Saturday, May 29, 2010

Down On The Farm

On Friday I woke up bright and early at 5:30 AM to head down to the community farm on campus. I figured, if I'm reading about farming and agriculture - I should probably do some of it too. From 6-8, we planted tomatoes and sweet peppers and secured row cover over the squash and peppers.
After a quick break for breakfast, we were out again until noon weeding the swiss chard, kale and turnips. 12-3 was prime napping time and then we worked again until 7 PM - more weeding and row covering!
It felt great to be getting my hands dirty after spending so much time doing research in the library.
The farm was started a couple of years ago by two students who were interested in investing in local agriculture. Since then, a number of students come down to the farm in the fall and spring to help pick, plant, weed, and till. During the summer three interns take care of the communal garden and 16 community members grow their own plots on the land.
This year, the farmers decided to work closely with Bon Appetit, our food service provider, to grow produce that could be sold to Bon Appetit during the summer and fall. The end result - more tomatoes, squash and sweet peppers are being grown over kale, purple carrots and swiss chard. However, the latter products can be sold for a pretty penny at the farm stand held every week on campus.
After spending the day learning the history of the garden and getting a good hamstring workout from weeding - the interns and I had a pot luck dinner to celebrate the end of the week and a very productive day.
Since I have started cooking on campus for the summer, I have only been cooking for myself. Therefore, cooking for 4 people sounded like a daunting task. Thank goodness I had been saving a box of pasta for "emergencies" or group gatherings like this one.
Using my new book Raising the Salad Bar, I made a pasta salad with feta cheese, sweet corn and local tomatoes. To finish the dish off, I created a light dressing of lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil.
Dinner included: rice salad with beans, miso soup, cucumber salad (with fresh mint from the community farm!) pasta with peanut sauce, and my own pasta salad.
I have plenty left over, so make the trip to my suite to pick some up!

P.S. Abby - I brought all the beer you left me to the pot luck. The Summer Brew was enjoyed by all! The Christmas Porters...not so much.

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