Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Back to the Farm

It's harvest time in the northern hemisphere, and our thoughts turn to crisp evenings, cozy sweaters, and long walks along colorful leaf-covered paths that crunch under our feet.

This is also the time of year when I start thinking about excursions to our local farms, either to pick pumpkins, squash or other produce for our fall dinner fare, to take a hayride and visit with the farm animals, or simply to enjoy a hot cocoa next to a bonfire on a chilly evening while the chickens come home to roost in the trees around us. (Yes, in the trees! This city girl never knew that chickens sleep in trees!)

Chickens roosting in the trees.
Community farming is big in Boulder, as well, with many residents (including my sister, Ana) participating in Community Supported Agriculture (or CSAs), enjoying their share of the harvest as the veggies come rolling in.  We are often treated to Ana's homemade organic kale chips, veggie pancakes (they are divine!), or the most flavorful grilled vegetables from her generous regular allotments of fresh produce directly from the farm.

Sometimes other farm products, like honey, eggs, dairy, fruit, flowers and meat may be made available to the members, as well.

Other farm programs available in the area include exchanging labor for produce, gardening your own plots, youth and school programs, farm internships, composting programs, and community food or plant shares for individuals in need in order to increase their access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Some local schools have their own gardens that the students tend during the growing season, as well, as part of their curriculum.

All of these programs foster a deep sense of community and connection with our food and where it comes from.  It has also been demonstrated that children who are actively involved in gardening and seeing how plants grow and where fruit and vegetables come from, tend to eat more fruit and vegetables in their diets and are open to trying a wider variety of produce, as well.

The women in our family recently treated ourselves to a Chef's Farm Dinner that was absolutely exquisite.  Each course was thoughtfully prepared and fantastically delicious.  You can read all about our experience on my niece's blog, A Piece of Conversation.

I will say one thing about our farm dinner, however ... something that seems to have proven true many times during our culinary excursions anywhere they take us ...  

Chefs will naturally spend a great deal of time crafting appetizers and entrees, less time on desserts, and salads sometimes seem like a bit of an after-thought altogether.  But I have found that the best chefs tend to serve the most amazing salads.  When you take your first bite and think it is the best salad you have ever had in your life (a nod to Emeril Lagasse here), you know you're in for a truly memorable dinner. That was the case with our farm dinner ... the salad was something to weep about!  

The freshness of the ingredients straight from the farm had a lot to do with that, of course!

We are so spoiled here in Colorado.  We spend our springs and summers at the farmers markets, we have roadside farm stands everywhere we go, strawberry patches, and the best peaches in the country.  In the fall there are pumpkin patches, hayrides, corn mazes and an abundant fall harvest of the sweetest corn imaginable, delicious apples and the most luscious squashes.  In the winter, we have beautiful falling snow, skiing, and plenty of ladles of hot apple cider from our fall harvest.

Winter, spring, summer or fall, the farms are one of our favorite destinations and where we find our most gratifying connections. 

Happy Harvest!

 Hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows
 at a local farm on a chilly evening.

Other Fall blog posts:

Pie Season is upon us!  From the prize-winning French Apple Pie recipe to the must-have Pumpkin Pie recipe, you need our Book of Pies cookbook!

Our very first cookbook, in its 2nd Edition, download From the Bakery of Afternoon Tea: Book of Pies for your Amazon Kindle today!

Want more foodie adventures?  
Check out my niece's fabulous blog at apieceofconversation.com

No comments:

Post a Comment