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Wednesday
Feb052014

One of the most appealing things about being a farmer is that nothing ever stays the same. The landscape is ever changing, growing, and everyday is a new beginning. This year lots of new beginnings are unfolding at Full Moon Farm. We have recently, well, since last September, changed ownership, while maintaining the same management. I have purchased the farm and hope to continue the Full Moon legacy of great food and community. We are also adding two new faces to the farm, my husband, Mike, and my son, Ikaika, born in October. While Ikaika will, unboubtedly, be of no help, Mike will be around to pick up the slack.

Not only have we purchased the farm, but we have also purchased the Farm Cart. I’m sure you all remember the cute little food cart the was run by Farm 255. This is a new exciting venture for my husband and mother. If all goes well, they should be up and running with the Cart this April, full of great dishes featuring veggies from our farm and goodies from Backyard Bread.

We are also super excited to have our new neighbors Front Field Farm move in. Not only are Jacqui and Alex wonderful folks, but they grow great veggies and want to share them with our CSA members. This year we will be collaborating with them to provide an abundance of great looking veggies April till November.

I am looking forward to another great year on this beautiful land. With Spring just around the corner, there are so many exciting adventures about to unfold. What kind of adventures will you have this year?

Your Farmer,

Iwalani

 

Thursday
Jun062013

Made with love, grown with love

Aloha beautiful CSA family! This is your happy and feral farmer, Wallace, and I have been thinking…

When referring to one’s creation, have you ever heard an artist say something to the effect of, “this is an extension of my soul” , or “I put my heart and soul into this…”? Perhaps you have said something like that yourself about your own creations.  In my judgement, it is no coincidence that this common assertion of soul is often born from the creative acts. As an artist myself, I have been aware of this within my own creative endeavors.  www.wallaceduvall.com

My Hawaiian in-laws have had quite an impact on me; both in the way I perceive life and the way I live it. One such impact on my life has come from an understanding of the Hawaiian word “Mana” - or more simply put - the power, magic, or personal essence of something or someone. And interestingly, if you pronounce it with an accent on the first ‘a’, it refers to the first food that mothers chewed and softened up before giving to their infants.

This concept of mana was so intrinsic to the Hawaiians, that it was (and for many, still is) woven into the active consciousness of everyday endeavors. With every stitch that one skilled wahine put into a hawaiian quilt - or kapa moe, originally - it was seen as an act of stitching ones mana into that creation. It was not an uncommon practice to also burn these artifact upon the death of their creator, so that their mana may be released along with the loved one.

This is the paradigm that my family strives to live. Every time that I eat the meals my wife has created, I try to feel the mana that she has sown into it, as well as the mana of the farmers who have grown it. I also see her weave the mana into her delicious products that she so lovingly creates (http://mana-foods.com/).

For myself, maintaining awareness on this concept is integral to the health of my own creative acts; both in the paint that I apply to canvas, the children that I mentor in nature, and the health of the land at the farm. Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono - the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. What better example is there of the vector of mana? Ever heard of a place called Mordor? …its not pretty. I guarantee there aren’t any farms there, and if there are, you probably don’t want to consume whatever it is they grow. And yes, I am a Tolkien nerd.

I see this as another vital reason to eat local and naturally grown food. For small farms like us, growing in this way requires an intimate relationship with the land. Each plant is individually cared for with our own hands, yet seen in the context of the whole. We make decisions that help to maximize the mana that each plant receives - both from the land and from the farmers; and in doing so, help maximize the mana that you take into your bodies when you consume these botanical lives.

So when your mother tells you that the hot apple pie that she just pulled out of the oven was “created with love” or that “the secret ingredient is love”, you may recognize what she is essentially saying - she has literally weaved her mana into it.
This is what mamas know how to do best - nourish our lives with their life; and they continue to do so long after we are weaned. Thank you mamas of the world! And thank you to the queen of all mamas who exemplifies this above all else - our earth mama. Truly mahalo.

* One last gift…
 The next time you eat a meal, do a little sense meditation, and see how you are left feeling. Beyond indigestion, what do you truly feel? How does it leave you? Do you feel heavy, sluggish or irritable? Do you feel uplifted, peaceful, joyful? Yes, in all likelihood, it also has something to do with the mana of the ingredients and nutrients, but see if you can also find a correlation with the spirit in which it was made… you might just be surprised!

**Food for thought…
How is the health of your land? Does it look like Mordor? Eden? How is the health of your bodies? Your home? Your children? What are the kinds of mana that you consume? What are their vectors? Nature? Television? What is the mana of the messages that you consume? or the messages you send? What other aspects of your life do you imbibe or weave mana?

Monday
Mar252013

Community Supported Agriculture - Where it began

As our first CSA pick up is quickly approaching, I have been thinking a lot about the importance and implications of being a CSA member. To say the CSA involves just picking up a weekly box of fresh produce, does not do this farm to table relationship justice. CSA’s developed out of a desire to have an alternative food source based in community.

An article in justfood.org explains this development well. “CSA is a relatively new direct marketing relationship between a farmer and local consumers. The CSA idea was first developed in Japan in 1965 by a group of women concerned with the use of pesticides, the increase in processed and imported foods, and the corresponding decrease in the farm population. The CSA model was called teikei, which literally translates to “partnership” or “cooperation”, or philosophically translated to “food with the farmer’s face” (Van En 1992). The objectives were to create an alternative distribution system independent of a conventional produce market and to create a better way of life through supportive producer/consumer interactions.

Around the same time, a similar model started in Holland and Switzerland. This model of CSA was an outgrowth of biodynamic farming, a process developed by Rudolph Steiner in the early 20th Century. Biodynamic farming is based on the idea that all living organisms - including land, plants, and animals - are dependant on one another. Cooperative farmers developed models similar to CSA as an economic and social component to these ideas of interdependence.2

In 1984, Jan Vander Tuin brought the concept of CSA to North America from Europe. Jan had co-founded a Community Supported Agriculture project named Topanimbur, located near Zurich, Switzerland. At Indian Line Farm in S. Egrement, Massachusetts, he introduced the idea to Robyn Van En, an American, and the CSA concept in North America was born.

Robyn Van En, Jan Vander Tuin, John Root, Jr. and Charlotte Zanecchia formed a core group. They began the first season of their CSA with a small apple orchard operation, and gradually began introducing the “share the harvest” concept to the community. By spring of 1986, Hugh Ratcliffe had joined on as the farmer, and they began to offer shares in their vegetable harvest. Within four years, the Indian Line CSA expanded from 30 to 150 members. Today, the CSA concept has spread across the nation, where more than 2,000 CSA’s feed around 150,000 people.” http://www.justfood.org/tipsheet/farming-nyc-toolkit/csa-nyc/introduction-csa-nyc/history-csa

Full Moon Farm has continued to support the tradition of the CSA box for several years. We believe our members have an integral part in our farm and encourage them to make a connection to the land through the food that they eat. Our members are seeking an fresh alternative to conventional food sourcing and are active participants in supporting their local economy. Every week we are excited to share our harvest with our CSA family.

Sunday
Mar032013

march farmin'

it’s the beginning of march, ya’ll, and we’ve been farmin’.   that’s the beauty of the South…a longer growing season and a sooner rather than later spring.  the restorative winter was good to us, & to the fields…but the winter months have passed us by,  and now it’s back to hands in the dirt - back to seeding and working the ground and planting for our early spring-time harvests.  it feels good to be back, as it always does. 

despite our readiness and diligent preparation for the seasonal shift,  these past few weeks have been a whole lot of cold and wet.   not much of that “spring-is-just-around-the-corner”  feel.   the cold isn’t so bothersome, but the rain…the rain seems relentless.   it frustrates the farmer who needs to get their tractor in the fields but can’t because the ground is too wet.   it demands patience from the farmer who feels behind schedule and is eager to stick to their carefully detailed crop plan and planting dates.  it teaches us all that there is only so much one can control, and that mother nature always has the upper hand. 

and so we adapt.  we tweak our crop plan.  and we are thankful for our hoop houses - the plastic covered structures that are insulated and protect growing plants from the outside elements.  we have two hoop houses on the farm, and they allow us to plant early in the season and get things in the ground that otherwise would have had to wait.    just this past week we  prepped several beds in our newest hoop - turning up soil, weeding, raking and smoothing out the beds.   we seeded arugula and turnips in the hoop, and will most likely plant some of our  favorite lettuces.  these are all crops that have a quick maturity rate and will be ready for harvest within 30 days.    

so that’s the update.  we’re working hard out there, and we’re anxious for the fields to dry up.  but in the meantime, we’ll keep truckin’ along - starting seeds and looking ahead to our first CSA week and farmer’s market.   

and for the record, i’m christine, the newest of the full moon farm crew…i’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be farming in such a rich and supportive local food community, and i can’t wait to get to know everyone!  cheers to the spring and a new season of beginnings!

Sunday
May132012

Farm Hands

We’ve got farm hands. No, not some big burley guys that do all the grunt work. We literally have farm hands. My hands have a seemingly permanent groove of wrinkled hard calloused dirt right on the index finger. If I went to a fortune teller she could recount every weed I’ve pulled and every plant I’ve harvested, just by reading the lines on my finger. This would be disturbing if I wasn’t so proud of my scars. I’ve earned each line fair and square, they are my little gold stars.  

So, you may ask yourself, what’s all this hard work about, what’s been going on on the farm? Well, we’ve been very busy pulling up our Thai purple and China Stripe garlic. These are the earliest stiffneck garlic varieties we have. They are currently strung up and drying out -sounds like they’ve been on a binge- curing for longer storage. We have about 12 more varieties of garlic to go, so we’ve only just begun. We’ve also pulled up our onions, just in time, right before the rains. These are big vidallia type onions, so sweet and tasty.

Some of our early Spring crops are just finishing up, like our spinach, arugula, radishes, and turnips, so we are gearing up to cover crop these beds for the summertime. We are using a variety of cover crops this season- velvet bean, buckwheat, cow peas, and sudan grass, building up the soil again for next season. Now that we are nearing the end of Spring, our summer crops are finally taking off. Soon there will be cherry tomatoes, basil, lima beans, peppers, and eggplant to name a few. And with the rain comes the weeds…we’ve devoted more hours than I care to remember to pulling up these little buggers.  

And, I am not alone, because we have many farm hands that are with us each week, keeping us company, working hand in hand with us, creating their own mysterious grooves of dirt.  We are thankful for these persistent volunteers. We can’t shake them, no mater what kind of grueling task we put them on. Thanks to Jim, Todd, Will, Molly, Sophie, Laura, Carmen, Lily, Ellen, Wallace, Chad, and Claire for coming out and sweating with us. Many, many hands have worked this land over the years. I am thankful for our wonderful community of supporters and for all of those willing to lend a helping hand.