Tag Archives: farming

Celebrating Spring

Plan a day with the family at The Early Bird Spring Craft Fair & Gardening Primer!

Are you ready for spring? Gardening season is here, and we are excited to welcome it with The Early Bird Spring Craft Fair and Gardening Primer at 16 West Marketplace on April 14 from 8am to 4pm! (PLEASE NOTE: Date is updated due to winter weather. April 14th is new rescheduled date!!) Spend the day downtown supporting local businesses, and drop by throughout the day for workshops, vendors, food, and fun!

In its second year, The Early Bird is an indoor/outdoor event with over 50 vendors including indie crafts, wearables, jewelry, edibles, and more! For all the animal lovers out there, Little Critters Petting Zoo will be on site from 8am-1pm, and photos are encouraged! They will also be selling food so visitors can feed the animals.

Gardeners of all levels can enjoy seed exchanges with local farms and purchase seedlings. This is also a great time to buy, sell, or trade tools at the Used Garden Gear Tent. In between shopping, visitors can participate in demos and workshops on gardening, DIY, wellness, and homesteading. Specifically, Roanoke Community Gardening Association is putting together a Build Your Own Worm Bin class. There is something for everyone at this event, and it’s one you certainly don’t want to miss!

For anyone interested in doing their part to make the world around us a brighter, healthier place, Bartlett Tree Experts will also be on site with free trees. Last year, they gave away five hundred trees including Dogwoods, Redwoods, Crepe Myrtles, and Holly Trees! Planting a tree is a great family bonding experience, but it is also important for our environment. Bartlett’s act of kindness is an opportunity for us, as citizens, to truly pay it forward in our community.

You can easily make this event an all day affair with your family. There will be several food vendors available between workshops and shopping opportunities including Granpa Ike’s Mini Donuts, Little Green Hive, Wok n Roll Kitchen, and a brand new restaurant in 16 West, S and J Cafe. For more up to date information on vendors and workshops, find The Early Bird Spring Craft Fair and Gardening Primer on Facebook!

Bella Magazine is a proud sponsor of this event. See you there!

A Recipe for Comfort (from Well Fed Farm)

Well, I am hoping everyone made it through the holiday season with minimum trauma and maximum enjoyment. While I am not big on proclaiming resolutions, I am a proponent of taking stock and putting everything in order for the days, and year to come. One of my favorite parts of doing this out here on the farm is seed catalog time! When I finally get a chance to grab the big stack of catalogs that have been trickling in from the mailbox, my garden notebook from the season before, a few pens, a hot cup of milky homemade chai, a small bowl of popcorn, and then make my way to the sheepskin covered couch I am prepared to settle in and breath everything else out. As the big red woodstove burns through another round of locust inside the farmhouse and just through the window I can see the garden all tucked in and dormant, I am in my happy place. Oh, the possibilities.

img_2272While I do save many types of seeds year to year (there is an ox-heart type tomato that came from a friend years back, known simply as “Orange-It’s So Good!”) the excitement of new varieties has a hypnotic pull and I know I am not alone here. Sometimes it’s tracking down that elusive variety you sampled the summer before: a tomato that woo-ed you or those perfectly salty pan-fried Shishito peppers you cooked up after bringing them home from the farmers’ market. Other times it’s adding a vegetable variety just for the novelty of it. Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumber, anyone? (BTW they are not truly cucumbers and totally worth growing because they are adorable, as well as, delicious). The magic, and its ensuing promise is all there inside these catalog pages full of images and convincing descriptions. There’s the gorgeous scarlet colored Rouge Vif D’Etampes pumpkins, the ever sexy and otherworldly looking Tardivo radicchio with it’s deep burgundy white ribbed leaves, and the early ripening Liebesapfel sweet pepper with it’s lovely ruffled shape. I always end up circling more than I could ever realistically plant, grow, and harvest.

Flipping through these pages and circling the garden workhorses along with the “well, why not give it a try?” choices reminds me of why I do what I do.  Dreaming of all those fresh meals that lie ahead and all the folks you look forward to sharing them with is good winter cheer indeed. As I hear the kids stomping ice off their boots on the front porch and gaze out at the beautiful belted cattle standing around the round bale hay feeder looking like dusted sugar cookies in the snow I feel grateful indeed.

img_1458Stove Top Duck Fat Popped Corn
with Sumac, citrus zest, and Nutritional yeast
(Serves 4-6)

1 ¼ cup quality popcorn kernels
¼ plus 1 Tbsp. rendered duck fat*
Zest of one half (well rinsed) orange or zest of one full clementine*
Several healthy pinches of sumac*, nutritional yeast*, + salt

Method: Melt 1 tablespoon of duck fat in a small container and set aside. Set a tall, heavy bottomed stockpot over high heat. Add remaining ¼ cup duck fat and swirl pot to keep fat moving as it melts. Once melted, add in popcorn kernels all at once and cover pot with lid. Using a kitchen towel to hold the stockpot by a handle, begin to shake it gently keeping the bottom of the pot on your burner. Very soon you should begin to hear the corn start to pop. Keep moving the pan every ten seconds or so. The pops will start to speed up and then begin slowing back down. This all only takes 2 minutes or so. Listen for the popping to taper off and then immediately pull the pot over to another cool burner and remove lid. Pour popped corn into a large bowl or clean paper bag and add remaining tablespoon melted fat along with sumac, zest, salt, and yeast. Give a few good shakes and taste, adding more sumac or salt as you please.

Notes:
Yes, I am the type of gal that takes having various fats on hand for cooking as serious business. No ball dropping allowed here. I usually have farmstead lard, rendered duck fat, and raw cultured butter in the fridge at all times. Not to worry though, if your shop doesn’t stock duck fat plenty of online retailers these days do or you can substitute coconut oil, grape seed oil, or even saved bacon fat!

~Please use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurements + ingredients as necessary.~ 

Use organic citrus if possible. A Microplane rasp makes zesting a breeze. Sumac, which imparts a tangy tart and (to me) entirely moreish aspect to the popcorn, can be found at an ethnic grocery store. Nutritional yeast can be found in bulk at your local co-op or online. It is a powerhouse of B vitamins and is NOT the same as brewers yeast. I use Himalayan pink salt.

Written by Aaren Nuñez