LocalHarvest Newsletter, November 21, 2013

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For weeks I look forward to preparing a beautiful meal and relaxing with my family. Sadly, Thanksgiving night invariably finds me deflated. I regret having gotten irritable in the final crazy minutes of gravy making and turkey carving or feel dispirited by the lack of meaningful conversation at the table. I miss the family members who are absent. I wish people would have gotten along better and connected more deeply. The list of discontents varies from year to year but the theme is the same: it didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped.

This year I am on to myself. All month I've been thinking about letting go of my imaginary ideals and showing up with an open heart for whatever happens. I anticipate that it may be a little hard to pull off on the big day. I know I'm not alone. For many people the holidays are a time of heightened need for things to be a particular way. Certainly there's nothing wrong with wanting a lovely holiday. But high expectations can hold us in their grip. What we want to see blinds us to what is actually in front of us and diminishes it. If we then distance ourselves from the imperfect, that gap makes it even harder to connect to things as they are. It is only in approaching a thing — be it this particular holiday meal or an individual human being — with attention that we can fully appreciate it, for all its faults and strengths, for all its funky uniqueness. Paying attention with kindness opens us to the wholeness around us. From there it is a short leap to gratitude. That which we see deeply enough can virtually always be counted as a blessing.

As we each look around our Thanksgiving tables next week, may we focus on the kindness and generosity that is shared between us and give thanks for the day we have been given, whether or not it is the one we had imagined.

Blessings on your holiday table.

Erin Barnett

From the LocalHarvest Store:

Love to decorate for the holidays? Consider a wreath from one of our farmers! We carry boxwood, balsam, pine, fir, mixed green, and dried flower wreaths. Order early so you can enjoy your wreath all season long.

If you're looking for farm-fresh persimmons, we have them. Fuyu persimmons can be eaten just like an apple and are a welcome, healthy treat to have in the house this time of year.

Ready or not, the holiday gift giving season is upon us. Why not avoid the mall and buy presents made by family farmers? We've got over 10,000 products in our LocalHarvest catalog, including a wide variety of gift basketsfruitmeatshoney, and of course, our ever-popular  gift certificates!

CSA Farmers: Looking ahead to next year?

This time of year many CSA farmers are saying to themselves, "Next year we have to get the office under control!" If that sounds familiar, this fall might be a good time to take a look at our CSA management software, CSAware. If you would like to see how it works and what it can offer you farm, let us know and we'll set you up for a tour.

Help Preserve Heritage Foods

For the last five years LocalHarvest has partnered with Slow Food USA to help promote their Ark of Taste products. The Ark of Taste catalogs, preserves, and promotes unique local foods that are in danger of going extinct. Ark foods include rare breeds of heritage pigs, specialty melons, and Creole cream cheese, among hundreds of others. Many LocalHarvest farmers are helping to preserve these unique foods by growing and raising them, and you can search LocalHarvest to find sources of particular Ark foods. The Slow Food USA website has an abundance of information about heritage foods. We encourage you to spend a little time combing through the Ark of Taste product pages. If you know of a food you think would be a good candidate for inclusion in the Ark, Slow Food USA is accepting nominations.

Farm-Fresh Food: Apple Shrub

One of the Ark of Taste's heritage foods is Shrub, a beverage that enjoyed its heyday in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Shrub can be made from a variety of fruits. Here is one recipe using apples. The finished product can be served in cocktails or added to fizzy water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.