Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thanks !

We have neighbors all around us that are the best! It is nice to see that the next generation carrys on that tradition. Last summer our last born heifer calf was kind of late for our calving season but just perfect for the 4-H show season cutoff date. Pansy was born to Poppy on June 6th 2008 and we arranged to give her to Drew Debnam for his 4-H project. We received a nice note from Drew a few days later but yesterday the card and photograph above were totally unexpected. Thank you Drew!

To the right is a photo for Drew. Poppy and new born Pansy on June 6th.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 7, 2008

Field to Fork Dinner

Our motto on St. Brigid's Farm, especially during one of the driest summers on record, is never complain about rain. Another prominent philosophy we practice as graziers is always have a Plan B ready. For our first Field to Fork dinner, we had to follow both mantras and gladly implemented Plan B, dinner in the new barn, as we finally had the chance to celebrate a bit of rain.

Sure, this changed our event from being set in a pastoral scene under the stars to going inside but the storms did not dampen the enthusiasm for local foods, Heifer International, the Chester River Association, and visiting with new and old friends.

The evening was an amazing event. Friends, friends of friends and complete strangers all convened to participate in a unique dining experience. Our guests mingled and enjoyed local beer, wine, music and a sumptuous five course dinner under the watchful and curious eyes of our Jersey cows who didn’t know quite what to make of all the activity.

The skies opened up as the last guests arrived and the rain nearly drowned out the wonderful classical guitar music of Tom Anthony and Van Williamson. Tom later joined his fellow band members, Tom McHugh and Bill Matthews of Chesapeake Scenes to perform local songs during dessert. The group has performed all over the world but, according to Tom McHugh, this was their first performance in a cow barn.

The wind is always stronger here than most place in the county and the night of our dinner was no exception. In spite of our efforts to design centerpieces in anticipation of gusts of wind by putting candles in votives in a vase, the flames were blown out repeatedly until resourceful guests put saucers on top for protection. One tiki light caught on fire but was extinguished when our son-in-law, Rich Yost, quickly buried it in the sand in the freestalls.

We are so pleased that so many people joined us to celebrate community and local food. Almost ninety people braved the inclement weather, some drove from the western shore, others arrived knowing only us and some brought all their neighbors.

Sustainable food production is the thread that ties together all three organizations involved with the dinner. The Chester River Association, Heifer International and St. Brigid’s Farm all strive to facilitate the implementation of the three “Ps” of sustainability: protect the environment, provide quality of life for the people on the farm and promote healthy, vibrant agricultural communities. Our first Field to Fork dinner showcased all three and we are still amazed at the excitement generated by this event. Thanks to all who attended and made the dinner a huge success in so many ways but mostly because we are sending Heifer International a check for $2100!! Check out Heifer International’s website www.heifer.org to learn what such a life-changing gift to resource–poor families can accomplish in promoting sustainable agriculture in the USA and around the world.

We want to extend special thanks and appreciation to Chef Craig Sewell of A Cook’s Cafe who arrived at the farm willing to accept any logistical challenge he faced working with “Plan B” with an open mind and good attitude. He and his wonderful and competent staff transformed our plan barn into an elegant dining space and served a meal that could compete with any of the fine restaurants in the area.

Thanks also to Marjorie Adams and Elise Kolaja for sharing our vision and passion for a local food celebration and supported us during the months of planning and to Kurt Kolaja and Patty Mowell who took time from mingling to capture the event in the wonderful photos on this blog and on the Chesapeake Foodie web site.