Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some soup to warm you

It seems to me that soup is fighting some serious misconceptions. Misgivings. Misunderstandings. If we get down to it, soup is certainly the maligned portion of the dinner options.

Just because someone, somewhere, thought that a bunch of water with too much salt and flaccid noodles stuffed into a tin can could be slapped with the label Soup…well, that’s no reason to let soup fall off the charts of edible delights. Neither should drab images and unfounded suppositions of weak broths or watery ladles deter you from the vigor and veracity of gustatory sensations brewing within a proper cup of soup.

Do I have your attention?

Soup is delightful. Also warming. It can be hearty, or subtle, sweet or savory, robust, flavorful, colorful, and succulent. Soup can be meat, or vegetables, or greens, or beans (or last week’s leftovers). Soup can be creamy or chunky, pureed or choc-full. Soup can be many things.

All of which fall into the category of: good eats. Not just that, but here at D Acres Permaculture Farm & Educational Homestead, we think our soup is some of the best around. Ingredients are always from the farm and vary with the seasons, be it red-cored carrots, purple cabbage, or creamy potatoes from the winter root cellar; spicy garlic, tiger-eye beans, or varieties of squash harvested in the fall; hardy greens and numerous herbs from the gardens or the greenhouses; heirloom tomatoes, fiery peppers, or even refreshing cucumbers (yes, that was a particularly delectable dish) as the summer heat peaks. The list goes on and on. Regardless of where it stops, our soups are full of flavor, the product of lifetimes. Rich soil, strong compost, attentive care, and regular tending compose the essence of our recipes. We’re farmers: our workdays are centered on the needs and cycles of edible foods. Sub-par meals would not be worth this sort of dedication, I assure you.

Therefore, with all humility and modesty I would rate our soup du jour as par excellence and beyond. And starting this month, D Acres Third-Saturday-of-every-Month Seasonal Soup Night will be moving to Downtown Plymouth. Join us each month on the common at Mark’s Café, Club, & Eatery (formerly Junkyard Dawgs) for farm-fresh, as-local-as-it-comes, all-natural, organic, permaculture, free-range soup. We take soup seriously, and want you to, too.

Not just that, but we’ll entertain you with live music as well. For our opening event, enjoy the guitar and vocals of Martin Decato. Come early and stay late! Soup is available beginning at 6pm, music begins at 7pm. There will be a $3-10 sliding scale door fee.

Save the date and see you on the common. Farm-fresh soup. Live music. A taste of the farm right in Downtown Plymouth. What are you waiting for?

as published in North Country News

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hola amigos!

Decimos acá en México, que "más vale tarde que nunca"...finalmente les escribo a punto del equinoccio de invierno. Me he tardado tanto porque han sido meses intensos, desde mi estancia en Dacres y de mi regreso, siempre es una gran experiencia para mi ir a visitarlos a New Hampshire, se crea un "antes y despues de Dacres" cada año que he ido. Este último año fue de grandes enseñanzas, mi verano compartido con todos ustedes, los animales, las plantas y los arboles de la granja. Mi llegada fue casi en el nacimiento de una camada de cerditos y mi ida fue otro nuevo nacimiento de otra camada y la entrada del equinoccio de otoño, entonces fue todo un periodo importante en mi vida, estar allá siempre abre mis oidos, mi vista y todos mis sentidos un poco más cada vez, cada hierva arrancada es un ruido menos arrancado para que crezca lo nutritivo, y eso lo aprendo allá como proceso interno y externo que se puede ver en los jardines y en mi corazón. El trabajo y mis manos en la tierra me conectan con lo más sagrado y es asi como puedo empezar a escuchar de nuevo cada vez. Esta vez también fue confrontante, me pregunté tantas cosas, sobre mi, sobre mi entorno, mi país y que puedo yo hacer para contribuir en algo a su sanación, Dacres me enseña que siempre se parte de la tierra, de nuestra relación con ella, y en definitiva compruebo cada vez más que definitivamente "Food is Revolution". Hay muchas cosas por hacer, pero también es importante partir de uno mismo y de mi relación con el que está frente a mí trabajando, no se puede construir una revolución si no hay primero una revolución interna en cada uno, que me haga respetar y reconocer al que está frente a mí en el aquí y en el ahora, porque te puedes dar cuenta que finalmente el que esta enfrente esta reflejando algo de ti mismo, algo que hay que aprender, de nada vale una revolución estando solo, porque estamos en este mundo y estamos conectados entre nosotros y con la tierra, en la medida en que empecemos a entender cada vez más eso, entonces crearemos cambio, crearemos mundos nuevos, juntos. Nadie es más, o ménos que nadie. Todos estamos en esto, estamos en lo mismo, en la búsqueda.
Solo puedo agradecer, agradecer mucho a Dacres y a todos los que lo han conformado a lo largo de los años y a los que lo conforman cada vez, en esta utopía de crear un nuevo mundo, nueva vida, cada vez, cada equiniccio, cada estación, en cada hierva, en cada semilla. GRACIAS.
Nos veremos de nuevo, esta vez espero tener el coraje de vivir el frío. Pero nos veremos las caras otra vez.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Alliteration, anyone?

I spent much of my young life detesting the study of grammer. Similar sentiments pervaded my lessons in linguistic finesse as well as rules of literary tools. I had always like to read, figured I knew how to talk, and shouldn’t that be enough?

The same stands today. Except that I did go through all those classes and courses, and couldn’t forcibly shake such information out the other side. Which brings me to alliteration, and almost…almost…an appreciation of it. I mean, it does sound fluid. It does lend a certain rhythm to written word. And I am about to use it – all year long.

Renewal & Renewables. Here at D Acres Permaculture Farm & Educational Homestead, it’s not just about reduce, reuse, recycle: we’re adding renew to the list as well. As we prepare to welcome 2011 and embark on our fourteenth year, we’ve chosen ‘The Year of Renewal & Renewables’ to be our guiding theme.

These words connote some alliterative companions - rebirth, rejuvenate, renovate. Indeed, Renewal and Renewables connotes many things for us here at D Acres. For one, renewal alludes to the commitment, inspiration, and dedication of the current staff to D Acres’ ongoing, multifaceted efforts for SustainAbility, as well as the strength and stability in the organization’s core.

More tangibly, Renewables suggest our 2011 focus on energy generation and consumption. As the coming year unfolds, we will be installing additional solar panels on our community building, as well as additional tube collectors for solar hot water. Both of these installations will significantly increase our ability to draw power from the sun, decrease our use of fossil fuels, and enhance our ability to educate, demonstrate, and inform our many visitors, members, and friends regarding the potential of renewable energy sources. We will also comprehensively replace wasteful lighting fixtures in the community building, as well as construct an icehouse. The former is a simple endeavor to improve efficiency, while the latter is a considerable reconfiguration of our refrigeration methodology. An icehouse built off the northeast corner of our main building will further reduce our need for power-driven refrigeration while further diversifying the models of sustainable energy solutions that we can offer here at D Acres.

Now, granted, there are plenty of new projects in the works for the new year, and that is a source of excitement and a focus for our gumption. But much will remain the same. Steady. Reliable. We’re counting on the camaraderie and friendship of our many neighbors and friends, just as you expect to see the same core of folks upon entering our door. Our monthly Pizza Nights, Farm Feast Breakfasts, potlucks, volunteer days, and open mic events will continue. Our Seasonal Soup Nites will be just as scrumptious in a whole new venue: Mark’s Café, Club, & Eatery in Plymouth, NH (currently Junkyard Dogs), complete with musical entertainment. Our full calendar of workshops, classes, gatherings, and special events will continue as always – we’ll have an official calendar available shortly after 2011 arrives.

All these talks of plans and projects-to-be, though, has me thinking of the importance of people more than ever. Whether we’re talking about the work of farming, or of cooking for events, or of planning presentations, workshops, and community celebrations… it’s the participation, enthusiasm, attendance, and engagement of each you – yes, YOU – who make it worthwhile. Join us. Come to a potluck, listen to some music, tell us what you know, ask us what we do. Bring a friend, or a child, or an elder - we are engaged in the collaboration of the generations and the creation of a resilient community culture. However that speaks to you, find a place here. We all have much to share.

as published in North Country News

Friday, December 3, 2010

And for each his own pail

If you have a bucket, you have a place to put things. If you have a place to put things, you have a means of carrying, moving, storing, consolidating, growing, containing, hoisting, and dumping things.

Buckets are terribly useful contraptions.

That said, here at D Acres Permaculture Farm & Educational Homestead, we just may have a few too many of a good thing.

Buckets for water, buckets for weeds, buckets for dirt and for compost and for sand; buckets for woodchips, buckets for veggie oil, buckets for coal, for construction scraps, and for gravel; buckets for maple sap, buckets for carrots, buckets for cabbage heads, chard stems, and chicken feed; buckets for basketballs, buckets for drums, buckets for stools and tools and fuels …oh my.

Our storage of buckets bespeaks a natural triage. There are the buckets that we wash each day and return to area restaurants, the barrels that satiate our piglets’ lust for leftovers. Then there are the buckets around the house, barn, and outbuildings that wear the stains of use, some carried about frequently while most are simply accumulating, waiting, biding time. And finally, there’s the pile not quite out of sight, but which we try to keep out of mind: the buckets bearing such quantities of gunk, smeg, and dirtiness that they are no longer pleasant or possible to use.

This third pile was where I found myself one recent morning. Out of mind no longer. Snow was coming, ice was already accounted for, and plans for winter logging meant the stash was to be ignored no more. So I sorted through the wet leaves, the algae-funk, and the blocks of ice. A trip to the dump was soon to depart.

D Acres, I can announce, is now free of well-aged gloppity-glop and schloppity-schlop, at least as stored in forgotten, five-gallon vessels.

The second part of the project, naturally, was storing all the useable, but over-abundant, buckets in an accessible spot. Check. So now the grand announcement: we’d like to spread the wealth of the bucket brigade. Yes, that comes with a lid.

It may seem silly, but surely you could use a bucket. Give a call, drop on by. Take one, take two, take a whole stack or even more! For the avant garde among you, we can even offer square buckets, short buckets, and one- & two-gallon buckets. That’s right.

Grow a tomato, potato, or maybe some kale. Pot up a flower. Keep that leak from soaking the carpet. Collect your kitchen scraps or store some sand in the bed of your truck. You can continue the list from there.

What do you need today?

as published in NorthCountry News