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:

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