Sunday, October 19, 2014
A benefit for Detroit's Eastern Market, a non profit, six block, public market that has been working to bring farm fresh food to the people of Michigan for over 120 years, the Oct 16 event was billed as a celebration of the richness and vibrancy of the Market, to feature exceptional food and entertainment showcasing this Detroit landmark.
It was said that dinner would be an “”epicurean exuberant farm-to-table feast” with “exquisite cuisine, appetizers and desserts will be prepared by Michigan’s newest and most talented local food artisans.” paired with Michigan wines.
I must say, the event lived up to the billing. From the servers who met me at the door with drinks and trays of hors d’oeuvres, to the string ensemble from Detroit Symphony Orchestra, who played during our dessert, I was temporarily transported, from the world of farming, to a magical world of fantasy and luxury.
I made sure, as the trays of hors d’oeuvres circulated, to limit myself to one of each type, so as to save room for dinner. It wasn’t easy, particularly with the Caribbean Baked Wings, The Apple Chutney Crustini, or the Tomato and Basil sliders. (They had other sliders, but the Tomato and Basil were the best.)
Along with are business leaders, and government officials, several local celebrities were there. Cynthia and Edsel Ford made an appearance early in the evening, and although I would not previously have known him by sight, everyone knows the voice of Paul W. Smith of WJR who was the Master of Ceremonies. It was exciting to “bump shoulders” with some of the people who make things happen in Southeast Michigan.
A film shown during dinner highlighted two of the projects Eastern Market has focused on this year. Farm Stand, a series of pop-up markets, has allowed local grown produce to be introduced to inner city neighborhoods, and Kitchen Connect a program that provides commercially licensed ‘incubator’ kitchen space for entrepreneurs.
The newly refurbished section of Shed 5 at Eastern Market features a sparkling new community kitchen, made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
A “Farm to Fork” dinner, prepared by some amazing chefs, using ingredients sourced from Michigan farms was a highlight of the evening. (And I have to admit, it was rewarding to be able to explain to the people at our table what a Delicata was, how it was grown, what they looked like and why it made such good soup.)
Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged. To think that as a farmer, perhaps I don’t belong with the upper echelons of society. I think maybe some people hear the title farmer and attach subtitles like redneck, bumpkin or hillbilly. So it was encouraging to be there, among a group of some of the most influential people in the region, and know that I could hold my head up and be proud to be a farmer.
Without farmers, the entire event would have never come to pass.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
We are coming to the end of the farming season now at DTL Herbs Farm. It was an interesting season as well as a learning season for our first year actually having a farm to work with.
Besides planting, harvesting and selling our produce this year, we also made sure to do a lot of seed saving. We are specializing in all heirloom veggies (and hopefully fruit in the coming years) so, we made sure to harvest as many seeds as possible. This helps consistency from year to year.
Our dining room became seed saving central this past season. I think I might actually see our table in the near future! LOL
Did you know that there are Seed Banks all over the world? Some of the world’s largest Seed Vaults are right here in the United States!
The reasons for storing seeds may be varied. In the case of food crops, many useful plants that were developed over centuries are now no longer used for commercial agricultural production and are becoming rare. Storing seeds also guards against catastrophic events like natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, or war. Unlike seed libraries or seed swaps that encourage frequent reuse and sharing of seeds, seed banks are not typically open to the public.
Of course, this too has taken up the table since Spring! The dehydrator. I don’t think we have had a single day in about 3 months that this thing wasn’t running. Honest! We definitely need to get several more for next year.
We have dried a lot of various veggies this year. But, without a doubt the biggest time has been concentrated at drying our hot peppers. We have grown several of the world’s hottest peppers this season and are developing a new product. Our customers at DTL Herbs have been asking us for some hot and spicy mixes. We listened and dedicated a lot of time this year to grow these peppers in order to fill this need.
Oh, and in case you are wondering what those “sticks” are in the above picture, they are dill stems. Did you know they are filled with flavor as well as the leaves? Yup, I use them to flavor my oils and vinegars for here at home. They don’t look as pretty so, I don’t use them for products. but, for home use, they are just fine.
Do you save your seeds?