Monday, May 19, 2014

Pick Your Own & Dinner

 Wow what a weekend. Let just say I have more pictures then I know what to do with. I thinned them out the best I could still you are going to see some pictures today.
    One of the perks of marrying into an old farming family is they know all the farms and farmers. Well most if not all. Dziadzi's dad was the President of the vegetable growers association  as well as being a part of the farm bureau,  and the NJ Co op growers giving him and his sons ample opportunity to meet and become friends with many of the other farmers in the area. Not to mention Dzidzia went to school with more then a few of the farmers that are working the fields now.
  Thats what we did Saturday and Sunday morning. We visited farms. There are two kinds of vegetable farms. The kind that sells directly to the market and you have to go to the grocery store to get their produce, and the kind that sells directly to you. We went to the latter type of farm. Now farmers that sell directly to the public fall into different categories as well. There are the type that only sell the produce from the plant, it can be pre-picked or pick you own. Always a fun experience. Then there is the farm or farm market that sells the plants as well as the produce. We went to both types over the weekend and had a blast. We visited 3 farms over the weekend each one unique from the other, and none better then the other. Two of them we ended up visiting twice for different reasons enjoying the second visit as much as the first.

  Lone Wolf Farm was our first stop on Saturday and our last stop on Sunday. We ended up going back because I had picked up a zucchini plant for the garden that is "GMO". During our conversation with Rick I mentioned my aversion to putting food in my body that have been altered. Later we get a call from Rick saying he realized I had picked up an altered plant. Nice of him yes to be honest, I think so. So Sunday we go back and he has an unaltered plant ready for me. We have a great conversation about "GMO", pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. Rick knows his stuff he is organic to a point but does embrace better farming through science.  He explained a great deal to me and I am still wrapping my mind around all of it. I still say we need more studies, accurate, unbiased studies that give definitive answers. Still I am experimenting this year, Rick gave  me a "GMO" free zucchini and I took back the "GMO" plant. I am going to plant and grow them both exactly the same and compare. I got less pictures at Ricks farm then other farms because we did spend so much time talking and I was fixated on getting the perfect picture of the sunlight playing in a red maple. 

Do you ever drive by farms that have the tent like greenhouses and wonder what kind of magic happens there. As you can see from my pictures a lot of magic all of it beautiful. When you click the link to the Lone Wolf web site make sure you click on the history page.
Lone Wolf Link  
   Very interesting reading and the first farm Rick worked on. Surprise surprise yes you guessed it, My father in laws.Lone Wolf Face book page
    Next on the list Saturday was Specca Farm. A pick your own type of farm.

 Dziadzi went to school with the farmer here. They chatted for a while and I felt comfortable enough to roam around and take pictures.

 This is a very friendly farm with a lot going on. I stumbled on to a strawberry taste test for a Rutgers experiment and enjoyed watching that. Some of the berries were so fragrant you could smell them across the table when they bit into them

 On Saturday we picked Spinach, and radishes.

 The strawberry patch was closed until Sunday to allow the berries to ripen more. That was our first stop Sunday morning and at 9:01 the field was already filled with people and it was like a treasure hunt to find the perfect red ones.

 I will be back Thursday to pick some more. My strawberry jam was a big hit last year and I need to double my efforts this year. The facebook page for Specca's is set up nicely and you always know whats coming up and exactly when.Specca's Facebook page
   I hope to take Madeline here a few times this year. There are no signs saying the farm is organic and I never asked. From looking around at how things were being cared for and growing I would say like Lone Wolf Farms they are organic to a point, but do what is needed to have a successful farm.
  Wishing Star Farm was our second stop on Sunday.
Wishing star web link
   The Dzia was on a mission to find Cherry Bomb plants and Wishing Star fulfilled his wish. When I asked about organic here. The answer wasn't to a point it was we try." We can't say we are organic we buy organic seed when we can and we don't use pesticides but we aren't strictly organic." I liked that answer and was very very comfortable buying plants from this farm.  I like all the different verities of plants that were available. Things like Chocolate mint, and citrus flavored basil caught my eye. Wishing Star has a stand in the Columbus Farm Market as well as the small stand in front of their farm that is open on the weekends. This is one farmer Dziadzi doesn't know from the past, an interesting fact to me. At last someone he doesn't know. I was still able to get a few pictures of the front of the farm.

 The horses intrigued me I thought they were wearing blinders. Actually they are bug nets. The horses can see out just fine but the flies can't bother them. The tree I can just see that pulling up its roots and walking like the trees in the Wizard of Oz. 
  Now there is a whole lot of planting that needs to get done. With each seed we plant and each plant we buy I get more and more excited for our garden to grow. Thanks to Lone Wolf I have an experiment to enjoy and a new way to stake my tomato and cucumber plants. It is not new really but new to me. I love education and I got a boat load this weekend.
  " What Was Dinner" Dinner was a BBQ. We had friends over and enjoyed an informal get together. We didn't set the table or even set a table up. We just set the food out and let everyone graze.

 My salad was made with fresh picked spinach, lettuce out of my garden, fresh picked strawberries and NJ blue berries. Not sure if you can call fete cheese fresh but you sure can call it good. I made a dressing using blood orange olive oil, chocolate balsamic vinegar, & honey. I put out bottled dressing and no one touched them. A very nice compliment I say.

 There were ribs, hot dogs, and even a piece of cod. The cod was a group effort between Dzia and myself. 

We seasoned it with orange oil, orange slices, butter, basil, salt, pepper,and some sage. Wrapped it all up in foil and threw it on the grill for 25 minutes. I tasted it but it was fish.

                           Yuck I just don't like fish.
 Conversation flowed and plates were filled and refilled as we all enjoyed a beautiful evening, good company, & good food.
 A cheery Monday to you. Let me end this with the best quote I heard all weekend. This is a quote from Rick Wolf's Grandfather repeated to me by both Rick and The Dzia. " If the bugs aint eating it why would I want to eat it "
    Thank you for stopping by!    


  1. Great blog! As usual I'm in awe of your photos, you've come a long way.

  2. Thank you bd. weld. It has been a fun journey, one I hope to continue for a long time to come. You know helpful people like you with your tips and advice are how come I have come so far. Thank you.