June 2017
An effective farm manager must be able to see both the details and the whole picture at all times, agilely making well-reasoned and appropriate adjustments in operations and timing while staying calm under stress and frustration. You must take a balanced whole-farm view, day to day and season to season, with a positive attitude and vision.
— Mary-Howell Martens

June has been for me the culmination of five months of introspective work. I took a workshop that has completely changed the way I approach my day, that made me reflect and look ahead in new ways, setting new goals both personal and professional. It’s been a really meaningful and necessary period of course correction. The program was mostly centered on partnership and work-life balance. As it was coming to a close, I was reading a book my husband gave me called Letters to a Young Farmer, curated by the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. These lessons about agriculture kept circling back eerily to everything I’d been learning within the four walls of my office. It all came down to growth and betterment.


If asked to choose one job to have for one day only, I’d easily choose farmer. I’m aware that I don’t have the physical wherewithal to make a life of farming, but there are few professions I have a deeper respect for. One of the personal goals I set for myself this summer was to get my hands dirty, so I did some volunteer work at Brooklyn Grange one afternoon—the first of many, I promise! Among the weeds we pulled were errant greens, arugula, bok choy, and more that we plucked from the patches where they didn’t belong and got to take home and enjoy for days to come. Everything has its time and place. Our rescue salad:

As a writer, I hope to take readers beyond the simple commandment to know your farmer and toward an understanding of the dialogs that extend over time from farmer to farmer, hand to soil, plant to hand, and ear to mind—conversations between people and plants that are essential to the way we eat.
— Amy Halloran

I’ve been learning these last months to know and value the skills I possess, and further, to recognize that they’re not finite. There is always something more for me to learn, and that excites me. My kitchen is my favorite classroom. Cooking with an ingredient I’ve never used before is thrilling. Improving on a dish I have made before is uplifting. There’s only up from here.

This month I substituted chopped up garlic scapes, my favorite novelty, for regular garlic in a dish of sautéed swiss chard with lemon and Parmesan. I also made a successful first go of cooking escarole, braised in white wine with cannellini beans, garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes. Meanwhile Jon has had his own revelation: perfect kale chips. Spicy, crunchy, and lemony tart, no amount is ever enough. We used to complain that we got more kale than we knew what to do with, but now we’ll never turn away another bunch. I’ll share the deliciously simple recipe soon.

And today, he invented an amazing soup with collard greensbroccoli leaves, and yellow squash, topped with cotija cheese and lemon balm. It may be hot as hell out there, but I was too in love with this experimental soup and the adventurous man who made it to care. I went for seconds immediately.


Last week, my cousin came into my room and told me he was in the mood for a homemade meal, in his words “food from the old country, something rustic.” Game on. I knew in my heart and my stomach that it was time for tarator. For my whole life, tarator has been the dish that signaled the start of the summer. I got straight to mixing yogurt and water and grating in cucumbers and garlic. It went in the fridge right away to be cold and ready for dinnertime. When it was time to eat, I topped it with freshly snipped dill from our CSA and watched summer come to life before my eyes.

I encourage you to build healthy relationships with mentors, while always building within yourself a desire and skill set that enables you to teach others in turn. I encourage you to always be humble, so that you can be in a state of perpetual learning. I encourage you to begin teaching today, right now; start with what you know best. As you teach your craft, teach with heart and humor, creating an environment of safety so that your students will maximize their learning potential. I encourage you to sing to your plants as you would sing to your children.
— Nephi Craig

Keep growing. Keep learning. Keep eating.