Ambrosia of the Gods
It’s summertime, and the living is easy, especially when there are farmers’ markets to patronize and fresh produce and baked goods to purchase. Annie and I stopped in at the Laytonville farmers’ market the other day, on our way back from Willits. Casey and Amber have their HappyDay Farms booth open now, even though their chief reason for being at the market is to distribute the CSA shares to their customers.
They have somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 CSA customers these days, though I know there are more than 25 shares, because Annie and I receive one, as do Benny and Holly, and Lito. I look forward to Wednesdays so much now, because it’s like Christmas every week.
Last week’s share included two humongous heads of red-leaf lettuce, Chinese cabbage leaves, onions, a bunch of carrots, some romanesque, garlic, peas, some gorgeous zucchini and other assorted goodness, some of which went with Annie down to Willits. I relish the organically grown produce we receive each week, and it never goes to waste. When I am up here by myself (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), I plan my meals around the goodness that comes in our share, and eat it until it’s gone. I saute up onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, broccoli or romanesque, and wrap it all in a giant spinach or sun-dried- tomato tortilla, sprinkle in some cheddar cheese, add some Pico-Pica sauce, and scarf. If I’m of a mind, I make a fritata, using those same ingredients, but adding eggs, and baking it all in the oven for a scant fifteen minutes. Ambrosia of the gods!
HappyDay Farms is the culmination of a dream begun forty-one years ago, and kicked around for the next three years, before coming to fruition with the purchase of land, up here on Bell Springs Road. When the folks moved up here in 1977, it still took another four years before I built a sixteen by twenty foot cabin, in the summer of 1981. I say I built it; actually, I was the lumper, while my two brothers, Matt and Tom, and my neighbor Rex, framed the cabin in.
Back in those days, we functioned on a labor-exchange basis, which means I helped work on Rex’s addition, helped Matt do his front porch, and worked with Tom on his road, in exchange for their help on my cabin. It makes so much sense, and for our small community, it was the way the work-world rocked. I also remember going over to Rex’s and tilling his garden the old-fashioned way, with a shovel, simply because I wanted him to know that I could work hard.
Our dream, when we were kicking around the whole commune idea, was to become self-sufficient, on our twenty-acre parcels, and we’re closer to that dream now than ever before. It’s even more powerful, now that the third generation is rising to the task. Annie and I always hoped that at least one of our sons would end up here, on the mountain, and our dream has come to pass.
While we were at the Laytonville farmers’ market the other day, we saw a whole passel of folks that we hadn’t seen in a month of Sundays. We talked with Susan, who was as bubbly as ever, as she told us about the next March Against Monsanto, due to take place on the Fourth of July, right in downtown Laytonville. I think it is the most American and patriotic thing I can do, to use my right to protest, alongside the busy 101, and let other folks know that I feel it’s reprehensible to allow greed to contaminate the most basic of our needs, the food millions of people eat. The fact that I am informed about the poison Monsanto provides for so many, is all well and good, but everyone needs to be knowledgeable so that each can decide for him or herself.
While at the Laytonville farmers’ market, I loved seeing Heidi, Adelle, Carolyn, John and Marbry, and Debbie (again, as we had bumped into her and Davey in Willits). We also noted that there was a guy at the market who was sharpening knives, and found out that he is going to be up at our own market, this week.
Our farmers’ market, up here on the mountain, is as amazing as any I have ever attended. Though I sit behind my little table, providing organic juice beverages for anyone who is interested, I can still see what’s going on around me. Annabelle informed us that last week there were more than 110 people there at one point. She said there were actually more, because she had counted all that she could see from one spot, and that she couldn’t even see those out by the road. People have been coming from all over the county and that’s what makes it so successful. Even the crew up at Island Mountain was making it down here last summer, and that’s a three-hour roundtrip. It just go to show that if you provide a venue for folks to convene, they will gather.
So if you are tired of dealing with the airlines, and you are tired of cleaning house, get your mojo on, and stop by at your local farmers’ market. There you will find the means to brighten up your week, not to mention avoiding the poison that Monsanto puts out there for those who do not have access to fresh, organic produce. I’ll see you there!