Our American Tradition of Agriculture

As we approach July 4th, all of us reflect on our nation and its history.  For many, our minds turn to our founding fathers, the Revolutionary War, and the Declaration of Independence.  My mind, of course, goes to farming.

At the time of independence, we were a country of farmers.  Part of the myth of our founding was that we were a nation of yeomen, freemen who farmed small plots of ground.  We all know that we were also a nation of plantations and slavery, but, mainly due to the writings of Thomas Jefferson, that’s not the ideal we were handed down.  This Jeffersonian ideal of democracy built on the free association of hard-working free people remains an inspiration to many, myself included.  The yeoman farmers of yesterday were not serfs under the thumb of some Lord or Duke, but free and independent operators with a stake in their local governments and development.

Family from 80s farm crisis, Daily Globe

If small family farms were the bedrock on which our democracy was based, we have been in trouble for a long time.  For my entire life-I was born in 1977-family farms have been in retreat.  I clearly remember the farm crisis of the 1980s when Willie Nelson took the stage at Farm Aid and America’s attention was turned to farm families’ struggles.  Farm auctions and foreclosures blanketed the evening news.  Although the attention waned with time, the trend of family farm loss continued.  Instead of being a nation of independent yeoman farmers, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve become a nation of farmers on contract to our overloads of Tyson, Smithfield, Cargill, and Monsanto.

Despite this doom and gloom, at least those of us in the sustainable agriculture communtiy still have hope.  There are many more farm operations like our own making a living today because people like you chose to buy your food directly from the farmer  It may sound Pollyanna-ish, but I firmly believe these simple choices are making a real difference in keeping that dream of family farm alive.

In the Box:

  • Garlic Scapes: These are the tops of garlic which can be  used in substitute for green onions or garlic. See recipe below for an idea.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • ‘Farao’ Green Cabbage 
  • Snap Peas: Don’t shell these…just eat the whole thing
  • ‘Lacinato’ Kale: Dark green with a blue band 
  • A couple small heads of lettuce
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower: Most of you got cauliflower, but we had to substitute in broccoli in some boxes
  • Basil
Garlic Scape Carbonara from sarahcucinabella.com

INGREDIENTS
  • ½ lb campanella pasta, or shape of your choosing
  • 4 slices bacon (about 3¼ ounces), chopped
  • ¼ cup garlic scapes, cut into ¼ inch coins
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set a pot of water to boiling on the stove and cook the campanella pasta (or desired shape).
  2. While it’s cooking, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and add the garlic scapes. Cook until soft (2-3 minutes). Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. (Drain both the bacon and the garlic scapes on a paper towel).
  3. Whisk together the eggs, salt and red pepper flakes.
  4. When the pasta is done, quickly remove it from the stove and set a different burner to low heat. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot, on the burner set to low. Stir in the garlic scapes and bacon. Add the egg mixture and stir feverishly for 3-4 minutes until sauce is thick and creamy. Don’t let it overcook or it will be gloppy. Sprinkle the Romano cheese in, a little at a time, and stir to combine. Don’t add it all at once or it won’t mix throughout the pasta as well (since it will clump).
  5. Serve immediately.


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