On Saturday, Donna Wagner and I took our first real step into farming; we went out to the Farmstead in the awful weather and measured our field. Now we can start planning our plantings based on bed and row size. In theory, of course. We still need a tractor, and we still need to figure out tractor wheel size and slope direction and a thousand other things. But the field is measured, folks, and it looks something like this:
Donna has been insistent through and through that we be a ladies only farm, and I am becoming more and more on board with that by the day. More on that, and this incredible woman who is my mother, later this week.
In our excitement, we then proceeded to cook everything we’ve grown. We took some leftover clams from our last family bonanza and used mom’s green peppers, Keith’s garlic and some local onions for clams casino.
Then I roasted some entrepreneur tomatillos and made some badass salsa verde with some Hot Portugal peppers. Mom also made her own fresh salsa with all the ingredients from her garden. It’s scrumptious.
And then, finally, after weeks of preparation and no delivery on my part, we made pesto. Keith’s garlic and basil, pine nuts from my favorite Syrian bakery in Allentown. It is delicious.
Coupled with Jess’s CSA subscription from afar and my grandma’s typical veg-heavy diet from her garden and ours, the Wagner women have been digging on their local, sustainable veggies pretty hard this year.
Sunday morning we headed over to the Emmaus Farmer’s Market. I wanted to check out the market and talk to some vendors, including folks at the Seed Exchange, who offer are offering a 20-hour a week apprenticeship in 2013 that would sync up nicely with next year’s plans. I spoke with an intern and the director there for a couple minutes – the intern, Marguarite, had been a WOOFer previously, and for her the two-acre production at the Seed Exchange was a huge step up. She said she’s learned a lot about tractors as well. I’m still on the fence here, but it was still really nice just to talk with some other farmers about flea beetles and cipollini onions and things of that sort.
We bought some Bison meat, nitrate-free bacon and artisan bread from various vendors, and I picked up some eggs from BAD Farm in Kempton, a husband and wife dairy operation close to Wagner Farmstead that will supply me with all the raw milk I could ever want once I’m living far away from Freedom Hill in New York. They have some 300 Rhode Island Reds for eggs and were really forthcoming and open to visitors, so I hope I can pick their brains about chickens in the near future.
Back at the farm, I finally finished reading through Richard Wiswall’s Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook and am skimming through a copy of Storey’s I by Gail Damerow. I plan to buy copies of all these for myself in the future, once I’m up and running and will need to refer to these books and their specifics more frequently. But this initial exposure if helping me figure out what I want and need to do in a more general sense. My next big task is to research tractors. Glenn keeps talking about checking some out, but we need to know what will work best for us before we go plunging into a crazy purchase like that.
So yes, today was a food post, but yesterday I went and bought the cheapest camera at Best Buy so I can get back to taking delicious and delightful photos of the farm, our evolving stand and our great-looking produce. Going to head out now and take some kale shots for a post later this week.
Fall is in the air up here. And for the first time that I can remember, I am totally stoked about it.