Observations of a Small Farm Fan Girl
Updated: May 28, 2021
By Tinne Rosenmeier
Aromas and Memories
Deep in January, scooping seeds from the last of the acorn squash, from the corner of my eye I notice the Pearson Organics Farm CSA box tucked behind the recycling bin. The sweet squashy smell triggers visions of tightly packed bags of clean, curly lettuces, spinach, and arugula; emerald stacks of green beans and handsome, gleaming zucchinis. The adorable baby butter lettuces, and bundles of pearly, succulent baby turnips! The exquisite aroma of basil, and all its pesto – bilities!
Last fall, picking up my final Fall Share box at Bang Brewery, near my home in Saint Paul, I may have been distracted. Bang offers tall, fresh bottles of Suds, a beer with a flavor like a sunny day at an outside table in Copenhagen. Whatever the reason, I really shouldn’t have the box. Part of the idea when you join a CSA is to help out the farmers, and being prepared to transfer my produce from the box to my cooler is one of those simple steps. Nevertheless, that sturdy, waxed box awakened my CSA pre-season excitement, and I started wondering about life down at Pearson Organics Farm.
Small Farm Fan Girl
I believe in supporting small, local agriculture. Super local. I get fresh eggs from the fluffy - tushed hens in my back yard. During a drive across Wisconsin some time back, I came to a screeching halt at a handmade Maple Syrup sign, or maybe it was honey. One year, we bought five ram lambs from a small farmer we know down by Red Wing, had them slaughtered, and home butchered them. It was Easter and Passover season, and we sold enough to more than pay for a year of lamb roasts. Thank you, Barbara Kingsolver. Such adventures aside, I see grocery shopping as the most consistent way to influence the politics and economy of the food system. For decades, I’ve sourced most of my groceries from food coops and farmer’s markets, intentionally choosing the shortest path between my wallet and the farmers'. The carbon footprint of my dinner plate drops as transportation, fuel, packaging costs fall away. No, I will not solve the climate crisis with these individual actions. Yes, I eat processed foods straight from the major grocers and fast-food chains. But that CSA box against the wall reminds me that people work hard to steward food to my plate, and that those people live and work nearby. It was time to see what Kristen Pearson was up to. Farm News I went looking for Kristin’s newsletters and social media posts, and, among other things, learned about a labor-saving tractor gadget that sends seed spuds sliding down a chute to their homes in the soil. The excitement was contagious. I have so many questions!
Who else works at Pearson Organics?
What else can that tractor do?
How are the new refrigeration systems & wash shed working out?
What will we see in our first box?
What’s the tomato forecast?
Aren’t 2nd year asparagus spears tasty? do we have to wait another season?
Where are the fruit flies? (My last CSA had fruit flies in every box). How is all this food so clean, week after week?
Pay Ahead for a Season Worth of Gratitude Membership in Pearson Organic Farm’s CSA gives me the opportunity to participate in the success of the enterprise. Preparing fluffy salads, discovering buttered baby turnips, and slicing into squash become simple activities that keep me mindful, and grateful. To respect the bounty I receive, I’m learning new food storage techniques, and this year there will be canning. There are inherent risks in farming, and buying into the enterprise means accepting uncertainty. Worms eat veg, hail storms happen, and weather patterns are unpredictable. For me, that means each week’s box tells a story, like the sweet, bright little tomatoes that were the saving grace in a rough tomato season. Instead, I got spectacular heads of kohlrabi, the first of which we studied for a week, like a peculiar sculpture, before stepping bravely into adulthood and trying a new vegetable. WOW! Each box ushers in the next moment of summer. We’ll bid farewell to the sweet peas, and practice patient for the corn, and recall that basil + tomatoes = magic. It's time to try pulling mozzarella at home!
I mustn’t be greedy for all the flavors at once. Like my flower borders, plants come ready in succession. I’m very proud of the parade of bloom I’ve stage-managed in my front yard. From where I sit, my lilac hedge is pumping out its sweet and heady aroma. I bury my face in the panicles every day, feeding my lizard brain for those difficult times of no lilacs. But my peonies grew eight inches in the last two days, so my nose will find the fragrances, each in turn. Just like my summer half - share will keep bringing new tasty treats into my kitchen. Next time: Meet the Farmer: A Chat with Jay the Farm Manager!