As recommended by my daughter, Sarah, and loaned by son-in-law, Luke, I’ve been reading A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich. He writes for a lay audience, a youngish lay audience, which is just about perfect for me. Over the last weeks I’ve been traversing our world’s history from its earliest days through ancient and medieval days, the Renaissance, and the New World exploration. I’ve been reminded who Charlemagne was, where Gaul was geographically, and whom the months of July and August are named after. I’ve learned the Chinese were the first to use gunpowder (primarily in fireworks), and that Semitic people living in or near Egypt created the first alphabet sometime between 1700-1900 B.C.
Still, what has stuck with me the most are all the conquests–the well-accepted assumption that might equaled right, and how people and traditions were totally lost because the conquering mindset was one of plunder, pillage, and destruction. I have been heavyhearted with the reminder that Columbus Day is not celebrated among Native Peoples, and of the horrible things Cortez did in the name of claiming riches for Spain.
We are not, in the 21st century, exempt for doing horrible things, but at least we are inclined to take the sovereignty of nations more seriously, to stand against genocide, to strive for justice and equality for all. I’m thankful for that.
I’ve had at least three thoughts in these days. First is that even given our profound differences regarding who should be our next president, we will not resort to revolt to resolve what may feel like an untenable outcome with violence. We can expect that power will still, amazingly, be handed over relatively smoothly. Democracy is not be perfect (for example, we do not always have all the information we need to vote wisely as individuals), but it is preferable to the current alternatives.
Second, no world power, ideology, political, or economic system has held sway indefinitely. Something always replaces it eventually. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, often with some mix of good gained and good lost. It is remarkable, for instance, that the Eastern Roman Empire maintained power for 1400 years. Other empires lasted over 600 years. Feudalism came with the falling of empires and weaker kings, and served as a precursor to capitalism, which will give way, eventually, to something else. In that I find a kind of hope and wonderment, knowing that capitalism has done good but also harm for people around the world, certainly to the earth itself.
A third, and more hopeful thought, is that for most of human history people ate food close to them, if not grown themselves, then grown by those who lived near them. We are the first humans to eat most of our food grown and processed far away in ways we know virtually nothing about. There are stories there–dark ones full of greed and the hungering for power and control reminiscent of the ways humans have always sought riches, power, and control. So I am especially thankful for you, our CSA members and those who read this blog who are also committed to supporting this revival of eating from our various local options–eating neighborly, as it were, which can be understood in a number of ways.
Anticipated in the Market
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Kale (Dinosaur, Red Russian & Meadowlark)
Summer Squash & Zucchini
Green Peppers (and Red and Yellow)
Jimmy Nardello Peppers
Jalapeno, Serrano, and Cayenne Peppers
Thyme & Rosemary
Black Beauty & de la Guardia Eggplant
Roma and San Marzano Paste Tomatoes
Scarlet Runner Beans
Blue Lake Beans
New from the Field
This is our second year to plant this unique French heirloom whose name is actually “Rouge vif D’Etampes”. The nickname comes from how these pumpkins resemble the one that Cinderella’s fairy godmother transformed into a carriage. Pilgrims cultivated this pumpkin and served it at the second Thanksgiving dinner.
Some of the ones you see in the Market will be Very Large. I recommend those of you who want to can or freeze pumpkin take the larger ones, although they all serve the dual purpose of decor and nutrition. Here are my directions for prepping and preserving a large beast of a pumpkin. Use this beauty as a decoration and then before or after Thanksgiving, bake it up.
Jimmy Nardello Peppers
Unfortunately I started these seeds late this year, and the peppers are just starting to turn. These are a wonderful sweet red pepper that have become a favorite. They are great fresh, sauteed, grilled or roasted. If you have a chance to take one, try it out. We’ll put out as many as start to turn before the weather shuts them down. If some of them are only slightly red, leave them on the counter for a few days and they will finish turning.