A new twist on the basics

Last night we stole the hens away from their perches in the hoop house. Placed into their mobile hen wagon they resettled and we drove them up to the front yard. It is too early to place the animals on pasture, we’ll set back the grass wherever they go. Yet the Excel-based crop plan tells us the tomatoes slated for the near hoop house are due in the ground next week. Make way!

hens outside front yard

Hens on 1st tour

Uno ready to move hen wagon

Uno ready to move hen wagon

Still there are special assignments that tap the talents of the hens. They dethatch any areas where tall vegetation matted down over the winter. And at present we are testing their knack for knocking back on of our pesky invasive plants, bishops weed (also known as gout weed) and chervil, both of which green up early. We’ll keep you posted! And pay attention to see if you notice anything different with their eggs as they move off hay and out into the lushness the April showers create. And right, their special assignment isn’t yard work or producing nutrient dense, delicious eggs. The hens are, like the rest of us at this farm, are really just asked to do what they do best, every day.


That echoed the lesson of last week’s tapas. We had a blast with the spouses of the trustees of Norwich University whose farm experience of sausage making rolled right into a tapas luncheon, with a menu built to accommodate the fruits of their morning work. Tapas really asks each separate dish to stand on its own and be all it can be. The marinated carrots (recipe below) and patatas bravas (Spanish roasted potatoes with spicy tomato sauce) did so indeed. This time of year localvores could tire of looking at potatoes and carrots. But I’ve been craving more of each all week! That is the thing with farm fresh food, a little dressing up and you can wind up with something of note.

Farmhouse Tapas Lunch

Farmhouse Tapas Lunch

Local Mary's (Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary's with a local twist)

Local Mary’s (Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary’s with a local twist)













Now every once in a while you can let yourself go a bit further! We served local marys –heirloom bloody mary mix and dressed them up with a skewer holding a lemon pickle (lemon cuke in turmeric brine masquerading as a lemon wedge), smoked green cherry tomato pickle (masquerading as an olive), a slice of our pasture-raised, nitrate-free bacon and a dilly bean. As April winds up, especially after this long winter, localvores can get a little board in these parts of the world but this week we were highly entertained by some of our staples a little dressed up.


Speaking of dressed up, Donna and Mari were thrilled to be hosted by Chef Ed Striebe, Director of Hospitality and his team at Gifford Medical Center. Our farm is proud to be part of their good efforts to nourish staff, patients and visitors at the hospital, providing samples from and information about our farm offerings. We hope to be delivering farm shares to Gifford staff soon!

Mari and chef ed striebe gifford