Greetings C3! As the last weeks here at the farm come to a close, we have begun to reflect on future developments.
We will be travelling from Iowa to Florida on the 13th of November via car. This journey will span over 2800 miles, nearly 10 states and seven days of travel. Nathan, along with his mom, will traverse the United States on a tour of barbecue. As this unfolds, we will closely document each step through video, picture, text and soundbite. (Don’t expect the usual posting schedule or content; things will be crazy!)
Moving forward, our future developments include moving the weekly updates of Nathan’s experiences to the back burner. Don’t worry though, we will be supplementing that section with new content. Once again, thanks to our patrons, the maintenance costs for this year have been covered. This will allow us to dedicate future pledges and contributions to creating new content and testing out new ideas. Interested in connecting with the C3, learn more about how you can here!
The summer season has flown by. The harvest have drastically decreased as the plants transition for winter.
Monday was rainy so I went with David at the crack of dawn to the hospital garden. We did a quick harvest of tomatoes, kale, chard, cucumbers and squash before heading home for breakfast. Later, I left with Ellis to Prairie du Chien in Wisconsin. We ran a few errands that he needed to complete and then stopped for a quick lunch. We returned home later in the afternoon and the rest of the day was spent in relaxation. The following day I started my day by cleaning two varietals of beans. They were relatively large harvest so this took up most of my morning. Afterwards, I cut some squash for the young goats and then did some miscellaneous chores around the farm.
Wednesday was filled with various meetings for upcoming events. When I returned from town I finished weeding underneath the apple trees. Once I completed that, I moved on to picking ripe beans for seed saving. We were still stocked up on leftovers from the Seed Saver’s lunch so we ate leftovers. The next day I spent my entire morning digging potatoes. This was a lengthy task that involved some concentration to avoid spearing potatoes in the process of digging them out. I went for my shift of work later that night and enjoyed a fairly busy night of service.
Friday was rainy again so I took the time to work on those birch logs I mentioned last week. Using various power tools I began to hollow out the logs with some ease. After nearly four hours of work, I headed into town to work. And, much like Thursday, experienced a decent night of service. The day after I started my day by tidying up the hoop house. I mowed the grass on one side and then sickled down weeds on the other. I went to work later in the evening and was stunned by the smackdown of customers that we experienced. I think it was one of the busiest nights since I began there.
Sunday was more relaxed as I began my morning preparing for an upcoming event. I spent a few hours peeling many heads of garlic before transitioning to harvesting. I went outside and picked nearly two and a half gallons of crab apples to be used in a dessert. I spent the next few hours dicing up the crab apples before cooking them into an apple sauce. It began to rain late in the afternoon, so I took the opportunity to head over to work on logs again until sunset. I returned home late, tired and covered in sawdust.
It has been amazing to see the change in both temperature and production from the plants. It seems like only yesterday I was picking pounds of cucumbers, only now to struggle to even find enough on the plants to make a couple of pounds. It just makes me feel like I missed part of the summer; even though I have been fully involved for the entire time. It really is amazing how fast things happen – both with plants and in life.
For those of you who are Lord of the Rings fans I am certain that you get this reference. For those of you who are not, I would recommend you watch the first movie in the Lord of the Rings series. It is a lengthy movie so be prepared to spend some time.
In the movie the protagonist is a Hobbit. Hobbits are smaller versions of humans that have some unique traits. One of them is their ravenous appetite. During the movie it is explained to the viewers through a more casual discussion. One of the hobbits exclaims, “I still haven’t had my breakfast!” To which a human says, we just had breakfast.” The hobbit goes on to explain that the usual eating schedule consists of:
Hopefully it is more clear now. Yesterday I was extremely pleased when we started off our Fish ID class by tasting an arrangement of shellfish and mollusks. I got to sample many different tastes and even, which I forgot to mention, ended the meal with three raw oysters and one raw clam. By the way I found the clam quite delicious.
This morning after we had begun our normal routine of scaling and cutting the fish we were called in to begin our tasting. As we sat down we were handed a spread of 10 different caviars as well as 2 pieces of smoked salmon.
We sampled three kinds of tobiko, which is a roe substitute made out of corn syrup and fish flakes. It pops in your mouth and mimics the texture and taste of caviar. We went on to taste rainbow trout and salmon caviar. And then finished the plate with 4 separate varieties of sturgeon caviar. I enjoyed all of the tobiko although I found it left and almost bitter soapy taste in my mouth as well as the residue from the fake “shell” of the egg. The trout caviar tasted like drinking a freshwater pond that had been used to make fish stock. The salmon caviar was an explosion of oily salmon flavor. We were given nearly 7-10 eggs and I found the taste overwhelming. All of the sturgeon caviar were soft and had a buttery flavor an texture. They were quite briny but always finished with a sweet fishy taste.
One thing I find amazing is the aversions that our class has to food. I hope to write an article on it at a later date, but during gastronomy at school I read an interesting article on food fears. To be brief, it said you can eat anything and even can treat food allergies. Essentially humans are the most universal vacuum and have no limits. Keeping that in mind I am always shocked at the amount of fish that gets thrown away during tasting. Our class has several individuals who don’t enjoy seafood. Now when it comes to caviar and raw shellfish I can understand. Even I was a bit skeptical. But sampling fish I watched entire plates of food get thrown away. To me, the purpose of tasting to learn what the item tastes like so you can pair it with other dishes and write menus and recipes in the future.
The reason why I bring this up is because Chef said today that we were throwing away $100’s of caviar. I believe him, I saw so many people that had only eaten 2 eggs out of a pile of 50. People like different things and I respect that but when you are given such a unique opportunity why not bite the bullet and try a few new things.
Today was our last day of fabrication and we took our ID final test that I talked about. It was pretty easy but I got two of my fish confused. I made the mistake of ID’ing a summer flounder as a gray sole. I think everyone in the class confused it for something else. I also confused the Atlantic cod for a pollock. Otherwise I believe I did quite well. The fabrication final went well. I had to cut a flounder into two fillets using the up and over method. The method was simple and we were graded on our yield and timeliness. I filleted it in 7 minutes and 23 seconds with the first person getting done in 6 minutes and 50 seconds. I did wait a few seconds to get my time and I am certain that I did not go as fast as I could of. Nonetheless I believe I was the third or fourth person done. We will be moving into lecture tomorrow and it should be fun. I will keep you posted.