CHERRY TOMATOES!! and farm friends

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We have picked cherry tomatoes by the gallon this summer. We also use them by the gallon at the restaurant.  For the past month or so, Small Wonder Farm has been able to produce nearly all of the restaurant’s needs.  Tiny “currant” tomatoes are the Chef’s favorite.  The 2 red currants and 1 gold currant planted in the high tunnel have taken a superhuman effort to pick.  We can easily spend an hour or more on each plant every other day.  We also grew and love our Chocolate Cherry tomatoes and a new variety for the farm–Tomatoberry–both spectacular.

The small cluster of onions pictured are from Egyptian Walking Onions, a perennial onion that forms clusters of onions at the top of the plant to be replanted and a larger bulb at the base to be harvested.   These have been on my radar for a while now. I have read about them and then I saw them growing at Connor Prairie.  I was delighted when I saw them offered by Daniel Fagerstrom ofGreen Gate Garden.  Daniel is an inspiring farmer who often offers things just a little out of the ordinary.  I was delighted to have gotten some Jerusalem Artichoke plants from him this spring as well.  His Green Gate Garden at Fair Oaks Farm is a marvel of diversity, beauty, and bounty.

I purchased the scalloped squashes from Ginny Markle of Markle Farm for the restaurant.  They were too beautiful to pass up and too lovely not to photograph before sending them with the chef.  Many locals know Ginny and her amazing array of beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Ginny and Daniel are enough reason to attend the Saturday market in Lafayette.

Terrior

By some twists of fate, I have become the person primarily in charge of a wine menu at our successful (who knew!) Italian Restaurant.  I knew nothing about wine, let alone the intricacies of Italian wine and pairing it with food, but I am a nerd and librarian.  If info and know-how can be gleaned by study, I will be ok.  So, I studied and we have a nice wine menu.

One of the often talked about aspects of wine, is terrior.  Terrior refers to the characteristics of a wine that come from the soil, water, air, etc. of the place it comes from.  In other words, if I grow pinot noir on my farm here in Indiana and someone else grows it in Napa, the two will be different because of different places they come from.  (And mine wil be very bad.)   Everything from the quality of sunlight to minerals in the soil influence and add nuance to the flavors of wine.

What does this have to do with my farm blog?  As I was scanning the produce this evening with an eye toward the summer camp lunch I will pack for my daughter tomorrow, I reminded myself about the awesome carrots I picked up from Daniel and Melissa Fagerstrom–the farmers at The Green Gate Garden at Fair Oaks Farm.  Not only have I been able to see them at my local farmer’s market, I made the trip to Fair Oaks to see their beautiful gardens and to see firsthand how they are working to make a beautiful and self-sufficient teaching garden at the growing local attraction.  They are an amazing little family of three (they have a Lily too!) and I have had a couple enjoyable philosophical conversations with them. 

Having walked their garden, I know how beautifully tended it is, how diverse, and how well amended with the more than ample manure available to them.  So, as I glance at those beautiful carrots and remind myself to tell Lily where they came from tomorrow, it dawns on me that one of the most amazing aspects to my locavore journey is the ability to appreciate how terrior deepens our appreciation of our food.  The Fagerstroms’ carrots will not only taste different from the ones we grow, but I get the added value of remembering the earth they came from, rich in compost, and know the people who sowed, grew, and picked them. 

The terrior of a carrot.  What a joy!