Sunday, May 16, 2010

Springing Forward at Restoration Farm

Nature has done an about face. The hint of summer weather has abruptly changed and now resembles brisk autumn in May. I pull my wool coat up around my neck as we head down the wooded path towards Restoration Farm. It is “opening day” weekend – a time to welcome new members to the CSA and reconnect with returning members and friends like the Kalamidas family, George and Arline Garbarini and head growers Dan Holmes and Caroline Fanning.

It’s been a long winter. For many months, I rationed out vegetables from the farm that had been braised and frozen. And, I bemoaned the fact that butternut squash purchased at the supermarket tasted bland and colorless compared to the sweet and silky Restoration Farm squash that I pureed and flavored with maple for Christmas dinner.

But, in just four weeks, the 2010 distribution season begins anew, and this visit is just a taste of what’s ahead.

We hike past freshly turned fields, scented with manure that will burst with cutting flowers as the weather warms.

Dan offers a short tutorial on the fundamentals of cover crops and how they nourish the soil.

A buckwheat cover crop provides different nutrients to the soil.

In the Spring field, early greens in neat rows poke through the soil. Tender lettuce enjoys this cool snap and will be the some of the first produce harvested. An entirely new field has been dug for potatoes and experiments are underway with asparagus and rhubarb. Dan also reminds us that there will be plenty of kale and Swish chard should any of us be concerned about a shortage.

Caroline talks about her favorite field, which she calls “the sweet field.” Indeed, there are succulent berries in our future. The blackberry bushes already look out of control, and strawberry plants are covered with delicate white blossoms. While blueberries are still a year away, the bushes have taken root.

George proudly shows off the new tool storage sheds.

Caroline and Dan stress that it is not just about the vegetables and that a sense of community is cultivated at Restoration Farm. Indeed, the word “community” comes first in “CSA” and how fitting that we all share in fresh berries and home baked cookies from Caroline’s mom, Susan Fanning at the conclusion of the tour.

A little amuse-bouche in anticipation of the summer growing season!
©2010 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Thanks for bringing us along on opening day! I'm looking forward to reading about the harvest all through the season. Restoration Farm seems like a very special place.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I know you've been looking forward to opening day at Restoration Farm. It would certainly signal spring for me, even if Mother Nature is cranky and uncooperative. I'll look forward to the farm's progress.

Home gardens are being planted here in the mountains of NC. Freshly grown is by far the best.

Kalyn said...

How fun; I love seeing the farm. I'm starting to plant my garden here too, after weeks of no cooperation from the weather I'm finally getting a few things in the ground.

Velva said...

This is awesome! I love taking a farm journey and relishing that this food will bless many tables including yours.

I know you are going to have plenty of dishes posted soon using your bounty. I am looking forwrd to it!

~~louise~~ said...

Top of the morning to you, T.W. I was hoping I didn't miss too many Restoration Farm posts:)

Thank you so much for taking us along. The weather has been most uncooperative. I actually woke up to three mornings of snow in Idaho. I'm glad to be back to where the sun is shining (or at least trying to) and I can hardly control my anticipation of your gatherings @ Restoration Farm. Better dig out some Kale recipes:)

Thanks for sharing...

Barbara said...

How wonderful to take a trip to Restoration Farm with you! Keep us posted on the progress....summer WILL come! Something you are looking forward to, but in South Florida, we are not.

Fresh Local and Best said...

These posts about Restoration Farm truly touches my heart. As someone who was known as the constant gardener when I was living in the bay area, I can feel everyone's excitement for this year's potential at Restoration Farm. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the progress of this year's crops.

veron said...

Boy, Am I looking forward to what these growing season brings to you. Yes, I'm whining about this weather too, one minute it's chilly and then next it's hot as hell.

Mary said...

What a fascinating place to tour with you as our guide. I can only imagine the produce these folks are able to provide for you. We are anxiously awaiting summer vegetables in our CSA boxes. Right now they are still packed with root vegetables. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

tasteofbeirut said...

So fun and I love the excitement that builds up when you know things are going to show up soon! Can't wait for those berries!
I will show you our orchard in the Lebanese mountains soon, Inchallah.

lostpastremembered said...

I really want to join a CSA... must look into it! Feeling close to the farmer just makes it all taste better which is why I love Union Square!