LocalHarvest Newsletter, January 25, 2013

photo by Capriole

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

Last summer I started making cheese at home. It's nothing fancy, just a little two-step soft cheese, but I absolutely love having it around. It goes well with many foods, is light and tasty, and because it is made of goat's milk, is easy to digest. But the level at which I am into this cheese goes beyond all that. I finally realized that making cheese is deeply satisfying because I had previously put it in the category of things that have to be bought at a store. Learning to make this one simple cheese turned me into a producer, which made me feel more active, more resourceful, and more capable.

Long ago the American farmer and philosopher, Wendell Berry, wrote about the societal cost of our collective case of "cheap energy mind." This is the mindset that believes that the world can supply our every material want without consequence. It has driven myriad aspects of public policy for the last sixty years and brought us things like disposable electronics, Land Rovers, and agribusiness as we know it. Cheap energy mind maintains that making things you could buy is a waste of time. We live in a society steeped in this belief, so even small steps in the direction of self-sufficiency amount to acts of both creativity and resistance to the pull of the norm.

Any time we decide to let our innate curiosity loose, we participate more deeply in the world - how do you make cheese anyway? How about bread, or beer? We experience this deeper engagement, I believe, as a sense of being more fully alive. Making things is good medicine both for ourselves and for the world. For now more than ever, the world needs all of us to be vibrantly alive.

Homemade cheese anyone? My recipe is below.

Until next time, take good care and eat well.

Erin Barnett

Looking ahead to next year?

CSA Farmers: It's a great time of year to consider upgrading your business processes. CSAware can help. If you'd like to ask us some questions about it or take an online tour, let us know! We recently upgraded the website for CSAware. Check it out!

From the LocalHarvest Catalog:

It's the best time of year to think about your spring garden and start ordering seeds! Whether you're looking for your old favorite varieties or something new and different for this year's garden, our farmers have great things to offer. Over 1500 varieties at last count, from seed growers all over the country.

Thinking about joining a CSA to round out your summer veggie options? CSAs are beginning to fill up, so now is a good time to research the possibilities in your area. We have 4600 CSAs in our directory, some of which offer their shares online.

Craving citrus? Several LocalHarvest farmers have great varieties ripe and ready for your breakfast table! We have blood oranges, lemons, honeybells and more!

Update on Raw Almonds

Way back in 2007, we wrote an article about how the Almond Board of California was requiring all raw almonds to be "pasteurized" with a toxic fumigant or steam treated. The safety issues the pasteurization is intended to address are nebulous at best, and really, who wants to eat anything treated with a known carcinogen? A legal battle has been ongoing these last five years, with a small group of almond growers taking on the USDA, trying to keep U.S. almonds truly raw. The case is being considered by the Federal Court of Appeals. There's a new website where interested people can follow the case, read the legal briefs, and, if moved, make a donation.

Food From the Farm: Chevre

The cheese I have begun making is chevre, a cheese made from goats' milk. You may have to ask around town for a source of farm-fresh goats' milk but this cheese is quite simple to make, so once you find a supply of goat milk and order some culture you'll be on your way.