6/14/06 Vol. 3 #14

Well I’ve been up since 4:00 a.m. trying to reserve plane tickets to Italy.  As these things go on the Internet sometimes, I have yet to successfully complete the transaction (it is now 6:30).  We have finally heard, quasi-officially, from the Slow Food people that we have been accepted to attend the second Terra Madre conference in Turin Italy!  Some of you may remember that we were very fortunate to have been nominated to attend the first ever world gathering of food producers two years ago.  That experience of convening with 5000 other farmers, ranchers, herders, gatherers, etc. and the on farm housing has colored many of the new things we do here on the farm.  The exposure to cultures steeped in artisanal foods and old breeds has made us explore new (to us) varieties and food production ideas.  The on going attempt to form a successful poultry and meat processing cooperative has partly sprung out of the knowledge that with out it, local farmers will not be able to move towards further sustainability of their operations.  So we are off again to Turin the end of October.  This time not only with 5000 food producers but also with 1000 chefs and over 150 academics from around the world.  Slow Food is correctly expanding their aim to include the professional people who cook with local foods and can most quickly affect peoples palates and minds.  Our local chapter (convivium in Slow Food parlance) put forth an ambitious slate of people to attend and it appears as if almost all were accepted to go.  This includes our good friends, chefs and customers Ben and Karen Barker of Magnolia Grill and Andrea Ruesing of Lantern Restaurant.  Our delegation will also consist of at least eight animal producers and eight representatives of the seven local producer-only farmers’ markets.  We see this as a great opportunity to help move our local food system to a new level of understanding and cooperation.

The Slow Food organization and it’s mission resounds closely with what Betsy and I have been trying to do for the past twenty five years.  In the words of it’s founder, Carlo Petrini, producing food that is “good, clean and fair”.  We have always tried to grow products with great flavor and eye appeal (good), in a way that is sustainable (clean) and treats us, our employees and our customers well (fair).  With over 80,000 members world wide there appears to be lots of folks who think similarly.

Otherwise it is a rain day as the remnants of Alberto pour down.  We now appear to be in the monsoon season.  In preparation for todays storms we did cover the last of the Big Tops under which the late tomatoes are to be planted.  The trellis is up and probably tomorrow the plants will be slipped into the ground.  We also got the first layer of trellis on the hot peppers.  Unfortunately the huge storms on Sunday had laid over many of the tall Poblano and Anaheim plants.  So we stood them back up and secured them with the trellis strings before any more damage occurs today.  In general the peppers look really good but need a little more heat to really get going.  The eggplant and tomatillos are now in as well.  The turkeys are wearing trench coats and rubber boots, it was hard to find some small enough for Shrimpy.

Picture of the Week
On a sunny day the birds are eyeing Betsy’s lush Zinnias
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