Terra Bella Farm

  (Auxvasse, Missouri)
Dedicated to sustainable agriculture and the arts
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Bitter cold

It was the 85th birthday of our eldest relative, my mom, last Saturday, so we drove for two days to get to the party. Carrying two legs of lamb and a bag of sweet potatoes, it was a big responsibility, although the bitter cold made us think twice--was it worth it?

Ah, yes! The delicious food made the event very special. We de-boned one of the legs of lamb, according to instructions on a web page, and cooked the other one whole. The platter was beautiful and the meat was tender and sweet. My sister had made a mint sauce using fresh mint, and that was a wonderful addition.

But, for me, the sweet potatoes stole the show. 2008 was a good sweet potato year when, if you left your car unlocked, people snuck sweet potatoes into it. Everyone in the neighborhood had them, and every variety. We left the huge ones at home, and only took the smaller, skinny ones to the party.

My sister and I chatted as we scrubbed them, cut off the really bad places, leaving the merely unsightly places, and put them in the oven to bake. No sauce, no mashing, just a homely platter of sweet potatoes--or, as Stuart suggested, maybe they were yams. Nobody could remember the difference.

Well, whatever you call them, they were amazing. It was a good sweet potato year!


A locavore's Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. The kids are coming in, and the parents, and aunts and uncles. It's a weeklong celebration, and we eat mostly local food.

Just a few minutes ago, some of the kids drove into the farm with a refrigerated truck borrowed from a local co-op. On their way to pick up a load of frozen turkeys from the closest source--about 100 miles away. They stopped long enough to give me their bread order, since I'm going the other direction to the bakery.

From our place, we have lettuce still in the field. And, I've been picking through the winter pears and the apples in the basement. Sweet potatoes from a neighbor. And, tomorrow, I'll pick up white potatoes from another friend, trading her a bag of our flour for it. It's the first year we have our own flour. It's the soft kind, for pie crusts and cookies.

From the store, we'll get the fixings for a cranberry salad, and a few beverages. That's about it.


Cleaning up the gardens

Every autumn, after the first frost, there's a long period of nice weather that's just perfect for cleaning up the farm, and maybe getting ready for the holidays. This is the time when we tidy up the sheds and roll up the hoses, mark the tools that need repair, and start planning for next year.

Despite the crisp air, and, compared to the summer frenzy of getting ready for market, the leisurely pace of the work, it's a bittersweet time and we're often stopped in our tracks with sadness. A long series of long nights stretches ahead. Time for painting and reading, then sleep.

Ah, autumn!

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