As we approach our eighth anniversary on September 22nd, applewood continues to celebrate the bounty of our local farmers more than ever before. While we have always purchased directly from farms in the surrounding area and have cultivated relationships with the farmers with whom we worked, this year we have taken it one step further and actually started our very own little farm!
In June, we made a bold move and traded in our restaurateur hats for farmer’s overalls. We moved their family to a small Hudson Valley town and broke ground on a two-acre, organic farm. Immediately planting seeds and procuring chickens and pigs for the farm, we became fully immersed in the farming lifestyle somewhat overnight. Through incredibly hard work and a love of food, we managed to build a productive garden and hoop house, as well as assemble and care for a flock of laying hens and three Yorkshire-Duroc pigs.
Now, just three months later, applewood has reaped the benefits of that work. Every week, applewood receives a delivery of produce and eggs from “applewood farm.” We have seen rainbow chard, tomatoes, hot peppers, bok choy, lacinata kale, mustard greens, salad greens, squash, and every herb imaginable.
The pigs have been honestly named: Bacon, Hammy, and Pork Chop. These three have a large area with a pond, a hut filled with hay, and a kiddie pool (yes, they lounge in this daily). They have room to root and run and are getting fatter every day! They eat organic hog mash twice a day, as well as almost all of our home compost and a good amount of applewood compost. They absolutely love moldy bread and any kind of dairy product or cooked grain (polenta, oatmeal, etc.). There’s really not a lot these porkers don’t like. The biggest treat of all, though, is a huge bucket of weeds. We have taken to weeding directly into buckets so that they can carry it right to the pigs when it’s full. They go crazy for weeds! The goal is to get the pigs up to slaughter weight (about 200 pounds) by November. One of the pigs has been pre-purchased by a neighbor, one is for our family’s personal use, and one is earmarked for an applewood Meet the Farmer dinner!
In the garden, second and third plantings are coming on strong. There are beautiful tomatillos, string beans, raspberries, rainbow chard, lacinata kale, spinach, joi choi, collard greens, and salad greens. Chef Sherman has enjoyed incorporating many of these items onto the applewood menu and is looking forward to the coming weeks.