Wednesday, November 6, 2013

     I recently had the pleasure of volunteering at Green Being Farm, located just east of Neustadt, Ontario. The farm is owned and run by Tarrah Young and her husband Nathan, who grow and raise everything organically, including their pigs, lamb, cows and poultry, who all roam free on their vast green pasture. I went with the intention of learning about how food is grown and harvested - and did, but I also learned more rigorous tasks like repairing the greenhouse and hauling tonnes of vegetables into the root cellar.

My visit was short but incredibly sweet. Tarrah prepared lunch every afternoon for myself and the two interns who have been living on the farm since April, using vegetables from her gardens and other locally produced food. After two days, I brought back a fraction of knowledge about farming and an immense appreciation and desire to support local farmers like Tarrah and Nathan, who produce ethically grown livestock and crops for their community year-round.

First morning on the farm! As you can see it was frosty.
 Hay stacks in one of the barns. Soon the lamb move in here for the winter.
 Every morning the pigs are let out of the barn to roam around for the day.

 They were so cute, they tried to eat my shoes! Sorry, only organic grain for you guys.
 After lunch the weather warmed up and the ground was no longer frozen, so we harvested A LOT of nelson carrots.
 At the end of the day we loaded them up in the van so go into the root cellar. Carrying these bins was probably the most physically demanding task.
 Lucy is the guard dog and lives in one of the barns. Here she is hugging one of the interns, Krys.
Here she is trying to kiss another intern, Asha.
 On Tuesday night we went into town for dinner at Rowan Moon Bistro, where to my delight they were featuring a southern comfort pop-up menu!
 For my main I had braised pork shoulder with grits, chard and bourbon gravy. This pork was a tender, juicy hunk of locally grown meat that just fell apart with the touch of a fork and knife.
 Everyone's food looked delicious, actually.
 One of the desserts was this corn bread with blueberry compote, local honey and a dollop of creme.
I ate dinner with all of these lovely people, who are all friends and farmers on Tarrah and Nathan's road.
 Day 2 - Time to let out the pigs! I can't get enough of these guys, they had such personalities.

 Inside of the three greenhouses. I thought this one looked really beautiful and serene. The greenhouses are used to grow lettuces and herbs. At one point there were tomatoes hanging from these ropes.
 We drove the van around the farm to bring back veggies and carry equipment. It was really fun to ride on the back bumper!
 One of the pens for the Kune Kune pigs.
 Tarrah and Asha harvesting kohlrabi, a vegetable I'd never heard of, but is apparently popular among farmers. It has the appearance and texture of a honeydew melon but it's not sweet and its flavour is very subdued. Another important note for this photo: Look at Tarrah (right)! She's pregnant in her third trimester and still out on the farm everyday!
 Here's "Boris" (right) and "Pig kahuna"(left). They are Kune Kune pigs, a rare breed that are on the farm for breeding purposes, rather than for their meat.
 The two other girls who have not been named yet, who are also Kune Kunes.
My last supper, made by me! Creamy leek puree with roasted roots (sweet dumpling squash, beets and kohlrabi) with roasted stewing hen. All ingredients provided by Green Being Farm!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Upon arriving home from my trip to New York I hastily headed to my friend Mike's to cook a 14 pound turkey. Ryan is an interior design guru so our table looked straight out of House & Home, minus the half-ass paint job on the walls. In the true spirit of the holiday everyone contributed apps, desserts and cocktails, and, of course there was some bickering, but we all gathered around the table with food, drink and laughter. After my adventurous weekend, I couldn't help but feel like there's no place like home.

 Vicki crushin' some garlic for her roasted root veg.
 There turned out to be an all black dress code, a memo which I did not receive!
 Enter Jess.
 Bourbon, Ginger Ale and lime cocktail provided by Ryan.
 My charcuterie board featuring a lot of everything. Most notably: goat cheese coated in caramelized cranberry, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, blueberry compote, whiskey honey, Applewood smoked cheddar and local dill pickles bought up the street!
Mike made roasted dates stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon.
 A closer look at our beautifully festive table.
 We each had our own place settings!
Beer from Bellwoods Brewery - one of the only places open to buy alcohol on a holiday!
 Hart lighting the candles.
To start, butternut squash soup with Kefir and cracked black pepper made by Mike and Vicki.
 Gravy made from the drippings of the butter, honey and bourbon basted turkey
 Pan stuffing made by Ryan with Italian sausage, sage and cranberries.
 Ryan also made roasted brussels with ham and raisins.
 The line up: Also includes barbecued root veg and mashed potatoes
 The partly carved turkey that I rubbed with butter, garlic and creamed honey, basted with sweetened bourbon and butter.
My plate!

Mini pumpkin pie made by Fiona, served sans une plate!

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Humble Pie has coincidentally captured my journey from an amateur home cook to professional cook/caterer. What was once somewhat of a food journal is now a place where interesting food things are discussed, discovered and drooled over. I am an aspiring food writer, freelance cook and co-founder of Phat N' Phull Catering. I also have a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University.