Saturday, April 30, 2011

This one is for Mom

In case you haven't noticed, I tend to use this blog to write about whatever has been happening on the farm lately and then make a clever segway into whatever we would like you to come buy at the Farmer's Market (evil farmer!).
What happened this week is my mother almost died.  And well, she is not out of the woods yet although things do look much better than just a few days ago.  Thank God, Mother Earth, the great Buddha, Peter Pan or whatever it is that might have a say in these things - whoever or what you are.
And since this is what has been happening, I'd like to talk about it.  If for nothing else, than so I can tell my mother when I go back to the hospital this afternoon and this will really piss her off and she will be forced to get better so she can harass me into taking this blog posting down.  So there ya go Mom, you better get well!
What does my Mother almost dying have to do with my farm?'s about nutrition.  You see, I've been amazed watching the doctors work on my mother and the wonderful things they have been able to do for her.  But the reasons while she is there in the first place?  Well, I like to place the blame very simply on bad nutrition and our cultures inability to recognize this that DESPITE having the brains, the resources and werewithal to do so.
I know my mother sometimes blames herself for bad nutrition choices that led to multiple whammy of being overweight, adult-onset diabetes, clogged arteries, atrial fibrillation and probably then also leading to arthritis and joint pain.  But I think a lot of those nutrition choices were really not of her making.  They were societies.  And not of my grandmother's making either - despite the fact that my mother and her two brothers (who have an eerily similar litany of health issues) were raised on a diet of wonder bread, Chef Boyardee ravioli, bologna sandwiches and commercially canned veggies.
You see my grandmother was a product of the "modern housewife" movement of the 40s and 50s.  She was raised on a poor farm with 12 siblings.  She HATED it and wanted nothing more to never, ever, EVER be on a farm again.  It was dirty and stinky and icky.  (Yes, she was horrified to see me as a small girl wanting to do nothing more than to run, and leap, into large piles of dirt).
So when she married my grandfather, a railroad man, with a steady job, they got a nice suburban ranch style house in a nice suburb of Spokane, Wash and she threw away all the old antique furniture because she wanted everything to be "new and fresh."  She was industrious, she was neat, she was the quintessential mother and housewife who loved her children (and her grandchildren) with every ounce of her tiny, 110 lb self.  And she bought into the "new revolution" of feeding and nurturing your family lock, stock and barrel.  When my mother was born my grandmother was "lucky" to be able to get the newest and best in birthing medical techniques.  They knocked her out flat, ripped my mother out with forceps and then forced my grandmother to stay in bed for an entire week.  It it not surprising when she first got out of bed she immediately fainted.  It is surprising that she (and my mother) survived at all!
My mother remembers watching her mother prepare bottles (no breastfeeding!  Ick...Plus how do we know how much the baby is eating?) for her little brother Randy.  A concoction of powdered milk and corn syrup.  Yum, yum.  And deadly.  (I feel very lucky that when I was born my mother decided to breastfeed me despite society norms still being against it at the time.  But as my father said - "Baby cows drink cows milk.  Baby people should drink their mother's milk."  Rather obvious now isn't it?). 
I know if my grandmother knew now what the researchers are saying about the deadly effects of refined wheat, high fructose corn syrup, processed meats and food additives she would be horrified.  So I certainly don't blame her.  I blame our society.  I think we humans tend to go to "extremes."  I think my grandmother (and hence my mother) was simply caught up in the trend of the time to go to the "extreme" of embracing new science and technology.
Afterall we found out lots of great things. We sent a man to the moon!  We learned how to do open heart surgery (and boy, if that isn't an amazing thing!).  We found out we could use the technology to create bombs to grow amazing amounts of food with synthetic processed nitrogen and this will feed the world! (yet we still have rampant world starvation, hmmm....).  So everything new and scientific must be great! Right?  Wrong...
We need balance in life.  It has been simply amazing watching the wonders of Western medicine as they very literally, saved my mother's life Thursday morning and now are giving her a good fighting chance for survival.  I am eternally grateful for those leaps of education and science.
Yet for all those wonders we forgot how to eat simple, nutritious whole foods.  Foods that my grandmother was forced to eat simply because well, there wasn't any other choice when she was growing up.  Foods that would have, very likely, meant my mother never would have needed the help of these brilliant doctors in the first place.  Balance.
And with that, my clever segway into what we are bringing to market today because despite the fact that I have been the vanishing farmer since Wednesday wonderful staff and intern crew has held down the farm, fed and corralled the animals, done the picking and are now probably packed up and heading to both the Coupeville and Bayview farmer's markets today!  So coming today, to bring you perhaps a little bit of nutritional "balance" will be the following veggies grown with love on Ebey's Prairie:
From Willowood Farm:
* Spinach bags (two kinds!)
* Radishes (my mother's favorite!)
* Garlic Greens
* Baby Pac Choi - a lovely tender new crop.
* Collard bunches
* Kale bunches
* Chard bunches
* Nettles
* Dry beans
* Carrot bunches
* Braising greens bags
And probably some more wonderful things...
From our good friends and neighbors at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Scallions
* Egyptian walking onions
* Chives
* More spinach
* Leeks (maybe)
* Loose carrots
* Beet bunches
* Dry beans
So we hope to see you there!  Love and good health to you all.
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie


  1. Ok Georgie! You got my attention. You see I very likely am the same age as your Mom. or close to it, and have the very same problems. My Doctor has Never mentioned nutrition...just lose weight! I have share in the rosehip Farm this year, and intend to take full advantage of your wonderful produce. Cant guarantee I will be skinny next year, but I bet I will be healthier! Hope your Mom is too.

  2. Mary Lou - I plan to badger my mother endlessly about going to see the naturopath my husband and I started seeing about a see ago. Dr. Rabinovich down in Freeland. She is all about nutrition and boy, is she ever thorough. Our bodies are very complicated but in some ways very simple. Give them the right fuel and watch them work! I think in my mother's case the thing will be right nutrition for helping her to have a strong immune system which is such a critical thing with her issues. It's not easy though, as I well know! So more power for you for signing up with Rosehip. Linda does a fabulous share.

  3. Georgie - My thoughts are with you for a speedy recovery.

    To nutrition - you're right, nutrition is key. There are illnesses out there that can be cured by good - strict - nutrition, i.e. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and others.

    Thank you, Georgie and other farmers, for allowing us on Whidbey to have fresh, local, and wholesome foods available.

    Keep up the good work, and, again, best wishes for your mother.