Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.
Mad as in very, very irate that she's been put in the paddock next to (gasp) a pig! Lucky just want's to be friends, but Emma is having none of it. She bellowed for hours until we put her back out on pasture after milking.
Remember my initial foray into the DC farmers markets last year at Bloomingdale in front of the Big Bear Cafe? Well, we're back & bigger than before. Check out that sparkling trailer! It was necessary in order to get all of the product into the city using a single vehicle since the truck is already packed four coolers high for Dupont Circle and Takoma Park with all of Keswick Creamery's delicious dairy products.
Although Bloomingdale is small compared to many other of the city's farmers markets, there is still plenty of incredibly awesome food.
Fresh asparagus & strawberries!
Real French bread.
New this year is Chef Stefano Frigerio, owner of The Copper Pot which makes phenomenal hand-crafted sauces, jams and pastas.
New this year, too, is the veggie and herb gardens in front of the Big Bear Cafe.
Despite the rain, people turned out in droves on Saturday morning for the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market again. I think one of the reasons they come is to hear all of the incredible music. We're fortunate as our spot is right in front of the bandstand so we have a front row seat to all the events. This week there was a wonderful Mexican folk music group.
They played traditional Vera Cruz folk. Check out what one of the members played. It was the jawbone of an ass and the sound was very unique.
You can here them, too. I only got about seven minutes of this song that went on for about fifteen minutes. A man from the crowd started singing, too.
I'm going to have to change the way I think, thanks to Lucky. You see, I used to think that over the years I have worked for pigs, dated pigs and was even married to a pig once. But all that has changed since this little guy walked out in front of my truck. I am head-over-heels in love with a real pig this time. He rooted in the soft wet ground and beached himself in the center basking in the noon day sun. He's just cute and funny. In the evening when things cooled down, I thought he had escaped because I didn't see him in the paddock or the barn.
But upon closer inspection, I found that he had made a warm, little nest and nestled himself in the straw with all covered except that little, pink snout of his.
One of my fondest memories from elementary school was my second grade teacher, Mrs. Smyers reading Charlotte's Web. Each day after recess, she would read a chapter to us. It's one of my all-time favorite children's books. Given our neighbors' meticulous attention to their lawns & flower beds, I've avoided adding pork to our list of livestock. But today on my way over to Keswick Creamery to pick up a bull calf I nearly hit this little guy. As soon as I got out of the truck, he came running toward me with his tail wagging. He wandered up to the Witmers' farm so I stopped in there and asked if he was their pet pig. "No, he came over from the Game Lands the other day and has been eating our dogs' food. Someone probably dumped him off," they said. They didn't want him so I loaded him up in the truck and home he came with me. Road Bacon? Who knows. For now, I'm calling him "Lucky".
Normally, I wouldn't complain about babies BUT....It had been a terribly long day that started with a farm tour for a class from the Yellow Breeches Alternative School. While bringing Emma up out of the pasture to demonstrate how we milk, she did a little hoppity-hop happy dance and rather ungracefully gave me quite a bump nearly knocking me to the ground. I didn't fall, but I did twist my ankle rather badly.
But I had a schedule to keep so I hobbled along. After the school tour was over, my next event for the day was a beer & cheese pairing at Alibi's in Carlisle. Fortunately, I had been designated the driver so the cheesemaker & his intern did most of the cheese cutting and I was able to get off my feet for a few minutes.
Finally, nine hours after the initial injury I have a chance to sit down, elevate & ice the now very swollen ankle. I brought home a growler of Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale and was about half way through my second pint when Ralph muted the television to talk to me. I could hear that it was pouring rain outside. I could also hear the unmistakable cry of newly born kids. Damn. I stuffed my feet back into my boots and tottled out to the pasture to see who had done this to me. Fortunately, it was Ashley...a good momma. She had kicked out all the other does from a hut and had her twins on the ground, clean and hitting the teats by the time I found them. And there they stayed until the following day when they were moved over by the barn with all the other kids & mommas. A buck & a doe kid. The doe has some really wierd facial markings that make her look more like a rabbit than a goat. I think I'll call her "Bunny".
Yesterday marked the opening day of market season for me with Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market located in Lamont Park at 17th & Lamont Streets NW in Washington DC. This is the first time I've taken my goat and veal to this market.
Rebbie Higgins (on the left) owns and operates the market. When I first arrived at the market, Rebbie warned me that she had received an email from someone very upset that veal was going to be sold at the market. This is one of the reasons that I really enjoy selling direct to the customer because it gives me the opportunity to educate people that veal can be humanely and sustainably produced just like any other meat. I usually start off the conversation with, "Do you eat ice cream or use butter? If so, then you are contributing to the veal industry in the United States." That's a wake-up call for a lot of people. And then I launch into my explanation of why my veal is different and why they should not feel guilty about eating it.
The plaza was full of vendors selling all sorts of fresh, locally produced goodies. That's our stand on the right with the red & blue coolers. I'm working in cooperation with Keswick Creamery, just like in Carlisle and at Bloomingdale.
There was LOTS of awesome fresh veggies.
And just as important, there were plenty of starts for people who want to grow their own food. I was surprised by how many people were purchasing flats of assorted greens, peppers and tomato plants.
Although they can only be used to purchase fresh produce, I was really happy to see that the market accepted WIC coupons. This is one thing I'd really like to see change with the progarm. People should be able to purchase FOOD with WIC assistance, including dairy and meat. There are so many restrictions which basically forces low income families to choose less healthy items.
In addition to all the fantastic vendors, a successful farmers market includes events that are a benefit to the community. Rebbie lined up a local bike club to offer free bike repair whick was a huge success. I even saw one woman getting a leaky tire on her baby stroller fixed. It was awesome.
Sandra is a witty writer, farmer and damn good cook who has been slicing her finger open on the cutting edge of the sustainable agriculture and local foods movements for the last twenty five years. Her books, How to Sell At Farmers Market and How To Kiss A Chicken On The Lips will be published in Spring 2013.