Since Deb and Richard have been kind enough to let me spend a few hours a week volunteering at Tantré, it's gotten a lot clearer to me why local, organic food is so precious. Even putting aside all the organization, business and animal husbandry skills that go into it, it's unbelievable what consistent, long, hard work it is to plant, weed and harvest almost everything by hand. I'm only there for a few hours, perhaps harvesting some carrots and then some turnips, and by the time I go home I'm exhausted and have to go sit on the couch for a while. I really don't think most of the people I know (myself included of course) are at this moment physically capable of even one full day of work on a farm.
But although it's demanding and sometimes cold and wet, it's also incredibly beautiful. And even if I'm not the best at finding them, there's a serenity in spending a couple of hours bent over looking for the biggest among a huge bed of finger-sized carrots. Or kneeling, with 10 rubberbands around your fingers to help count the bunches, between rows of turnips that practically fall into your hand when you just touch them. Part of what makes it so appealing is that their dirt (soil, I understand is the correct term) is absolutely gorgeous - so light and fragrant it's practically like bread by itself. At 1:00 the lunch bell rings. Each day someone has the task of making lunch and everyone sits around the table enjoying a big vegetable feast, often with some pasta and some homemade cheese, and sometimes there's hot chocolate with milk from their cows.
So, I'm giving thanks for Tantré this year, both for the beautiful food we are lucky to get from them and also for the part they play in pioneering a new kind of food community. I'm looking forward to the Thanksgiving share, with which I will also give thanks to our dear pilgrim and immigrant ancestors, with some pie pumpkins, some All Blue and Swedish Almond Potatoes, and a big mess o' brussels sprouts I hope. Although we get our CSA box from Tantré all summer, this will be the first time we've tried the size XL box of 60 pounds of hardy and storage veg. It costs $80 and it's going to be ready this Saturday.
Here's what they say about what's in the Thanksgiving share:
"You will be receiving 1 big box and 1 regular “share” box of produce...We are still finalizing the harvest list, but at this point, you will be receiving a variety of greens (3 kinds of kale, collard greens, Asian greens, spinach), many root vegetables (beets, carrots, 2 kinds of radishes, celeraic, turnips, 3 varieties of potatoes), 4 varieties of squash, 3 pie pumpkins, red cabbage, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, 2 kinds of cauliflower, garlic, green onions, 1 herb bunch (parsley, sage, or rosemary), and a dried flower bouquet. We are still subject to changes on this list due to weather or miscalculation on availability, but we hope to provide you with a bountiful Thanksgiving feast and/or winter storage."
Contact them about getting a Thanksgiving share, or sign up soon for next year's CSA!