Morning of Day 3 brought us clear skies and a beautiful sunrise. The rains had passed overnight and gave the air a fresh cleanliness that only rain can do. Today’s itinerary is full of farm chores, farm visits and gardening practicum. First up is chores and breakfast. Being that I’ve had poultry before, it’s my daily job at 6:30 am to guide other retreaters in the ways of feeding and watering the critters. A job I absolutely love. Maybe it’s because I enjoy clucking back at the ladies in the morning.
Stine whipped us up some white bean and sausage ragu with a perfectly poached egg on top. It was hearty, healthy and filled our bellies for the long day ahead.
Our word for the day was “Sustainable”. When you think of your future or the future of humanity do consider how practices of today can alter the way our future will look? Does modifying our food genetically modify us? Our landscape? How we live? We can’t live in “the now”, we must live with intent for a healthy future and for our children’s healthy future and that can only happen through using sustainable practices. Ways you can foster sustainability, whether you live in a farming community or an urban metropolis is by supporting your local farmers and purveyors. Know where your food comes from. Make friends with the men and women who are growing it for you. Buy seeds locally to grow your garden. By foods that are grown, sold, marketed as close to your home as you can. Eat seasonally. By seasonally – that means to pass up the strawberries in January. Wait for your local abundance and preserve for the cold months.
After our discussion of knowing your food and farmers we headed to the garden for some garden practicum which including pruning the viniferous grapes and checking the soil to see if it was ready to plant. The rains from Day 2 made the soil too wet to work, but luckily the sun was out and we could revisit planting on Day 4.
After lunch we headed to Crandall Farm where they not only have a gorgeous orchard of fruit trees but also roast their own coffee and have a retail store on site. We made delicious raspberry jam (from last years abundance) with Janet before taking a tour of the orchard with John and their sweet old lab Kona. They orchard was relocated off the banks of the Columbia River in the 1940’s and their love of their place is evident in the joy the express while telling us about it.
After the Crandall’s we headed to Cliffside Orchard to meet up with Jeff. He gave us a tour of his organic orchard nestled in the hills and showed us some of his orcharding techniques. It was a very informative visit and the passion with which he speaks makes you want to go home and plant a few rows of fruit. One thing that definitely resonates with all of the farmers we’ve met during this few days of the retreat is the love of the earth and the love of what they do. Jeff spoke of how he feels a connection with the people who buy his fruit. Watching kids grow from years at the farmers market and realizing that his organic growing practices will shape the lives of those children as they become adults. It’s a duty he takes very seriously when tending his orchard.
Back at the farm we all washed up for a phenomenal dinner of Chicken Shepherds Pie and a large green salad. It was delicious, satisfying and the perfect end to a wonderful day. Day 4 will bring lots of gardening, food and animal husbandry.
Thanks for reading…
Heather is a recipe developer and content creator living in Vancouver, Washington. She started Farmgirl Gourmet in 2006, almost 20 years ago, as a way to share recipes with friends and family. Heather is also the co-founder of Spiceology , a unique spice company, which she started in 2013. She shares family friendly recipes for easy everyday meals with a gourmet twist.