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Sunday, April 28, 2013

EatWell Natural Farm Week 6

What an awesome week at the farm! The weather was incredible, we had volunteers out to help plant, and got a facelift with a beautiful new flower bed. Also, the field across the street looks like this every evening which is just lovely....

A Plum!


Much like last week this week's harvest included Asparagus (which we won't be harvesting again until next spring), Rhubarb and herbs. While I was harvesting the mint I was pleasantly surprised by these little critters...  

See the little blue crocodiles with the orange spots? What are they?

Any guesses on what they are and why I was happy to see them? Leave your guess in the comments at the end. 

Production and Distribution
Eventually I will be able to supply more than one restaurant a week but this week I went to The Pig
Chef Cain was excited to get the delivery and show me around. He asked if I wouldn't mind hanging some pork pieces in the barn to cure. I was hesitant at first (vegetarian) but then I read the tag.  These pigs are from Polyface! As in Joel Salatin. As in outspoken proponent of local, responsible, sustainable agriculture. These pigs lived a happy life and died a dignified death if Joel had anything to do with it. They were also part of a whole system that works with narture in a mutually beneficial cycle of life and production. I would be honored to hang a Polyface ham in my barn.  
Chef Cain and company
Polyface Pig

It's the real deal!

Cultivation and Maintenance

Monday morning I made a strange discovery. The night before I brought in the seedling trays and set them in front of a window. This is my seed starting process for now until we build our greenhouse. When I went to move the trays back outside Monday morning I noticed that the soil was disturbed and some of the seeds were visible. When I looked closer I saw that some had actually been chewed on. I thought birds must have gotten to them the day before and I hadn't noticed. I grabbed my boots to put them on and heard a strange rattling, like a rainstick. Inside my boots were dozens of dirty seeds!

All Dug Up!

Squirreled (moused?) away seeds


So, I replanted them all. The only trouble is there were 5 different varieties neatly labeled and now they are all mixed up. The next day I wore a different pair of boots and only at the end of the day when I took them off did I see these....

No worries though, all of the seeds I replanted are sprouting. I am hoping I will be able to tell them apart when they get a little bigger. I only lost about 10% which I think were actually eaten.

Take that mice! 

Coming soon! Spinach and Radishes!

D'Avignon Radish 

There were lots of these guys flying around early in the week. I would be able to appreciate their beauty if I didn't know they were laying eggs which will hatch and become little destructive, voracious, vegetable eating caterpillars. Farming really ruins butterflies for you. 
Flutter-by butterfly. Don't land here.


Our seedlings arrived Friday. Due to our lack of greenhouse and the fact that this guy really knows what he is doing, we ordered seedlings from Selected Plants.  We received and planted 15 varieties of tomatoes and 17 varieties of peppers. They came in the mail and were ingeniously packed. They survived the 700 mile shipment even though the "This Side Up" labeled clearly meant nothing to the people who were handling them. 

Seedling Shipment


Easily the best part of planting the tomatoes and peppers was the fact that I got to hang out with some great volunteers who worked hard in the bright sun with smiles and laughter. Thank you so much to Chef Felipe of Grillfish, Aida of Logan's Tavern, Patrick of Commissary, Tony, Josh, Adam and of course David who puts in time almost every week at the farm. 

Volunteers planting peppers. 160 plants.
Pretty peppers

Part of planting tomatoes in planning for their eventual growth and need to be trellised. So, we went ahead and sunk 95% of the T-posts that we will need once these babies grow up. Here's Aida showing us how it's done.

Well, they're almost straight. Everything is harder on a hill

Our Main field. It's really coming along. I can't wait until it is covered in green. 

Here's that facelift I mentioned earlier. Eric headed up the farm beautification project and with a little help planted this gorgeous bed at the front of the farm house. 

David and Eric making it happen

Finished product

The neighbors clearly approve

Eating Well

Not only did Josh come by to plant and sink T-posts, he also turned our Asparagus into a refreshing summer salad. 

Chorizo Hash left and Daily Omelet Right. So. Tasty.
To finish off the week right I enjoyed my favorite meal so far in DC, Sunday Brunch at The Pig. I had the daily omelet with candied tomatoes and ramps. It was pretty spectacular.  My friend Abby had the Chorizo and Smoked Shrimp Hash and can't wait to come back with her hubby. We also sampled the chickpea hash which was like a super delicious fancy hummus but with more substance. 
I can't wait to see what they do with the farm veggies. 

And here is what happened to the Asparagus that I delivered to The Pig. Chef Cain transformed it into Parmesan Brined Asparagus. Grilled Asparagus with a preserved lemon and olive sauce with shredded sarvecchio and parmesan.

Puddy Time

Puddy loved having all the visitors at the farm this weekend. Here she is helping sort out the transplants. 

We also made a new friend. Introducing Maddie, the adorable. 

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