On April 30th of 2016, I had the tremendous good fortune of embarking on the journey of a lifetime - I began a pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago. For five weeks, I trekked through small villages, over low mountains, amidst wondrous valleys, and atop the mesas. All of this may be ringing a bell if you’ve seen the movie The Way starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, but before this was a Hollywood hit, the Camino was historically one of three Christian pilgrimages made throughout the Medieval period. El Camino de Santiago translates to “The Way of Saint James” as the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is thought to be where the remains of this disciple of Christ lie. For me, the journey was not taken as a religious expedition, but I had learned about the Camino from folks I had met while on a biking trip, and I thought this sounded like the adventure of a lifetime. The Camino did not disappoint.
The most commonly walked route (and the one which I walked) is the Camino Frances which traverses from St. Jean Pied de Port, France through the northern Spanish regions of Navarra, Rioja, Castilla y Leon, and Galicia to end in the city of Santiago. Some will continue on to Finesterre, a quaint coastal town that pagans considered to be the end of the world throughout the Middle Ages, and then finally to the colorful fishing village of Muxia in the far northwestern part of the country, which is where I finished. Pilgrims often stay in hostel-like accommodations called alburgues and walk with friends made along “The Way” from countries in every corner of the world. Meals are shared at long tables, bunk beds are shared with strangers in large sleeping rooms, one’s backpack often only contains two changes of clothing, and life becomes very simple with only the barest of essentials with you at any given moment. It is considered by many to be a metaphor to the challenges, ups and downs, experienced in one’s life. It is an intensely peaceful and spiritual place with a culture of love, compassion, sharing, and exploration. Here, one experiences a liberation from ‘things’, a freedom from having a schedule, and a solitude of having just your own two feet and heart to guide you.
Why am I telling you about this, you might be wondering? The reasoning is that our farm’s name was taken from this trip. Many people ask and wonder, what is Ultreia? Ultreia is a greeting exchanged between “peregrinos" on the Camino that is derived from Latin and translates to “go beyond”. On this pilgrimage, this wish of unfailing courage is a salute that means to “go higher, go harder, go further, go beyond!”. In total, the journey from SJPP to Muxia approaches 875 kilometers…this encouragement between pilgrims is always a welcome exchange!
At Ultreia Farmstead, each season is representative of our Camino. We have highs and lows, good days and bad, successes and failures. We are challenged to go beyond our dreams and expectations, to grow and be better than we had imagined. We meet new people at every turn it seems, in our community and at farmer’s markets, and we hope to extend this spirit of the Camino with each conversation, transaction, and encounter. We are pilgrims on a vegetable-filled, nutrient-induced journey, and we thank you for being a part of it. Ultreia!
And, now that you know the meaning of our name, here is what is in today’s CSA bag:
Salad Greens (Salanova mix)
Spicy Greens Mix
Carrots (Scarlet Nantes, Cosmic Purple, and Gniff)
Radishes (Giant Radish of Sicily)