Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Civic Engagement Ahoy

The run-off elections for Public Advocate and Comptroller were held today in our fair city. In the last open Council election, only 16 percent of all eligible voters actually turned out, and North Brooklyn scrounged up even fewer. Tonight I went to the polls wagering that there would be a three percent turn-out...and found that my district's table had seen 20 people all day. A fellow Brooklyn voter said that he was voter #30 at his district's table, and a Manhattan suffragist felt that more people were working at the polls than entering them. So let's do the math! There are currently around four million voters in NYC. Of these, 66 percent, or 2.4 million, are registered Democrats. Given that there are around 6,200 election districts citywide, if the average turn-out/district today was 25 voters, then 155,000 Democrats voted, or 6.4 percent of the population. Also note that an election requires around 30,000 poll workers, which means 1-in-5 people at the polls today was...truly civically engaged.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Sightings

*Jay Bakker interview in the WG
*Homemade ravioli on Conselyea
*Semi-truck repair lot on Skillman
*"Holla It's Ten Dolla" stoop sale on Metropolitan
*Grapefruit sighting on Lorimer
*Two NYC Bridge workers buying sandwiches ("You ever try the pepper jack? It's good.")
*Tabby cat in McGorlick
*Little dog in McCarren
*Photo shoot on Monitor
*Yellow flowers in Red Shed Garden
*Coney Island photos in window of Klenosky Paint
*Perfect day brunch at Enid's
*Roof workers with mallets
*History in street names: "Lorimer Street recalls the middle name of John and James Graham (after whom Graham Avenue is named), two famous land-jobbers, active in 1836 selling building lots in the area." (Development comes full circle.)
*PAC Chinese food renovations
*Strollers (Which reminds me: I would like to see a Duck stroller that can roll over the ground and also be launched as a ferry.)
*Runners (one with "Vandy" on her shorts - Nashville in Williamsburg!)
*A door
*A hall
*Another door
*A bagel

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just Got Home From Illinois

And Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Indiana. Forty-one states left to go! Thousands of words related to why I ate a head of broccoli on the drive from Nashville to Illinois (via the Patton Museum):















Thursday, September 3, 2009

Claw-Foot Tub Anyone?

If you're in the market for all manner of furniture, lamps, and assorted doo-dads, stop by this sale this weekend. Because nothing says autumn quite like a new chair.

Back to the Land

Why it means something to support local farmers, or, a letter from Hearty Roots Farm:

Dear East Williamsburg CSA Member:

It's been a while since you've heard an update directly from the farmers at Hearty Roots - unless you've talked to one of us
personally, in which case you're probably tired of hearing complaint after complaint about this season's weather!

Well, I'm afraid that we're not ready to stop complaining yet. "Merciless" is the only word that seems appropriate for the conditions that we've faced in the Hudson Valley this season. Our neighbors, who have been at it much longer than we have, are saying that it's the most difficult growing season they've ever seen. Certainly that's true for us.

We did finally have one week of summer weather just now-- warm days, and an inch-and-a-half of rain, that's just about perfect. Unfortunately, during the rest of June, July and August the skies were not so friendly. Rainstorm after rainstorm turned our normally very well-drained fields into swamps. Unending wet weather brings with it disease, which affected our carrots, potatoes, lettuce, onions, radicchio, and, of course, tomatoes. Flooding in the fields wiped out newly seeded plantings of beets and salad greens. Unseasonably cool days prevented our pepper plants from producing as they should. And muddy fields meant we couldn't get on our tractors and cultivate (i.e., weed) our crops on time, nor plant them on time.

At one point in May, I remember looking at our fields of newly planted carrots and worrying that we would have TOO many carrots this year. Then, when the floods came, the water table rose above the bottom half of all of those carrots, causing them to turn to mush in the standing water.

So we regret very much that our late summer shares, which we always plan to keep bountiful, are less than ideal this season. Please understand that we've done everything we can to keep the shares plentiful - including no longer selling any produce to restaurants, which we normally do with surplus veggies, in order to make sure that our members are taken care of first. And we've re-tasked some of our crew members, who during a normal year might be picking tomatoes right now, with planting extra salad greens for the shares in upcoming weeks.

What's the bright side? Well, the weather has taken a turn for the better, for now. This is allowing our fall plantings of cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes and squash to perk up, and we have been tirelessly weeding them to keep them happy. So we're hoping to have a rebound in the coming month's harvest.

The real bright side, though, comes from you, our members. A season like this one could easily cause a relatively young farm like ours to go under. If we were dependent on farmers markets for our income, we might have ended this season in unrecoverable debt. While we are definitely taking a real economic hit this year, both personally and as a farm, the Community Supported Agriculture model will allow us to get through this season, and onto more bountiful seasons in the future. And we will be stronger for it - having learned how to deal with even the most difficult weather conditions, we will have learned
to grow even more bountifully in the future, and we promise to share that bounty with all of you. Thanks to all of you, very sincerely, for your support this season.

--Benjamin & Miriam