My Farm to Table Education – Part 1

My decision making when it came to culinary school hinged widely on our current educational block.

 

The farm to table experience is built into our curriculum with intent to provide first hand knowledge of how our food is (and should be) grown and produced through local sources.  We spend time in small groups visiting and working on several farms and with other growers and providers for three weeks in order to gain said information.

Our first three days were spent on campus in the school’s garden, doing maintenance work, and also field tripping to a nursery to learn more about seasonal planting.  After that, a few of us helped cater a tasting event at Fall Creek Winery – where some of the finest grapes and wines in Texas originate. 

 

 

 

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Last week, I was first assigned to Coyote Creek Farm, where the focus is on chicken egg production and organic farm feed. The last trait I previously associated with chickens was – well – being chilled out. But these are some seriously chill foul. Wouldn’t we all be if our houses were cleaned and our every need met (including misters for the houses) daily?
While there, we helped feed and water chickens, gather eggs, and then clean and package them. It was an interesting process, to say the least.
Fun fact: Chickens sunbathe.
Let me just say YES free range, organically pastured eggs truly are the best. Next time you buy that 1.99 carton at Walmart, think about how robbed you are, though you may not know it. (My commercial vs organic egg experiment may be a future post).
I’m not sure we ever met Lala the Llama’s approval…
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Our next stop was Skinny Lane Farm, a small, young operation where they are still learning daily how to best practice organic, seasonal farming. It is currently the end-of-season for everyone, so our time was spent harvesting the remains of summer and readying the land for fall and winter. We weeded, seeded, tilled (OK, I personally didn’t till…) and planted, sprayed and cleared, and started seedlings after playing in prepared dirt. It was a fun time both days.
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To round out the week, we spent a day on Green Gate Farms, planting seedlings and playing with the pigs. The farm is located on what we were informed used to be a "hippy compound." They have farm dogs, chickens, goats, a horse, and lots of pigs. Babies, wild pigs, big gigantic breeding and larding pigs. I fell in love with one, but my classmates wouldn't help me put her in the car.

Bessie:
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So far, it’s been an education no classroom could ever provide. Another edition when all is said and done –
Have a great week out there, everyone.

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Because I was off the blogging grid during Father’s Day, I missed the shout out I would have given. Today is my dad’s birthday, (though in my youth he and my grandmother had much debate over whether he was technically born on the 2nd or 3rd…)and I have a thought or two on the subject.

For me, holidays are mostly about visiting loved ones and having yet another excuse to eat – not that I need one. But birthdays are different. They are special in that they allow us to celebrate people being in the world. My dad has always been not only the greatest role model and overall person a girl could ever hope to have in her life, but he’s also been my ally, my conspirator, my friend.

Mom blames my weird delivery and sense of humor on him. And she’s right, it’s all his fault. But without the humor and wonder with which he always encouraged me to approach life, I could never have embraced the life I now have.

For that, and for the countless moments I can’t measure, thanks, Dad. Thanks for being here, and being you.