The Individual As Coherent Community

A few points of business before the meat of this blog post…

The CSA for this summer is almost sold out – I have a handful of spaces left, as well as a handful of people who have expressed interest in these spaces.  Ultimately a $100 deposit will secure your spot in the CSA.  I am sold out for the Collingwood location and Saturday harvest, however have a few spots left for the Wednesday harvest and pick-ups either in Clarksburg or at the farm…

On to the rest…

I love parsley. 

To put this in context, last year I grew over 1400 row feet of the stuff – that`s almost half a kilometer!

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a small portion of the parsley I grew last year, acting as the backdrop for the farm sign

I love the way it looks, so dark and luscious, but more than that, I love the way it tastes.  In the summer I tend to see how much parsley I can fit into my mouth at once, and then slowly chew it and let the juices mix with saliva for the best cleansing tonic I can think of.   I love the way I feel when I eat a fist-full of fresh parsley; the freshness that follows.

I just made an inspiring salad which has motivated me to write this short posting, largely in praise of our curly-leafed member of the umbelliferae family.  It consisted of…

roughly 1 or 2 cups of thinly sliced green cabbage, tossed with

1 small carrot, grated

1 large parsley root (with the last remaining sprigs of green), grated

1 heaping forkful of homemade sauerkraut (a nice dose of mouthwatering microbial medicine)

a simple dressing which consisted of a mix of apple cider vinegar and olive oil that had been infused in calendula flowers.

You could add alot to this: garlic, shallots, eggs, fish, fruit, tomatoes, a more elaborate dressing, the list goes on.

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Visually appealing, the purple addition to this salad is cabbage I helped transform into sauerkraut months ago.  This is a simple and ancient process to help preserve and enliven foods by working with beneficial bacteria.

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Here`s a simple sauerkraut recipe (as adapted from Sandor Katz`s Wild Fermentation)…

5 lbs cabbage

3 table spoons sea salt

Finely slice cabbage, add salt.  Work the salt in with your hands, bruising the cabbage.  Let sit in a bowl for an hour or two, until you start to see alot of liquid accumulating in the bottom.  Then, carefully pack a large, wide-mouth mason jar with the salty cabbage.  Every once in a while tamp it down so as to prevent air pockets in the jar.  When it is almost full fill a small mason jar with water, secure its lid, and set this inside the mouth of the large jar.  For added weight you can set a plate on this small jar and a clean stone on the plate, but be careful it doesn`t topple!

Let sit for a few weeks, checking it regularly and tamping down the small jar daily.You may see some mold grow where the mix is exposed to air, this is normal and totally fine – you can skim off the mold and the product underneath (sauerkraut!) should be in great shape (colour is key – avoid eating dark or black stuff in the jar – go for the vibrant colours!).  Depending on the temperature, you may want to leave this longer to ferment further, or slow down the fermentation by placing the lidded jar in the fridge.

a jar of red sauerkraut, ready to eat or be stored in the fridge

a jar of red sauerkraut, ready to eat or be stored in the fridge

So what does parsley and sauerkraut have to do with the title of this post?  I`ll get to that, first…

Like it or not, each one of us is a thriving community of organisms, from the stuff crawling across our eyes, the things living on our skin and in our eyelashes and eyebrows, to the beings inhabiting the inside of our mouths and throat, and deeper, into the rest of our digestive tract, we are thriving environments!  And these environments help keep us healthy, and probably play an important role in building and maintaining resilient immune systems.  We can influence some of these populations through our diet and surroundings.

Bringing it all together, I plan to try fermenting hamburg parsley!  I expect the result would be like a kind of kimchi, I`ll keep you posted as to my progress.

Don`t forget to submit your response to the poll I posted concerning What Kind of a Farm do you Want?  Also, if you participate in the facebook community, maybe you would like to befriend Kolapore Gardens to help spread the good word about local, organically grown & raised food.

Thanks,

Mike

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