My June book is set in Durham, North Carolina, where I live. As part of my research, I spent several hours at Elysian Fields Farm, the farm that has been supplying me with fresh vegetables for seven or so years. And I thought it would be fun to post a short interview with Elise, the owner of Elysian Fields.Elise has been incredibly generous with her time and what I learned about the work every one at the farm puts into my food has made me more appreciative of each and every bite.
|Elysian Fields Farm|
Could you tell us a little about your farm? What you grow, how long you've been farming, etc?
How did you get started farming?
Feeling unsure of where my future was heading during my senior year in college, I began looking into jobs on small family run organic vegetable farms after learning from some friends that such jobs even existed. I went straight from school to my first farming job in upstate NY and learned about the wonders of CSA program's and how to make a living off of farming.
What do you like best about farming?
So many things, yet if I had to name a few specifics it would be working outside, with the natural environment day after day and season after season. I have developed a relationship with my land and its ecosystem. I also enjoy a bountiful beautiful harvest, and displaying it like artwork at the farmers market ;)
What's your favorite thing that you grow? Do you have a favorite way to prepare it?
I love to grow carrots and tomatoes best of all. These two crops are very challenging, yet when done properly, can be very rewarding in flavor, in customer appreciation, and financially. I enjoy tomato salads with basil, oil and vinegar...simple yet delicious. Or the first BLT of the season.....yum. I have learned a lot of fun carrot salads as well, shredded with lime juice and fennel seed for example.
What do you wish you could grow that hasn't worked for you?
Sweet Corn!!! I mean, its just so good, who doesn't love fresh corn on the cob in the summer? My very sandy soil just has a hard time holding onto enough nutrients to feed such a hungry crop, and the raccoon's seem to like it as much as we do.
|Tomatoes at the farm|
I can attest to how delicious that first BLT of the season is, though I usually use that first tomato to make a tomato sandwich with just tomato and Duke's Mayonnaise (only ever Duke's). What produce do you look forward to every summer and what is the first thing you make with it?
I'll be giving away a print copy of Weekends in Carolina. US winners only. Void where prohibited. Comment to enter. I'll run the giveaway from today until May 30th, posting the winner on the 31st. Please include your email so I can contact you about your prize.