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Thursday, March 29, 2012

First Day On The Farm

This morning I picked Lane up from the airport and we drove straight to the farm. We got here at 10am and saw the crew working in the hoop houses. We stopped and got out to meet everyone then headed to the house to unpack the car. I'll be living here for the next 7 months with another apprentice named Kathy:
The house is called Fred's House. Just behind the house is a pasture where the Burge Plantation horses live. I can see them from my bedroom:
And this is my backyard:

Once we unloaded the car Lane drove me back up to the hoop houses and headed into Atlanta for the day leaving  me to work. There are 5 of us who work at the farm. Cory is the Farm Manager, Daniel is a full time farmer and then 3 apprentices. We all worked in the hoop houses for a while digging potatoes and getting to know each other. Then we split up and Daniel, Jason (an apprentice, like me), and I went to the Main House Field to harvest asparagus. Asparagus is a rare perennial vegetable which means that it survives and produces fruit year after year. Most other crops you have to replant each season. 
We had an hour off for lunch and Kathy and I went back to the house. After lunch we took a short tour of the Plantation with the owner, Sandy. He is an interesting man who knew the history of his family and could trace it back to 1809 when his family first lived on this land, through the civil war stories and the emancipation of the slaves, all of which have influenced this land. He took us around to the different houses, cabins and lodges and showed us the hunting side of the land. Burge has been a private quail hunting club for about 30 years and that is what sustains them these days. Click here for more Burge History

After the tour we helped Daniel pack some CSA boxes, watered the greenhouses and weeded beets with Cory. I rounded out the day transplanting pepper seedlings with Jason. It was a pretty easy day today since I got to start late and the work wasn't too tough. I appreciate that they are easing me into things. I even got to go home with my first CSA Box!
Dinner was straight out of the CSA box. Steamed new potatoes with a coating of coconut oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I have heared Lynn Rossetto Kasper sing the praises of freshly dug potatoes on The Splendid Table and wanted to prepare them simply so that I could really taste them. This did the trick, they were so smooth and with their own fresh flavor. I sauteed some kale, which I am often wont to do, and it was just leafy enough without being the slightest bit bitter. On the side I made a salad of lettuce, carrots and strawberries with a oil and vinegar dressing. I also baked my second loaf of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day from the same dough I prepared earlier this week. The dough reacted a little differently than when I first made it, and I forgot to set the timer when I put it in. The bread still came out delicious and with good texture but the crust is not as crunchy. I suspect I may have taken it out too soon. Oh well, it's still tasty and passed the room mate test. Kathy said it was delicious. 
This is a photo of the first loaf. I didn't take one of this one but it looks pretty similar. 
All in all it was successful first day. It's so pleasant outside still and it was a joy to spend a whole day playing in the dirt. I know that there are many challenges ahead of us but I don't think I'll get over being grateful for this opportunity. 

I plan to write updates from the farm about once a week, more if something particularly interesting is happening. Right now I'm working on a page about how to eat more real food as a consumer. I hope to have that up early next week. Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to read about here and I'll see what I can do. :)
Eat Real!

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