By Marielle Macher
Our small group of Cornell Farmworker Program interns stood outside the home of some New York State farmworkers to whom we had been asked to provide English lessons; we were unsure what to think. While we had already been to many farmworker homes over the course of the summer, this one was different. From the outside, the home seemed abandoned. There were plastic bags where there should have been windows, the porch had begun to collapse and the roof seemed in need of substantial repair. Inside, the furniture was sparse and falling apart, the walls were largely unpainted and the ceiling beams were exposed. However, despite these poor living conditions, the workers welcomed us into their home with incredible enthusiasm and hospitality. After we provided the workers with an English lesson, they taught us about life in Guatemala and their experiences in the United States.
While the conditions of this home were not necessarily typical of farmworker housing in general, this home nevertheless reflects the invisibility and isolation of farmworkers in our state, and the sometimes overlooked issues of injustice within our local food system.
By Felix Teitelbaum, GreenLeaf Editor
It helps to be isolated from other potato production, says Andy Leed of Starflower Farm as he unearths a few Dark Red Norlandsone of the 36 varieties of potatoes he grows that shoppers can expect to find soon at GreenStar.
Theres no question about it, the farm is isolated. And very quiet.
When he hurls an overgrown tuber, a doe and fawn scamper off into the neighboring woods; newts creep underfoot; few cars pass.
The farm, in the hills outside of Candor, NY, grows potatoes for both seed and table.
"Welcome to our tomato jungle, joked Teresa Vanek gesturing toward an area swarming with indeterminate tomato vines where her husband Brent Welch prowled for the first ripe cherry tomato; it was delicious.
In the seven years since they began Red Tail Farm in Jacksonville, the two have brought the land out of continuous conventional corn and built a beautiful, sustainable farm producing fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, raw honey and more for the local market.
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New in Produce
|Local Produce Rolls Deep This Month|
If you're looking to keep your veggie drawer filled with local bounty, this is your month. Fruit, veggies, herbs — it's all here.
September brings the anniversary of Brazil's declaration of independence after centuries of Portuguese rule, the birthdays of legendary boxer "Rocky" Marciano, writer Truman Capote, and American revolutionary Samuel Adams ("I'll have a Samuel Jackson"), and the autumnal equinox. Summer's over ... how short it was. While I will lament the end of summer until it returns again, we can at the very least look forward to the rich and vibrant local harvest that continues on through this most comfortable of months. Stick and Stone Farm brings us delicious heirlooms tomatoes, green beans, and three kales: Red Russian, dino, and curly. We've got local apples — Sansa, Cox Orange Pippin, Pink Pearl, and more; and plums — Castelton, Long John, Fortune — from Black Diamond Farm; plus more veggies from Blue Heron Farm — broccoli, celery, cilantro, garlic, red potatoes, and tomatoes. Here comes fall, "que sera sera."