State of the Farm

The weather

As I begin my writing for the month of October, we have just turned the corner into the new month and I watch in awe the powerful thunderstorm that hit Houston at 3 a.m. on the second day of the month. Checking the radar screen at NOAA, I see that Jolie Vue, 85 miles to the northwest, lies in the storm’s projected path. With this storm kicking off the month, along with nearly 6 inches of rain just recorded for September, my skepticism about the weatherman’s prediction of a wet fall is beginning to ease into the hope that perhaps he is right. 
 
What else is going on this time of year? Lots.

Eating between soil and sky

We just completed our second hosting of Outstanding In The Field, the creation of that merry band of foodie nomads that live in a bus and travel the states each year for between the soil and sky dinners at the farms from east to west across the amber plains. The bevy of celebrity chefs of Houston that joined the parade this year was as impressive as any gathering ever made for the Houston food region. Look at this list and get a feel for what the food was like (most of it supplied from our farm, with some vegetables, cheeses and wines thrown in by our sustainable ag neighbors for good measure. All local, of course.)
 
Monica Pope, t’afia
Bryan Caswell, Reef
James & Richard, Feast
Jonathan Jones, Beavers
Joe Appa, t’afia
 
The farm showed pretty well considering what it has been through this year, and but for a temperature that could have been 10 degrees cooler, everyone seemed to have a good time. Jim, the founder of OITF, was finally convinced that October was the better weather choice in Texas and promises his return next year in our 10th month. Jim announced that more people were served at this farm dinner than anytime in the history of OITF. For that we are proud, and thank those of you that attended. The dinner at Jolie Vue was announced in March of this year and sold out the first day.

The planting

We now move on to completion of the no-till planting of oats, wheat, chicory, rye, clover, turnips, beets and carrots for our pigs and cattle as well as our fall garden which will supplement our pasture-raised garden, all for the betterment of our creatures and ultimately to supply you with the cleanest, most nutritious meats to be found anywhere on the planet. 
 
Youngest child John Henry stayed over from his Brooklyn studio after OITF to plant the rest of the vegetable garden and nourish the orchard, getting it done in half the time it would have taken Honi and I. Aaaah, the splendor and energy of youth. Thank you, JB. We will enjoy those vegetables and fruits along with all of the creatures, domestic and wild, of the farm (including the rabbits, coons, deer, birds, butterflies and bees - we plant enough for everybody!).
 
The fall planting is expensive and labor-intensive. We could just buy hay and get by, so why not? Because we want our creatures to bring the widest, deepest nutritional profile possible to our eaters. This is not only about bringing clean, drug and chemical-free food to the market, it is about supplying a vastly widened nutritional content to you, accompanied by good taste. That opens the door to the in the kitchen topic for the month...industrial food.

JVF