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Posts Tagged ‘Czech Republic’

Kompot

I’ve written about Kompot before – it’s a local CSA I belong to. If you’re looking for a CSA in Prague, definitely check them out.

One day when I was over at the Kompot garden, I met a young woman who is doing her master’s thesis on CSAs using Kompot as a case study. As part of her research she did a survey and follow-up interviews with some respondents. My interview was last week, and it was really interesting. We talked about food and why it is important to me to be in a CSA. At the end of the interview she asked, “Are you a food activist?”

“Yes,” I answered without hesitation. Not that I ever thought of calling myself that before, but something inside of me said, “Yes! That is what I am.” So, what does it mean?!

I guess at a basic level it means trying to do something to make the food and food systems better. And in my own small way, I think I do that. I try to use my consumer powers for good, buying local seasonal food as much as possible, joining a CSA. I grow some of my own food. I forage some of my own food. I teach my kids and students about food issues. This blog is also part of it, I guess, bringing the joys of all this food awareness to at least a few others!

Kohlrabi

As yummy as it is funny-looking!

As yummy as it is funny-looking!

Just a memory really…When I was growing up we had a babysitter who lived with her family a couple of doors down from us. And they grew kohlrabis. No one else we knew ever even heard of them, but this family did and grew lots of them.

And now I live in kohlrabi country and realize that family must have been Slavic.

What, you don’t know what a kohlrabi is? Never tasted one? They are yummy and easy to grow. I highly recommend them, if you can find them! They still seem somewhat unknown where I come from.

Koledovani

Today is Easter Monday and the girls have just come back from (kind of) traditional Czech koledovani. I say “kind of” because traditionally only boys did it, but now girls do it, too. And while I am mostly in favor of folk traditions as way to preserve the wisdom of our elders, this one sort of befuddles me.

You see, the tradition is that young men weave a “pomlazka,” basically a whip, from young willow branches. They then go about the village and hit (yes, hit) women with it while singing a little rhyme. The women then give them eggs, treats and shots of homemade plum brandy. It’s supposed to make the women more fertile, but I must confess seems pretty barbaric to me.

My girls don’t actually whip anyone when they do it, but they go door to door and sing the little rhyme and get candy and eggs. Hordes of children all over the village do the same. It’s like Halloween without the costumes, but with actual horrific violence. Ok, they don’t actually beat people up, but I tell you that little willow whip stings! You can read more about Czech Easter traditions here.

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Happy Easter!

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What an exciting day at our local CSA, Kompot. I wrote about them before and am very excited by how successful this first year is. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to get my money’s worth from joining. They had no track record and the land had not been farmed in this way before. But look what we got today:

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And potatoes, carrots, summer savory, garlic, onions and (thankfully!) the last of the savoy cabbage.

But even if we weren’t getting so much veg, they are doing great work, building community, preserving the rural landscape and character of our villages and so much more.  Check out their website. Better yet, if you are local, sign up for the veggie box, visit the garden and come on out and join in the fun! This Saturday is a work party and I am sure you will meet interesting people and have some great food.

Tonight’s menu from the box

carrot soup

salad with kohlrabi, cucumber and lettuce

swiss chard sautéed with garlic and then mixed with ricotta cheese

beans and savory

gooseberry coffee cake (our gooseberries!)

 

 

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Shoveling Horse S@*#

One of my goals for several years now has been to find a local, preferably free, source of horse manure. There are lots of  horse stables locally, but the problem is how to transport the manure. You can’t just toss it in the trunk.

Or so I thought! Friend and neighbor Andrea knows the owner of one of the stables and we went to ask him about delivering some manure to us. Take as much as you want, he told us, but he didn’t seem interested in delivering.

Horses at our benefactor's stable.

Horses at our benefactor’s stable.

He told us he had piles and piles of it, some fresh and some already composted.

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So we had a look. And a think. And it turns out that well-composted horse manure is not smelly or dirty and you can load it into containers and transport it in your car almost as cleanly as buying it in bags at the garden center.

So, we did. Last week on holiday I brought a load over almost every day…rich, beautiful compost. My shoulders ached bit from the shoveling and lifting, but it was actually lots of fun. The weather was great and I had adorable companions.

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The horse stable is in a lovely little part of our village, about 3km from the center of town in a little cluster of old farms arranged around a central pond. Time was when all of  the villages Bohemia looked something like this…It’s charming and I’m glad it isn’t all gone.

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“Komunitou podporované zemědělstvi”

Of course!

I am so excited that I have found a local CSA that is open for new subscribers. And when I say local, I mean local. It’s in the next village over from ours. I can ride there on my bike in about 10 minutes (though how to transport the veggie box home on my bike is a bit of a challenge).

Here is their web site: http://www.kom-pot.cz/. It’s in Czech but I am sure Google translator will do a good job for you!

They call themselves Kompot, from the Czech for community and food, but kompot is also the word for compote (see how easy Czech is?!). They are hoping to use some family land to produce basic veggies for about 40 members. The price will come out to about 250Kc per week for a box of veggies during the season, about 20 weeks. That works out to about US$12.50 per week.

They also write on their website about building community, supporting local farming and open spaces, functioning as a co-operative with a voice for all members. It really sounds wonderful and I am hopeful that it will be successful.

The next event there is Pumpkin Day on 29 September. Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

Henry David Thoreau

I’m Karen and I live in the Czech Republic. I have a house and a garden that I share with my husband and our two girls, my mother in law and a cat. I like to make things and grow food.

What I’d really like to do is be an urban homesteader, fulfilling both my Little House on the Prairie and environmental/social change activist fantasies.

What I actually do is work full time, raise kids, dream about gardening and raising chickens (maybe even a small goat?!), read about other people who are actually doing those things, and do the best I can.

I have huge ambitions, an ever-expanding garden, an on-going “discussion” with my husband about getting chickens, and now, this blog.

I’m not like those bloggers I read who grow tons of food, gather eggs, make their own cheese, only give home-made gifts…But I figure they had to start somewhere, too.

I’m starting here, in a country I’ve come to love but still don’t really understand, trying to live ever more lightly on the planet and enjoying my pumpkins.

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