"You give them something to eat" – Jesus of Nazareth
Thursday, August 17
One of the benefits of a small- scale farm is being able to grow small quantities of many different crops. One of the blessings of being a small- scale farm on Buffalo’s Westside is that we have the opportunity to learn about, and experiment growing, various ethnic foods from the different cultures which comprise our neighborhood. Many of the people currently living on the Westside come from backgrounds drastically different from my own. Often those backgrounds come with a wealth of knowledge about growing specific crops. This year, 5 Loaves Farm has attempted to embrace these backgrounds and began growing several beds of ethnically diverse produce. With the help of seeds and knowledge obtained from neighbors, we have attempted to grow a garden containing food from Italian, Southeast Asian, Hispanic, and East African cuisine.
It has been a joy of mine to watch these gardens grow, but it has been an even greater joy to be able to now share the food with our neighbors. One summer intern’s mother came to the farm to show me how to appropriately harvest roselle (a plant from the hibiscus family with sour tasting leaves used to season soups)
And to scold me that I picked one of my Asian cucumbers too early. Apparently, I needed to let it get much bigger; the bigger the cucumber, the sourer it is.
I was also scolded by another summer intern that I didn’t harvest the amaranth (aka linga linga) soon enough
We have been able to watch the faces on multiple people on the farm as they try a Thai hot pepper (something I will not be doing)
We have the largest basil plants I have ever seen
And I have been patiently watching both the Asian and African varieties of garden egg slowly grow.
It has been an amazing experience for me to be a part of this diversity garden. On the farm, we typically have a name for each of the beds, so for this garden I wanted to do something special. Each of the beds has the same name- “Unity”, written in one of the languages that that bed represents (Italian, Karen, Thai, Spanish, Swahili, Kirundi), created with the assistance of our summer youth interns. With our 8 interns representing 5 different countries, I believe watching them work together on the farm has been a real taste of what unity looks like.
The common theme between learning about different cultures’ food and being part of a CSA is that sometimes you just have to have a “let’s try it!” attitude. This week I had my first experience canning my own pickles, cooking with fresh artichoke, and making roselle soup! Whether it be finding a use for your carrot greens or trying a completely new food, my suggestion is just go for it! Ask advise from someone who knows what they are doing, and try something new. Embrace a taste of diversity.