LocalHarvest Newsletter, December 18, 2014

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

A few days ago I went down to the pantry to get a jar of jam for a sandwich. While there I took note of the supply and found it surprisingly low -- only two jars remaining. Immediately my mind went to the bags of strawberries I had put in the freezer last June. "I could make a batch of jam one night next week;" I thought, "then we would have plenty." I added it to my mental list, which was already cramped with holiday tasks. Then I stopped. The mistake I so often make in December is adding one more thing when the days are already full. Having plenty of homemade jam on hand is a good thing, but slowing down is better. Jam can wait until January.

The holiday season is an ironic time of year. We get extra busy in the darkest weeks of winter, when our bodies naturally want to go to bed early. And this busyness sometimes keeps us from looking around and counting our blessings. Every year I try to remember to keep December simple. Every year I get stressed out and have to re-learn the lesson.

This week I found myself repeating "simple is good" like a mantra. We are having eggs for supper tonight...simple. Bean soup tomorrow night...simple. We will bake Christmas cookies on Saturday...but only two kinds. A couple of years ago my extended family started drawing names for a book exchange and it transformed the shopping experience into something manageable and enjoyable. Every small simplification offers a gift: the opportunity to be a little more relaxed and grounded. Taken together these have the potential to create a holiday season in which I am both nicer to be around and happier.

Sometimes we think that we need to buy, cook, schedule, bake, do a lot of extra things to feel the holiday spirit and make our family and friends feel loved. But I think what we all really crave at the holidays is feeling connected. Connection doesn't take a lot of hoopla, and in fact, that gets in the way. Connection takes intention and the willingness to put aside whatever keeps us from opening our hearts to those around us.

So in this season of holy days, my wish for myself and you is that we may all put our holiday energy into genuine connections with the people we love. As the folksinger Kate Wolf said so well, "Give yourself to love, if love is what you're after..."

With our wishes for connection and peace for all, now and in the new year,


Erin Barnett

From the LH Store

In need of some holiday gift ideas? Buy directly from LocalHarvest farmers! We are offering free shipping on many types of citrus through the end of the month. Great for you or a friend!

If your loved ones like nuts, the 2014 crop is in, and they are at their freshest and finest. And the home cooks on your list would be delighted to try this great new ingredient, camelina oil, on sale through the end of this month.

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

CSAware: Looking Ahead to Next Year?

More and more CSA farmers are turning to CSAware to help manage their CSA. If your CSA would like to consider our software for the 2015 season, let us know and we will set you up for a tour.

Food from the Farm: Cranberry Infused Vodka

Two years ago our local NPR station aired an interview with a chef named James Norton, talking about how he uses fresh cranberries. One of his suggestions was to infuse them in vodka, for use in all kinds of winter cocktails. Here's his recipe.