The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Letter to My Farmer

Back in the cold months of February and March, my husband and I decided to join the Community Supported Agriculture program. "CSA reflects an innovative and resourceful strategy to connect local farmers with local consumers; develop a strong regional food supply and economy; encourage land stewardship; and honour the knowledge and experience of small-scale farmers." We paid a flat fee in two payments and by June we were receiving weekly baskets of organic bounty courtesy of  Rainbow Heritage Garden; a farm located a mere 5 minute drive from our home.

After our first few baskets and in the early days of The Letter Writing Revolution blog, I wrote a letter  to let them know how much we (and our bowels!!) were enjoying the consumption of copious amounts of vegetables each week. You see, it became the goal to never throw any away no matter what. Usually by Tuesday (the day before we picked up the fresh basket), my husband and I were enjoying a large stir fry to use up the last bits of veggies. The owners of the farm were thrilled to receive this spontaneous letter and they told us how much it meant to the interns working for them to know that their hard work was appreciated.

Well, as October creeps in closer, the CSA season is coming to an end. Today is a windy, rainy and cool day here in rural Ontario, Canada and a perfect day for making stew. Since I have a fridge full of glorious vegetables, many of them root vegetables, I chose to make a batch of Rainbow Stew (recipe below) from my Grain-Free Gourmet cookbook which I thought was fitting to make from the vegetables grown at Rainbow Heritage Garden.
Ingredients ready to make into Rainbow Stew

While everything was simmering, I washed some beet tops and made a delicious salad for lunch.

After several hours of simmering, adding certain vegetables, taking the lid off and then putting it back on, the Rainbow Stew was finished and the kitchen was smelling mighty fine.

Zucchini and butternut squash from our CSA basket
Tada! Not sure why this photo is sideways but you can see how beautiful this stew is!
Here's the recipe for those of you who are drooling:

Rainbow Stew

2 lb. stewing beef, cubed
5 large carrots, unpeeled and thickly sliced
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
one 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 zucchinis, coarsely chopped

1. Put beef, carrots, onion, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme in large pot and add enough water to cover contents.
2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour with the lid ajar.
3. Add the squash and simmer for 1/2 an hour.
4. Add the zucchini and simmer with lid off until the zucchini starts to look translucent and te stew is thick (15 to 20 minutes).
5. Serve in a bowl and enjoy!!

As the season draws to a close,  I realize how much I will miss this weekly ritual of picking up fresh, organic, sun-kissed veggies. With those thoughts in mind, I sat down and wrote a letter to our farmers, Kylah and Zach, and promptly walked over to the post office and mailed it.

Take the time to thank your local farmer for their hard work and dedication to getting the food on our tables.


  1. oh wow that stew looks soooooooooo good, my mouth is watering. we couldn't be happier that you're enjoying the bounty. ps - could anyone look more graceful mailing a letter????? fabulous photo of you.

  2. Just wrote this down so I can make it! Hooray for CSA...I have all the ingredients in my fridge and in my garden!..except the beef, of course.

  3. Julie,

    I don't get a chance to stop by often, but when I do, I always get a "warm, fuzzy feelin'" .:-)

    Love the stew recipe, and the photos are awesome! I may even get to try my hand at it...with the cooler weather on the horizon.

    Keep up the good work!


    Jennifer Brown Banks


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