Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grazing Perennial Ryegrass

"Juno" and herd mates enjoyed nutritious fall grazing at St. Brigid's Farm. The rains from last weekend and now again last night have the cows inside waiting for the soil to firm up.

Chesapeake Semester at Washington College

On October 14th, we hosted Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society’s Chesapeake Semester class for a tour of the farm and lunch on the deck. While we have had other classes from the Center’s program visit over the years, this is the first time for the Chesapeake Semester class. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the class, the students were engaged and asked excellent questions. We usually host dairy related groups so the questions from the class which is focused on the Chesapeake Bay, North America's largest estuary (64,000 square miles), centered on basic dairy farming practices and how they impact the environment.

The students in the Chesapeake Semester, one senior and eight sophomores and juniors, are a diverse group, with varying majors and interests and all take the same four courses. Dr. John Seidel, Chesapeake Semester Director, is the Chair of the Anthropology and Sociology Departments. Michael Hardesty, Chesapeake Semester Program Manager, is a Washington College graduate and provided us with the photos. Students have an opportunity to study the ecosystem in depth, develop solutions to environmental problems, and influence decision-making at the local and national levels. One outcome from lunch of grilled SBF burgers, salad and apple crisp was a realization by the students that they need to pressure the administration at Washington College to offer more local foods in the dining facilities. They were so appreciative of a good, home cooked meal that I plan to have them back this winter for a Sunday dinner and to catch up on their projects.

For a course description and photos of the group's earlier voyages around the bay visit their website: http://chesapeake-semester.washcoll.edu/.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Field To Fork 2009 !

The second Field to Fork dinner, an event designed to showcase local agriculture in an al fresco setting was enjoyed by 80 guests on October 3rd. Luck was certainly with us as the storms predicted earlier in the week stayed south, leaving us with warm temperatures and clear skies- perfect for enjoying the beautiful sunset and amazing full moon.

Special thanks to Chef David Perry of Casual Caterers in Stevensville for his creative touches. The hydrangeas looked lovely with the lanterns and the firefly lights were charming. The food was absolutely delicious. Much of the credit goes to Dave for designing and creating such a fabulous menu. Freshness is the other component of this fantastic meal. Everything was picked, baked or churned within days of the dinner. The milk for the oyster stew was from that evening’s milking.

Field to Fork Dinner Menu
Hot Apple Cider with Rum
(Lockbriar Farms, Chestertown)

Oyster Stew with Fresh Jersey Milk (Choptank River Farmed Oysters)(St. Brigid's Farm, Kennedyville)
Arugula Salad with Chapelle Cave Aged Cheddar
and Balsamic Vinaigrette
(Colchester Farm, Georgetown)(Chapel's Country Creamery, Easton)

Rustic French and Sunflower Bread
with Homemade Butter from Land O' Lakes Cream
(Feast of Reason, Chestertown)
(St. Brigid's Farm, Kennedyville)

Grilled London Broil with olive oil, herb, wine marinade
with Madeira Sauce
(St. Brigid's Farm, Kennedyville)

Grilled Fingerling Potatoes
(Colchester Farm, Georgetown)
Grilled Butternut and Acorn Squash with Fresh Apples seasoned with Cinnamon and Apple Cider (Arnold Farms, Chestertown)
(Redman Farms, Chestertown)
Fresh Apple Pie with Chapel Cheddar
(Lockbriar Farms, Chestertown)
(Chapel's Country Creamery, Easton)
Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Chantilly Cream
(Arnold Farms, Chestertown)

The dinner raised just over $1,000 for Art Hock’s campaign for the Maryland House of Delegates. More important though is the conversation we have started with Art about the issues facing those of us who are working the land. We wanted to bring together farmers, consumers, and local politicians in a special setting for great discussion about production agriculture, quality food, and a sustainable lifestyle.

Thanks to Mattie Meehan and Kurt Kolaja for their photography at the dinner. We appreciate very much their view from the lens and willingness to share with all of you.