10/6/17 - Week 17 - Ode to Corn, Jack-O-Lanterns,

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A huge thank you to everyone who made it out Saturday to help bring in the potatoes (1,000lbs!) and the Painted Mountain Corn! It was such a joy working with you all. If you missed it, or didn't get enough corn shucking, join us tomorrow for a...

  • Floriani Red Flint Corn Harvest & Squash Haul Party
  • When: This Saturday, October 7th at 10:30 am
  • Where: Out in the main fields
  • What now? A harvest party wherein we'll harvest the Floriani Red Flint Polenta Corn and, time permitting, haul squash out of the field to cure in the greenhouses.
  • What-to-bring: Clothes you don't mind getting very dirty. Water, sunhat, snacks, and a brunchy-lunchy snack or drink to share if it's easy (not required).

We planted two heirloom corn varieties this year. Many of you met the Painted Mountain on Saturday. This gorgeous variety was developed in Montana by Dave Christensen, a farmer who dedicated his life to breeding corn that could survive the harsh conditions and high altitudes. He did this by gathering heirloom seeds from Northern Native Americans tribes and homesteaders, planting them together, letting them naturally cross pollinate, and carefully selecting for hardiness and nutrition. The result was Painted Mountain.

We’ll let this years cobs completely dry down in the greenhouse for about a week, so that the kernels readily thrashes off the cob. We’ll then distribute whole cobs to you all for decoration and a seed saving challenge (stay tuned!) and the rest we’ll take to our friend Wayne James’ place in Windsor, where we’ll thrash it and clean it, and then distribute it to the CSA as kernels. Painted Mountain makes great hominy.

 The Painted Mountain corn drying in the greenhouse

The Painted Mountain corn drying in the greenhouse

Our second variety, drying out there in the fields, is Floriani Red Flint, which we will be harvesting tomorrow. It is an Italian heirloom, bread for the exceptional polenta it makes. Kayta and I have verified this over many hot winter meals. We’ll grind this corn into a coarse flour and distribute it late in the season.

Flint corns — hard as flint, hence the name — lack the “soft starch” of dent corns. They have a dense outer layers protecting the nutritious germ within. This shell, combined with a low water content, make flint corns resistant to freezing and excellent for storage. Flints were the staff of life for Native Americans in harsher climates on both hemispheres.

Indeed, since domestication in southern Mexico some 10,000 years ago, maize has been the staff of life for much of human civilization as we know it, from the ancient Mississipian and Mayan civilizations of old to the supermarket aisles of today, maize has reigned king.

Who better to pen ode to this miraculous plant, than the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda:

Ode to Maize

America, from a grain

of maize you grew

to crown

with spacious lands

the ocean foam.

 

A grain of maize was your geography.

From the grain

a green lance rose,

was covered with gold,

to grace the heights

of Peru with its yellow tassels.

 

But, poet, let

history rest in its shroud;

praise with your lyre

the grain in its granaries:

sing to the simple maize in

the kitchen.

 

First, a fine beard

fluttered in the field

above the tender teeth

of the young ear.

Then the husks parted

and fruitfulness burst its veils

of pale papyrus

that grains of laughter

might fall upon the earth.

To the stone,

in your journey,

you returned.

Not to the terrible stone,

the bloody

triangle of Mexican death,

but to the grinding stone

sacred

stone of your kitchens.

There, milk and matter,

strength-giving, nutritious

cornmeal pulp,

you were worked and patted

by the wondrous hands

of women.

 

Wherever you fall, maize,

whether into the

splendid pot of porridge, or among

country beans, you light up

the meal and lend it

your virginal flavor.

 

Oh, to bite into

the steaming ear beside the sea

of distant song and deepest waltz.

To boil you

as your aroma

spreads through

blue sierras.

 

But is there

no end

to your treasure?

In chalky, barren lands

bordered

by the sea, along

the rocky Chilean coast,

at times

only your radiance

reaches the empty

table of the miner.

 

Your light, your cornmeal,

your hope

pervades America’s solitudes,

and to hunger

your lances

are enemy legions.

 

Within your husks,

like gentle kernels,

our sober provincial

children’s hearts were

nurtured,

until life began

to shuck us from the ear.

– Pablo Neruda

See you in the fields, 

David and Kayta

THIS WEEKS HARVEST: Sunshine Kabocha Squash, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Cured Cabernet Red Onions, Fresh Torpedo Onions, Heirloom and New Girl Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Summer Squash, Hakurei Turnips, Striped Armenian & Lemon Cucumbers (last week!), Green Magic Broccoli & Bishop Cauliflower, Napa Cabbage, Celery, Carrots, Red Russian Kale, Dino Kale, Tatsoi Leafy Greens, Spicy Mustard Mix, Cherokee Summercrisp & Assorted Head Lettuces

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U-PICK in the GARDEN: 

  • Pesto Basil - this might be the last week, as temperatures have approached frosting the last few nights.
  • Shishito and Black Hungarian Frying Peppers (still a few left), Padrones, Jalapeños 
  • Husk Cherries
  • All herbs and flowers.

U-PICK on the FARM:

  • Cherry tomatoes: Sungolds, Black Cherry, and Super Sweet 100's in three Rows marked with the blue flags in the main fields.
  • Jack O' Lanterns! These 40 Jack O's are looking for a home out in the main fields! Pay a visit to the pumpkin patch by finding the pink flag and take one home! Limit is 1 per share. For households with two or more children, limit is 2 per share.