Mother's Day is Sunday and I could wax poetic about my mom, my wonderful fan and most likely the only person who reads my blog regularly... I'll salute her, in my own special way when I am with her this weekend. But for now and on a broader scale, I am thinking about all of the farmers and gardeners and people that tend to bees and vineyards and orchards. I am thinking about all of the people that nurture and care for our Mother Earth.
Last Sunday I spent the day planting cabbage and leeks, parsley and brussel sprouts for Nic and Jen Welty that own 9 Bean Rows Farm and CSA. I belong to their CSA. That means, I pay for my seasonal harvest up-front, helping to offset their investment costs and in return once a week, I receive a bountiful box full of veggies, salad mix, eggs, a loaf of fresh bread, some fresh herbs and oftentimes, items that Nic has foraged from a nearby forest. I get the freshest produce possible, free of pesticides, herbicides and other nasty things that don't belong in my food. I know that Nic loves his farm and tends to the soil and earth the way that I would want a farmer to do; lovingly, sustainably. I know my farmer personally. I trust him to feed me the most delicious, nutritious leafy things possible. Work on their farm is entirely voluntary. I participate because I too love the earth, love to eat and I love to experience the work that farmers have to do to grow my food. And anyway, I am a closet farmer. I have a few blueberry bushes, way too many strawberries and not enough of anything else. The original Japanese CSA-style farms are called in Japanese " teikei", which translates to "putting the farmer's face on food".
So Nic and Jen, and to all of the other people that tend to Mother Earth, I salute you this Mother's Day. Thankyou for your hard work and your love of the land. I eat because you grow- what a wonderful partnership all of us have.
Here is my recipe for Tuscan Bread Salad that uses 5 items (croutons, ramps, oregano,parsley and fresh lettuces) from my weekly CSA share adapted from a recipe originally created by Robin Robertson who wrote Vegan Planet.
Croutons (about 4-5 cups)
6-8 freshly picked Ramps, chopped coarsely
3 TBSP. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar or other sweetner
1 tsp. fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
1 lb. cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 cup vellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
a variety of fresh lettuces
1. In a blender or food processor, combine the ramps , vinegar, sugar, oregano, and salt and process until smooth. With the processor or blender running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube, processing until blended.
Season with the black pepper.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine the bread cubes, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives and parsley. Pour the vinagrette over the salad mixture and toss to combine. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop before serving.
3. Toss with 6 cups of a variety of fresh lettuces.