Wabi sabi is a Japanese concept that finds beauty in imperfection and, ironically, the name that Jimmy and Jo Livingston felt suited their farm perfectly.
“From our crooked rows to our vegetables that have character,” Jo explains.
Talk about a couple's leap of faith: The 40-somethings started Wabi Sabi Farm in June 2011 in Cordesville, about 8 miles from Moncks Corner, with high hopes and low experience. They had owned and run a screenprinting shop for the previous 17 years.
But burned out and ready for a fresh start, they sold their business and became farmers on 20 acres surrounded by national forest.
“Our plan was to grow strawberries, but first we had to work on our soil,” Jo says. “In about 10 months, we raised our pH and, in the spring, planted an acre vegetable garden. Between farmers markets and GrowFood Carolina, we were able to get rid of our veggies. Great fun, hard work!”
The strawberries did come: Planted last fall, the field was opened to U-pickers last spring.
Already they are up to speed, growing squash blossoms, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, green onions, an assortment of peppers, beans, radishes, sunflowers, okra, lemongrass as well as fall greens and veggies. They did a small CSA in the spring.
“Our Thanksgiving tradition is to head over to my in-laws house (Bill & Kathy Livingston) on the Cooper River and gather together and enjoy good food and good times. About 20 of us gather together; sometimes a couple more people will join us, sometimes less.”
Stewed Pears With Dried Cranberries
4 to 6 large cooking pears, peeled and cut into big chunks
2 cups water or enough water to cover the pears
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar
½ cup dried cranberries
In a large saucepan cook the pears in the water with the cinnamon sugar. Cook until fork tender, about ½ hour. Add the dried cranberries and cook an extra 5 minutes.
Ready to eat as a side and great over homemade vanilla ice cream.