Saturday, June 4, 2011

Love Grows Farms Our Adventures in Organic Farming Just got HUGE!

Our new Bag.

A few weeks ago I announced on my Facebook page the possibility of taking part in a local organic farm's  CSA program (that's Community. Supported. Agriculture) I didn't want to get too excited, as I had visited a few other local organic farms in the past and found them to be more of a boutique than an actual working farm. However, when reading here about Love Grow's Farms...I began to think I had finally found the farm I was looking for when it came to locally grown and fresh.  

My son Face spent about two days watching the Videos and Farmcasts of the farm owner Michael...and when we finally got to take a tour, he was standing there beside himself...
We saw fields of bolting lettuce...
Starts of new  melon plants...
Real baby carrots plucked from the earth sweet and tender...
along with long rows of fingerling potatoes,
Okra? Dude. Had it for the first time last week. What a trip. Who knew I'd actually like it?! My son asked me if this was the same one who's ratings I beat when I was on Valley Dish...I had to stop myself from laughing. No son, that was Oprah.
There were fields of many varieties.
Squash galore.
Melons in multiple shapes and sizes.
Even rare heirloom varieties like the moon and star melon that has these distinct  leaves...
Would it even be an Arizona farm without supplies of citrus?
Or goats?
The most excited I got was seeing them harvesting their seeds and doing their own starts. Not a trace of a GMO there.
There was however, a dog named Rosco who eats carrots and has an odd obsessive need to keep them from goats.
Their herb collection was also exciting to a chef. Don't ask me why. I'm just a servant to my calling.  Espazote used commonly in beans...for um...gastric issues. It's a nice herb.
Various basil varieties...
When the first day's tour was over I was ready to come back as a working class citizen.  Monday we ventured back.  Both Face and Little Man came along to help pull weeds (as they don't use any chemicals to keep the weeds down...amen. Thank you!)  and assist with harvesting. Sweaty and dusty, they appreciated a brief reprieve  to watch the energetic and friendly Michael run the tractor.
 Krista, the greenhouse manager, walked up with a double wide squash...
 The row is done...but we're most certainly not!
Michael and I talked for quite some time about doing a lot more videos on the farm to help folks figure out their own gardening systems at home and how to cook with the veggies they see in the fields.  It was exciting! When all the farm work was over, my boys sat in the back seat of the car grinning ear to ear and talking non-stop (okay the non-stop talk isn't new...) about this great day and the amazing people who we get to rub elbows with down on the farm!  Can you even blame me for taking this pristine produce out of its bag and starting in?

The squash, onion, herbs and tomatoes adding some clean crisp additions to the sourdough ciabatta pizza 
 The next day, I dove into making a skillet pot pie from the carrots, beets, onions, parsley and squash. Topped with puff pastry that was kissed with tomato infused olive oil and sea salt. Oh have mercy!
 Coming up...Valley Dish June 13! I'll be using some of Love Grow's Farm's Armenian Cucumbers for homemade pickles...deep fried. I's not healthy, but at least it's all organic! It's better than fried un-organic. Right? These will of course be a side dish to an amazing main course.
 Given my history with Vegetables on Valley Dish...aren't you curious to see what else we'll be making?
 Here's a's not this.  Though I have to say that originally, I designed this dish with Michael's veggies in mind...Fast and Easy bacon wrapped lemon-herb linguine

Cooking will the be, again, June 13th on Valley Dish NBC 12 at 3:30.  In the meantime, we'll be returning to Love Grows Farms very often! 
They have many convenient Pick Up Locations , and online ways to Join/Renew their CSA program to receive your own bags of tender perfect produce that's organically, locally and lovingly grown. Now weed free, by yours truly too. How's that for cool?
There you go. Check out the farm and keep coming back for more new, fresh ideas for cooking, baking, and growing your organic veg!  Isn't life exciting?!


Dori said...

I *love* okra! Love them them.

That produce looks gorgeous!

Chef Tess said...

Dori! Oh you doll, okra is so good. I have no idea why I have not had the fresh stuff until this week. I've had it in gumbo but have generally steered clear of it. No's so yummy!

aswesow said...

The whole point of agriculture is to use the suns energy to change the carbon in the air into a form of energy we can use. The "inputs" from the farmer are pretty miniscul, organic or not...the increase is almost entirely from the air and water...fueled by the sun. I'm all for organic is a way to make farming a viable livelyhood for alot of small farmers...hec, if I'd known of the premiums for organic before I left the farm I might still be farming...the economics of the time did not pencil out for ordinary cropping. But the more intensive modern farming operations have benefited the air and water and ultimately the planet the minimizing fossil fuel inputs and maximizing carbon storage. Just is great but so is modern agriculture in my opinion.

Chef Tess said...

I always love hearing from you. Thankfully we have a community with a great demand for the quality and nutrition of the organic vegetables that are offered from our local farm and Love Grows farms actually helps support other local organic farmers with the CSA program he has in place, so it's a very good way to help a lot of people keep things going. As for the environmental impact, I'm glad you have offered a contrasting opinion. My dad still farms much of his produce and flowers with the modern methods, though what he grows for his family are more organic. I'm certain that there are many strong opinions that go both ways. I'm just glad that we have the chance to explore this method and learn from someone who is making it work in our community. It's a testimony to me that it could work if more farmers would give it a chance. It is also going to be a great way to help folks with their gardens at home and education on cooking with fresh amazing produce everyday. It's a beautiful thing all around.

aswesow said...

I like this new look. I like following your blog because you have alot of great ideals for using food closer to the farm gate...anytime you can use ingredients that are less packaged, less processed it is a good deal for everyone...better for the farmers, healthier for the consumer, better for the enviroment...and really more satisfying for the cook. What Love Grow's farm does by offering the opportunity to experience the farm benefits the whole agricultural community. No need for me to be defensive about conventional farming!

Chef Tess said...

No worries my friend. You will always have a fan here with me. Thank you for your support always. It's most appreciated.

Nicole said...

How fun! He looks so excited!