In May, I purchased six heirloom varieties of soup beans from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. The spring's warm, moist garden soil encouraged the seeds to sprout and begin the rapid ascent skyward, curling their tendrils to the trellis's grid until autumn's natural dehydrator signaled harvest time.
A fifteen-month old's tiny handprint on a window. A short nine months later, those same hands belonging to my youngest grandaughter had the dexterity to shell beans from my garden...
for a pot of "Ham Bone, Greens, and Bean Soup" from Molly Wizenberg's blog, Orangette. Molly is author of A Homemade Life, which is a mix of recipes and the stories behind the recipes... lovely storytelling. My copy is dog-eared from its frequent use in my kitchen.
The ham for my bean soup came from hormone-free, pasture-raised Red Wattle Hogs raised at Grass is Greener Farm in Bremen, Indiana. In danger of extinction, the hogs share the farm with other heritage breeds including Red Poll Cattle, St. Croix Sheep, Silver Appleyard Ducks, and Bourbon Red Turkey. We stumbled upon this farm at an amazing farmer's market in Goshen, Indiana. After picking up some items at Goshen's Maple City Market Natural Foods Co-op, a friendly resident outside the store told us about the Goshen Farmer's Market down the street. What a discovery! Open year-round on Saturdays from 8-1 and May-October on Tuesdays from 3-6, the indoor market features a wide array of farmers, bakers and artisans. Live music provides a gentle but energizingly festive atmosphere. Note: A local source for amazing, humanely-raised pork products is Fox Farm Pork in Browerville, Minnesota. Their products are sold at the Crow Wing Food Co-op in Brainerd. To add healing collagen, I added Organic Chicken Bone Broth to the soup pot.