We spend a lot of time on this little piece of earth. Our hands in the soil, the soil on our clothes. We are grateful for this much experience here, but when we are able to get away we really appreciate the perspective gained.
We try to leave for a little bit each summer to allow ourselves a respite and to allow the wonderful crew that works for us the chance to operate this place by themselves. They learn nooks and crannies of the business that they wouldn’t see if we were always here. This is important! And we get to visit other farms and other farmers markets. Oh, the perspective!
Our farm will never be this breathtaking, but — it was fun to visit!
All photos today are taken by us while at the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture.
The farm store was precious (and quite expensive). We spent most of our time walking around the farm. 🙂
We ogled at the compost pile and took more photos of it than any other single part of the farm. (It’s a static, aerated composting system like one we are trying to build here. We think it is so cool! But we will spare our readers the other 8 photos we took of this compost pile.)
The beehives were colorful.
The greenhouses were breathtaking. Check out the corn! In a greenhouse! (It’s a very specific type of corn with an excellent story, otherwise it would just be silly to have corn in a greenhouse.)
But it wasn’t just the awe-inspiring qualities of a well-funded farm that we benefited from. Our hearts were lifted by the fact that their vegetable fields grow weeds – just like ours!
And they have to manage flies in their barn and around their produce tables!
Plus, we got to find neat equipment in their tool sheds. This is a hand-pulled compost spreader, scaled for farms like ours.
We also loved shopping at farmers markets while on our trip, choosing vegetables grown by other people. We shopped in anonymity, likely asking more questions about varieties than the average customer. We took note of how market booth tables were set up. We paid attention to prices. Some items were comparable to here, others were outrageously different. ($3 for a 7 stem bunch of kale? $6 for a pint of Lunchbox peppers??) We got to experience carefully hauling 6 pounds of tomatoes away from market in a shopping bag, trying to keep them from getting smooshed. We enjoyed preparing and eating food from other farms. We stayed so clean. And then we were excited to go home.
We returned home and had a “working holiday” as we caught up on tasks that needed doing here over the Labor Day weekend (ironically enough). And the pace here has reached manic too quickly as we chase the ever-elusive balance between running both a farm business and a household with four children. But still…the perspective shift has some lasting power. The enjoyment of sitting down as a family for our first dinner back here at home has lasting power. Hearing our children say ‘It’s good to be home…It’s good to be surrounded by our food again’ sticks in our hearts. And so we are better prepared to get back to the work of late summer/early fall here on this little piece of earth. Thank you for enjoying what we grow.
This weekend’s Farm Share will most likely include:
Arugula, Hearty Greens Mix, Lettuce, Eggplant, Sweet Peppers (red and/or orange), Shishito Peppers (sweet mini roasting peppers), and Summer Squash.
This is for our Farm Share CSA members who pick up:
~ on Saturday @ the Farmers Market @ St. Stephen’s
~ on Saturday @ the Brandermill Green Market
This week’s harvest includes:
Arugula, Chard, Cilantro, Cukes, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Hearty Greens Mix, Kale, Lettuce Mix, Okra, Parsley, Orange Bell Peppers, Sweet Red Carmen Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Shishito Peppers, Summer Squash…and our Organic Hearth Baked Bread (Sunny Greens loaves return this weekend!)
2016 Market Share CSA Members: Reserve your selection online to pick up Saturday, September 10th at our farm, at the Brandermill Green Market, or at the Farmers Market @ St. Stephens. (Everything remaining after pre-orders will be available for purchase at the Brandermill Green Market and the Farmers Market @ St. Stephens.
Arugula – We love mixing this with other greens (lettuces and/or hearty greens mix) to create a flavorful mixed greens salad. Top with sweet peppers, nuts, cheese, etc. Or – Let Arugula take the main stage with a dish like Arugula with Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese, or Arugula & Goat Cheese Pizza (with pesto – no red sauce).
Shishito Peppers – These frying/roasting peppers are a summer staple for us and our children (even the almost-two-year-old) eat them in great quantity. Try this twist of a recipe for these peppers that are simple to prepare and enjoy: Blistered Shishitos with Flavored Salts
Hearty Greens Mix – We welcome the return of this mix of greens that we haven’t seen since early summer. This mix of young kale, tatsoi, and mizuna is wonderful on its own as a hearty salad green, or put in smoothies, or wilted/used in a saute or soup. (With this week’s return of high temps, we are using it in salads and smoothies. We’ll save cooked dishes and soup for real fall.)
Eggplant – For a riff on Eggplant Parm, try Italian Breaded Eggplant with our slicing eggplants. For our mini eggplants (the variety called Fairy Tale, which goes this week to members picking up at Perk in Bon Air), try Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplants with Rosemary Garlic Oil, or Caramelized Fairy Tale Eggplant, or Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplant with Garlic & Mint
Sweet Peppers – This week’s peppers are a combination of traditional bell shaped orange peppers and elongated sweet peppers (red and/or orange). They both work for Sweet Corn & Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers.
Summer Squash – These summer beauties won’t be with us much longer, so enjoy them for their last hurrah. Summer Squash Shakshuka with Baked Eggs is delicious, or for a nice summer soup, makeSummer Squash Soup with Coconut Milk