LocalHarvest Newsletter, July 25, 2014

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

A while back one of my sisters and I were sitting around talking about the farmers market she had been frequenting, when one of her sons came in and got mildly interested in the conversation. We began talking about where and when different things grow, and I was surprised to realize how unfamiliar he was with the origins of his favorite foods. Potatoes grow underground? Cucumbers on vines? Almonds on trees? I will never forget the flash of insight that lit up his face when he said, "So that's why there are always pictures of cows on milk cartons!"

We know that kids are not born knowing where food comes from, yet we may assume they pick up that information along the way. In most cultures, in most periods of human history, children did just that. Nowadays, though, how could they? The typical activities of modern childhood do not afford kids many opportunities to use their natural curiosity and observation skills to learn about food production or the wider natural world. Given the chance, children still like to do so.

Summer and fall are great times to take kids to visit farms or plant a garden so they can see food production in action. What's not to love about picking berries, digging for potatoes, squatting on the ground to watch worms wiggle through the soil, or leaning against a fencepost watching goats be goats? Most children I know have fun doing these things, IF (and it is a big ‘if') their grown-ups do not spoil the experience. From a kid's perspective, it isn't very fun to be outside if your parents make a fuss when you get muddy, or whip out the hand sanitizer every time you touch something cool. And who can really look at anything if the grownups are always in a hurry?

Don't get me wrong: some days I am that parent. ("The ripe strawberries are RED!" or "Keep moving, we have to go!") In other situations I can be the kind of parent who wants to make everything into a "teachable moment." But I am trying to relax and remember that if I want my child to be curious about food and enjoy exploring the natural world, I need to give her chances to do these things and then get out of the way. I am not suggesting that we take our kids to farms and leave them to their own devices. Not at all. Yikes. I am suggesting, though, that once our kids are settled at the farm or in the garden, we step back a little and let them have their own experience. Maybe we talk with them about it on the ride home, or maybe we let it be. They'll figure out which strawberries taste the sweetest, and next year they'll remember that it was the red ones. They might even remember that strawberries grow on the short plants with the dark green, deeply veined, serrated leaves that grow in groups of three.

Until next time, take good care and eat well,

Erin Barnett

Cookbook Giveaway

Last month we ran a cookbook giveaway that turned out to be quite popular. This month you have another chance to win a copy of Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton. Taunton Press is making three copies available for LocalHarvest newsletter readers. This book is full of farmer's market-friendly recipes, great stories, and photos pretty enough to inspire you to try something new.. If you'd like to enter, be sure to do so by midnight on Friday, August 1, 2014. Winners will be notified by email on Wednesday, August 6.

From the LH Store

The lavender harvest is in full swing, so now is the perfect time to order this year's crop. One of the most popular of all herbs, lavender is known for its calming, relaxing, and antiseptic properties. We love having it around the house just for its heady fragrance. Get yours today.

Want to make your summer salads even more nutritious? Sprinkle on some freshly ground organic flax seed, and get your Omega-3s along with your greens!

Going to a wedding this summer? A LocalHarvest gift certificate makes the perfect gift!

Use CSAware and Get New Members Through LocalHarvest!

CSAware makes running a CSA a whole lot easier. Love to try it, but think your shareholders will object? One of our farms polled its members about the online ordering experience with CSAware: 96% of their respondents said they had a good experience!

If you'd like an online tour, let us know.

Food from the Farm: First Date Pasta

Once upon a time there was a certain someone I wanted to impress, and I invited him over for dinner and served this pasta. That was nearly 14 years ago, and we still eat together nearly every night. It probably wasn't the pasta that did it, but it surely helped!