Welcoming Maryhurst to Foxhollow Farm

The second Saturday of October, Foxhollow Farm opens the gate to thousands of visitors at our Annual Fall Festival. Many people know that this Festival is a vehicle to raise funds for Maryhurst and Foxhollow’s outreach.  Over the past 6 years, we have been able to donate nearly $60,000 to Maryhurst. The funds go toward supporting and expanding Maryhurst’s critical, therapeutic and educational programs, providing medical and educational services to more than 150 children in their care each day. Many of their clients have experienced severe abuse and neglect. As a consequence, they may have significant emotional challenges and are on average more than four years behind in school performance. Funds raised help fill the gap between support Maryhurst provides to the children, and the reimbursement they receive. In addition, funds from the Festival have recently been dedicated to build a raised bed garden for learning and recreational activities.

What many people don’t know is that our festival is more than just a day of fundraising. It is an ongoing partnership that allows us to provide- free of charge – tours and activities on the farm for Maryhurst clients. Our visits have a singular goal – to help these phenomenal young ladies connect with nature in a meaningful and healing way.

The staff at Foxhollow love hosting the girls, and we try to make each trip unique. We take suggestions from caregivers and educators at Maryhurst about what would best serve their IMG_0873needs. We consider ways to engage with the farm in consideration of the weather. We talk to partners in the community who donate their time, expertise and supplies. Over the past year, we have hosted many fun trips, including an afternoon at the farmer’s market with a cooking lesson, a tasting tour of the garden, a day of planting seedlings, and a collaboration on art projects. After so many visits, there are a few memorable moments that stand out for me.

When Maryhurst visitors arrive, what strikes me first is how tough they are – they dress like women older than they are and sometimes have attitudes to match. But it’s amazing to see them light up as children when they see farm animals. Some of them tell stories about the farm where they grew up, raising pigs or cows. They laugh as they feed lunch scraps to the greedy oinking pigs.  They always ask to see horses, and when a girl once found a horseshoe on the property, she asked to take home the cherished prize (we consented of course). After years of being asked to see a horse, we finally were able to make a barn visit part of the tour last October. After a hay ride through fields to see big brown eyed, relaxed cows munching on grass, and picking pumpkins, we swung by the neighboring barn, Aspiring Heights Equestrian.

Owner Jessie brought out Annie, a small mare she’d rescued and brought back from boney unkempt illness to full and IMG_2041glossy beauty. The girls ooh’d and aaah’d, took turns stroking her nose and asked lots of questions about her. One couldn’t help but think the horse might hold some deeper meaning for these young ladies, recovering from their own neglect, maybe seeing a glimpse of the beautiful creature they held inside themselves.

 

IMG_8303There are times when our activities don’t go as well as we’d planned. Last summer, we invited  our guests to plant the pumpkin patch with us. It was a hot day and some were unhappy to dirty their beautiful nails and new shoes. The silver lining was the delicious roast beef sandwiches and beet salad Mayan Café had provided.  Another day, a sudden rainstorm had us hiding out in the greenhouse. Luckily there are successes too. This summer, we gathered together to start seedlings for the greenhouse and the girls couldn’t get enough of hand mixing soil, shaping it in pots, and dropping in a seed that would become a healthy plant.

One particularly successful trip this summer we collaborated with Louisville Visual Arts (LVA). Maggie led the girls on a walk through the gardens, where they were invited to observe textures and structures of plants. Foxhollow-Maryhurst-4A few girls bravely tasted peppers and ground cherries they picked. Jackie and Sarah, our co-hosts from LVA invited the girls to fill a cup with flowers, vegetables, ornamental grasses, and objects they liked. Once selected, we began making cyanotypes that Jackie had demonstrated. We arranged the objects on photosensitive paper and exposed them to the bright summer sunlight. When the time was right, we quickly put them in water to stop the exposure. We repeated the process several times until dozens of beautiful works of art were laid out to dry. After each girl selected one artwork to take home, LVA took the remainder to mount on wood from the farm. These works will be for sale at the Festival, and funds will benefit Maryhurst.

Each trip usually concludes with a farm fresh dinner together. Dorm food is dorm food, no matter where you are, so our guests are pretty happy to enjoy a home cooked meal. IMG_7415Many of the girls try vegetables they’ve never had before, and we always include some of our grassfed beef. We talk about the girls’ interests. There are always some who watch with wary eyes, but don’t say a word. It’s a magnificent surprise when a particularly quiet young woman looks me in the eye at the end of a trip and utters “thank you for having us”. That moment of connection gives me hope she knows how very welcome she is here.

The Fall Festival is a wonderful day of community celebration. We have fun, laugh, and enjoy our families together. But for me, the Festival’s highest purpose is in pooling our community’s resources to support the young women at Maryhurst.  It is the moment I wait for with bated breath all day – the moment when Melodie, our amazing money czar – tells us we reached our goal.  Over the course of each year, my colleagues and I get to know the young women this fundraising serves. We work tirelessly to make this Festival a hit for you, the Festival guests – but it the greatest honor to make it a hit for the girls at Maryhurst. They deserve nothing less.

– Jenn,
Fall Festival Coordinator and Office Ninja


Red Noodle Beans with Sesame Seeds

Early September is an exciting time to be at Foxhollow as the farm slowly transitions to fall. The mornings start out cool and crisp, making the country air that much more enjoyable. Our head herdsman, Derek, works around the clock, moving cattle to lush summer pastures while cutting, raking, and bailing hay for the herd’s winter feed. The Corn Maze takes shape, green pumpkins show off hints of orange, and the gardens are at their peak. Summer crops continue to ripen and be picked and fall’s produce is planted and shows signs of meals to come.

Foxhollow Farm’s 100% grassfed beef cattle are definitely my pride and joy. However, four years ago, I decided it was time to venture out to the gardens and grow some biodynamic veggies to accompany our burgers, steaks, and roasts. This time of year, pumpkins are usually my favorite, but this September, my Chinese Red Noodle Beans are stealing the show. This variety from Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds is botanically related to the southern cowpea. Kentucky’s typically hot, humid summers create the perfect climate for these vining plants to thrive. Their delicate stems with hunter green leaves vigorously climb up trellises throughout my Kitchen Garden. This allows the Bordeaux colored, foot long beans to cascade down, showing off their snake like shape that wows children and grownups alike. You can find red or green Chinese long beans at farmers’ markets around town. You might see them marketed as other common names such as yard-long bean, asparagus bean, and snake bean. The flavor is nothing like a typical green bean. It’s nutty, dense, and earthy.

In the last warm days of summer, this is my go-to side item when I serve a juicy grassfed sirloin steak.

Red Noodle Beans with Sesame Seeds

(Adapted, ever so slightly from epicurious.com)

Serves 4 as a side

1 1/2 pounds of Chinese Red Noodle Beans

1 tablespoon toasted Sesame seeds

2 teaspoons Tamari or Soy Sauce

1 jalapeño or 1/4 Habanero pepper (to taste), finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 red onions (1/2 cup), cut into thin half moon slices (my favorite are Red Marble onions from Roots Underwood Farm),

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

Special equipment:  A well-seasoned 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or cast iron skillet

Garnish: lime wedges

Cook untrimmed beans in a pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain in a colander and pat dry. You can leave the beans long, but I recommend trimming them into 4 inch pieces for easier sautéing and eating.

Stir together Tamari or Soy Sauce, chopped hot pepper, and salt in a small bowl.

Heat wok or skillet over high heat. Add oil, swirling to coat wok or skillet. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until golden brown. Add garlic and stir-fry until garlic begins to turn pale golden, about 5 seconds. Add sesame seeds and stir-fry about 30 seconds more until all of mixture is golden. Add beans, and stir-fry until hot and well coated, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and then stir in Tamari Sauce mixture. Drizzle lime juice over the beans, season with salt, then transfer to a bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature with your Foxhollow Farm Grassfed Sirloin Steak hot off the grill.

-Maggie


Foxhollow Lamb Burger

One week after 9/11, I boarded a plane for London to pursue a post-graduate degree. It was a strange time to be living abroad. I left my own country when U.S. Patriotism was at its peak, and was quickly surprised by the unpopularity of the US everywhere else. I had to explain multiple times that as a Kentuckian, I was not responsible for the election of Governor Schwarzenegger; that no, KFC was not the state’s official dish; and no, all Americans were not gun owners. It was a hard balance to strike – wanting to explore and learn about another culture, while constantly feeling I had to defend my own. 

As a visitor, I realized I also had many deeply held stereotypes of my own. I learned the English were in fact less prudish, not more so, than Americans (page 3 girls were a shock for this Bible Belt girl). The English had more than the two accents I’d seen in films (i.e. Cockney or Jane Austen proper). I spent the first 6 months wishing I had subtitles for the Scouse, Brummies, and Geordies. Perhaps most importantly, I learned that English food was sometimes actually really, really, really good.

Sunday Roast was a delight, a comfort, and a weekly staple. Curries were the best I’d ever had (ok, not a huge surprise, I grew up in Kentucky in the 80’s). And surprisingly, people ate lamb all the time. For my family, lamb was reserved for special occasions, and even then, it was an afterthought. As in “hey, we’ve had ham for 6 years straight at Easter, maybe let’s try lamb this year.” Even though I liked lamb, I could count on one hand the times I’d eaten it. But in England, Lamb is offered at the local pub alongside beef and chicken at Sunday lunch. Halal lamb was easy to find in open-air markets. And lucky for me, I learned the beauty of a lamb burger when I ran across a recipe in an English Supermarket chain.

Today, it’s trendy to cook lamb with seasonings reflecting England’s international influences. But my tough as nails, 4 foot eleven English mother-in-law says it’s still best served with mint sauce; a combination of mint and vinegar she can whip up blindfolded. This recipe brings that classic combination into burger form. It’s a perfect addition to your grilled beef and chicken at a summer cookout.

 Lamb & Mint Burgers with Mint yogurt sauce

Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 ½ tsp dried mint
  • ½ a red onion, very finely chopped (about ½ a cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced to a pulp
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Yogurt Sauce

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 good handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp champagne vinegar
  • Lemon zest
  • ¼ to ½ tsp salt

Directions: In a bowl, combine ground lamb, garlic pulp, red onion, sea salt and pepper. Take the dried mint and rub it between your hands over the burger mixture. Agitating dried herbs by rubbing them releases the flavor and aroma. Add vinegar and stir once more to absorb mint. Form into 4 patties with seasonings evenly distributed. Grill 3-4 minutes each side for medium rare, or longer to desired doneness.

To prepare yogurt sauce: 

Gently combine yogurt, chopped mint and zest of one lemon with a spoon. Add champagne vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt. Stir, taste, and add salt if needed.

Serve the burgers with one generous spoonful of yogurt mint sauce. Cucumber slices, heirloom tomato slices and red onion are great additions for a perfect burger.

Serve with a bun, seasonal salad, and a beer with a citrus note.

Happy Eating!

Jenn, 

Office Ninja and resident Anglophile

 


German Red Garlic

July is the time of year when I come home smelling of garlic no matter how many times I scrub my hands with Sage Botanical’s Gardener’s Soap. Last October, Christopher and I filled one of the Kitchen Garden raised beds with 50 German Red Garlic seeds. As the crisp smell of Fall breezed passed us, we carefully tucked each clove into the fertile soil. Using leftover straw bales from Fall Festival’s “Hay” Castle, we covered the bed and let it be until early spring. In March, it was a delight to see the green tops poking out of the ground as the snow melted and the early planting season begun. I would reach my fingers through the golden straw and sneak peaks at the light green shoots ready for longer days and warmer afternoons. In May, I thinned the patch, keeping the “green” garlic bulbs I pulled, knowing they are a delicious mild spring treat. The bulbs I plucked out had not yet formed the hard coating around each clove, making them united – as if daring me to eat it like an apple. I sliced the bulb thin, right down the middle like an onion, and understood why some people consider this Recambole subspecies to be the best tasting garlic out there. Later, in June, I harvested the scapes of this heirloom hardneck variety and sautéed them with collard greens and swiss chard. Each delightful taste gets me even more excited for the cured garlic coming soon. This month, I will harvest, bundle, and hang the fully developed garlic and let it cure in the veggie shack for 4-6 weeks. I am anxious to finally taste the velvety rich flavor of cured German Red Garlic. I will share it with my friends, family, and a few lucky CSA members. I will be sure to remember to hold back and save some of the finest bulbs for seed and plant again this fall.

-Maggie


Farm Internship Kentucky

Community Raised Beef

On a cold morning in February 2009, I was at a National Grass Fed Beef luncheon, enjoying a slice of meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, and collard greens. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a fourth generation cattleman from Georgia, Will Harris. Harris, of White Oak Pastures, recently received accolades in the New York Times for his innovative approach to raising grassfed beef. As a young entrepreneur venturing into the grassfed beef industry, I was eager to ask questions and learn from a seasoned grassfed cattleman who understood the niche marketing involved in this industry. The slow drawl of his southern accent allowed the knowledge he passed on to stick. As I looked around the packed conference hall, watching empty plates fill with second slices of meatloaf, I asked this southern cowboy how he was able to increase supply to keep up with the growing demand of quality raised 100% grassfed beef. Harris was not only raising and finishing cattle on his own farmland; he was also building a community of growers to supply his brand with quality grassfed beef animals. That’s when I realized it was time to look outside our own pastures to grow Foxhollow Farm’s grassfed beef supply. The challenge became, how could we grow while keeping up with the quality and integrity that is so deeply engrained in our brand and values.

At Foxhollow Farm, we are dedicated to naturally growing our beef herd. Our cattleman, Derek Lawson, focuses on the health and genetic quality of the animals born on our farmland. In order to build the hybrid vigor required to finish our cattle on grass, we keep the best looking heifer calves and add them to our herd of momma cows. Our gentle yet strong willed bulls are small framed in order to create a calf that is the correct size for getting fat on grass. Our growth is limited on our 1300-acre farm because of our commitment to a healthy stocking rate, which ensures the health of our land. At 2 1/2 acres per cow/calf pair, we allow our cattle room to graze and rotate throughout the pastures, ensuring they have fresh grasses packed with the nutrition and sustenance required to live a healthy life.

We are located in a region of Kentucky that is made for growing grass. Oldham County and the surrounding counties have the agricultural capabilities to grow enough 100% grassfed beef to easily feed our local community. So, the question becomes, how do we increase our supply of high quality grassfed beef while supporting the farmers and farmland around us? There seem to be plenty of cattle around us but why aren’t they staying in Kentucky?

Foxhollow Farm will take a holistic approach in growing our local grassfed beef supply while nurturing relationships with other likeminded farmers. We can mimic nature’s ability to thrive without depleting our resources. My goal is to gather a handful of trusted friends, neighbors, and family members to raise and finish grassfed beef on their farmland. We would allow the farmers to focus on farming in the most earth friendly way for the land and the animals around them. I want the farmers to keep their entrepreneurial independence and also gain the freedom of knowing they have a guaranteed market that they can trust to which to sell.

The importance of a strong relationship became evident when I started to work through the trials and tribulations of starting a new business model. I quickly realized I needed to have a clear set of expectations for the farmers under Foxhollow Farm’s “Community Raised” label. I wrote a working list of protocols filled with breed specifics, weight gain ideals, and educational resources. It will take more than a couple of carefully crafted pages to truly create change and grow this side of our business. It will be deeply dependent on the strength of the relationships we build with our community partners. My first “community raised” grower was Paul Keith. Paul has a three crop rotation farm in Henry County, Kentucky and was interested in converting part of his farmland into a cattle farm. Paul worked on his end building fences, putting in waterers, seeding pastures, and buying cattle.

I recently got to travel down to Bluffton, Georgia and have the privilege of visiting Will Harris and his family at White Oak Pastures. The positive impact this fifth generation family farm has had on the surrounding community and the grassfed beef movement across the country is inspiring. I realize this is a long-term plan touching on a possible solution to a very large agricultural issue. The patience, focus, and dedication required to take on this “Slow Money” venture was realized when I read Wendell Berry’s Article on the importance of the 50 Year Farm Bill. He wrote “one of the most important results of the perennialization of agriculture would be the movement of farm animals out of their wretched confinement factories where they don’t, and can never, belong, and back into the pastures and into the open air where they do belong.”

In five years, I hope to support a small handful of high quality and expertly trained grassfed beef farmers. In gathering likeminded farmers, we can build mutual respect and stay true to the deeper meaning of our work. Ideally, we can work together, in a symbiotic relationship that allows us to offer our community a larger supply of Bluegrass-fed beef. We will keep our standards high, our brand trusted, and our customers satisfied and loyal. While this concept is in its infancy, I see the potential and enjoy embarking on a venture that deeply supports the core of our mission, supporting the health of our farmland, the animals and our fellow human beings.

Maggie Keith,
Co-Founder and 4th Generation Land Steward


Fashionable Farmland

If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you I wanted to be an entrepreneur and own my own business. Early on, I had seen my father build his dental practice and heard stories of my great grandfather’s entrepreneurial risks turning into great successes. I inherited a love for fine fabrics, vintage couture clothing, and jade jewelry from my grandmother, Mary, so I assumed I would get into the fashion business.

Fast forward to January of 2007, when I wrote my first real life business plan. Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, led me to dive into the question “where does our food come from?” I couldn’t find the answer I was looking for and decided to create an answer I was pleased with. My mother had shared with me her vision of converting our family’s land into a biodynamic farm and what began as an idea, became a leap of faith to dedicate our land to growing healthy food for our local community.

My first step was to read everything farm related I could get my hands on. I gathered up books on market gardening, cattle, soil and grasses and quickly realized food is an agricultural issue. After graduating from Appalachian State University, I jumped right in and moved back to our Kentucky farm for some hands-on learning.

At Foxhollow Farm, the closest I get to a fashion career is picking out the Foxhollow t-shirts, tanks, and hats we sell at the market. While that is a fun way to ‘keep my toe in’, I never imagined my 20s would be spent advocating for better treatment of farmland and being passionate about how we raise beef cattle. Looking back, I can’t help but have extreme respect and gratitude for my mom, Janey. She had the guiding vision of healing this land using biodynamic agriculture and the power of community. Her passion has given my entrepreneurial spirit the chance to live that vision, make a career of that vision, and humbly ask if it’s possible to help other farmers share that vision. Raising 100% grassfed beef in a way that is healthy for the land, the animals, and our fellow human beings is fashionable enough for me. But, doing it in a navy blue trucker hat with magenta “Bluegrass-Fed” stitched across the front, is even better.

Maggie,
Co-Founder and 4th Generation Land Steward (and hobby fashionista)


100% Bluegrass-Fed Beef: Freshly Frozen & Just Butchered

At Foxhollow Farm we process our bluegrass-fed cattle once a month. To increase tenderness and flavor, we age the sides of beef for two weeks. After two weeks, the butchers at Memphis Meat Processing get to work. At this family business, generations work side-by-side meticulously cutting the meat into steaks and roasts, or freshly grinding it into ground beef. Everything is vacuum-sealed and packaged with the Foxhollow Farm label.

It’s at this point we have two options: keep the just butchered cuts freshly refrigerated or flash freeze them to lock in the flavor and allow for longer shelf life.

There are many reasons why both just butchered and frozen beef make great options. Frozen beef allows for buying in bulk, thawing your cut as needed to maintain freshness. Just butchered, refrigerated beef, is ready when you need it. There is no need to remember to thaw that steak or ground beef before eating. Refrigerated beef is ready to cook!

Unlike grocery store refrigerated meat that is shipped across the country (or world), our fresh beef is butchered in a USDA inspected processing facility just 33 miles from the farm and sold to you directly at the farm or the St. Matthews Farmer’s Market just days later. The quick turnaround time and proximity of butchering allow us to provide a nutrient rich product that stays fresh longer in your kitchen. Just another reason to support your local Kentucky cattle farmer!

How to Buy:
For the first time, we are offering select just butchered cuts at the St. Matthews Farmer’s Market! Our first “Just Butchered” day is May 9th, the first market of 2015. Subsequent days will fall on the first Saturday of the month for the remainder of the market season. Dates are as follows: June 6th, July 4th, August 1st, September 5th, and October 3rd. If you’d like to order a custom just butchered cut, we’re happy to help. Simply place an order by at least two weeks prior to the “Just Butchered” day you choose.

Email grassfedbeef@foxhollow.com to place an order or for questions. These fresh meats have limited availability at the market, so place a pre-order or come early!

Fresh orders can also be picked up at the farm. Just email grassfedbeef@foxhollow.com with your order by the 15th of each month and we will follow up regarding your fresh beef pick up date.

Happy eating,

Sarah,
Foxhollow Beef Slinger


Squash the Squash! Recipe: Butternut Squash Cornmeal Cakes

Spring has arrived and my mouth waters when I think about a fresh salad of shaved carrots and quick pickled ramps atop a bed of baby spinach leaves. The crisp, colorful produce of spring is new and exciting but if you really want to support our local farmers, now is the time to buy up the last of their winter squash. Pavel is selling his butternut squash at the Douglas Loop Farmers’ Market every Saturday, while supplies last, for $1.50/lb.

Here at Foxhollow, we gathered in partner grower Pavel’s field and harvested wagon loads of butternut squash in late September. Butternut squash is a wonderful storage vegetable, and will keep its flavor and nutrition for many months.   In Fall and Winter, my menu at home has been dusted with roasted squash salads, squash soups, and even squash puree pizza sauce.  After four months of eating classic takes on winter squash, I felt it was time to experiment with the most approachable gourd, the butternut. Breakfast is not only my favorite meal of the day but also an absolutely necessity on a day filled with farm chores. This recipe combines two fall staples, corn and squash, along with a drizzle of local maple syrup.

Butternut Squash Cornmeal Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butternut squash, halved, de-seeded, roasted, and mashed to resemble mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (I use a homemade gluten free blend with tapioca, potato starch and rice flour)
  • 1 farm fresh egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup milk, cream, or almond milk from The Almond Creamery
  • 1 tablespoon pastured butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus butter for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons Bourbon Barrel foods vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Local maple syrup (for drizzling)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together the squash, cornmeal, flour, egg, butter, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Heat a large cast iron skillet (or a nonstick skillet) over medium heat. Melt half a tablespoon of butter in the pan. Scoop a 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet, filling the pan with pancakes, but being sure not to overcrowd them. Cook each pancake until golden brown – about 3 minutes on each side. Serve drizzled with local maple syrup. Foxhollow’s Pastured Pork Chorizo is always a delicious side option.

Variation: This recipe can be used to make savory corn cakes as well. Instead of adding the vanilla and cinnamon, add a dash of bourbon and a teaspoon of dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or oregano. Top with Foxhollow’s Habanero Jam, a Foxhollow Grassfed Beef Burger, and spinach for an open faced take on a classic hamburger.

-Maggie


Partner Growers

Deep appreciation and gratitude to the Partner Growers at Foxhollow Farm

If you know about Foxhollow Farm, you probably know Pavel Ovechkin, who was our first “Partner Grower”. Pavel arrived at Foxhollow Farm in 2007 and since that time, he’s become the poster child for synergistic partnership in our biodynamic community. He would most likely hate me bragging too much about him so I will keep it brief. We all admire his determination, dedication, patience, honesty, and loyalty. He and his wife Katie taught me how to garden, and I will forever be grateful. There is much comfort when I’m in the field and know a few acres away Pavel is busy but he will step away from his task for a quick lesson or to observe a field and give me guidance and new ideas when I’m unsure. As a gardener and steward of the land, he demonstrates how tools, methods, and experimentation can expand the depth of knowledge each season brings.

So, how did Pavel end up at Foxhollow Farm? In 2006, when my mom, Janey, and I were first converting our family Farm into a Biodynamic Farm Community Janey was the champion vision holder. She took charge and gathered some farming friends to join us. In her own words, “the most important goal to me was to gather people that were very interested in taking care of this piece of land – not only interested in farming and gardening but also interested in understanding the nuances of Biodynamic agriculture which includes more than just the practical day to day labor. It needed to include some deeper understanding of nature.”  She picked up the phone and called the one person she knew in town that was “growing farmers,” Ivor Chodkoski (of Field Day Family Farm and Harvest Restaurant). Ivor made a few inquiries and by Spring of 2007, Pavel and (then partner) Valerie Magnuson were installed at Foxhollow Farm, with a few acres of land and big plans for a market garden and CSA.

At the time, Pavel had some farming background, but running his own garden was a learning curve. He had a strong will and found his way quickly through a lot of hands on learning, reading, observing, and listening to seasoned farmers. It has been inspiring and incredibly motivating to watch Pavel grow as a gardener. In eight years he has steadily built his business into a high quality operation with highly coveted CSA spots, expanded seasonal offerings and yields, and produces a beautifully bountiful market garden that often sells out early at Farmers Market.

My mom and I are blessed with this farmland so close to the city and thought – ‘why not share it with other passionate people dedicated to growing Biodynamic food for our local community?’ With the Partner Grower Program, growers have the independence and freedom of owning their own business. They are driven farmers and gardeners; individuals caring for a parcel of land here at Foxhollow Farm with respect, integrity, and gratitude. Janey inspires us and is our biggest cheerleader, and a handy helper too! She has said to me, “I think that the wave of the future is people coming together, but still having their own independence. You don’t loose your independence but you’re also a part of a united mission. I think that’s what brings happiness and freedom into community.”

It is with great pride and gratitude that we look back on the past eight years with Pavel – and look forward to the future that includes Pavel, his family, and our handful of new growers. Market gardening and farming is hard work that requires a lot of stamina. Sometimes, the 5 o’clock heatwave hits me and I want to quit. I look up and see that Pavel is still there, meticulously weeding and efficiently wheel hoeing row after row of carrots, sun up to sun down. It’s hard to do this alone – but as a community, we can support each other and encourage one another to wipe the sweat off our brow and keep hoeing.

-Maggie


Popcorn in Winter

For the past two years I have grown a popcorn patch of a variety called Robust Popcorn. In Autumn, I watched in wonder as a few kernels of popcorn I’d planted in May magically turned into a kelly green corn patch that glistened in the sunset. As the leaves turned golden brown and the ears developed violet tassels, I started to dream of snowy winter nights, comforted by a bowl of homegrown popcorn. In early October, we harvested more than 3500 ears. That’s when I figured it’s about time to come up with a blend of spices that could turn a simple bowl of fluffy popcorn into an irresistible smoky, salty, sweet sensation.

Makes 4 servings (9 cups of popped popcorn)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp Organic coconut oil

1/2 c Foxhollow Farm popcorn (or 2 ears Foxhollow Farm popcorn, kernels removed)

1/4 tsp lime zest (optional)

Pinch of Foxhollow Farm cayenne (optional)

 Spice mix:

1 tsp. Bourbon Barrel Foods smoked paprika

1 tsp. fair trade cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)

2 tsp. sea salt

Directions: 

In a small bowl or Mason jar, combine spice mix and set aside.

Grab a heavy bottom pot with a lid and heat coconut oil over medium high heat.  Once hot, place 1/2 cup of corn kernels in the pot. Cover the pot with a lid and shake, shake, shake. Once the pops subside, pour the popcorn into a large bowl with room mix in the spices. While still warm, sprinkle spice mixture and gently toss to coat. To heat things up, add the optional zest of a lime and cayenne. Enjoy with friends or keep the bowl to yourself!

I’ll be at the Louisville Home, Garden and Remodeling show this Saturday, February 28th with Foodie Girl.  We’ll be at the Trend Appliance Co. Cooking stage at 11am demonstrating how to make this delicious popcorn and handing out samples.  I hope to see you there!

-Maggie