What do you like best about summer?
If you'd have asked me that question a number of years ago, my answer may have been "not much."
I'm not a fan of the heat. Or the humidity. Or the mosquitoes. I have a tendency to be light sensitive, so exposure to too much sun generally results in a monster of a headache. And the notion of running around in a bikini (or being scantily clad in any way) is as scary for me as it would be for everyone else if I actually made a habit of it.
Nah... I live for the crisp autumn days when I can throw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. I long for deceptively sunny days. And chilly nights. For crisp leaves and apple pie. It's the one time of the year when yard work doesn't make me sweat. And I can think of nothing more exciting than putting something into the oven for a nice slow braise while I sit with a cup of tea and catch up on my reading.
That said, I will concede that I've grown increasingly fond of summer as I grow older -- in part because I've grown to more closely appreciate my food and where it comes from. Eating more locally has given me an uncanny affection for blisteringly hot summer days and humid evenings because I know that they will beget me plenty of delicious produce to get me through the long, cold Wisconsin winter.
Braise on the Go annual pig roast (see footage from past roasts in 2008 and 2009). This year, the event was held at LOTFOTL, a certified organic community farm in East Troy, WI. We've gotten to know Farmer Tim Huth over the years (in fact, he's the one who generously bestowed us with those fantastic rat tail radishes -- and seeds to grow our own -- two years ago when we belonged to his CSA), and he's a great guy. In his own words, the philosophy on his farm can be summed up this way:
To “live off the fat of the land” [...] is to bask in your role in a system which feeds you so long as you feed it. It is the celebration, and the recognition that you cannot be you without these systems, without other beings, sentient and otherwise. Farming practices that are land abusive will inevitably lead to land that is lifeless, just as a household filled with anger and violence will cease to feel like a home.
We strive to apply systematic thinking to the farm, treating the land like the vast and complex space that it is. In building our relationship to the soil we are placing our bets that if we fulfill the role of stewards and caretakers of this supercomplex set of interactions, this system will reciprocate and care for us. But even if it doesn't, even if waves someday wash over our fields, or the sun bakes Earth's flesh to a crusty and crumbly and lifeless space, we will have acted from this place of intention, and will be better for it. To Live off the fat of the land, then, is simply to live. -- LOTFOTL Community Farm
Unlike years past, the weather this year was pretty sticky. Rain was in the forecast, but the humidity hadn't quite broken. So, we were relieved to see that our dinner this year would sheltered from both the heat of the sun and the threat of rain. The mosquitoes were also pretty nasty, thanks to all that rain we got in July; but the Braise folks managed to cover that base as well, passing out bug spray to anyone who needed it. They also set a mighty pretty table.
Sassy Cow Creamery for anyone who felt the desire to turn down a bit of locally produced wine from Stone's Throw Winery)
Golden Bear Farm, an organic farm in Kiel, WI owned and operated by by Steve and Marie Deibele. We couldn't wait to dig in!
Give me food like this -- in the company of good friends -- and I'll put up with quite a bit. It might even make me like summer :) Cheers!
Sorry you missed the pig roast? Why not sign up for the Braise Tour de Farms event coming up on Sunday, September 12, 2010. Looks like it's gonna be a blast!
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