Adrian White is a certified herbalist, author, organic farmer, and freelance writer on subjects of health, wellness, nutrition, herbalism, and agriculture. Her book Herbalism: Plants & Potions That Heal was published through Arcturus Publishing and is available wherever books are sold. She is a past contributor to Healthline with bylines in The Guardian, Civil Eats, Good Housekeeping, and Rodale's Organic Life. Adrian is owner of Deer Nation Herbs and Jupiter Ridge LLC, an organic farm growing diverse vegetables, mushrooms, and herbs. On any given day you can find her jumping between writing or researching, reading books, experimenting with a new food or herbal creations, or tending to herbs, vegetables, or mushrooms on her farm in the Driftless Region of Iowa. Visit her Resume/CV page, hire her as a freelancer (writing, marketing, social media) for your projects, or book her for an herbal educational health consultation.
Hey there followers and subscribers! I know I haven’t written many new posts… (I hope for that to change – but as you’ll see soon, I’ve been quite busy!)… BUT, my first book on herbalism is coming out this NOVEMBER… on the 1ST! That’s only 1 week away!
If you want to preorder it or buy it eventually after the publication date, here are the links you can follow to snatch up a book of your very own!
Herbalism: Plants and Potions That Heal | Available by preorder from:
HOWEVER!!!…you could get one for FREE because I’m also doing a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY! I have FIVE free beautiful books that would LOVE new homes on the bookshelves of either an experienced herbalist or total newbie— this book is great for both. It’s a GORGEOUS small hardcover book: you can slip it in a large coat pocket or have it live in your purse. It has beautiful golden embossed pages, drawings, and cover print that will really pop out on your bookshelf!
The book is being published by Arcturus Publishing, and I couldn’t be happier with the way the book was designed and its appearance – it’s a beauty! It’s a small guide that gives you a FULL introduction to learning herbalism: harvesting herbs, making preparations, the energetics of herbs (one of my faves!), some history, monographs on specific herbs, contributions from herbalists/experts/chefs, and lots more.
It’s also a great addition to the reading and studying of already well-practiced herbalists! I would also imagine its a perfect book to choose for your herbalist course, if you teach one, to get your new students acquainted with and started on the learning path: it’s compact, rich with information, but light, breezy reading.
To enter the giveaway: please check out my social media pages on the right hand side to learn how to participate! THE DEADLINE to put in entries is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT! (10/26)! Depending on the social media platform, to participate in the giveaway is summarized by these following ways to put in entries:
Like the post (One entry)
Share the post to Feed/Stories (One entry – two if you add/use the hashtag #iowaherbalist, three if you tag me/one of my pages/add more to story/post to boost the giveaway!)
On Christmas eve this year– a holiday I become more and more uncertain about how I wish to celebrate or appreciate– I planted garlic.
It was late in the ground for many reasons. And if you’re a farmer, you’ll see this December post in the Midwest and very much understand how late this is. But, finding soft, plant-able soil on a warm day in the dead of winter felt like a sign that it’s still possible, maybe meant to be, that I could still fulfill my goal of having a whole garlic bed completely dedicated to both food and medicine creation.
So, I lurched forward. I just needed to do it. And I finally had the energy to do so. Even if it happened to fall on a holiday. (Such can be the nature of farming).
It got me thinking about how farmers are so hard on themselves, often for what feels like such unreasonable and, I should add, very outdated reasons to me. This includes yours truly: I’ve been so hard on myself for not working at full physical capacity this year. Even if for completely understandable reasons, such as learning how to manage a new chronic illness, which I am only now just figuring out how to put a dent in what feels like never-ending pain while still managing to grow things for part of my living. And which was why the garlic was planted so late.
It’s been a lesson in surrender. Old me would have been upset, freaking out to be planting on a Holiday. I would be beating myself up that I hadn’t gotten it done earlier so that I could just relax, or maybe just because most farmers would be embarrassed or wince at me for saying it got done this late. All because pain and life circumstances I couldn’t control had stopped me earlier, and I was forced to slow down, pay attention to it, listen to it, actually attend to it. But even then, thinking, “I’m such a bad farmer.” All because I had to put myself first at those times – put me and my body before my ideals.
I’ve farmed and worked at farms for about 12 years now, about 7 years of that having managed fully operational farms or running my own. I took pride in the farmer culture I absorbed in my 20’s, yes. That you simply run yourself into the ground running your business and growing food for your community, and that’s that, that’s how you’re a true farmer. And run myself into the ground I did, proudly. Days off, what? Taking time off in the summer? Are you insane? That person is not a real farmer, if…. fill in the blank. That was during a time when I was younger and my body could afford to pay for that ethos.
Where did this ethos come from, I wonder? That you are not a “true” farmer if you do not rise at the crack of dawn, daily, with automatic joy and cheer? That having no days off to care for yourself and loved ones is to be worn like a badge of pride? That the less subsidized your farming is by other pursuits or careers (or dare I say, the government or grants) the “purer” it is? That you’re ungrateful and spoiled if you inherit the family farm and land, and will have no true taste of what scraping out the farming living was ever truly like – Or, inversely, if you’re the first generation of farmers in your family ever (or for a long time), you’re still not a “true” farmer somehow?
And lastly, that somehow, unsustainable self-sacrifice is all part of the practice of running a sustainable farm? And if you’re not doing all of this while turning a profit, you’re still nowhere near what a true farmer is, or was?
This does not sound very sustainable to me. Between you and me, I do not think it is an ethos that was dreamed up by farmers themselves. And because I ascribe myself less and less to these things as I get older, the less and less I feel like I am a “true” farmer, or a “real” farmer, and others might agree…but I can’t help but wonder why this is. Do shame and perfectionism have to be the fuel for growing food? What does shame accomplish?
I look at my peers and what they share publicly, however, and how giving one’s growing passions almost entirely to economic or perfectionistic gain seems to be the norm. And, when things inevitably go wrong– which they always do when farming, as we toy with a thin line between life and death that we can never completely control– farmers are crushed by the the loss of a crop, a weather event, or the death of an animal or several animals that are only happenings in nature we could never hope to control. But we still carry all the shame, as if we have not done enough.
I continue to wonder. Where are the farmers of old who held tight to these ethos, and how are they doing? How are their families doing? Do they still have their lands, their jobs, their occupations, their fully intact farming legacy? Who profited off that legacy, the farmers themselves…or someone else? Are these farmers and their progeny mentally healthy chasing these ideals in today’s day and age? Are they happy? Physically well? How did they manage to pursue this perfect ethos when grief, tragedy, loss, and chronic illness outside of the farming passion emerged out of nowhere to flatten them? While they farmed, were they good to their partners, their families, their children? Was putting food on the table enough?
Did the community, the economy, and the government compensate them for this self-sacrifice? Now as I approach my mid-30’s, and take stock of where my body is now after all that, I realize I can’t pay for this ethos anymore. I feel a strong respect and kudos to those who still can, and do. If this causes me to fall into a different category of person for you, so be it.
My very late planting of garlic could have brought me a ton of crushing shame, worry, and anxiety.
Instead, it turned into a delightful, sacred-feeling moment on the ridgetop. I was completely wreathed in fog while pushing cloves into the soft earth that next year will turn into food and medicine for many people.
I found I didn’t care it was Christmas eve at all, I most didn’t notice. Nor that the planting was late, or that I was working on a holiday covered in mud, still :trying” to farm well.
What I did notice is that growing things had been woven into my life in a way that was almost secondhand, natural, and enjoyable under the right circumstances– one of these having a pain-free body in that moment– to the point where it was laborious, sure, but did not feel like “work.” To be more specific, the act of planting garlic late did not fill me with shame. I was just in the present.
And I was just happy. Because the moment and meaning behind it was beautiful, and I felt grateful and humbled that I could even do this with my life, period.
So, here’s to warm feelings on this winter occasion, dear blog readers out there, no matter how and what you celebrate. Whether you consider yourself a farmer, an herbalist, or just a unique person who transcends those labels but happens to like growing healthful food, to make healthful food, to take care of plants, and to make abundantly healthful things out of those plants.
This blog post is also a bit of an update on my transformation as both a farmer and herbalist, in response to chronic illness, with more updates to follow on this soon. Next year, as I grow things forJupiter Ridge Farm alongside my husband, I’m putting a renewed focus on the types of things I grow having a strong overlap with the health and herbalism world – and delving into some flavor artistry as well.
My goal is to create more health- and herbalist-related products from the many things I grow. I’m also intent on having more and more of what I grow, that cannot be sold or crafted, donated and landing in communities in need. There will not only be an expansion to our online shop, but an Etsy shop as well with wider shipping options, and to be able to share the magic of what I grow on the ground here, in Driftless Iowa soil, with people beyond Iowa as well. A lot of people are completely unaware of Iowa’s overlooked magic and I wish to change that, as I truly feel I’ve chosen to live and grow in an endlessly magical place. Updates on this soon…
A CSA next year is up in the air but still very possible, with much fewer members and a much greater emphasis on Farm Share boxes that will be more customizable and directly delivered to you. Think an online produce store and apothecary – even now I’m feeling how non-traditional this is in the farming world, but realizing how little I care as long as healthy food, nutrition, and herbs can get to people.
I’m trying to remind myself and embody the lesson that if you’re a farmer, it doesn’t help to be too hard on yourself, compare what you do with others, or burn yourself out running everything into the ground pursuing outdated ideals or some notion of the “perfect farm” – ideals that have helped me for years, but now feel obsolete.
What matters more to me is that the food itself comes out of the ground and nourishes others, and that I can learn to do it in a way that nourishes myself in the process.
As I continue to grow, learn, and produce as a farmer and herbalist, I’m excited by the possibilities and what passions I can still create when I take the extra time to take care of my mind and body first, now that I’m just learning.
It is daunting to think of “time lost” in the efficient mind of a farmer that is instead going towards better health and taking care of the self. But then I think of all the time lost to abandoning pain, imbalance, and the shame felt afterwards when burning myself out made me lose time regardless in the first place. We all start to run right up against our limitations as we get older….
….and if farming and growing things for a living isn’t teaching us that, then are we really listening?
We’ve been looking forward to sharing an exciting item with our CSA members for quite some time. And we think this week will be the perfect time for it: greenhouse delicata squash!
These squash are a “winter” squash, meaning that they usually aren’t ready until August at the earliest. But this year, we grew some delicata in our hoop house high tunnel (with our cucumbers) and we’re pleased to have them ready a full month ahead of typical harvest. Better yet, our members will be the first to get a taste and enjoy them!
Here’s the complete list of what to expect this week:
Yellow summer squash
Patty pan squash
Cucumbers (one green cucumber, one lemon cucumber)
Bunch Lacinato kale
Fresh head garlic (first garlic of the year!)
Besides delicata, we’ll have plenty of summer squash in this share for you too. This will be kind of a “squashy” share – but don’t worry, we won’t ever “zucchini” you! (If you don’t know what that is, look it up – plus, we’re not growing zucchini this year.)
Another first you’ll get in this share is the season’s very first garlic from our farm.Yay! We’ve moved onto bulb garlic from garlic scapes. But just a warning: since this garlic is *fresh* pulled, and not cured, it will have a stronger flavor! (Not too far from garlic scapes – so it’s really good but stronger than dried/cured garlic bulb, which is more toned down in its garlicky-ness.)
Oh yes – and shiitakes are back this week! Yum!
All About Delicata Squash
Since we have these special squash available so early, we’ll be putting a focus on delicata for this newsletter. Some of you might be new to it, and wondering what the heck to do with it! If you don’t know already, the delicata is the oblong stripey tan and dark brown squash in your share or box.
The most amazing thing about delicata is that it’s delicious all on its very own. Slice it in half length-wise, remove the seeds/pulp with a spoon from its inner cavity, and try roasting it in your oven at around 400 degrees F (face down in an oiled sheet or pan) until the flesh and skins are soft to the touch (though I definitely recommend you touch the hot squash in your oven with a fork, not your hand….)
You can top it with some butter and maybe even a touch of sugar, though really, no sugar is needed. Delicata is one of the sweetest winter squash you can grow, and the skins are edible! It is truly a treat.
Though if you want some more ideas about how to incorporate it or combine it into meals and dishes, try replacing dishes that use roasted potatoes or even sweet potatoes with delicata instead. Its a sweeter starch, for sure, and so tasty! With the other summer squash in your share, something I might recommend (especially since its grilling season!) are squash-kebabs on the grill. You’ll want to grill the delicata for longer than the summer squash, since it is definitely starchier (again, think potatoes here), but enjoying all of them together would be divine. (And another quick recommendation: shiitakes are great on the grill and on kebabs, too – so have fun with the idea!)
And a quick run-down on the healthiness of delicata: it’s full of fiber, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, minerals (like iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium), plant proteins, and even a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, the best kind of healthy fat you can eat.
This week we’re on the same schedule as last week for our CSA and farm share box deliveries! Cedar Rapids area deliveries are tomorrow, while Dyersville/Colesburg/surrounding area shares go out Wednesday morning. Peosta members, you’ll get your share delivered to your doorstep Saturday in the early AM.
Have questions about how to cook/prepare items in your share?
Don’t hesitate to contact us! – email@example.com
Here we are at week two! Our crop of summer vegetables are coming along nicely, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the last dregs of late spring/early summer fare: namely, the bounty of lettuce that’s filled farm share boxes and our first official CSA share for the last few weeks, which we hope you’ve enjoyed.
With the last lettuce pulled out of the field, we’re finally done with most of our fresh greens (at least for a while – until we plant our next round of lettuce in, hopefully soon!) We still have kale to give your shares a touch of green and, this week, we’ll be giving you rainbow chard, which we didn’t have last year! (We’re pretty happy with our plants this year….expect big, beautiful bunches!)
As for the rest, this is the full list of this week’s offerings:
Small rainbow beets bunch
Rainbow chard bunch
Fresh shallot bunch
Cucumbers (one green, one lemon)
Small leaf kale mix
Large sweet onion
We’ve been hard at work (and excited!) about our hot “true” summer vegetable crops this week. Tomatoes are trellised and fruiting (green fruits for now), eggplants are beginning to form, and peppers both hot and sweet are not too far behind. Garlic is being pulled, storage onions too, and in not too long we’ll be digging up the year’s first potatoes – not to mention leeks, squash, and okra not too far off.
Lots of great things to look forward to!
Lemon Cucumbers: What Are They? | Explanation & Tips
What’s the round yellow stripey thing in the box? Since this is a question that’s popped up from some of our members, we’re happy to explain before you cut it up to see what it is (or what’s inside).
It’s a lemon cucumber! Despite it’s name, no, it does not have a citrus flavor. It has pretty much the same identical flavor as typical fresh green cucumbers, but without bitterness due to their very thin skins. (That said, it would probably taste pretty good with lemon now that I think about it).
These cukes are called lemon cukes mostly just because of how they look: they’re round, and they’re yellow. We think they shine best when sliced up in a salad and they really do add a refreshing yellow color to contrast all the green. Try them on a sandwich, maybe. I’d bet they’d be pretty good!
Wellness Spotlight: Kohlrabi
If you think kale’s healthy, try a bite of the fresh kohlrabi in your share. Since this veggie is closely related to kale, it has a lot of the same nutritional profile as the superfood green that people have been raving about for years.
This includes cancer-, inflammation-, and diabetes-fighting antioxidants like sulforaphane and vitamins B and C. And you can’t argue with fiber – plus tons of plant proteins and minerals, too! Looking at some research, it does look like some scientists are studying it for the ability to prevent fat production in the body.
Of course, people might be more curious about what to actually do with kohlrabi, not just its health perks! It has a flavor between broccoli and cabbage, and here are some quick recommendations: cut it into matchsticks for a salad, lacto-ferment/pickle it and enjoy it over a long period of time (it tastes delicious as pickles the most, in my opinion – especially with dill!), or cut into very, very thin slices and eat lightly fried (or raw) on a sandwich or burger (burger is my favorite.)
You can always hold onto your kohlrabi for a couple more weeks, you don’t have to use it right away. Just make sure it’s wrapped up in airtight plastic or stored in the crisper in your fridge, otherwise its skin may get soft!
Until next week, we hope you enjoy your veggies! Like last week, Cedar Rapids delivery is tomorrow, Dyersville/Colesburg is Wednesday, and Peosta will be early Saturday morning.
Have questions about how to cook/prepare items in your share?
Don’t hesitate to contact us! – firstname.lastname@example.org
This week kicks off the FIRST full season CSA share of the year, and we couldn’t be more stoked! Thank you so much for choosing us as your farmers.
Last year 2019 we had only a very small amount of members and intended to keep it that way. But with the times a-changing, and a huge surge in CSA interest and local food delivery, we’re happy to be growing, packing, and delivering for over 20 members and farm box purchasers (and growing, even!) in Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, Dyersville, Peosta, Colesburg, and pretty much all over!
If you’ve been buying our individual/pre-season/”early bird” farm share boxes up until this point, you’ll see that we have quite a few new types of produce all at once and right on time for our members’ first share in the list below. We’re pretty stoked about this timing – it really couldn’t be more perfect!
A quick reminder to some of our members:the second half of full season CSA payment is due! The second payment ($237.50) can be made online at this link here to our online shop.
What to expect:
Small head cabbage
Crookneck summer squash
Mixed fresh bunch onions and shallots
In our newsletters we tend to share recipe ideas, info about unique produce you may not find at the grocery store, tips on how to make your veggies “go the distance,” (store longer so you make the most of your veggie share), and even some health and wellness tips.
With this first week getting situated and conveying a lot of important info to our members all at once at the outset, we’ll get all that extra helpful info going next week (we don’t want to overwhelm you) – though please do let us know if you have any questions or recommendations regarding the items on the list. Email us! | email@example.com
Depending on where you are located, here’s how and when you’ll get your shares. These routine routes/days of the week are subject to change if you’re not in the Cedar Rapids area. But we will be sure to let you know if that happens, ASAP!
Cedar Rapids / Marion / Hiawatha:
Direct home delivery of your share will take place on Tuesdays if you have a delivery membership (usually sometime between 4 and 6 PM or close to that window).
If you have the pick up option, you cangrab your share at Rodina in the Czech Village when it opens on Wednesday (1 PM-10 PM) and they’ll get it to you from their walk in cooler! Rodina will also be able to get you your share on Thursdays if you can’t get in on Wednesday. However, in order to preserve important space in their walk-in headed into the weekend, shares that are not picked up by Friday will be donated to Feed Iowa First on Fridays.
Dyersville Delivery CSA will take place on Wednesday evenings. It was originally planned for Saturdays in the early A.M., but this is subject to change again, possibly, if our CSA continues to grow!
Peosta Delivery will take place on Saturdays in the very early A.M. (whether you’re a CSA member or farm share box purchaser!) As with all other deliveries, we will leave the box on your porch / stoop on our way to Dubuque Farmers Market.
On-Farm Pick-Up Share (Limited) will take place on Friday afternoons. We will have your share ready for you to grab, with masks and gloves ready! We will be very busy packing for tomorrow’s Saturday market but can chat only briefly.
Looks like that’s all for now.
Of course, if you have questions – about delivery routes, days, pick up details, the produce you’re getting, ANYTHING, send us an email! We love to talk food. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Very much looking forward to another year of being your farmers for some of you – and for the first time for the rest!