmers. It's a lot messier than we would like. Life and farming.  My father used to tell me of the book he read when he was little. (He read before he spoke. I have a son like that!).  In it were two farms, the "clean" one with perfectly manicured fields, straight fences, a red barn with two rows of cows ready to be milked and chickens with a 5-am rooster watching over them.  And then, the "messy" farm, the one with weeds, crooked rows, leaking roofs, cows refusing to go into the barn to be milked and piles of things that were just piles of things, just in case (this was the depression after all). He always wanted to be part of the "clean" one. But he was not. He was part of the "messy" farm. His father died of an appendicitis attack when he (my father) was just 2 years old.  And his mother, my grandmother, Marcella (don't you just love those names?  (
Her sisters were Guinevere and Isabelle) moved back with her mother, Ellen, and the rest of the Browns; Barney, Bob, Willard, Dan, John, and of course, the three girls. 

Somehow, it worked.  Those big extended families.  I wish we had it now.  I am so removed from mine and my husband is from his. We are trying to create it again.  With our kids, but it isn't easy.  And when I read that book, Little Chapel on the River, I longed, for it to be so.  Maybe I should work at a restaurant here in St Croix. That was one of my first jobs, after all. A restaurant. In Lena, Illinois. 

But then it struck me, no, it knocked me over the head, the CSA. I get it.  And it's got me. You, the CSA. This is the new family.  Our community.  It's not as big as Shop Rite. Or as pretty as Whole Foods. It's even a little  messy. The crooked rows and weeds.  I wish it could be perfect. The CSA and me.

And maybe it is.

Join us...for some really great vegetables and a great season!

P.P.S. We will have an Open House for Hesperides Organica CSA on Saturday, May 17.  Please join us!

The 2014 CSA sign-up form is now posted on:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tiny Pushes

News from the Farm:  Tiny pushes. I like that....

Not by heroes but by us. Little folk. Honest workers. I just didn't know it would be so hard, those tiny pushes,  when I planted my first seed in the Black Dirt (you may notice that I capitalize it, just like my married name is three caps VDB -- I'm all in!). To my marriage and to the Black Dirt.

And of course, the CSA. More capitals. (This is my third baby! After Jacob and Tyler). 

The weather is finally improving.  We, Black Dirt farmers, have quit driving our tractors on the roads and have plowed head-long into the fields.  Last weekend we planted the "pick-your-own" sugar snap peas (the good ones that taste good but aren't easy and need to be trellised) and spinach and arugula and onions and kale and lettuce.  From here on in it's...a well, I don't even know how to describe it.  A tsunami?  Maybe?
But each farmer knows it's coming. The onslaught of vegetables.  Fast and Furious has nothing on us.  But we need to keep our feet planted on the ground.  And ground.  And deal with all these vegetables.  And find them good homes.  And good stomachs.  And receptive ears.  (I remember the early days of the CSA when my son and I were packing vegetables and one of the bags wasn't heavy enough and I called him out on it and he called me "The Vegetable Whisperer" and I was proud!  Of him!)

And I think we've found a way. And a home. (The CSA).  We're committed.  (We have a box truck after all).  110 percent. So much so that we don't even have another way to sell them.  We're in, are you?

Join  us  for another great season!

Dr. Brian Clement, Director of Hippocrates  Health Institute will be in Hawthorne, NJ this Friday and Saturday April 25 & 26.  If you've never seen him, he's very entertaining! He, too, is a big believer that nutrient-dense vegetables are the foundation of good health!

For information, ticket prices and availability
Call 877-234-3852 or purchase online at:
150 Florence Avenue, Suite C Hawthorne, NJ 07506

P.P.S. We will have an Open House for Hesperides Organica CSA on Saturday, May 17.  Please join us!

The 2014 CSA sign-up form is now posted on: