The Alleged Farm News – 1 September, 2016

This week’s share: Basil, Bok choi, Eggplant, Leeks, Lettuce, Candy onions, Parlsey, Pepper, Hot pepper, Squash, Tomatoes


I think we can agree that we do not live in a perfect world. Even here in America we fall a little short of perfection. Sure, we have some amazing stuff: monster trucks, stuffed crust pizza, an entire tv channel devoted to bass fishing. But there’s always room for improvement. Even some of the good stuff in this country could be better, and I am not just talking about those pizzas. Our air traffic control system desperately needs updating. Thousands of bridges require repair or replacement. And we still have a lot of lead pipes delivering drinking water.

That’s just the obvious stuff. And when I say stuff, I mean actual stuff, because in addition to all the physical needs, there are the intangible social problems: inequality, injustice, intolerance. Once again, we have a fair amount to brag about: a well crafted, stable constitution, a functioning legal system, fair elections. But once again, we can do better. We could, for instance, actually give all children–who by and large have simply chanced innocently into their advantages and disadvantages–a roughly equal shot at thriving.


Woe betide, however, the NFL quarterback who dares to raise the topic of our imperfections. At least, the quarterback who does so by refusing to stand for the national anthem. As everyone who cares a whit about this country knows, you have to stand for the anthem before a preseason football game. What’s more patriotically American than enforced expressions of obedience at overhyped football practices? Well, maybe complaining about the lack of patriotism of those who use those moments to express uncomfortable opinions and the inevitable suggestion that anyone who finds fault with this country should go live somewhere else.

I always find the “America, love it or leave it” view puzzling. It suggests there’s nothing more American than not trying to make things better. If you have a problem with something then walk away. If you have an opinion, don’t express it. If I disagree with you, shut up. There’s no room for improvement here.

I am thinking of applying this principle to the farm. The whole farm. Not just the people, but the animals and plants too, and maybe even the dirt. I have had workers from time to time suggest ways we could do some task better. Well, off to another farm with them. And crops that have some problem with their growing conditions? Why don’t they just pull themselves up by the roots and try growing in somebody else’s field. Soil getting all hard and lumpy when we work it a little too wet? Yeah, try being soil in Baton Rouge, buddy. And the next time those donkeys start braying piteously because we are not bringing them treats from the field house, they are out of here.

I actually mean that last one. Does anyone want a couple of donkeys?


Vegetable notes: Candy might be an overstatement of the sweetness of these onions. Which is a good thing. I don’t want an onion that tastes like candy. But they are fairly mild and tasty. Excellent for an onion sandwich. Yes, you read that correctly. An onion sandwich. I have mentioned it before, but it is worth promoting again. Sprinkly a piece of good, crusty bread with vinegar, salt and pepper, give it a light schmear of mayo, and put on a layer of thinly sliced onion., and voila, the onion sandwich. If that seems a little too pure, add some slices of tomato.

Finely, we have some peppers. The plants actually look really healthy, but they are taking forever to produce ripe peppers. The colored one is sweet. Any other pepper is hot. The larger ones are either a Newmex (paler green, long and pointy) or a Poblano (dark green). Neither is usually particularly hot, though the occasional one surprises, but they both taste good. Anything smaller is hotter. The jalapeños have been surprisingly strong this year. Maybe taking forever to size up has concentrated the heat. You will have a sense of just how powerful the pepper is when you cut it open and smell it (carefully).

You could make a nice cold caponata with grilled eggplant, zucchini. onion and leek, roasted and peeled Newmex or Poblano, and tomatoes. Dice the lot, add some finely chopped hotter pepper and parsley, olive oil, vinegar (a good amount of vinegar) salt and pepper, and let it sit for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend.