- Black Beans
- Salad Mix
- Russet Potatoes
- Kabocha Squash
- Golden Beets
- Cornmeal & Dry Corn
You may have noticed that dry beans as an option in the CSA is becoming a trend. If you chose to take home some of the Marfax beans from last week, you may have also noticed that the beans you get from our farm are different from any bean you’ve ever tasted. Namely, their texture is creamy and pleasantly chewy. They didn’t take millennia to cook and, when they were done, they weren’t bitter and grainy. You actually enjoyed eating them and not just because you heard on the news that they are healthy. You’ve started saying things like, “Wow. These beans have incredible flavor!” very loudly at dinner. Or, “Hey honey, why don’t we have some beans tonight?” without the usual anxiety associated with having to avoid being in unventilated areas with other people for the next 48 hours.
Consider yourself warned: If you continue with the Winter CSA, you are in serious danger of becoming a bean-eater. Your reputation may be affected. You will have to be prepared to defend your behaviors to your friends and coworkers, who won’t understand. Your children will be too ashamed to invite their friends over for sleep-overs. But that’s ok. It will be worth it. These beans are really freakin’ good!
You might be wondering why they are so much more interesting than the beans you grew up with (unless your mother or father was a bean farmer). We have a theory about that. Though first, to explain it simply, the beans that you get in the store are really old.
Now our completely unfounded theory (try not to put too much thought into it) is that all of the beans that you get in the supermarket were grown back at the height of the cold war in the 60’s. Concerned about Cuba, the US government was preparing for WWIII. Seeing as how beans are the perfect food during the nuclear winter-time, they paid farmers to grow enough black, pinto, navy, and kidney beans to last the country a hundred years. To keep their stores fresh, they sell the old beans on the market and replace them with the freshly harvested crop each year. Therefore, your store-bought bag of beans is of such poor eating quality because it has been stored underground in a bunker in the desert for at least half a century. Storage in such conditions causes the beans to desiccate. With such a low moisture content, the beans are much harder, both on the teeth and on the digestive system, than the “fresh” dry beans that we offer.
The situation with the whole corn and cornmeal that will be available in this week’s share is a little different. As with dry beans, the corn that we grow is nothing like its store-bought counterpart. As many of you probably know already, thanks to the work of folks like Michael Pollan, the corn that is grown predominantly in the Midwestern United States is barely fit for human consumption.
Over the years, it has been bred for essentially one thing: yields. Eating qualities like flavor, nutrition and the like fell by the wayside of modern hybrid corn breeding eons ago. Therefore, the corn you find in the store is, to state it baldly, re-packaged animal feed.
The corn that we grow, by contrast, is the same corn that was grown by the Western Abenaki tribe in Vermont back when the Northeastern US was their land. Since then it has been grown and maintained by pioneer farmers in that region, and was famously the only corn variety to produce a crop during the year without a summer in 1816. It was bred by people who had to eat nothing but unleavened cornbread all winter long. And the amazing thing is… they could.
All silliness aside, the corn and beans available in the CSA, and the numerous and threatened heritage foods grown by gardeners and small farmers all over the world, are not only tremendously flavorful, they are widely adaptable, disease resistant, and drought tolerant. Characteristics not shared by their modern counterparts. Their wisdom runs deep into our history and their seeds have traveled on a path to the present that is the soil and climate in which we live. And, importantly, they are not property of any one individual.
They may not be as cheap as the megastore alternative, but we hope you’ll embrace them. Because in a food system like ours, where we are in danger of losing our food heritage, the seeds that have sustained our predecessors for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years. These foods only exist because they were eaten and depended upon. They will only continue to exist if you eat them. If you depend upon them.
So eat for the future of our food sovereignty. Shovel our delicious food heritage into your mouth, chew it up, and taste the rich history of the land. Go ahead, be a bean-eater, and celebrate what that really means.
We hope you enjoy this week’s produce.