Monday, July 30, 2012

Market Mondays - Open Farm Day adventures

This weekend was the Open Farm Days that I have been talking about for the past few weeks. We had such a great time, even though the first 2 hours it was a complete downpour. But that didn't stop us from venturing out. A little rain never hurt anyone. So off we went.

The first place we stopped was a local hops farmer. We were the first ones there and got a personal tour of the grounds. The guy explained how this year, due to no rain, they will probably only produce 20% of what they had hoped to produce. They had awesome handmade machines made by master welders instead of them buying big expensive commercial machines. I'm an idiot because I didn't get pictures of the machines. They were so amazing looking. Kind of Mad-Max the mister talked to him about beer and hops and was shown that they have a shop that sells brew kits etc. It was a pretty amazing place. Plus they had this beauty..

They also had a male with ginormous antlers, but he was in the other stall and apparently in a bad mood. So I couldn't get a good picture of him.

We then ventured to a farm that apparently decided not to open?! But it was right on our way to other stops, so luckily we didn't go out of our way. Next stop - farm stand: nectarines, potatoes and apricots were purchased. 

Off we then went to the "bee guy". This was when it was complete down pour, so it worked out perfect because we were inside for the tour. They were showing how to make candles and then upstairs had demonstrations on collecting and extracting the honey. The mister has been very interested in having his own hives and is something he wanted to do within the next year. He tried talking to the "bee guy" but..well..the guy was just not a people person. He was a person when you ask a question, you get a one or two word answer. He didn't seem willing to really talk about the process etc. Which makes you wonder why someone would participate in this sort of "open farm day" if they didn't want to be "open" and actually talk to people showing an actual interest asking intelligent questions. But we did score a jar of free honey and earned our first free bumper sticker. (All the farms were split up in regions - there were four regions and after going to 3 farms in one region, you would receive a bumper sticker. Once you went to 3 farms, and then went to the next region you automatically received that regions bumper sticker - you didn't have to go to another 3 in that certain region..)

Then off we went to our farmer's market: purple potatoes, baby carrots, HUGE tomatoes, corn on the cob, hamburg patties, were purchased. Then we received free onions from one of the vendors we stop at every week. She joked its because we come out every weekend - even when its rainy. (second bumper sticker received as it was a different region)

Back in the car and back on the road. Now headed about 20 minutes in the opposite direction. The first farm we stopped at was actually by accident. I had thought it was the farm we were headed to. We parked and got out and realized it was a different farm! But this one was simply gorgeous and one of our favorites. They raise Wagyu Cattle (they produce Kobe beef - and are the only farm in the Northeast supplying Kobe beef). We also met this guy..

A huge pot belly pig. He was hard to get a photo off because he kept moving around, he actually came down from where he was and walked toward me. I wasn't sure if I could pet him or not because he was making funny noises. haha He was huge, I wish we could have gotten better pictures. (3rd region bumper sticker received)

Back in the car and off to the farm (we thought we were already at), just a few more miles down the road. The next place was a cider mill but also a corn maze and is my sister's competition. (shhhhh don't tell her we went there! haha). We wanted to see the cider operation. But there really wasn't anyone around to talk about it, they were all out in the "bar". So we went there and they were selling samples and then selling bottles of wine and hard ciders. Mister got a bottle of a hard cider called Four Screw. (he has since drunk it and stated it tasted like "ass", good to know)

Next up buffalo territory. We had planned to have lunch at this stop but once we got there we changed our minds quite quickly.

The pictures came out pretty neat from there tho. It was super foggy misty up there. It was just starting to let up from all the rain. It was a strange stop. No one was there to talk to you about anything and it seemed more like just a food rest stop than anything. But when I saw $8 for a teeny tiny burger, we both agreed that was just silly and we'd rather not eat. It was a pretty big disappointment because it was one that I had really been looking forward to. (4th region sticker obtained)

Then off we went to Daniel's. Daniel is an Amish farmer that we buy our meats from each week. His family and his home are beautiful (we had been there the year prior). They have AMAZING gardens - and between them and another stop we made, I am going to feature all my photos later in the week in my garden post so make sure you stop by to see those. 

We walked around their gardens and each year they give buggy rides around their property. They also had funny furry chickens and a litter of puppies in one of their barns. (no puppy pictures because they were MOBBED by little children)

That one little guy in the back was so cute and furry! I can not say enough great things about this family. After buying some pork chops, eggs and a chicken we headed off to our next destination. 

The next stop was a place called Growing Wild. Its a small nursery that grows native perennials. Flower pictures will be posted later in the week..but check out these views!

I can't even explain how gorgeous it was up there. They had 360 degree views that were breath taking. It's so funny that I grew up here and had no clue that this surrounded me. It's just stunning driving on all the back roads around where I live. The entire day we were just gawking and shaking our heads that we didn't even know some of this was around us.

Up next, and our last stop was another Amish family farm. They are an organic dairy farm and hand built a timber framed carriage house without any nails! They only use "framing pegs". The craftsmanship was simple amazing. And their was a dream house..this little guy came out to greet us as we came up the driveway. Meowing away. I forgot how adorable kittens can be!

 It was such a great day. I love going on adventures and exploring. Especially seeing places where our food is coming from. I think it's really important to support local farms and your local community.

Here are my bumper stickers from all four regions collected and my booklet with stickers collected:

 I was bummed because we actually missed two places I had wanted to go to. But there is always next year!