The Alleged Farm News – 11 August, 2016

This week’s share: Genovese basil, Beans, Chard, Dill, Eggplant, Leeks, Lettuce, Cabernet and Walla Wall onions, Red Maria potatoes, Squash, Tomatoes


I feel like I had completely cleared my head of any thoughts regarding Tim Tebow and now he has popped back up. Someone ought to stop this guy, but he’s like a horror movie creature that keeps climbing back out of the grave just when you think everyone’s safe. We need some sort of magical incantation to rid ourselves of him.

For those of you lucky enough to have forgotten him entirely or, even better, somehow never to have noticed him in the first place, Tim Tebow is the overtly Christian college football star who proved just as devout but a lot less talented in the NFL.

And for all of you wondering why I ever thought about Tim Tebow, I really don’t know except that he was unfortunately unavoidable for a time, and somehow stirred up strong feelings, possibly because he suggested that his god took a strong interest in the outcome of his football games. Mostly I recall yet another obsessive athlete blessed with unshakeable self-confidence, a guy with all the qualities you would look for in a college football star and none of the ones you would seek in a dining companion.

That self-confidence, or what I believe coaches often refer to as character, and dedication to his sport, or what I believe rational people refer to as monomania, served Tebow well in college, but turned out not be enough for a professional career. Though he kept trying. And trying. And trying. Until it got a little embarrassing. Embarrassing to watch, anyway. As for Tim Tebow, he seems perhaps a little less easily embarrassed. Because, having failed to make it in the NFL despite all the predictions of glory, he has now announced that he would like to play professional baseball.

To which his former NFL coach responded “good for him.” But is it? It seems far more likely to be bad for him since the chance of him outcompeting people who have practiced baseball as intensively for the past 10 years as he applied himself to football is slim. He will have our attention, which he obviously craves to what seems a slightly unchristian degree. But attention for failing publicly once again. I suppose one could admire his grit–and grit is all the rage–but it seems like misplaced grit. He has been trained to strive athletically, but I would like to see him–if I have to see him at all–strive for something else.

I would be far more excited if Tim Tebow announced he had decided to become the best damn math teacher you have ever seen and then set about applying all his considerable determination to that task. We could use more great math teachers, and certainly more people employing their celebrity to promote the value (and the difficulty) of teaching.

I might be even more excited if he also announced that he was going to make sure he had some free time to read a few good modern novels, improve his bread baking skills, get together with friends, learn to play the oboe and sometimes just lie in the grass and stare up at the night sky.

Maybe it is just me. After all, I am not much of a specialist. I cannot even settle on one variety of red potato. But something about single-mindedness makes me uncomfortable. I have a job that takes up a lot of my time and most of my energy and regularly works its way into my dreams (I have the most boring, realistic farming dreams). But as I remind the crew, we just grow vegetables. We would unquestionably get more done–would farm better in a sense–if we focused our lives entirely on the farm, but at a serious cost to our lives, a cost that strikes me as unwarranted. So we try to do the best we can within reason. There are always more things to do on the farm, but at some point we have done enough. Knowing how to walk away is a valuable skill too, especially if you have something else valuable to walk to. And you are far more likely to have that when you let your mind go in multiple directions.


Vegetable notes: I recommend cutting the leeks in half lengthwise and then into one inch pieces, boiling them in salted water for several minutes until they soften, and then mixing them, still, warm with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, a touch of hot pepper and a decent amount of Dijon mustard. Let them cool in the vinaigrette, and then you can use them as something between a condiment and a vegetable, or mix them with cubes of boiled potato and/or beans and perhaps a little dill, or toss them with cubes of grilled eggplant and squash and a few cherry tomatoes.

Even if you don’t use the potatoes with the leeks, I would recommend boiling them. They are not bad roasted, but because of the texture of their flesh they are best boiled.

I would not say the tomato season is off to a rip roaring start, but at least we finally have some to hand out. I don’t think I need to tell you what to do with them, not at this point.