Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Summer Squash Caprese Salad



As summer winds down in this part of the World, here's a salad to savor the flavors of summer with grilled squash, fresh tomatoes in a caprese salad, simple and so good. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

York, England



York, England is a special city and one to put on your radar. Its rich in thousands of years of history and old world charm with its farmers markets and agricultural areas surrounding the city, the ancient cobbled shambles that look exactly how they would have hundreds of years ago. You can sip tea in one of the tearooms and try the famous Yorkshire pudding. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An Ode to Bees




This blog post is dedicated to bees - all of them,  native species and the famous honey bee. 

They work hard and without them we wouldn't have food to eat. They are fascinating to watch and very intelligent using special dances to communicate with one another. I often take pictures and videos of them pausing to marvel at these special and vital pollinators. 

I even take pictures of them on holiday and eagerly wait for them to start their activity each spring. 

The last few years I haven't sprayed any weed control on my grass at home. Each time I see a bee enjoying clover, I just can't do it. I don't spray at all at the farm and plant flowers just for the bees. 

I love the new initiative in Winston Salem, where I live Bee our Future on Instagram. The local bee keeper Josh is inspiring. 


I also love following Debbie Roos on twitter an Extension agent in Chatham County NC with a passion for native pollinators she offers tours of the pollinator garden and is a wealth of knowledge follow here on twitter.


Collecting pollen at the farm.


When volunteering with the school garden we plant for bees, and chat about their brilliance and importance. 

We all know bees are important and have read about their decline in the news. A local bee keeper of 50 years recently visited me at The Farm, he plans to add a hive in the spring he says he has steadily seen a decline as agriculture has changed and used more chemical inputs.

While we do maybe need some herbicides and insecticides I truly believe we have become chemical dependent. I recently noticed a group of social media influencer dietitians attending a sponsored trip in Copenhagen, Michelin star meals, and speakers on bees. Also the need for GMO to feed the world.  On this point reducing food waste globally and gardening more would also play a vital role in feeding folks.
 Its organized by Porter Novelli an advertising agency with food industry sponsors often Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science. I have no issue with GMO crops many of my neighbors in Yadkin County NC grow them and we live in Harmony. 
My issue is that recent science shows potential harm from neonicotinoids, maybe not directly but studies show they affect bees behavior and the amount of eggs laid

I have read many articles on this topic from trusted news sources. Then theres Bayer's PR side with websites and sponsored events and a bee care center in Raleigh NC they even sponsor the flowers along the road side in NC. While these are all good endeavors and I appreciate them surely taking the science seriously and finding alternatives to chemicals for weed control is vital. 

One farmer I follow in North Dakota uses cultivation to control weeds in his soybean fields and I even saw mention on the tweets of another farmer laser controlled weed control.


Here's a flavor of the conference I mentioned.




 It's messaging is in line with good PR but I ask you to look big picture. Read the science, chat to bee keepers and farmers, and do your part we all play a role, often companies are profit driven. Avoid spraying your yard, hand pull weeds, plant for bees and make friends with them they need YOU.




Bees on a Thistle in Scotland. 
Admiring a bee in Germany



References:

1. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/14/542895824/popular-pesticides-keep-bumblebees-from-laying-eggs
2. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/neonicotinoid-pesticides-slowly-killing-bees/





Bookmark and Share
Pin It
SaveSave

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Beech Hill Farm, Maine




On our recent trip to Maine we stayed in Bar Harbor and visited the amazing Acadia National Park, stay tuned for future posts. We loved driving across to the other Quiet side of the Island and through Southwest Harbor. A delightful little town with an amazing bakery and cute shops. On the drive down we took a side road and saw a sign for Beech Hill Farm. As a farmer and food lover I always love visiting local farms and farm stands, seeing whats in season and local to the area and chatting to the growers. This is well worth a visit if you visit Mount Dessert Island. Its a diverse organic farm associated with College of the Atlantic and they train farmers. 

It has a wonderful farm stand with a great variety of freshly harvested vegetables, eggs, local cheese, bread and more. The young farmers are friendly and enthusiastic and happy to answer questions.

There wasn't an official tour but they are fine allowing you to wander around and look and visit the little pigs. Maine is a cold and Northern state with a fairly small growing season so greenhouse and high tunnels are used lots. 

So when you visit Maine as well as Lobster, great seafood and the famous wild blueberries enjoy fresh vegetables from its many farms.







They have 6 full time staff and such wonderfully weeded beds. 




This was such a wonderful idea. 

 oink!



Hope you enjoyed the wee virtual tour.

Hugs

Bookmark and Share
Pin It

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How to Make Elderflower Syrup



Growing up in the U.K. there are many elderflower cordials and soda's with elderflower. Its a drink I often buy when visiting. Funny when I was getting the raised beds built at the farm one of the guys sold me an elderflower bush. It grew so quickly and I happily harvested some. I then walked down the end of the field and noticed the exact same bush growing and in fact they are all over the place. So maybe you will notice them in your area too. 

A simple syrup is easy to make and its great added to soda water for a fun summer drink and to cakes.  I think it would also be great in cocktails.




Freshly Harvested Elderflower, I even had a super cute little helper. 


Ingredients:


  • 3 large bunches of elderflower 
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar 
  • the juice of a lemon and the slices
Method:

  1. Add the water to a pan and bring to a light simmer
  2. add the sugar and lemon and stir for about 5 minutes until its all dissolved.
  3. let the syrup sit and cool then add the elderflowers to the top.
  4. cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. the next day sieve through a cheese cloth and add to jars. It can stay in the fridge for a couple of weeks. 


How will you use your syrup? 



Bookmark and Share
Pin It

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails