Aug 11, 2009

life on the farm

I live in the city, and have for quite some time. Though I love it, lately I find myself really looking forward to getting away and taking a break from busy city life. Needless to say, when my brother, Jon, and I found a weekend that worked for both of us for a visit to the farm where he lives and works, I was thrilled. So early Saturday morning Matt and I packed up the car and headed southeast to Firebaugh, CA, a little town about an hour from Fresno in the Central Valley. As part of the new generation of young farmers, Jon has been interning on an organic vegetable and goat farm since March, learning from seasoned farmer John Teixeira.

We had a blast visiting with the goats and learning how the milking works. Soon after we got there Jon showed me how to make blue cheese with fresh milk from the morning milking. A definite highlight of the trip, I am now the proud owner of a round of blue that has started its aging process. I'm excited to try it...but now must wait two months for it to be ready.

(ready for milking)

(checking out the camera)

(making cheese: 1. fresh milk; 2. stove top; 3. fresh curds; 4. molded with salt)

There was also an abundance of vegetables and fruit to try, namely tomatoes. We probably tasted at least 20 different kinds of heriloom tomatoes that were growing on the farm. Words don't even begin to describe the flavors, some like candy so sweet and tangy, others more tart or spicy, and the list goes on and on. Walking through the tomato field, we'd call each other over for a tasting when we found an especially good variety.

The honey dew and cantaloupe were tangy and filled our mouths with their sweet juices. The nectarines were divine, the garlic and onions burst with flavor, and the beautiful red pears just ready to be picked filled a box that we brought home to eventually enjoy.

(heirloom tomatoes)

(black corn)

(Jon with his tomato patch)

(headed home)

I was reminded this weekend that life on the farm is not busy in the way city life is, but it is quite busy in other ways. Working with the goats, moving the water, tending to the vegetables, picking ripe fruit, and figuring out how to eat the abundance of produce now and how to save it for the winter. I know that I just got a glimpse at this life, and a very easy one at that, but by the end of the weekend I was exhausted and elated. Each time I visit a farm my appreciation for where our food comes from grows. Overall it was a fabulous trip, and I can't wait for my next farm visit.

I'll be back tomorrow with a yummy steak salad recipe that is dressed with fresh herbs and lots of greens.

(photography by: alison clayshulte)


Amy said...

I so enjoyed seeing these pictures and reading about your trip. It was great to see a picture of Jon! The amount of work required on a small farm must be staggering.

Alison said...

Amy - I know, I only got a small glimpse at all of the work, and we where there during harvest time which of course is the fun part. Glad you enjoyed the pics, I'll try to put together more for the family - we all had a blast!