LocalHarvest Newsletter, December 21, 2012

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

Tonight will be the longest night of the year. For many, this time of deepened darkness offers a welcome counterbalance to the stresses of the holiday season. The long evenings make us want to curl up in bed with a book, immersed in quiet. This year the darkness offers another kind of retreat, a space to grieve the sorrows we carry as a nation. It is a time to turn inward. When we do, many of us find that we hunger for that which is simple and meaningful and real. We long for life's essentials.

In the world of agriculture, one of these essentials is the land itself. We who love good food often focus on the fruits of the land, but that natural abundance is only possible when soil is cared for over time. Protecting farmland is vital to strong local food economies. The common good requires farmland that is safeguarded from erosion and toxic chemicals, and public policies that recognize the value of well-tended land and help preserve it from development. Organic farmers nourish the soil that we all may be fed.

Subjects like farmland protection can be dry and abstract until we are touched by a story. I recently read a book that brought this issue to life. It is called, Turn Here, Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works. I recommend it. It is a good read and a powerful book. Beyond making a strong case for the soil, it is also a love story, a description of one couple's "growing up" into successful organic farmers, and a sometimes astonishing illustration of the intimate connections between people, plants and animals. And, it is a story of land lost once and then fought hard for. In the latter struggle, the farm was threatened by a proposed crude oil pipeline which would have destroyed the integrity of the soil, and thus the entire business. For those of you who like a good David and Goliath tale, this one will not disappoint.

This book reminded me how hard so many farmers work to stay on their land – working two or three jobs, working all hours of the day and night, sacrificing all sorts of comforts and security to keep on farming. In this season of counting our blessings, I am filled with gratitude for their labor, and for the commitment of all those who support them.

Until next time, take good care and eat well.

Erin Barnett

CSAware: New logo, new website!

This month we launched a shiny new website for CSAware, our CSA management software. We also gave CSAware a smooth new logo. You can see them both at www.csaware.com. Want a tour? Let us know. We'd be happy to show you how CSAware grew in 2012.

From the LocalHarvest Catalog:

If winter's official arrival has you itching for a new project, LocalHarvest farmers offer oodles of yarn and fibers you can put to crafty purposes!

In need of some holiday gift ideas? LocalHarvest farmers offer a big selection of gift baskets, filled with everything from fruits to honey, cheeses to meats. If your loved ones like nuts, the 2012 crop is in, and they are at their freshest and finest. We also have some beautiful California olive oils to treat the home cooks on your list. And don't forget what a great gift a box of fresh citrus makes!

Can't decide? LocalHarvest e-gift cards make a great gift. Your friends and family can browse through our entire catalog and find the thing that they like best.

Food From the Farm: Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. And so good! We eat them most often as "fries," using the simple recipe below. These make a good accompaniment to a bowl of chili or any kind of burger or sandwich.