West Hartford CSA Pick-Up Week 2

June 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Posted in community, CSA's, food, harvest notes | 1 Comment

Harvest Notes

Kale Today at lunch I had some steamed kale with golden raisins. Yummm. This week’s kale variety is called Red Russian. Kale is a super food and super easy to cook once you get the hang of it. Toss it into soup, salad, stir-fry or roast it into kale chips.

Garlic Scapes Garlic plants send up a flower stalk (the scape) about a month before the bulbs are ready for harvest. We remove the scape so that the plant will put more energy into making a beautiful big bulb. Conveniently, the scape happens to be delicious. It is somewhat milder than garlic. Yesterday, Chef Neff chopped it into inch long pieces and then grilled it with chick peas and mushrooms for lunch in the Isabella Freedman dining hall. Garlic scape pesto is another delicious option.

Bok Choi Keep the stir-fries coming!

Salad Mix A triple washed mix of baby lettuce, baby beet greens and baby mustards, this is pretty fancy stuff.

Spinach These are big leaves, probably best for cooking. The color is as incredible as the taste.

Turnips This week’s turnips seem to taste spicier raw than last weeks’. They are still super juicy and don’t forget, the greens are yummy cooking greens!

Carrots These young carrots are incredibly tender. Carrot tops are a bit bitter but they are packed with nutrition so, unless you have a very hungry pet bunny, you might want to try using them. Some ideas include making them into soup stock or juicing them. Check out some info on carrot tops here: http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotops.html#leaves. You may find some black spots on your carrots. This is insect damage from the carrot rust fly. You can just cut that bit out and the rest of the carrot will be delicious!

Kohlrabi It may look like an alien but it is delicious! Kohlrabi tastes and crunches a lot like a broccoli stem but it is juicier. You can roast it or sautee in addition to eating it on salads or just plain jane style.

Lettuce Heads There are two different kinds of lettuce heads that you can choose between. One of them is the green leaf lettuce you got last week. The other is a butterhead. Butterhead leaves have a soft, creamy texture and make a kind of head by folding over on each other.

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Training for Slaughter

March 8, 2012 at 11:35 am | Posted in food, hens, sustainability | Leave a comment

Jacob Siegel, Summer 2010

My first visit to ADAMAH was in the winter of 2009, when I came up to Connecticut to do my interview for the summer fellowship. I arrived on a particularly juicy day. In the early winter morning, Shamu and I walked out to meet Naf and Anna Hanau, alumni of the program, who came up to shecht and process the old hens getting picked off by a hawk. That morning, I helped the staff pluck and clean the birds, the bloodiest job interview I’ve done to date.

During my time at ADAMAH, Naf came up from New York to do a demonstration for the group. He performed several shechitot and taught us about the categories of invalid shechita under Jewish law. His presentation and his work starting a sustainable kosher meat company inspired me on a deep level, and I began to dream about one day training as a shochet myself.

At the time I had been a vegetarian for nearly five years, mostly for convenience and economic reasons. I remembered a particularly challenging class at ADAMAH with Aitan, goat manager, who argued that meat and milk (and eggs) are inextricably connected in our food system. Was it possible that eating eggs but not chicken was, in fact, unsustainable? After that class, I longed to produce my own sustainable kosher meat.

After ADAMAH, I worked with a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. A local rabbi, Shmuel Herzfeld, and I studied the laws of shechita once a week. The laws of shechita are first outlined in Hullin, a tractate of the Talmud (the traditional compilation of Jewish thought and law from the 2nd-5th centuries CE). They are consolidated in the Shulchan Aruch, written in the 16th century, and then again in a work called the Simla Hadasha, published in the 1730’s. Nowadays, every shochet studies the Simla Hadasha and is expected to know all of its laws by heart before becoming certified. Rabbi Herzfeld and I worked our way through the Simla Hadasha over the course of the year, and as my learning continued, the dream of certifying as a shochet became more and more vivid.

I moved to Jerusalem this fall to study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. My goals in coming to Jerusalem included finding a rabbi who could teach me practical shechita skills. I got connected with a rabbi living near Mea Shearim, a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) neighborhood in Jerusalem. The first time I visited him, in his uniformed white shirt, black pants, and black kippah, he saw my brilliantly purple shirt and commented on my neck-long hair. “It would really be better for you if you cut it – to win community respect. You’re reflecting on me too, you know, as my student.” I had been growing it out for two years – how much was I willing to sacrifice to learn shechita? I asked my roommates to help me chop it off.

I started learning with the rabbi and a hevruta (study partner) every night for two hours. He told me where I could buy a shechita knife, and we practiced sharpening it to a perfectly smooth, perfectly sharp edge. Some nights the rabbi would unexpectedly cancel, for a bar mitzvah or a bris. Sometimes his teaching was gruff, and he said nothing except “wrong – fix it.” It felt like a scene from the Karate Kid, the wizened and demanding master watching over the fumbling students.

We shechted for the first time at an agricultural moshav an hour west of Jerusalem. We rented a car for the day, put on dirty overcoats, and brought our knives. I slaughtered five birds in a kosher slaughter and got to take them home to cook myself. I was aware, during the slaughter, of the gravity of our act – taking the life of an animal in a traditional, divinely inspired process, in order to feed myself and my community. I keenly felt divine eyes throughout the process looking on and assessing: are your intentions pure? Are your movements competent?

Two weeks ago, I received my official, signed certification from my rabbi of my status as a shochet of fowl. I feel proud to be a part of the ADAMAH community – to have learned and been inspired by the teaching of Naf and Aitan, and many others. Now I get to bring my skill and contribution back to the community. And together we get to make our food, and our Judaism, sustainable.

A Whirlwind Week!

November 8, 2011 at 8:30 am | Posted in adamahniks, alumni, community, food | Leave a comment

Last weekend, Adamah made a journey to Boston. We left the beauty and peace of a rural farming life, and plunged into the city. We met hard-working, compassionate people addressing social injustice through agriculture. I was humbled, excited and honored to witness how so many have actualized such thoughtful visions of a new way to live in this world.

I have recently been thinking about my relationship to cities, as I’ve lived most of my life in cities namely Vancouver, BC and Berkeley, CA. Despite my many qualms with cities: individualism, isolation, commercialism, this trip reminded me of a very important truth. It is always possible to carry values of kindness, compassion in your heart wherever you go. I was so happily surprised to find that the sweetness and love I’ve been internally cultivating at Adamah is portable. I feel empowered, relieved and excited that I can carry these intentions with me in my pursuit to actualize similar social justice projects in cities.

We stayed at the houses of Adamah alumni, and I was once again floored by the unconditional generosity and kindness extended to us.

When we returned back to Isabella Freedman, a storm was already underway, and we arrived to find that many trees had fallen, breaking power lines. For the past week, we have lived all together in IF’s main building. Sleeping close to stay warm, sitting up late, singing, appreciating each other and the generosity of all the IF staff.

I’ve been very touched by how well people have adapted. Pickles, cheeses, and yogurts found new temporary homes, and we successfully harvested a bountiful crop for our West Hartford CSA. I am so impressed and grateful for this community. Despite countless hassles and mini-disasters, we all pulled through, culminating in a Shabbat completely in the dark.

As unsettling and unstable the week was, we found comfort and grounding in each others and ourselves. It comes to show that when things become out of our control, we shouldn’t resist, but renew our energy towards appreciating the constant forces that nurture us.

– Submitted by Jordan Kahn Tietz, Fall 2011

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