Some quick things:
- Want to receive this list via email each week? Sign up here. (Did you get an email about ramps last week?)
- PASTURED EGG SALE continues (Village Acres eggs are Buy One Get One 25% off, if you’re just tuning in.) The BUTTER BLOWOUT continues, too — Apple Valley Creamery’s grass-fed butter is on sale for $7/tub (usually $8.50).
- The cold nights have not been as kind to the asparagus as we’d hope — we’ve got limited quantities this week, at a slightly higher price per pound than we hope to see in coming weeks. If you want to make sure you get some, we recommend reserving it here.
- New this week: Red Chard, Purple Kohlrabi, Hakurei Salad Turnips, and Escarole. And if you missed them last week they’re new to you — spring garlic and red radishes.
Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week!
Some of you know that in the years before Radish & Rye, I spent most of my days at The Circle School as staff member and Business Manager. Some of you know that in the years before that (many years before that), I spent most of my days at The Circle School as a student. Some of you know that my connection to The Circle School runs deep — it was founded by my parents, Jim Rietmulder and Beth Stone, and friends Sue Narten and dee Holland-Vogt.
Fewer of you might know that two of the farms we work most closely with — Village Acres and Jade — have kids enrolled at The Circle School. It was actually through The Circle School that I met Hannah (Village Acres) and John (Jade), many moons ago, even before I was working at the school and before either of them were farming, and each helped ignite my interest in local food.
I’m writing about this today because next week, on Tuesday evening, my dad will be at the Midtown Scholar to talk about his new book (being released at the Scholar that very day!)*, When Kids Rule the School: The Power and Promise of Democratic Education, and I’m so proud of and excited for him that I couldn’t possibly write about anything else.
In the prologue, my dad writes:
Human beings are afraid of the dark, so it’s no wonder we welcomed electric light and all that followed. It’s not just darkness we fear. By nature, we fear nature itself: wildness, disorder, chaos…
Our infatuation with technology didn’t seem overzealous until the second half of the 1900s. Then we started to worry about unforeseen consequences like thalidomide babies and a silent spring without peepers. Now we’ve learned about the dark side of technology, and we have many apocalypses to worry about.
After those sobering lessons, nature doesn’t look so bad after all, and we want to get back to it. Walks in the woods. Organic foods. Natural fibers. Stone-age diets. Even science has gone natural, scouring the jungle wilds for nature’s own problem-solving methods and medicines. Turns out, nature’s not just wild, but wise, too.
So now we balance our inborn fear of nature with our acquired fear of technology, and our addiction to technology with our attraction to nature. Instead of dominating nature, we want partnership. Instead of thinking we can do better with brute force, we want to engineer with elegance, intelligence, and a light touch. We want to tap the powers of nature, managed by creative human invention for the sustainable good of all.
Wait, is this a book about education, or organic farming?
This thought — that we as a society have worked very hard to develop technologies that we thought would make the world a better place; that we have found in those solutions even more complicated problems; that we are now in a position to circle back, to look for and implement ways of doing things that embrace both the best of what nature has to offer and the best of what technology has to offer — I think it’s as applicable to farming as it is to education. For me personally, this is very much a common thread between the work I’ve done at The Circle School in support of self-directed democratic education and the work we’re doing now at Radish & Rye in support of small-scale sustainable farms.
I had the privilege of reading a draft of the book prior to publication. I’m now about halfway through my second read. Sure, I might be biased, but while you might expect this book to be somewhat wonky, it’s an immersive and even enchanting read. It’s full of thought-provoking theory, every day practice, lots of stories (maybe some featuring folks you know?), and my dad’s signature sparkling wit. I’ve been immersed in The Circle School for nearly 35 years now, and I’m still hearing stories that make me smile, and sometimes cry (in a good way). It’s such a good book. I’m so proud of my dad.
I think it’s not a coincidence that the school has seen a significant number of farming families pass through its doors over the years, and I think it’s not just about combining longstanding wisdom with more recent innovations. I think that both small-scale organic farming and self-directed democratic education share a fundamental trust that in a fertile and safe environment, life can flourish.
And from a farming perspective, what a great time of year for this book to be published — life is flourishing.
*When Kids Rule the School will be available for purchase at Midtown Scholar beginning on May 7; it’ll be available from other booksellers on May 14.
(but somewhat limited — click here to reserve yours!)
Braising & Salad Greens
- Baby Bok Choy
- Red Chard
- Collard Greens
- Green Curly Kale
- Spinach (somewhat limited)
- Baby Red Kale Mix
- Lettuce Mix
- Pea Shoots
- Little Gem Romaine
- Red Romaine
- Fuji Apples
- Granny Smith Apples
- Rhubarb is not technically a fruit, but here it is
- Lions Mane
Onions & Garlic
- Spring Garlic
- Sweet Potatoes (somewhat limited)
- Japanese Sweet Potatoes
- Red Radishes
- Hakurei Salad Turnips
- Red Beets (somewhat limited)
- Daikon Radishes (somewhat limited)
- Purple Top Turnips (somewhat limited)
- McGrath’s Original
- Sesame Original
- Irish Oatmeal Pan Bread
- Parmesan Olive Herb
- Cranberry Ginger
- Three Seed