From Farm to Table – Pizza Machen

Tomaten

One of my dreams has been to make and share a big meal with others that is strictly from the Farm to the Table – using as many ingredients as possible (if not all)  from my own garden or farm.  The baby steps for this begun last summer while I was interning on the farm in Washington.  My fellow intern, Mara, and I would bring home the fruits of our labor and turn them into meals that dazzled our friends eyes and taste buds.  This was just the beginning though.  Most of the ingredients were not homegrown – just the veggies.

After a while, I began buying as much food from the island co-op as possible and relying on the farmers markets for my edible needs.  I finally came to a point where I was no longer shopping at the island super markets. I was relying solely on the farms and the co-op which pulls as much food as it can from local farms and companies in the Northwest.

After relocating back to VA and awaiting on my own little garden to produce, I upheld this ritual I had grown fond of – relying only on the weekly farmers markets and a couple natural food stores. Preparing meals this way, my dream, still on the horizon, but feeling one step closer to fruition…until now.

I am currently abroad in Europe.  Yes, I left the lil homestead and my garden to do some traveling abroad this summer. Not to worry, it’s been left in good hands.

Garden 1

Marienhof garden of veggies and flowers

I have been spending some time on Marienhof Bauer (Farm), where my German friend, Daniel, is currently interning.  Here, is where this dream felt more like a reality than ever.  I am closer.  The dream, no longer on the horizon, but feels like I’ve floated to that mysterious place in the middle of the ocean. No land to give bearings of a possible destination.  Just the sky and the sea all around me – that special place where the horizon no longer exists in our minds eye because we find ourselves floating within it.

Pizza Veggies

The beloved veggies we harvested for the pizza

With this being said,I’ll leave you with the pictures to tell the rest of the story as Daniel and I spent the day in the garden resting, working, playing and eventually harvesting veggies and herbs for our pizza dinner.  The cheeses we used were made on a nearby farm that uses Marienhof’s own fresh milk from a trade agreement they have together.  The flours for the dough are also from surrounding farms in the area.  The only ingredients not from farm or another close by: salt, olive oil and thyme, olives and an italian seasoning.

You can see the photo story here. 

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To Be or Not to Be … A Dirty Hippie

Today is one of those days where you look outside and you can see there’s a thick cloud in the air.  You figure it’s humidity, but you’re only 1/2 right. The humidity in the air just sets the mood for the cloud you’re seeing…

My garden has full shade until about 11.  So with any heat advisory, I try to get out early and break for the day when the sun hits.  Normally, I’d work in the sun as I love how it feels upon my skin. Let’s be honest people – what the sun does for my skin too.  Four years of being Vitamin D deprived in the Northwest, you better believe I’m gonna soak it up now.

It’s only 8:30 and the heat is laying itself on thick.  Even in the shade.  I am sweating just standing here.  Regretting my decision to leave the cool NW climate?  Hell No.  I work my way building a rock wall around one of my garden beds.  I can barely keep my eyes open because gnats are swarming all around my head.  One literally flies right into my eye on a suicide mission getting itself smushed inside.  Took me outta commission for about 5 minutes to see clearly again.  At this point, I notice 3 flies buzzing around my head.

What the hell is going on here?  Am I that ripe?  I take some whiffs of myself.  No, not any more than my usual vapors I’m given off when I’m out here.  What is it then?  I wave my hands around and demand they leave me alone.  What’s with all the bug action?  With the question in mind I try to think of a possible explanation and find myself rest on one: Are bugs naturally attracted to patchouli?  I noticed after buying my new shampoo bar the other day that it had patchouli in it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…Patchouli?… ha, typical hippie.  Right?  Wrong!  I hate the stuff.  Never where it.  Never want to.  And to be honest catching light whiffs of it in my hair for the last day has turned my nose up each time. When I bought the bar from a woman at the farmers market, it was in a desperate attempt to find something completely natural and homemade.  After all, I’d been washing my hair with my own homemade brew of what I thought was clay, but turned out to be sand, but that’s another story;)

So, I’m sitting there feeling a bit embarrassed wondering if I’ve crossed the line now between cute lil hippie lady to dirty hippie woman who needs to get a clue about her own stench and stop trying to cover it up with patchouli.  You see, as I’m out here creating a homestead right smack in the middle of suburbia, experimenting with my creature comforts, the line between an alternative lifestyle and dirty hippie is a fine one.  While I’m walking it, learning what I will and will not live without. What I really do or do not need, there’s going to be many moments of harsh honesty in confronting one’s own wildness.

These gnats and flies hovering around me were all to reminiscent of the same hovering I saw around the cows at the farm I moved from.  Right as I was about to get lost in the thoughts of an identity crisis, I caught my reflection in the beads of sweat on my arm.  Completely motionless, I’m dripping sweat. I look around and see swarms of gnats and flies  hovering like a dense Seattle fog all over the yard  –  hmmm, I think the excess bugginess has to do with todays extra mugginess.  Not me.

Soaked with sweat and smattered with gnat juices, I leave the garden with a mission to shower and find solace in an air-conditioned cafe for a good day of writing… making a mental note to self –   Research potential effects of patchouli on insects, specifically gnats and flies.

(Written about June 9, 2011 Thursday)