Photo: Dick Mitchell
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
We say our final goodbyes as darkness descends on a bright day of gathering. The cider presses are sprayed down, soup bowls washed, chairs stacked, musical instruments clicked into carrying cases, feasting tables folded and put away. Rain arrives on cue, tapping the metal roof as I lay in bed, remembering. Summing up something like Brush Brook Community Farm proves near impossible given the extensive cast of characters and the long slate of stories from the past year and a half. If you’re imagining a large number of quirky, beautiful humans you’re on the scent but there’s a lot more around the bend. To our great luck, many of these characters – human and otherwise – converged upon the Farm last Sunday for a joyful day of Cider- and Soup- and Music-making, granting us one more potent opportunity to smell and taste and hear the work. If you’ve ever undertaken a fast you may have noticed that hunger – the longing for food – intensifies in the presence of the sounds and smells and sights of cooking. It is a bit confusing to think that this longing-hunger grows not from the absence of food, but rather from its presence. The same could be said about the aromatic rumor of a living culture – a human community wedded to the surrounding landscape, engaging all of the beautiful and complex responsibilities that marriage entails. Last week’s Letter described the work of Making Family. As a society, we persistently honor the profound significance of making family by holding wedding ceremonies. It’s one of the only remaining places we accept the use of the word ceremony. That alone is worth wondering over. Well, Sunday’s gathering had some of the feel of a wedding to it – a previous period of courtship, the articulation of love and devotion in the presence of honored guests come from near and far, musicians and of course feasting. Who, then, was being wedded to whom? By way of answering this question I’ll ask for some help in telling the Story of last Sunday by calling in the characters in the Soup Pot in the words of those who love them. This week’s Soup as Story – Lamb Cabbage Apple Stew: A Wedding Toast.
Here is a list of invitations:
- October Budget Request: $2236 left to go with eleven days left in the month. If you are willing to make a financial gift, you can do so HERE.
- Work Day this Sunday 10/24, 1-4pm. Warm Soup and Bread will be served once we finish clean up, around 4:30pm. Bring: A bowl and spoon, warm clothes, a cutting board and knife to join the Soup Team or work gloves for field and garden projects.
- Soup and Bread Gift Distribution this Friday 4-6pm. The Bread has been going fast, and so we encourage you to stop by on Fridays rather than waiting until the weekend. The Brush Brook Soup this week features Roasted Cabbage, Apples, Leeks, Potatoes and Squash, a whole leg of Lamb, as well as fresh garden herbs: Sage, Fennel and Thyme. The Vegetarian Soup is made from pureed Carrots, Winter Squash, Peppers and Tomato, seasoned with fresh garden Herbs. All food is offered as a gift to anyone who is hungry for any reason.
STORY: Lamb Cabbage Apple Stew – A Wedding Toast
With three cider presses in motion, a bustling wash station, tables of folks chopping apples and a pack of cider-drunk children, convincing the masses to stop for lunch closely resembles harnessing a herd of wild horses. Plates and bowls are eventually piled high with Chili and Chowder, Bread and Biscuits, Casserole and Cookies for a grand potluck picnic. As such, the clock creeps well past our 1:00 pm goal for transitioning from a morning of Cider Pressing to an afternoon of Soup Making and more Cider Pressing. We always open our Sunday afternoon Work Days with a simple ceremony – a circle of introductions and spoken gratitudes. Each person is invited to add their voice. Given the size of the group and the late hour, do we dare take the time to honor the day in our accustomed way? Caution and efficiency thrown to the wind, Evan and Ava successfully call the gathered gaggle to attention. Beautiful words of love and thanksgiving are spoken into the Air. The day’s gravity is named and praised; the place’s generosity articulated. Now, it takes a lot of vegetables to fill a twenty-five-gallon Soup Pot. And it’s already past 2pm as the first of the Soup ingredients – Cabbage and Shallots – make it onto sheet trays and into the oven to roast. And we’ve promised to serve this soup for dinner at 4:30pm. With so many hands and knives in motion, however, the Soup Pot fills quickly. I turn the burner down to low and add the final salt as Zach stirs fresh Sage, Fennel and Thyme into the steaming stew. The ceremony of cooking complete, now it is time to set the table for dinner. And, as it goes at a wedding, that means it is time for toasts. Friends and Family raise a glass and stand, one by one, to tickle the air with their words.
Ava: “I am grateful for the mystifying and blissful aroma of Sage, Thyme, and Fennel that infuse this soup and hold it together. I am continually struck by how strong a flavor and how powerful a message can be carried in the essence of such a small leaf or frond. Thank you, Herbs, for binding the broth to the vegetables to the lamb to the spices, for your pervasive fluidity and generous fragrance.”
Erik: “I am grateful for the Lamb in the soup. I’m grateful that caring for the Sheep brings me out to the fields and allows me to get to know this place and the people in the neighborhood who also care for these animals by providing good grass and clover and water.”
Evan: “Apples. Might I someday learn from you. To arrive so fully at home after having come from afar? To adapt so ably to these steep valley walls and floodplain loams? To renew and reproduce so flexibly? So surprisingly? To root so deeply? To blossom so delicately? To give so recklessly? To sweeten life so joyously?
Sherry: “Gratitude for the balance you bring, Leeks, for compelling us to search for and coax hidden grit and earthy scent of Soil from your fragrant and deceivingly convenient packaging. Gratitude to Water, to you Brush Brook, rushing down from Camel’s Hump, overflowing abundance in each spoonful of shared soup.”
Erika: “The smell of Spring’s thawing soil inspired some energetic young farmers. ‘Let’s grow tons of cabbage and make barrels of sauerkraut!’ New to growing and the ways of working in community, these farmers got the cabbage in the ground too late and their big plans turned into tiny cabbages. Come the lengthening nights of fall, the loose, little heads of cabbage stopped growing. Their harvest time had come – for compost and for soup, rather than for kraut. And so, cabbage, thank you for your lesson, your patience, for the richly packed flavor and nutrients your premature leaves give to this week’s soup.”
Said the Man to the Shallot: “You’re a funny looking onion, aren’t you?”
Said the Shallot to the Man: “Sir, I am no onion”
Man: “Oh sure you are, you must’ve just gotten a little bit confused along the way”
Shallot: “My purpose is clear, sir. I am no onion. May I give you my life that you may know my true nature?”
Man: “I accept your gift, you small, sweet, non-onion, whose name I do not yet know. Thank you for your great sacrifice. I vow to help you and yours grow forevermore.”
Shallot: “My name is Shallot, and may your meals be flavorful, your home aromatic, and may you please take me home and cook me so that you may understand that I am no onion?”
“Bone Broth: Minerals from friends. Tonic of living soils. Bone, flesh, fat, warm love.
Winter Squash: Harvest Moon Beauty. Please take over this garden. We honor your gifts.”
Here is what you will find in this Letter:
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – Detailed October 2021 Budget
With Great Care,
Adam and the Brush Brook Community Farm Team
BUDGET UPDATE: Thank you for considering the October Budget
Many heartfelt thanks to all who have responded to these invitations by sending in Financial Gifts. If you would like to support our work, you can mail checks made out to Brush Brook Community Farm to PO Box 202, Huntington, VT, 05462, bring gifts to the Gift Stand, or donate through the website. We are 100% financially supported by these personal financial gifts.
|BBCF - October 2021 Budget|
|As of October 20|
|Gifts Received in October – Thank you!||$2,656.70|
|Overage from September||$447.74|
|Tractor, Freezers and Milkroom Rents||$200.00|
|Bakery Overhead (firewood, insur., utilites)||$250.00|
|Website, Tech, and Office Supplies||$20.00|
|Bread Ingredients & Packaging||$1,412.50|
|Misc Ingredients (spices, etc)||$30.00|
|Hosting and Educational||$200.00|
|Vehicles (gas, maintn., insur. etc)||$150.00|
|Predicted Human Expenses|
|Collin McCarthy Rent & Utilities||$680.00|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$200.00|
|Adam Wilson personal stipend||$448.08|
|Infrastructure Maintenance and Project Fund||$500.00|
|Total Estimated Expenses||$2,236.14|
|Total Remaining for October|
Support the Farm & Bakery
The operations of Brush Brook Community Farm & Bakery are maintained by neighborly working hands and financial gifts. Your generous monetary support propels the gift of food forward to those open to receiving it.