“Let your children grow up to be farmers. Let them know what it is like to be free from fluorescent lights and laser pointer meetings. Let them challenge themselves to be forever resourceful and endlessly clever. Let them whistle and sing loud as they like without getting called into an office for “disturbing the workforce.” Let them commute down a winding path with birdsong instead of a freeway’s constant growl. Let them be bold. Let them be romantic. Let them grow up not having to ask another adult for permission to go to the dentist at 2 p.m. on a Thursday. Let them get dirty. Let them kill animals. Let them cry at the beauty of fallow earth they just signed the deed for. Let them bring animals into this world, and realize they don’t care about placenta on their shirt because they no longer care about shirts. Let them wake up during a snowstorm and fight drifts at the barn door instead of traffic. Let them learn what real work is. Let them find happiness in the understanding that success and wealth are not the same thing. Let them skip the fancy wedding. Let them forget four years of unused college. Let them go. Let them go home.” ~ Jenna Woginrich
The excerpt above is from a recent article on the Huffington Post blog called, “Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers”. It was written to counteract another recent article in the New York Times called, “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers”.
When I read the New York Times article it made a lot of sense to me. It’s difficult to make a living by being solely a farmer. It can feel overwhelming at times. When my husband and I found out we were going to have our first child, it made perfect sense that one of us had to work outside of farming. We would never be able to buy a house or have a savings otherwise.
My first farming job lasted 8 amazing seasons and it really changed my life. After the first year I knew that this job was my path in life (most people thought I was nuts). One of the farm owners there used to say, “farms eat money”. That always made me feel nervous about starting my own farm. After working for 11 years on 3 different farms I know that this statement is true. The expenses on a farm are astronomical. If a tractor breaks, it could mean costing you a huge chunk of your profits for the entire season. If there is a hail storm you could lose many crops. There could be a pest or disease that wipes out any vegetable or animal. Any of these scenarios can happen in a moment. There are the crops we grow that make us money, and then there are others we grow because our customers love them or we love growing them and we sacrifice that profit.
All that being said, there is a reason farm owners and their farmers keep going. It is a truly AMAZING profession. And most of us farmers make enough money to stay afloat. Farming is a lifestyle choice. We choose to sacrifice a bit of $$ to be outside all day doing something we believe in. We choose to nourish ourselves and our community. We choose to push our bodies to physical limits. We choose to walk around barefoot all day if we like. We choose to wear our pajamas to work if we see fit and no one ever notices:) I can honestly say that I rarely have a work day that I don’t enjoy to the fullest. 98% of my days at work I LOVE my job. I hope that whatever profession my children choose, they do what they are most passionate about and take pride in, especially if it means being a farmer!
On behalf of the HBF crew,
The goodness this week:
- beets or carrots
- dandelion greens
- sweet peppers
- hot peppers
- summer squash
- yukon gold potatoes
RECIPE OF THE WEEK:
3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley or basil
1 pound pasta
15 cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.