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Stromboli, Chocolate Giveaway, and more!

Another action-packed Weeklyish this week!  We begin by wrapping up our pre-Valentine's Day fine chocolate exhibition with one Chad's most popular creations, the Heart of Darkness.  Then we unveil a great professional development opportunity for new and developing farmers that Chad is participating in.  Next we examine our Social Capital as part of our annual review.  We finish with the Stromboli Sandwich Recipe everyone has been clamoring for, and a last chance at an -extra- entry into the chocolate drawing.

Order Deadlines

Delivery Option     Deadline
Home delivery | Thursday     Tuesday, 10pm*
Pickup @ Culver Farmers' Market | Saturday     Thursday, 10pm
*Sourdough orders for delivery require an additional 24 hours
Shop Now

Heart of Darkness

We will finish our pre-Valentines-Day celebration of chocolate with one of our most popular offerings, Heart of Darkness.  Like the previous two selections, this one features a liquor, crème de cacao.  In this case, however, the liquor is but a highlight, not the primary attraction.

That said, we might as well enjoy one paragraph of crème de cacao history, because it is rooted in the history of chocolate itself.  The exact origins of crème de cacao are unclear.  Unlike our previous explorations, there is no Giffard or Lapistolle to credit with its creation.  It appears to have been created by French monks, already adept at making herbal and nut-based liquors as medicinals, in the 16th century.  Cacao beans were just arriving in the old world for the first time.  In current times, it is mostly associated with overly-sweetened cocktails.  But during prohibition, it was popular in the form of the Alexander, an equal mix of gin and crème de cacao.  The strong flavor of the crème de cacao was able to mask some of the less desirable flavors in bathtub gin.

For Heart of Darkness, we celebrate cacao in its darkest form.  Chad decorates a heart-shaped mold with black cocoa butter, then molds a shell of a dark French chocolate.  He then makes a ganache with single-plantation Hawaiian dark chocolate and crème de cacao, before blending it with organic Trinitario cacao nibs to fill the molds.  It's the darkest bon bon we offer, and one of the most popular.  You can watch a short video Chad filmed of himself making Heart of Darkness on our fledgling YouTube channel!


Some exciting news for the farmers, fledgling farmers, and aspirational farmers, among our readers.  Chad has been selected as part of the expert panel for Certified Naturally Grown's new professional development series, Film SEEDS

This series of six live sessions will offer an opportunity for farmers to boost understanding of best practices for vegetable production according to CNG standards, and connect to our North American network of ecological farmers. The sessions will cover everything from Seed Selection to Soil Management! 

Each dynamic 90-minute virtual session will include a short film, lesson by a certification specialist, expert exchange, participant Q&A and more!

The first session is this evening, discussing Seed Selection.  It should prove to be an exciting session,: not only is it an important topic for market gardeners all of the time, but acquiring seed is proving exceptionally challenging this year.  Many suppliers have months-long backlogs of orders to fill, a lot of seed is simply unavailable, and the cost of seed has skyrocketed.  The expert exchange and Q&A period surrounding this one should be exciting, to say the least!

Additional topics are:
  • Weed Management - Feb 15
  • Pest Management - Feb 22
  • Disease Management - March 1
  • Soil Management - March 8
  • Bed Preparation - March 15
Though Chad will be present for each session, he has specifically been tasked as an expert for the sessions on Pest Management and Disease Management.  It should be interesting, as he feels more comfortable with the other four topics!    The application and audition process was very interesting, and all of the auditioners in Chad's session were great farmers -and- educators.  It should be a great opportunity for folks to learn!

Use code 5000 to get discounted tickets - click here to register!

Social Capital

This week, our annual review examines Social Capital.  If you haven't been keeping up with our annual review, please check the December 28 Weeklyish for a description of the process, and the eight forms of capital.

Social capital is comprised of influence and connections.  Someone with good social capital is able to ask for favors or support, and influence the decision makers of a community.  Social capital is the most important form of capital for politicians, and extremely valuable in business and community organizing.  Its form of currency is favors owed and tinfluence among decision makers.

As a business that has based its operations and goal setting with the intent of building community, social capital is of primary importance for us.  It is also an area we have very high expectations: we have constantly made personal and professional sacrifices for the betterment of our community, and the people who comprise it.

2020 has shown, however, that assessing our social capital is quite difficult.  In part, it seems to be measured differently for different groups, and personally vs. for the farm. 

For example, our personal social capital seems fairly high among vendors at the Culver Farmers' Market.  Many years of vending, and several years of Chad as the market master, have ensured strong mutually-supportive connections with many of the vendors.  This was strengthened in 2020, as we made the hard pivot to online ordering and contactless pickup for the market.  Chad invested hundreds of hours over just a few weeks to make that happen for the market and the community, with negative implications for the farm's production that lasted the whole season.  The vendors appreciate the sacrifices Chad made to support them and the community as a whole, and have shown a willingness to reciprocate when they could.

On the other hand, at several points during the year, decisions points came up where changes being considered would have fairly significant negative impacts on the market, its vendors, and the community of supports around it.  When we attempted to bring to light the consequences for the community at large, our efforts were dismissed, seen as focused solely on personal financial gain.  Ironically, the lack of social capital in that venue prevented us from being effective in precisely the types of actions that build social capital.

So, the ultimate test: if push came to shove, and we truly needed a favor or to influence decision making in the community to survive, would we have the developed social capital to call upon to make that happen?  The answer appears to be a giant "it depends."  It depends on which subset of which community we would need support from.  The group that would be most likely to sacrifice the most in support of us is probably also the group with the least ability to do so.  That is spiritually gratifying, but has practical limits.

So, where do we rate social capital on our tragic to great scale?  It's difficult, because of the polarization.  It makes sense to give it two ratings, one at either extreme.  So, we'll go with the median, calling it "average."  We'll continue doing what we can to serve the community.  A common saying in servant leadership, with roots at least as old as the Torah, is "you are only worth what you give away."  This sentiment is at the heart of social capital when applied to a small business.  We will continue to give as much as we can, in hopes that our community will recognize our value through greater social capital.  Success in this pursuit is critical, due to the intimate ties between social capital and Spiritual, Experiential, and Cultural capital.

What is your favor balance?  How is your social capital, and what are you doing to strengthen it?  Let us know!

Stromboli Sandwich

Back in high school, when we had to travel uphill in the snow both ways and -6 degree weather like today was common in the middle of summer, I worked at a local pizza joint.  It was fun tossing pizzas.  Cleaning little kid snot off the window that let them watch was not.

We also made some sandwiches there, and my favorite was the stromboli.  It wasn't even a particularly good stromboli.  Just pizza topping sausage and pizza sauce on a cheap bun, with a little cheese.  But it tasted good. 

This version? Great local sausage, rustic crusty Italian bread, salami, lots of cheese...  It's better.

Makes 2 sandwiches, each serving 3-4 people.

1 onion
Olive oil
1 green pepper
1 lb Italian Sausage (Amor Gardens and Pork)  Sweet or spicy, whichever you prefer
1 C marinara sauce (that you canned back in the summer.  But store-bought is OK)
2 loaves Italian Semolina Bread (Hole in the Woods Farm)
12 slices hard salami (Park 'n Shop's is really good!)
11 slices provolone cheese
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 pinches Italian Seasoning (or dried parsley, basil, and oregano)

Chop 2/3 of the onion, and cut the remaining 1/3 into rings (best to take the ring third from the middle, so they have some size).  Put a dollop of oil in a small, heavy skillet over low heat.  Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized.

Meanwhile, Core the green pepper, and slice it into rings.

Brown and drain the sausage.  Add the sauce, and stir.  Remove from heat.

Cut the bread in half the long way.  Arrange the bread on a sheet pan, in whichever way fits best under your oven's broiler (how depends on your oven).  On the bottom half of each loaf, arrange 4 slices of provolone cheese (each should overlap the previous by about half).  Layer 6 slices of salami over the cheese on each sandwich, in a similarly overlapping fashion.  The onions are probably about finished caramelizing now.  Spread them in a line on top of the salami.

Using a large serving spoon, spread half of the sausage mixture on each sandwich.  Top with the rings of green pepper, and the raw onion rings.  Cut the remaining slices of provolone in half, and arrange over the peppers and onions, three halves per sandwich.  This will serve to hold the sandwich together when it melts.

Grate Parmesan cheese over the empty top half of each sandwich, as well as on top of the provolone.  Sprinkle Italian seasoning blend on top of the Parmesan.

Place under the broiler on high, until the cheeses are melted and a golden brown.  Put the tops on each sandwich, cut into thirds, and serve with lots of napkins.  It's incredibly good, though probably the messiest sandwich you'll eat...

What's your favorite sandwich?

Chocolate Giveaway!

So, you got all excited when you read about your chance to enter a drawing for a free four-pack of Chad's Chocolates in last week's Weeklyish.  Or, you are a new subscriber, referred by a friend (make sure to send Chad an email saying who referred you, so they can get their extra chance to win!).  Or maybe you've been ignoring the Weeklyish in the past, but saw our social media post, and had to dig in. 

Whichever, you've fulfilled the entry requirements, by reading this edition!  Want one last chance to get an extra entry? See, now we know you're actually reading the newsletter!  Simply Click here to enter again! So, how many chances possible?  One for reading the newsletter, one for clicking that link, and one for each friend you referred who let us know you referred them.  May the odds be ever in your favor!

Order Deadlines

Delivery Option     Deadline
Home delivery | Thursday     Tuesday, 10pm*
Pickup @ Culver Farmers' Market | Saturday     Thursday, 10pm
*Sourdough orders for delivery require an additional 24 hours
Shop Now
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