But I’m not just making small talk. For folks whose livelihood depends on the weather, the subject is anything but small. This cold, slow start to the growing season, while great for crops like strawberries and apples, means a delay for rhubarb and asparagus and other early-season delights we’ve all been looking forward to, and that’s just facts.
"I know a lot of people will be disappointed that there are no flowers for Mother's Day, but that's just how it is this year,” says Betsy Pierce of Running Hills, the fresh-cut flower farm just outside of town. “No two seasons are alike – last year we had already harvested most of our Tulips by the first week of April!”
I would have been happy to make the point metaphorically, but since the weather is giving me this assist I guess I’ll take it: supporting our local farmers means learning to live in rhythm with the seasons along with them, learning to cook with veggies we’ve never tried before while waiting for the asparagus and cucumbers to ripen, accepting that lean seasons happen and showing up for farmers markets and CSAs anyway to make the most of what’s available.
Pat and Sarah of Squashington Farm put it very well when they’re talking about the importance of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model: “Community members show their support of local farms by signing up for CSA shares, a.k.a. ‘memberships’, and taking on the inherent risks of farming, and inherent benefits, with the farmers themselves [by paying] for your share of goods in advance, in Spring, when farmers need financial aid the most.”
Two of our vendors have CSAs, so if you’re in the market for a share be sure to check them out:
We’ll talk more in a minute about who you can expect to see and what they expect to be selling at Market this Thursday, but for now let’s shift gears and talk about a crop that isn’t quite so affected by our flighty midwestern weather: coffee!
Our headliners this week are Ben Lizdas and Christine Tanzer and their Mount Horeb-based, small-batch roastery: Drift Coffee.
Coffee is on a very different timetable from the crops around here, and yet in this instance it’s still brought to us by people who live very much in harmony with the natural world. Ben and Christine’s professional backgrounds are in ecological conservation, nature education, wildlife travel and bird watching, and their business practices reflect their environmental beliefs from the beans they source to the packaging they use. (Their coffee bags are 100% home compostable – even the label!)
“Coffee really brings together economy, ecology, and people,” Christine adds. The route that coffee travels to reach us follows the migratory route of the birds they love to watch, like the Chimney Swift that adorns the Drift Coffee logo. The Swift spends its winters in Brazil before traveling north where it is ubiquitous to Mount Horeb summer evenings. “We love to sit outside at Brix enjoying a cider and open mic while the Swifts swoop around enjoying their insects.”
“Coffee is a ritual,” they explain, “and it’s a meditative experience for us.” Every morning Ben and Christine make each other a cup of coffee, and then they sit and drink it together.
Want to add a little ritual to your own mornings? Learn to brew pour-over coffee like a pro! Here is Drift Coffee’s recipe for the very best way to enjoy their fresh-roasted beans:
Equipment: A small digital kitchen scale, a decent burr grinder (grinding your coffee on demand makes a huge difference in the flavor and experience), a Hario V60 dripper and some paper filters.
Process: Weigh out 25 grams of coffee in the V60, placed on top of your favorite coffee cup, and add 350 grams of boiling water. Enjoy the best cup of coffee you've ever had!
Ben and Christine look forward to seeing you at the Market this season – and then after the market, enjoying cider and live music just down the street at Brix Cider every Thursday afternoon!
Who’s Bringing What to the Market This Week?
Bures Berry Patch will be at market this week with their beautiful farm fresh eggs and local honey.
Squashington Farm has had an unexpected harvest of overwintered (read: extra sweetened) parsnips!
Additional confirmed vendors: Double Dutch Sourdough, Open Kettle Farms, Farmer John's Cheese.
A note from the Market Board: After a two-summer hiatus, the Community Table is back at the market!
Interested? Click here to read more and to apply!