First Friday of the month at 5p.m.
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The soil now gets a rumpling soft and damp, And small regard to the future of any weed. The final flat of the hoe’s approval stamp
Is reserved for the bed of a few selected seed.
There’s seldom more than a man to a harrowed piece. Men work alone, their lots plowed far apart,
One stringing a chain of seed in an open crease,
And another stumbling after a halting cart.
To the fresh and black of the squares of early mould The leafless bloom of a plum is fresh and white; Though there’s more than a doubt if the weather is not too cold
For the bees to come and serve its beauty aright.
Wind goes from farm to farm in wave on wave, But carries no cry of what is hoped to be.
There may be little or much beyond the grave, But the strong are saying nothing until they see.
1936 Robert Frost
Leeks are one of the oldest cultivated Alliums, related to both the Lily and the Amaryllis families. Leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering other flavors. Their soft texture is essential in making flavorful winter soups with other cool season crops like kale, chard, turnips, potatoes, and carrots. Alliums have been well-researched and found to reduce total cholesterol and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels, at the same time helping to lower blood pressure, moderating the risk of heart attack and stroke. Just two servings per week is associated with reduced rates of prostate, ovarian and colon cancers. The combination of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, and iron make leeks particularly helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, slowing absorption of sugars to ensure their proper metabolism in the body. Martha Stewart has 39 leek recipes on her website including Fettuccine, Leek & White Beans which was eaten heartily by our vegetarian son Patrick, this past week. Halve Leeks lengthwise, from top to bottom and wash well under cold running water. Use the tough, dark green portion of the stalk to add flavor to soup stock.–denesse Willey
The lengthening days make a farmer’s pulse quicken, as much from fright as anticipation. We have finished digging our winter potatoes. That crew has now begun to cut seed potatoes for spring planting. Truck after truck arrives at the farm with composts made from either dairy manure or urban yard greens. Our neighbor, Tom Bursey, broadcasting the dark, earthy fertilizer, drives in between white bags neatly marking the fields. Moments later, powerful tractors work fresh microbial food into the awakening soil. Flocks of small birds follow the disk, looking to pick off an easy snack. – denesse