Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Promise of Beets Fulfilled and the Summer Solstice at Restoration Farm


The cycle of life at Restoration Farm stretches throughout the year and is shifting and evolving each day.    Humans work the land, chickens forage and fertilize the fields and seeds interact with sun, soil and water resulting in food.  There is a short slumber, and the process begins again.
Tiny black seeds planted in the short, cold days of February have delivered on their incredible promise.   Bunches of fat purple beets crowned with brilliant leafy greens await us at the distribution tent.   I planted those beet seeds last winter in the greenhouse.   A simple action sparked a natural process and has generated nourishment for the community of members. 
The first beets of the summer are a true gift from the farm – rich, earthy and deeply satisfying.    Typically, I love to roast fresh beets, but this first bunch – with which I feel an intimate connection – is best experienced in its natural state.   I grate the beets raw into this robust magenta-colored Beet, Carrot and Quinoa Salad (recipe found here). The salad offers a landscape of colors, textures, and crunch – bright orange and burgundy with scoops of diced apples, raisins, almonds and pumpkin seeds.   
In the sun-drenched fields of Restoration Farm, the annual ritual of the Summer Solstice Pot Luck occurs again. Folklore says the Solstice initiates a season of fertility, and plants are believed to acquire healing powers on the longest day of the year. 
Part of the fun of this event is sampling the variety of dishes made by members with ingredients grown at the farm, so I bring the Beet, Carrot and Quinoa Salad as my contribution to the communal banquet.   You feel a real sense of vitality when so many members gather in the field for a meal and a real connection to the food grown here.
The sharing of this summer meal - with its bright, vibrant vegetables and crisp greens - will only happen once before the season gradually begins to fade into another.   But, for a brief moment we all revel in the smiles, flavors and magic of a Midsummer Night at Restoration Farm. 
©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved  

14 comments:

Gloria said...

Wha beautiful beets! look fantastic anyway are one of my favorites in salads!!!
Nice pictures too :)

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Even the bunny wanted to join in. How cute.

My husband is craving beets and your salad came just in time to save me, as I'm not a beet person and was at a loss. He will love this.
Sam

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

What a beautiful community has grown up around Restoration Farm. No wonder the vegetables all look so vibrant; there is a lot of love in the air.

Mad Me-Shell said...

This may not be a huge surprise to those who know my carniverous ways, but I'm not really a huge fan of beets. Or salad for that matter. But that salad looks divine! I might have to give that a try!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Mad - Your carnivorous proclivities are well known, but it would have been a very different story without the beets as the main character. I mean, have you ever heard of "planting a cow" in the dark days of February?

Mary said...

What a lovely salad, T.W. The communal meal at the farm is inspiring on many levels. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Barbara said...

Enjoyed so much your photos today; such a happy sharing of home grown dishes made with love. I bet you come away with lots of recipes.
I agree, roasted beets are a favorite around here. I've never made a salad like this, but it adds a crisp, colorful freshness to that plate of goodies.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Thanks, Barbara! I kind of fell in love with the shot of the purple beets and the one green leaf with purple veins. And, anytime I go to the farm, I do end up taking a lot of photos! Even better when some people get into the shots!

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed that you shared such a nice day at the farm. The tables looked amazing with all the food. I love beets but have never had them raw. I will have to change that soon.

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., That beet salad looks wonderful!
The event at the farm looks like fun. You look happy. I am glad to see that.Blessings friend. Catherine

lostpastremembered said...

MMM, beets and quinoa, that is a great notion. i am terribly sad that a 65th bday of a great friend and the annual farm picnic for my new food group had to happen on the same day... Saturday! I was so looking forward to an experience just like the one that you are showing. Gorgeous.

~~louise~~ said...

Your beets are intoxicating T.W. And that salad, well, I too prefer roasted beets, (not as messy either:) However, that salad looks so inviting I may need to rethink my laziness:)

You really do look happier when dawdling at Restoration Farm, T.W., even in the chill of winter:) I'm going to be in New York for a few days, maybe. I might just seek out some of that goodness.

Thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful photos. It feels like one could jump right in and be part of the community.

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

That beet salad looks so appetizing & those beets look wonderful. I have sown my beet seeds last april & the beet leaves are now growing bigger & taller!!

What lovely pictures & eating produce from that farm must be so tasty & enjoying it in good company too! ;)

Have a great & fun weekend, my friend! :)

tasteofbeirut said...

I adore beets but my daughter always said she preferred them raw (and I roasted); well, if she had made a salad like yours I would have been convinced to give raw beets a try! I also love the community at your farm, it is pure happiness, working to make things grow and sharing with friends...