I cannot tell you how much I enjoy spending time on the farm at Homestead Manor. There is just something wonderful about getting a little dirt underneath your nails. Honestly, I am shocked that Farmer Steven allowed me back after I under-seeded a lettuce bed last time I was there; he was very kind about it, and sent this photo & note: “So not perfect, but I preach one thing on the back 40… progress over perfection!” I so appreciate his growth mindset and his willingness to take me on! I am learning a lot about where my food comes from, how to grow and nurture plants, and especially how important gardening is as a life skill.
My most recent visit started with an introduction to Nina Shirley. She showed me a custom tool she created to help with weeding the field. I was fascinated by how it worked. Basically, Nina combined two different kinds of fancy farm hoes by making some savvy adjustments, and the end result was this handy tool that allowed her to get rid of weeds even faster. I seriously get so inspired by creative people like Nina! Here she is holding one of our sweet farm friends.
After we finished weeding around the vegetables, we moved on to check on the chickens. I couldn’t believe how much they had grown in just a month! Farmer Steven and his hardworking crew recently moved them from their cozy pen in the shed to a yard with a custom-built chicken coop. Homestead is committed to using the most humane and natural techniques to raise their chickens. For example, they will move the chickens and their coop AGAIN to a new space of fresh grass and ground once the chickens have been in their current yard for awhile. To keep other animals out, they use a flexible electric fencing that runs on solar power. It was a fun treat to get to hand-feed these cuties; they are truly some of the happiest chickens I have ever seen.
One of the perks of working on a farm is getting to taste whatever you’re picking in the gardens. While we were picking mulberries, we were constantly sampling or, as I like to call it, performing “quality control”. Ha! I love love love these fresh fruits. Penelopi and I have even been dubbed “The Fruit Hounds”, and we have red lips and hands to prove it! Don’t worry, we shared our mulberry loot with a group of kids that came by while we were there.
Homestead opened their farmer’s market this past Wednesday, so if you’re local you should come by one Wednesday at 10 am. This farmer’s market is my favorite. It’s full of wonderful, smiling people selling their goods, and is situated inside a beautiful barn with gorgeous rustic crystal chandeliers. Breathtaking. I bought some great looking grass-fed-no antibiotics NY strip steaks from a sweet couple that owns Southern Ridge, plus some delicious kettle corn. If you know anything about Little Big Town and the family that surrounds them, we are obsessed with kettle corn, so I couldn’t pass it up!
I have several more adventures planned with Homestead Manor coming up, including a visit into the kitchen with Chef Dylan Morrison. Can’t wait! Do you grow anything at your house? Or sell at a farmer’s market? I would love to hear about it, and maybe I’ll be able to visit during one of my travels!