From the Market Manager
I had a conversation last week with a man who is the primary caregiver for his infant son; his wife is a physician in a residency program. Being very sensitive to how quickly life can change having been widowed at age 32 with 3 young children, I asked him if he had life insurance; he doesn’t. I asked about his wife, and he said that she has some through work. Probably not much.
What most people don’t appreciate is how much money is needed when one of the parents dies. He told me that he takes care of the baby because day care would have taken nearly all of the income he made. Granted he didn’t have a high paying job, but still…I asked how his wife would pay for the child’s care if he died. It was like an ah-ha moment for him.
I hope he and his wife get some insurance, lots of it, because as I always say, if your family doesn’t have to worry about money at the same time they are grieving your loss, you will have given them a gift. I often read of a family asking for contributions to a child’s education fund after a young parent dies.
What’s the chance that they’ll get any appreciable amount of money from contributions?
Life insurance is less expensive than ever. People are living longer, and many medical conditions that might have precluded getting a policy are easily managed these days.
Along with financial planning, you should look into getting a will, a health care proxy, and if needed a durable power of attorney. And no, no-one has me on commission to say these things.
Highland Foundation Free Fridays—July 12th
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Hall at Patriot Place, Foxborough; Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River, Fall River; Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester; New England Quilt Museum, Lowell; Smith College of Art, Northampton; Springfield Museums; Charles River Watershed Association, Weston; Chesterwood, Stockbridge; Mahaiwe Peforming Arts Center, Great Barrington.
This ‘n’ That
• To keep your drain clean put a handful of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar down the drain and cover tightly for one minute. Rinse with hot water.
• Vinegar poured or sprayed on moss in the driveway will kill it.
• Every 3 months the U.S. throws away enough aluminum to rebuild our commercial airlines.
• Just one part oil per million parts water will make drinking water smell and taste funny.
Recipe—Pasta Salad with Spinach
Amounts are up to you.
Orzo or any other pasta, Craisins, fresh spinach, lemon juice, olive oil, feta cheese, toasted pecans, salt and pepper to taste. Nice thing about this salad is that it can stay at room temperature because it has no mayonnaise in it.
Cook pasta, add other ingredients, but leave the pecans until last and add them just before serving.
Another way is to leave out the Craisins and nuts, add some Greek olives, small tomatoes, scallions, feta cheese, Greek olives, scallions, chicken or shrimp, and you have a delicious main dish. Use the same dressing.
Meet the Vendor—Wickedly Wild
Lori LeBlanc, owner of Wickedly Wild, started her business about 4 years ago. It started when she ran out of barbecue sauce at home. After experimenting with the recipe, always using mostly fresh, local ingredients like onions garlic, habanero peppers, honey, brown sugar and top shelf bourbon, Wickedly Wild Barbeque Sauce was created.
After some local home town fund raisers, people started calling her to order more; the business was born. She also makes dry rubs that are excellent when grilling. And, because the sauce is spicy, she started dehydrating local vegetables to make several different dip mixes to calm the heat.
After attending many local farmers’ markets, and having fresh local fruits available, she added jams and jellies to the inventory. Most all ingredients are local with nothing chemically added and they are always gluten free. Her products make excellent gifts.
The Future of Food in New England
In 2003, the Department of Sustainability at the University of New Hampshire convened a group of 15 people from throughout New England who had something to do with agriculture. They met 3 times.
They discussed what was and what they hoped would be looking ahead half a century and seeing farming and fishing as important regional economic forces, soil, forests, and waterways cared for sustainably; healthy diets seen as a norm, and accessto food valued as a basic human right.
New England is a place of forests and hills, cities and villages, farms and seaports, colleges and high-tech companies, a place where history and modern life are intimately connected. Farming and fishing were once at the heart of the region. Today, service industries, technology, medicine, tourism, and education are driving economic forces, and development dominates a growing part of the landscape. Still, the enduring presence of dairy farms, vegetable stands, sugar houses, and fishing boats testify to the cultural heritage that underlies our landscape and economy.
New England has gone from a largely wooded to a predominantly agricultural landscape, then returned to forest. The amount of land producing food today is very small, only about 5% (less than 2 million acres) of a region with almost 15 million inhabitants. Commercial fishing, once a major industry now struggles to survive.
Food production once engaged most New Englanders, but now is a small component of the regional economy, occupying only a fraction of the population . And, farms in New England are small by national standards.
About 90% of our food comes from outside the region, brought here by a global food system that produces abundant food, but also undermines the planet’s soils, waters and climate.
Despite food abundance, as many as 10-15% of New Englanders regularly don’t have enough to eat.
Since 2003 there are many more farmers’ markets. More emphasis has been placed on purchasing locally grown food not only for individuals, but for schools and restaurants also. (In restaurants, it is very much a selling point when they put that something is locally grown or raised on their menu.)
The decline of farms and farmland has bottomed out since 1970, and there has been a recent upturn in farms, most of which are small. Many New Englanders strive to eat local seafood and support local farmers. (That’s why those of you reading this patronize our market.) The region’s remaining farmers have shown skill, innovation, and determination while nonprofit organizations like Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and state programs work together to protect farmland and support local agriculture.
Our Mass Department of Agricultural Resources is a terrific support to all of us involved in agriculture.
One of the conversations in 2003 was how having farmland was important to tourism. Think of Vermont for example. Many people think of cows, red barns, and open land when they think of Vermont. No one takes a ride to see housing developments; they take a ride to someplace usually because it’s nice to look at.
Farmers are willing to do the hard work necessary to raise our food; we must support them.
Bring someone to our market to increase our customer base. It all helps.
THANKS to Ginny White for her very generous donation