Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Our Basket of Life Farm Summer

As I've mentioned before, we live adjacent to The Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is the third most used park in the country but because that is every day use by primarily people in our region, it is never crowded. One thing the park did was grandfather in all the farms and homesteads and such so that those existing entities continued. Hence we now have quite a few local farms and even a few wineries. The park also lists related events on Facebook CVNP.

This summer we decided to join a produce club from one of those farms in the park, The Basket of Life Farm. The park is vast and those that got grandfathered in cannot make use changes to the land. So the farm cannot be sold to make a condo or office development or anything else more commercial and/or ruinous to the enjoyment of the land by park users. There isn't even a drugstore or supermarket in the entirety of the park. So what you see now is pretty much the way it will stay.

We did our first pickup on Sunday of our produce. We had a beautiful convertible ride down to Peninsula, a quaint little town in the heart of the park, and the farm was just down the road from there.

Our box of food was waiting in this shed along with Heather, who runs that part of the operation. Heather's laptop was parked right next to her because that is how she remains on top of running the food program so there is only so primitive this gets!

When Jim walked in he had a real deja vu experience and was shortly asking Heather about a fruit farm near there that he and his family had come to when he was a kid. Heather informed him he was standing in the fruit farm and pointed to an old notice scrawled up on the wall about not handling the fruit.  Yes, it was indeed the old Klein fruit farm. His Mom had them pick fruit there on weekends and then she took it all home and canned it. Jim attempted to give me the honors of picking our box and I said, "You have got to be kidding. You know you are the gardener and are just itching to get in there." With no further ado he all but dove head first into the boxes until he found the most promising one (three tries). Next he got to add in two other crops. The produce was truly beautiful with the greens and reds the most vivid hues possible for produce.

On our way exiting the farm, Jim spotted a sign for his old Boy Scout Camp and shortly we were parked in front of its gates. And we sat. Finally I said, "Well aren't you going to go in?" I have never seen Jim so shy about entering a place but he finally did move the car forward. It is still in operation and we could have been still back in the 1950s or 1960s as those Scouts bring everything in with them and set up camp in full display of their wilderness skills. Jim is going to go back and talk to some people on his own another time.  I said maybe they'd have an alumni camp out for him and others.  So stay tuned on this one as this was a major, major event of his growing up years and I am sure I will have more to relate.

We rode back home and we've been eating huge salads ever since.  They have been wonderful. I have gradually won Jim over into enjoying some of the "weird" but delicious things I throw into salads, such as pine nuts and dried wild blueberries so he threw them in as he made these masterpieces. They were just fabulous and would cost a fortune in a restaurant that knew how to make such a salad. We still have Kale and Swiss Chard to eat.  The below is the plan that the farm offers. We picked the $350 version of the below plan as we are just two people.

Now Jim wants to find Kale and Chard recipes. Here is where apps really pay off. I used my Paprika Recipe Box app on my iPad and found recipes he really liked in a matter of minutes. I just find the recipe in the browser, click on the save recipe button and voila, it is now in my recipe box. This app is also available for the android mobile platform.

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