Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barn Aid and Life on the Farm

Whew! I made it through September - but just barely. What a month filled with activities and fun! For those of you who missed the event, the 2nd annual Barn Aid & Dinner at Eden was a great success and lots of fun. The evening was captured in photos by James Edward Photography and I invite you to take a peak at the album.
Lorynn the Redhead wooed guests as they were arriving to the farm with her silky voice and magic guitar sound. While author Pamela Walker was educating our guests about some of the awesome Texas farmers and ranchers she profiled in her wonderful new book, (I'm almost done reading it and it is great!), we served over 40 dinners including the volunteers, the members of the band, and several scholarship dinners donated by some who purchased tickets to the fund raiser. Chef Gilbert wowed even the discriminating "non-beet" eaters with a gourmet, organic vegetarian dinner using almost exclusively locally grown, farm fresh foods, including;

Aunt Cindi's Organic Farm beets, 50 year old jerez vinegar, palm sugar, pickled onions from Eden's Garden;

Organic Provincial Vegetables from Aunt Cindi's, Thyme, confit tomatoes (sweet 100's and Juliets from Eden's), (served over cream peas)
Vanhuizen Farm Blue Cheese Foam w/Toasted Texas pecans, pomegranate seeds from Marie's personal pomegranate shrub, (that was a fun course to watch everyone eat!),

and topped off with a Lucky Layla Farms Yogurt Parfait Blueberry compote for desert!
And he put this all together in less than 2 days as most of the ingredients arrived in Chef's hands Thursday afternoon. Many thanks to Chef Dave and his fine assistant and friend, Steve Smith.

We held the DFW premiere screening of FRESH! and 90 people watched as Joel Salatin, Will Allen and others explained how and why it is so important to return our food system to smaller, sustainable operations. If you've never seen or heard (or read) anything by Joel Salatin, you will surely enjoy his positive outlook and dry, or maybe that is wry, sense of humor about our out of control food system and the legislation trying to reform it. He's a farmer, but also a great inspirational speaker. I had the pleasure of introducing him at last year's TCOOP event (hosted by TOFGA) and have now seen him live and in two movies about food. The man has a passion for what he is doing!

The Lucky Pierres performed some great songs and some folks even cut a rug out on the dirt dance floor. Organic popcorn was popped, natural sodas made believers of a few who tried it and Chef served up some tasty hoagy type Italian sausage sandwiches featuring Dominion Farm's all naturally raised meats. Everything was yummy, fun and fulfilling. The evening ended a bit later than we expected, but all good things do have to come to an end sooner or in this case, later.

It was a great afternoon/evening and I am pleased to say we raised $1,000 for the two beneficiaries and enlightened many people about the plight of others' need for the kind of food we are growing and enjoying here from Eden's. I got to meet many new fans of the farm and saw lots of kids enjoying themselves as well. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have shared this evening with so many great people. I can't thank enough those who volunteered, bought tickets, donated and participated. A special shout out to Edible DFW, The Green Spot, Dal-Tex Rentals in Mesquite, James Edward, Jenice Johnson, Saint Arnold and Lucky Layla Farm for their generous contributions and support of the event.

Back to the farm; September is planting time for many of the fall foods we'll be harvesting in the coming months, such as beets, radishes, carrots, turnips, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and much more! Sadly, after 15 inches of rain fell, (I never thought I'd be sad to see rain), we have to replant most of what went in as the first 2 1/4 inches fell in less than an hour and came down in buckets, washing most of the seeds away. The radishes seemed to survive the frog strangler, but I think they start to germinate as you plant them! Turnips, beets and the rest of the root crops were the most affected. The tomatoes, peppers, beans and cucumbers all seemed to enjoy the rain and except for the peppers, have all grown about a foot and a half in 2 weeks! I'm not sure about those peppers though this morning I did see a few blossoms, so maybe they will give us peppers but just won't be tall.

I also planted several varieties of cabbage, lettuce, kale and other greens. We have those strawberry plants and about 1500 other plugs on the way next week to get in the ground. So, if you wanted to volunteer on the farm, this and next week would be great weeks to come out! We still have some finishing to do on the rows, just smoothing out and weeding and then next week it will be a planting frenzy!

I hope we get gentle rains tomorrow, as they are predicting a pretty good chance of storms. It gives me a couple of days to catch up on paperwork and inside chores, but the heavy rains always set us back a few days as they flatten out our rows and wash seeds away.

Enjoy the fall weather we're having - thank you for supporting your local farmers and ranchers. Market Day this weekend at Eden's - come see us, and bring the kiddos.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

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