CSA Newsletter ~ Week 9
Summer has arrived and the strawberries look a lot better this week as we had hoped. A few of you will see the last of the weird, small, early berries we had last week, but for the most part they look better and are yielding better as well, so we're putting lots in the box this week. They won't store or keep very long, so decide what to do with them right away and take action. If you can't use them all quickly, take a good look at all the berries you got (large shares have 3 quarts and they might not all be the same in terms of shelf life), and decide what you need to use right away and what might last a few days. There will be more next week, so no need to stockpile them! [Ripe and ready now? Barbara J suggests this fat- and sugar-freeStrawberry Balsamic Dressing; Meg R offers this easy Strawberry Bread.]
It's crazy we didn't get any complaints last week about the berries--only compliments and encouragement for growing them in the future. I guess I said enough about the berries last week to manage your expectations. Lots of people wrote saying how good the berries tasted and that they hope we don't stop growing them. We won't stop and actually just ordered another 3 thousand plants for next year's harvest! This was an especially tough year due to the very warm spring, but I do know strawberries pretty well after 10 years of practice, so we won't give up. Again, be sure to eat them quickly or freeze them for use later if you can't.
We have some alliums in the box this week--garlic scapes and scallions. We've included some ideas for using them on our website, and you should always look online for ideas, but basically they're just onions/garlic in a different package. Greens this week include lettuce, kale, Vitamin Green (bigger stuff for cooking), and Yukina Savoy, which you've seen only once or twice before (it's the stuff that looks a little like spinach or tatsoi).
A customer asked last week--and others have asked similarly in the past--if the warm/hot weather this spring was due to climate change. Tons of information, discussion, and misunderstanding surrounds this topic for sure. Trying to find a useful perspective and scope of discussion brief enough for a CSA newsletter (and with a tip of the hat to Lester Brown and the Earth Policy Institute), here goes.
In the big picture of the earth's history, climate has changed more dramatically than you can imagine. Earth has been around 5 billion years. Seven hundred million years ago, the entire planet was covered with ice a mile thick. Sixty-seven million years ago a huge asteroid hit earth with the energy of millions of nuclear bombs and created enough material in the atmosphere so that there was no light for years. The largest volcanoes (none of which have occurred in the time of written history) have done similar things on a slightly smaller scale. Human activity is a much smaller, slower version of these events and is happening with different timing. It started very slowly, but is increasing to the point it significantly affects the makeup of our atmosphere, to which climate is directly related.
Weather is basically the planet's attempt to get heat from the hot equator, where sun shines very strongly, to the cold poles, where sunlight is much weaker. Oceanic and atmospheric currents move this heat around. When human and other natural (we're part of nature) activity alters these patterns or changes the atmosphere (all of which alter these patterns), weather and climate can change more rapidly than would otherwise happen. We're just altering the rate and character of climate/weather change with our activity. We don't know exactly how or when limits will be reached and changes will happen, but adding lots of gases (like CO2) to the atmosphere that trap heat will alter air and water currents, and this will change climate.
So far, things have gotten warmer, but part of this heat has simply evaporated more water and caused more rain. Statistical analysis--the same stuff that put us on the moon and does open heart surgery (it's not political or economic, it just is)--tells us that things have gotten warmer, and especially wetter, in response to human activity/changes to the atmosphere. It would probably be best for us to try to minimize some of these activities, which also poison us in many ways (pollution). In the end, the earth will be fine and we're mostly hurting ourselves by changing things faster than we can respond.
The bottom line is that humans will not fix things until they have to--which only happens after things are totally messed up. History has proven that. In the meanwhile, there are those of us (us and our customers) who are working on solutions that can be implemented when this happens. Neither we nor our children may see these solutions implemented during our lifetimes, but we are at least working toward responsible, sustainable solutions, and that's all we can do. The glass is mostly empty, if you're eyes are open, and understanding this is the way to be positive and see what needs to be done.
Chris Covelli and
The Tomato Mountain Team