This past Sunday, our CSA farm hosted a potluck for its members — and I remembered to actually take some pictures of the farm itself! That said… I didn’t take many. Once again, I mostly focused on the critters. You can’t blame me though — even The Boy found himself quite taken with them! We hadn’t even parked the car when we were greeted by quackling ducks. (Check out the mohawk on one of them!)
The Boy actually had me get out of the car and shoo them a little to make sure they wouldn’t get hurt. We also got to see the flock of chicks — only 5 weeks old the last time I saw them — now all grown up:
I was a little sad not to see the older flock, with its roosters (apparently Dr. Claw, formerly Third Rooster, has now overtaken Cauchemar in the pecking order), but I feel this compensated for by getting an up-close look at the feather-footed Brahmas (so cute!). I’d been doing a little reading, so I also recognized the light brown Buffs, but had to ask about the Baba Yaga-legged birds. (Am I the only one who gets that reference?) Apparently they are Wyandottes.
Those chickens were actually the canny ones: they invited themselves right into the centre of the party:
The chickens weren’t the only ones trying to join in the fun. I heard a gentle half-quack, half-honk and turned around to see the geese. Remember those teensy little cheeping geese I was so enamored of at the open house? They’ve grown!
Happily, the birds all cleared off once we started bringing our plates over — and those plates were laden, let me tell you! There was a fabulous multi-grain bread, a carrot-coconut-raisin salad (which The Boy admitted was his favourite non-bread dish; my hatred for coconut would not allow me the same feelings), a Thai carrot-coconut soup, a salad with a delicious honey-ginger dressing, a gluten-free raspberry bar, a build-your-own strawberry-blueberry shortcake “station” (with whipped cream! that one was my favourite), a delicious apple pie along with my contribution: Nigel Slater’s chocolate-beet cake.
Much to Nigel’s dismay, if he knew, I didn’t serve the cake with creme fraiche; frankly I had too much going on to try to make it earlier in the week. Instead I did unsweetened whipped cream with the poppy seeds on top. How do I feel about the cake? I have mixed feelings. It is indeed moist, and mine may have been a tad underdone because it was a good deal fudgier than the picture at that link. (Actually, I suspect that that picture is not of the chocolate-beet cake, but of the fairly similar beetroot poppy cake. There’s a better picture of the chocolate one here. But I digress.) In any case, given the amount of chocolate and fuss involved with the cake, it had better have been fudgy!
Basically, the cake was alright. If I’m being honest, my oft-turned-to chocolate-ale cake (which I also baked over the weekend for The Boy’s work) is just as rich, and way less work. I do not understand Nigel’s admonitions not to stir the chocolate while it’s melting. Possibly he’s worried that it’ll turn grainy or something, but in the end, it just meant a lot of frustration trying to get everything to coalesce before folding in the egg whites. Were I doing this again, I’d microwave the butter and chocolate together (yeah, you read that right), stir it up to my little heart’s content, throw in the espresso and egg yolks, then the dry ingredients (rebel!), then fold in the egg whites. Which brings me to another thing: for a cake with 5 eggs (!) and whipped egg-whites, I was definitely expecting more of a spongey, chiffon quality to it. I don’t normally go the trouble of beating egg whites separately and “tenderly but firmly” folding them back into the batter, only to have the cake emerge as a giant brownie. Quite frankly, if that’s the expected texture, I say use 2 eggs, throw ’em in as is and have done with it. (Don’t worry, there’s still baking powder to leaven the thing.)
Huh. Apparently I feel more strongly about this cake than I’d thought. I’ll have to give it a try with my “reduced faff” changes. I’ll keep you posted.
Anyway, getting back to the potluck… all throughout the meal, and while we were waiting for others to arrive, The Boy gave Spaz, the most sociable of the three farm kitties, and Thuja, the resident puppy, ear-scratches aplenty. During the eating, they could be seen together, Spaz clearly explaining to Thuja not to despair, but to look cute and coax the humans into sharing their food…
Apparently my eavesdropping was not appreciated:
So I wandered around a bit and took pictures of the buildings. There are plenty of old, picturesque buildings on the farm…
The picturesque didn’t stop there; even the insides of the barns had cute, kitchsiness:
(Not pictured: the John Deere tractor that another couple’s small child kept begging to sit on. Heh.)
I came back from my wanderings to chat a little more with the others, but eventually we had to leave (The Boy had work to do!). At that point (yes, while driving away) I did get a shot of the fields where some of our veggies are grown. Here’s where the magic happens:
This long field out front does contain a goodly number of veggies, but there is a second, smaller field toward the back of the property as well. It sounds strange, but it feels really good to actually know where all this food is coming from — literally! — and although I’m not the one doing the actual work, knowing where things are, and what a “day in the life of” the farm is (via the emails) I do feel a sense of it being “my” farm. Hopefully the other members feel the same way — I know they were definitely a friendly bunch!
Here’s to hoping we can get the “drive-in” movie (with a sheet strung up over one of the barns) organized!