Monday, July 29, 2013

U Can Pick the Raspberries!

Up on the Mission, after you pass the blue bay on the right and the blue bay on the left, then up and over the big hill with the scenic turnout and then,  past  a mature orchard of sweet and tart cherries lies a little farm called "Shang-ri-La Too".  Lou and Irene manage this wonderful farm that multipurposes itself as a respite, a farm, a vineyard, an orchard, a b & b, an artist's studio and most likely a few other functions that i don't even know about.  I stumbled on this friendly place when i was looking for the last of the season's strawberries for one last shortcake recipe for some desperate friends from Texas. Irene and Lou happened to be having a garage sale but were out of strawberries. As luck would have it,  Linda my friend from Texas talked me into a ceramic cow with measuring spoons, a cylindrical orange mod a go-go vase and a retro copper tray. (No regrets!)  We chatted about fruit and they told me that what i REALLY wanted was to come back to their farm in a couple of weeks to pick raspberries.

So, i marked my calender and showed up one Thursday morning to pick my share of raspberries for some jam.  Irene took me out to her "patch" and Lou pointed me in the direction of the sweet and small raspberries that make fragrant jam.  In fact, Lou doesn't even like his raspberries that much, since they have the aroma of "perfume".
Well, that works for me.  I'll take perfumey raspberries any day. In fact, I wonder if lavender and raspberries would work. Hmpfh.  Well, I picked enough to almost make a batch of jam so Irene had to finish off my pints. 

It was so much cheaper to pick my own raspberries! Two pints for $5.00. And not only that, but i got to visit their lovely farm. See their many farm animals. ( See wild, native owl at left).  And peek inside the B & B. 
For more information on picking raspberries, cherries or apples call Shangri-La Too at 231-499-0106.
And for information about their farm stay B&B ... well, call the farm number too!
oh! darn! i forgot to ask about the eggs!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Red Garlic Harvest at Meadowlark Farm

It's summer now and it's hot.  Lots of things are pouring in from the farmers markets. We're way past asparagus and rhubarb, even the strawberries are gone. Next up are the cherries, blueberries and raspberries in the fruit department. Onions, squash, carrots, broccoli, potatoes and every other kind of vegetable is grown here as well.  The flowers are so wonderful too and come in every color.  There are things going on behind the scenes too, and garlic harvest for Meadowlark Farms is in full swing.

Meadowlark Farm owned by Jon Watts and Jenny Tutlis,   has been growing and reseeding the same beautiful big red cloves of delicious garlic that originally came from a farm in Idaho for about 20 years now. Once the tops of the garlic plants start to die back, then you know it's time to harvest. Growing garlic is an act of faith, since you seed in the fall and then sit back and wait. And then all of the conditions merge for you (or not) and it is time to harvest garlic.
  I showed up late for garlic harvesting and much of the work was already underway.

First, a tractor pulls a "tool" through the field to undercut the garlic in the dry field so that it is easy to pull from the ground.  Then a crew of people walk along the row pulling and gathering the garlic, laying them in stacks so that the snipping crew that follows can find the bulbs and snip them from the green stalks. The bulbs are layered in black, breathable crates that get stacked and left in a barn to cure.  I never knew that garlic cured. Fresh garlic, Jen says, ..."is juicy, full of water and not as strong as it will be as it cures and dries and the pungent flavors condense."

I love garlic but I probably won't see these beautiful bulbs again until later in the season once they've had a chance to dry a bit and cure.
oh well...

Every harvest, especially on a hot day is accompanied by a refreshing snack and today at the farm was no exception.  Jenny prepared a smorgasborg of fresh items to snack on; watermelon, carrots from the farm, chips and salsa, some other dips and fresh made lemonaide.  Soon, hands were moving around the table gathering plates of snacks and jars of cool lemonaide. There was munching, laughing, spitting cherry seeds, swinging on swings and gulping fresh cool lemonaide.

This was my first Meadowlark garlic harvest and oh, what a joy to be part of the gathering, cleaning, snipping and layering of this famous Meadowlark Red Garlic...  Thankyou Jenny and Jon.
You can see more pictures on my facebook page;