This post is in honor of Jim Thomas, Sr., born December 16, 1933, called home peacefully September 30, 2021, surrounded by family at the farm in rural Marshall, after a short struggle with cancer (obituary here, funeral video here). Jim was a fast picker of potatoes and strawberries. “He loved to pick ’em, and he loved to eat ’em,” his son said this morning. “I never could pick as fast as he could, though I tried.” His back couldn’t take picking and potato digging anymore, recently, so he instead took on the work of washing and bagging and prepping of the kale and other produce. Next to church, the activity Jim lived for every week was going to the Farmer’s Market. Even in the winter, when the market starts an hour later, the lights in Jim’s house would be on at 4:00 a.m. “I had my alarm set anyway,” he’d say. Farmer’s Market days were long days for Jim, as the family often didn’t get back home until 5:00 p.m., and the ride in the back seat of the truck was uncomfortable, but coming to market was one of the activities he loved the most, to the end. Every Share-Life customer and fellow vendor is already missing his smiling face, and his straightforward, kind, dedicated and devout nature behind the table Saturday mornings. His spirit will never be far from us at the market.
We regret that there is no CSA option available in 2021. We are a small family farm. Jim Sr. has had some health challenges recently, and Rose has an immune disorder that makes it difficult to bring on additional labor, without exacerbating her condition. So, while we hope to be in a better situation eventually, we had to make the difficult decision not to continue with the CSA this year. We will continue to sell our produce at the Columbia Farmer’s Market and supply our local restaurant customers.
This week’s CSA bag contains these marvelous foot-long Asian green beans, some cute little red peppers, and onions and garlic, among other things. If you’ve never cooked these beans before, consider a stir-fry, like this Chinese Long Beans With Black Pepper recipe from Food & Wine magazine (and use the beans, the onions and the red peppers), or Tiny Urban Kitchen’s Stir-Fried Chinese Long Beans With Garlic. The trick is, avoid boiling or steaming these guys, or they’ll just get floppy. In a pinch, it’s even possible to make a tasty vegetarian main dish with them, even if your only cooking device is a microwave oven – just be sure to also pick up some of those tomatoes from Share-Life, too! See Seriously Asian for more tips on cooking these flavorful summer vegetables.
Come to a special Field Day and Farm Tour, 4:00-6:00 PM on Tuesday May 16th (rain date: May 17, also 4-6). Meet your full-time Missouri organic farmers and also hear from Dr. Zelalem Mersha and Martha O’Connor of Lincoln University, about how organic farmers can attain biological control of soil-borne diseases in high tunnels – without harmful chemicals.
R.S.V.P.’s are not required, but they are appreciated – call or text Jim Thomas, 660-886-3936 for more information or to RSVP.
This free field day and tour is a Research and Outreach Project organized by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Share-Life Farms is in need of some immediate assistance, planting onions and digging up potatoes. We’d love to build up a pool of volunteers, for short, high-intensity periods like this.
Also, we’ve lost our full-time farmhand, so we are also looking to hire someone to work for us this spring and summer, maybe full time if it works out, with spring/summer work in the fields, fall/winter work in the hoop house. Because we’re organic, you won’t have to suffer from toxic pesticides sprayed on our fields. Soon-to-be MU grads or others with an interest in organic farming, this is something to think about – if you can join us before graduation, it’ll probably increase your chances to be hired for summer.
The hotel has extended its discounted room rate of $119 per night (plus taxes), so call 816-841-1000. Dial 0, ask for “In-house Group Reservations” and tell them your are registering for the MOA conference. And of course, be sure to register.
My grandmother was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, the place they make Tabasco sauce. So you’d think she’d have cooked all sorts of spicy Cajun food. Au contraire; my Nana was Scots-Irish, and aside from her delicious gumbo, her flavoring was mild. One dish of hers I always loved was her steamed okra dipped in oil & vinegar dressing. It’s easy and pretty foolproof.
First, you steam the okra in one of these steaming basket thingies for about 6 minutes, a tad longer if it’s huge.
While the okra steams, prepare a standard oil & vinegar dressing:
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard
a little basil (dried is ok)
Pour some dressing into an individual dipping container (we use small custard cups) for each person. When the okra is done, serve everyone some of it. To eat it, grab the head and dip the rest of the pod into the oil and vinegar. Small pods are eaten in one bite; larger ones may need to be double-dipped, hence the individual bowls!