Monday, June 27, 2011

How Many Tomatoes Have You Ever Seen In One Place ?

Today was another Tomato Day in High Ground Farmhouse. What a sight, a co-zillion (at least) waiting for me to as they lined the dining room table, and the kitchen table. Inspecting, sizing, sorting, washing, drying, weighing, and finally packing in flat clean recycled labeled boxes. All of this before taking the best ones, more than 100 pounds of beautiful HEIRLOOM Tomatoes to waiting chefs, and to Whole Foods Market in Cary. I love to look at the shapes, and the colors...but the taste is the best part. What a delicious sandwich I had for supper. Thick smokey bacon, canola mayo, white bread and 3 thick slices of a Cherokee Purple Tomato. Doesn't get much better than that!

AND it is not too late to sign up for a Produce Box for Wednesday drop off in Fuquay Varina. Give me a call or email me to sign up. Boxes are 25.00 each. Take a look at the list on the sidebar for details, and all the extra's available.

Blackberry Brambles Heavy with Fruit

The Blackberries were planted just 3 years ago along a cedar split rail fence that extends about 600 feet around the Kitchen Garden and Apple Orchard. There are about 20 plants. Last year there were enough for only one sumptuous pie. This year they are heavy with fruit. I have frozen 3 gallons, and given away about the same. There are more to pick tomorrow. I am certain it is the bees. The honeybees were thick on the blossoms in spring. I cannot wait for company to have an excuse to bake a pie. The butter crust,one of my favorites, turns out brown and flaky. A perfect compliment to the tart sweet berries.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The End Result is Art....The culmination of months of hard, hot, and long work

After weeks of weeding, watering, composting, staking, harvesting, washing, packaging, labeling, marketing, emailing...I finally see the fruit of my labor. The back of my truck filled to the top with Produce Boxes, Tomato Boxes, Basil Bunches, Farm Field Flower Bouquets, Fresh Pasture Raised Heritage Breed Hen Eggs, and Oh Yes, my art. My art is a way to capture the beauty of everyday things. Sights that make it all worth the work, and the worry. It is a beautiful sight.

Is There Anything That Says Summer like the Taste of a Warm from the Garden TOMATO?

I ate my first tomato of the summer tonight for supper...and well it was all the heirloom tomato is suppose to be! Warm from the garden, sweet, tangy, and "tomato-y". It was absolutely delicious with zucchini cooked with garlic and olive oil and some crusty bread to sop up the tomato and the oil. Nothing more is needed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

So What's in the Box Saturday?

Tender Green String Beans, yellow squash, white patty pan squash, tender green zucchini, new dug red potatoes, tender green cabbage, new white onions, and rosemary for roasted potatoes!

Orders will be delivered tomorrow to Whole Foods in Cary. Order your box for next week NOW. Order for 1 month to hold your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) spot. Reduced rate for 4 week orders.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Produce Box Delivery to Your Door this Week

Wednesday June 8, Special Delivery to your FUQUAY office or home! Produce Boxes, Eggs, Honey and Cut Farm Flowers.Big fresh cabbage,spring onions, new red pototoes, beets, zucchini, patty pan squash ,cucumbers 25.00; Cut Flowers 15.00; Eggs 6.00/dozen; Harnett County Honey-6.00. Email order today.

Hard Work Sweetened by Languid Moments...I close my eyes and store the memory of the moment, to bring out when I need it, like a old favorite photo.

The last few days have been a steady maddening pace! Monday is my morning to catch up on the business end of farming, with all the emails, scheduling, and general paper work, so let me reflect as a way to share the events here on the farm.

Every day begins with a long walk with the dogs around the farm,as we check fence lines, and any wildlife mischief that occurred during the night. This usually uncovers some discovery, a turtle laying her eggs in mud, or a invisible scent that makes the dogs crazy. Hand weeding every day for several hours to keep the beds/fields at their best, although right now the tomato field is out of control with grassy rows. I just cannot seem to get it all mulched.

Then, harvesting the night, or morning of market days.
Hours of picking cucumbers,zucchini,cabbages,beets,radishes. Lifting heavy boxes, and baskets, is building my biceps and I do not even have to go to a gym! Then weighing, making Produce Boxes, labeling, and wrapping to go straight to a large cooler until driving them out to market or to families eager to have delicious vegetables for their table. Delivering to restaurants, families and to Whole Foods Market is a accumulation of all my work. I bring a beautiful and very high quality product in the raves of smiles of the chefs, families, and the great Whole Foods people. It is so gratifying to know people value this delicious food and the work it takes.

In the middle of all of this, are hawk attacks which require me to bolt down to the pasture with dogs running madly along with tongues hanging out, to shew (I do not think that is a real word) the hawks away. Hawks are VERY persistent and try something everyday. THIS is going to be Emmy's job, however right now she is very much in training. She loves the chickens, but I cannot tell if she likes them and thinks they are her pets, or if she wants to eat them. I am told it takes 2 years to train a pup to be a reliable livestock/chicken guardian, so it is a long process.

Mowing and trimming the grounds takes way too much time, but necessary to prevent SNAKE habitat! I almost stepped on a COPPERHEAD a few weeks ago at the chicken barn late one night. So, hours of mowing, dripping with sweat is part of the farm. That reminds me I need to mow down at the gates!

The hen house has to have new bedding, and general "housework" everyday. Feed, grain,and fresh water every day keeps the hens healthy. Egg gathering now is complicated (as part of puppy training) with Emmy sitting in the hen house at my feet as I collect eggs. This is interrupted several times with "sit/stay", and "leave it" as Emmy becomes a little too interested in a hen. A broody hen helped with a sharp peck to her nose yesterday as she got too close..helping with the training process I hope. Wheewww I hope I can keep this guardian dog training up!

Ah yes, the delicious fresh meals! Famished from all the hard work, there is nothing like throwing what ever is extra, or going bad from the garden in a pan and eating it! The English Peas have given up to the hot sun, so last night I ate the last of them cooked quickly in olive oil and garlic over fresh pasta. What a feast with Pomegranate Green Tea. Lovely. Here is a photo.

Hot, dripping with sweat, and tired from hours of physical labor, I sit in the cool of the shade, and am so thankful for this place of solitude, and beauty. The scent of the now heavy laden Gardenia Bushes, and huge Magnolia blossoms drifts in the hot air. The drone of a small plane overhead, and the gentle breeze on my face is a solace to my soul. I close my eyes and store the memory of the moment, to bring out when I need it, like a old favorite photo.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inspiration for the Day

PERFECT DAY (ending) ..I have loved this haunting, enchanting music and lyrics for years. Inspiration to see the beauty in everyday, every moment. Perfect Day (beginning)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vegetable Gardens are Loving this HOT Weather...and I am NOT

Well, all this hot and humid weather is heaven for the heirloom tomatoes, beans, cabbages, heirloom squashes, zucchini, cucumbers and everything, but NOT for ME. I have worked out in the heat everyday, and find I have to come in midday to escape and cool down. After a few hours of rest (housework seems like rest after weeding, and mulching in 95 degrees), I go back out again. Everyday involves hand weeding, mulching, watering. Some days we pick for the next day, but most of the time we pick just before I am taking produce to Whole Foods Market, Heron's at the Umstead, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, or Bella Mia, all in Cary, NC. This way they get the very freshest produce. Today Zucchini was literally in their hands 2 hours out of the field. The blossoms were still on some. It was a lovely sight. Think of the taste just pan fried in a little olive oil with sea salt. Can not get any better than that!

The hens do not like the hot weather. They sit or stand with their wings out a bit for air to circulate, and hassle with their mouths open. Chickens do not sweat, so have to regulate their temperature this way. I give them cold water twice a day, and they LOVE to stand in the water as it tickles out of the toughs over their feet! They also enjoy cold bananas..chickens love things that are sweet like fruit. I am sure that cools them down some too. They have a big fan inside the coop blowing onto the roost poles. They seem to enjoy the breeze. With the change to very hot weather, they are laying fewer eggs. Just at the time in the year when demand in up...that is farming!

Produce Boxes today were loaded! Garden Peas, Radishes (3 kinds), new red potatoes, grey and dark green zucchini, yellow crooked neck squash, white patti pan squash, crisp young pointed head cabbage, white onions, and crisp pickling and straight cucumbers. What a box! The same with be in boxes for the next week ...THEN the tomatoes start! SIGN UP NOW if you want a box delivered to the Fuquay, Chapel Hill, or Cary location. Call or email me for details. Would love to bring some great produce out to you, and I do special orders if you have favorites! Nothing like new red potatoes cooked in butter and olive oil. Yum!