August 20th, 2013

Wabi-sabi

Judging by our lobed and fissured tomatoes and mottled fruit, we grow beautifully imperfect food at Stonegate Farm.

Imperfect in the idealized, Apollonian sense, that is, but oh-so-perfect in the fabulous flavor, nutrient density department.

SGF AUGUST-8724Heirloom tomatoes: Cracked, fissured, bruised and swollen to perfection.

Organic is really a euphemism for misshapen beauty, or the Eastern aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi, where imperfections, transience, and asymmetry have more value, and are “more perfect” than perfection.

In Japan, for example, where the modern CSA movement, called TeiKei, began, wabi-sabi is central to their aesthetic philosophy. The more crazed and cracked the teapot, the wonkier the pear, the greater its integrity, beauty and value.

SGF AUGUST-8785Sweet, multi-colred cherry tomatoes are more vain than their larger cousins

There is something beautiful in transience, in the faltering impermanence of living things, be it an over-ripe Shiro plum or even us.

Our closest approximation is Virgil’s  Lacrimae rerum, or “tears of things,” but try and use that (or worse, quote Virgil) when selling anything in the new and improved West. So much of Eastern philosophy is simply lost in a land where the newer, shinier and more Botoxed the better.

Organic beauty has always been more than skin deep; in fact, its skin is often deeply flawed. With no toxic, petroleum armor to protect it, organic produce must fend for itself, relying on the skilled coddling of its growers.

SGF AUGUST-8866Our first tomato harvest of the season.  Set back by oppressive heat and rain, they’ve finally come through.

Much of what we grow wouldn’t pass visual muster at the local Price Chopper, where isles of pesticide-infused sameness prevail. But our wabi-sabi veggies, greens and orchard-grown fruit–even the weathered siding of our century-old barn–have a deep and resonant beauty that you can’t get from mass production.

It’s no wonder the Japanese, with their non-western paradigms, created a partnering system between consumers and organic farmers, where they not only cooperated with each other, but also with the lovely imperfection of the natural world.

They say that when you learn a new language, you acquire a new soul, and the language of organics is about working symbiotically with nature’s quirks and variations, not against them.

Maybe growing local and organic creates not only better food, but better philosophy.  –Mb

Prayers of peppers

Broken tomatoes

Grown in perfect summer

(flawed vegetable haiku)

Visit Stonegate Farm

Tags: , , ,

Comments

    This is great & I want my good friends to see this!

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts that imperfect is really perfect. Your photos look just like most of the tomatoes we grow, and I think they are pretty just like they are, but convincing people to try something different is hard. I tell them they will not be sorry if they aren’t perfect on the outside as the taste is far better than the pretty ones. It is good to see someone else stands up and says this is what you get from here and I do not apologize for what comes from eating in the best way there is, Thanks.

    Your photos of your tomatoes are gorgeous.

    My dad, at 89, still gardens, however, he tends to garden for a household that is no longer there, and so he has an OVER abundance of tomatoes.

    I have been blessed this weekend with three rather large bags, of imperfect tomatoes, and I love them, and him!

    Thank you again for the photos and for agreeing that imperfection is what its all about.

Post a comment




    Comments:






OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image