Breaking Ground: Welcome to applewood farm

ImageSeptember 16th, 2012

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.

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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!

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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.

 

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About applewoodfarm

Restaurateur, farmer, bartender, beekeeper, friend, wife, mother, dog lover, cat tolerater, chicken hypnotizer, blogger, and sometime yogi
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4 Responses to Breaking Ground: Welcome to applewood farm

  1. Cindy says:

    Love this – will look forward to more! Go all things Applewood!

  2. Daniela Vancurova says:

    Thanks, guys, I love it! It makes me feel like I’m there with you. Through you I realize how I miss my childhood and it’s lifestyle. My paternal grandpa used to have a house with a huge garden on the outskirts of Prague. I remember him taking care of and harvesting almost any fruit imaginable to me. In the 60s and 70s, during the communist era in Czechoslovakia, it was not easy to buy a fresh peach, apricot, cherry or a pear. My grandpa would drive me and my younger brother in a car or take us on a bus and then row across the Vltava river in his row boat every weekend to Podhoří near Troja where this house was. I remember him slowing down when we were passing the Prague Zoo so we could catch a glimpse of giraffes. I remember digging for worms, looking for snails, learning about red, white and black currants which grandpa used for making his own wine. I remember “hiking” in the hills behind the house following a small creek and finding a beautiful natural well so clear I could see the black and yellow spotted geckos or some creatures like that. It was surrounded by huge ferns and my imagination went wild seeing fairies and little trolls. I remember my cousin visiting and reading an entire book series up in a cherry tree. I remember learning about a compost and watching grandpa pruning the trees. He studied many books late at night to learn how to combine branches of different peach trees to g
    grow his own special giant peach. I still can smell the scent of it when he laid one cut out in crescents for us on a plate and it was so big we could not see the plate below it. I remember him catching a rainwater into a huge barrel under neath the roof water spout and filling up a real white claw foot bathtub he kept outside to have warmed up by the hot sun so we could have some fun and cool down in it in the summer. I still smell the dizzying scent of lilac and peonies we brought home every weekend and how it made the whole apartment feel so fresh and clean and spacious! Grandpa planted a birch tree for each of us when my brother and I were born, so we could see how we all grow and appreciate the nature up close. I wonder if those trees are still there since he was to forced to sell the place for a few bucks to the communists in the late seventies so “they could build a botanic gardens up on the hill” – they never did.
    Thanks again for bringing me back there! I am trying to recreate a little bit of the nature wonders with the children of New York I teach whenever I have a chance. I love you guys! Long live Applewoods Farm!

  3. joanne shea says:

    learning as you go…I’m sure you’ll get great peppers next season….wonderful to follow the progress of the farm and all that’s happening in East Chatham…..

  4. Mandy says:

    Thanks for a great blog. I find it encouraging to read someone else’s trial and error pursuits.
    Just a quick comment about the tomatoes: I followed Charles Dowding’s advice about pruning in late Sept to hasten ripening of the last fruit and prevent new fruiting, with great success.
    Here’s the clip in which he addresses this, should you be interested for next season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HATC3rG6NbQ (around 10:59).

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