Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Making a farm life

I loved reading Rogenna and Geri's interviews with each other and it gave me the idea for today's blog post.

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?

Elysian Fields Farm, in it's 14th year of production, is located in Cedar Grove, NC and is owned and operated by Elise, her recent business partner Beth and 2-3 seasonal interns.  We grow a wide variety of vegetables for our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and for twice weekly Carrboro Farmers Market.

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.

10 comments:

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

I look forward to home grown tomatoes and peaches. I just eat them. Fresh fruit is so wonderful. Sometimes I will make peach cobbler.

I will be in Durham in July to see the American Idols tour at the Performing Arts center.

yenastone at aol dot com

penney said...

We live in a apartment and have just a small patio so all I grow is green peppers love them. I tried tomatoes once but people around us took them all I guess they thought I grew them for them only! LOL They don't take the peppers!
Penney
luvhistoricalromance AT gmail DOT com

Colleen C. said...

In the past, we have done a small veggie garden... one year we had soooo many tomatoes, we made homemade sauce that turned out very yummy! We have also had peppers and made stuffed peppers... carrots and radishes come out a bit small... but my fav thing was growing a few sunflowers... they were big and beautiful and the birds enjoyed the seeds afterwards!

Colleen C. said...

Sorry forgot my e-mail
greenshamrock at cox dot net

Rogenna Brewer said...

I've had plenty of past garden disasters, like the $65 tomato, but this year's garden is going well--so far.

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@ Tammy:

I love fresh peaches. Since I get a box of veggies every week, I don't generally go to the farmer's market--but I do during peach season!

I hope you have fun in Durham. The Performing Arts Center is fabulous!

@Penny:
It's funny that you mention people stealing produce. My mom (in Utah) has a big problem with this. People took watermelons, cantaloupe, eggplant and a bunch of other stuff.

@Colleen:
I had forgotten about sunflowers! I grew some one year and keep meaning to plant some again. The birds are fun and my chickens LOVED the sunflower sees that fell.

@Rogenna:
I hear you. I've stopped gardening, though I admire people who do. I just forget to water and weed and such. Since my parents always had this beautiful garden, it makes me a bit sad that I don't grow anything.

Good luck with your garden this year!

bn100 said...

grilled corn

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@bn100:

I love grilled corn! As Elise says, corn is harder to grow here, but there is enough and it's one of the things I always check for at the Farmer's Markets.

Laura said...

Fun blog post! We don't garden much since we left the midwest. I do miss sweet corn and those first tomatoes. Peppers do well. Now I go wild for strawberries and avocados, farmed by others :-)

Laura Russell Romance at gmail

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@Laura:

Congratulations! Yours was the random comment chose. I will be emailing you for your address.

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