Monday, August 16, 2010

Keep On Working

I was digging in the yard today when a letter came from Southampton way, keep on working, keep on working. I must admit I was a bit in the red, but if you never have pleasure then you could be dead. Keep on working.

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." With all respect to Mr. Franklin, farmers, especially small organic farmers, might not buy all of what is being said. Yes, the physical labor is invigorating and helps build strength and endurance and aids in weight loss. But all that sun, despite regular use of sunscreen, and all that bending over to weed and plant, and all that lifting of heavy crates, are not the best ingredients for great health; if not in the short term, then in the long term. Dry skin, cracked hands, and aching backs are the farmers' lot in life. As far as wealth goes, well a farmer can, in time, make a decent wage. Yet, if you take into account the number of hours a farmer works on a daily basis from mid-March through the end of November, the hourly wage is minimal. And as far as being wise, there are a lot easier ways in which to make a living. This leads to the question for the farmer, 'why put yourself through this day in and day out for the better (worser) part of eight months'? The answer to this will vary from farmer to farmer, but in all likelihood a common theme will emerge- a love, a commitment, a passion for what they are doing. Farmers who are growing to a local community, farmers who grow organically and sustainably, are in fact wise in that they are striving to preserve the land and the environment. These farmers are wealthy, not necessarily in monetary rewards but in the responses their produce elicits from consumers. When a customer tells David that she and her husband attribute an improvement in their overall health to what David is making available to them, then David, and farmers with similar experiences, is indeed wealthy.

As of this posting the fullness of the bounty has arrived. Lettuce, carrots (purple, orange, and yellow), beets (four varieties) fennel, basil (four varieties0, parsley, cilantro, summer squash (a variety shapes and colors), cucumbers (including Suyo long and Striped Armenian), tropea and cipollini onions (both very sweet), scallions (white and purple), garlic, melons, and on and on, have all hit their stride. Most wonderfully the heirloom tomatoes have arrived. For those not familiar with heirloom tomatoes, this will be explained int he next posting. For now, believe the following- Run, don't wlak to your nearest farmers' market and buy yourself some heirloom tomatoes; if you like tomatoes you won't be sorry and you will then have a hard time going back to what is sold in stores. They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. A painter's palate won't have more colors than these tomatoes. (OK, there aren't any blue tomatoes, that that's about it.) And the flavor, ah, the flavor. Once you have enjoyed the wondrous flavors of heirlooms (or even 'regular'), grown locally, organically, and sustainably, you will be challenged to enjoy the tomatoes that you find at your local store once local tomatoes are out of season. (This is probably true of most of the produce you will find at markets.) And when you get your tomatoes home, please, do not put them in the fridge.

People who come to the Lawrenceville (NJ) Farmers' Market, thank you. People who come to the Rittenhouse Square Farmers' Market in Philadelphia, than you. Thanks to one and all who come to the on site Z Food Farm stand. Thanks also to the chefs of Rouge (Philly), Pumpkin (Philly), Blue Bottle (Hopewell, NJ), Palate (Newtown, Pa), and elements (Princeton, NJ). David is well aware that there are multiple options as to where produce can be purchased. David is greatly appreciative and grateful to all who obtain their vegetables from Z Food Farm. Many who come to market comment on the multiple colors of the various vegetables that are offered. Many indicate their appreciation of the attractiveness of what David is offering. Your kind words mean a great deal to David. Again, thanks to one and all.

Late breaking news- David finally has his walk-in cooler up and running. This is a huge part of putting together the puzzle that is Z Food Farm. More details about the cooler coming soon.

One final note- Currently, elements restaurant in Princeton, NJ is presenting an appetizer named: z-food farm vegetables. With a couple of exceptions the ingredients for the dish are vegetables grown by Farmer David. The support shown to Z Food Farm by elements is greatly appreciated. Great food, great cocktails, and great people are waiting to provide you with a wonderful dining experience. If you are interested in checking out elements head on over to

Good, healthy eating to one and all. Eat local. Eat sustainably. Eat organically. Support local farmers. Keep on working.

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