Category Archives: News, etc.

Special needs here on the farm

People ask if we do tours here at the farm. Why yes, yes we do. We see about 2000 people a year through here. Some are individuals, some are families, and some are groups such as school groups or mommy groups. However last Friday we hosted a group unlike any we’d done before.

I received an email from a lady who said she had “adults with Autism” and they wanted to take a tour. I wasn’t really sure what that meant. Autism has a broad range of people, from people I couldn’t tell had Autism to people who are non-verbal. But they’d looked at the website and knew what kind of tour we gave, so if they thought it was appropriate for their folks, it was fine with me. Plus one of our best friends has a son with Autism so it’s not like we don’t have any experience with it or a soft place for groups like this.

Girl with autism on the farm
My #1 asker of questions

Friday was cool and beautiful so the weather cooperated. Everyone showed right on time. I met the group as they all piled out and got ready for the tour. The folks were extremely nice and happy to be on our little tour. As usual with any group, there was a bit of herding cats getting everyone going in the same direction but once we got going it was fine. We visited the bees, walked out to the yard where we do all of our work, saw the pigs, and came back to feed apples to the milk cows. All the while answering questions. Especially from the young lady pictured above. She really enjoyed being able to ask, “Farmer Dan?” during my ramblings. I’d stop mid-sentence, and say, “Yes?” Sometimes she’d have a question, sometimes not. When she did ask a question it was always, “What does the animal say?”. This was when we saw a new animal on the tour. Moo, oink, cluck, stuff like that. It was very cute. It was also hard to remember what I was saying sometimes but that’s not a problem. I’m used to not knowing what I’m saying so I have a lot of experience.

I’d say that I showed patience with the questions because it was routine that she’d interrupt. Like every few minutes. But the patience that the people accompanying the autistic adults showed was humbling. They not only handled everything with aplomb, they truly seemed to have a good time doing it. You could tell they loved their work and really cared for their charges. I felt kinda grumpy and hard to get along with in comparison.

After feeding the cows, which was fun and a bit of an adventure, we went back to the store where everyone met Lucy and had a chance to see our wares. Then because it was so nice, they all hung out in front of the barn and enjoyed the swings and the weather.

That’s where our featured picture was taken, post tour. This young man had just minutes before been brave enough to feed a cow. This was a big deal because by that point was drooling everywhere which understandably freaked him out. He’d been wearing dark sunglasses to go with his dark outfit and he had been fairly stone faced. However when I pulled out my phone to take a quick snap, he broke into the most beautiful smile and made a point to smile for the camera.

I’m married to crazy picture lady. I don’t take the pictures. But this simple smile and seeing his joy as he swung on the simple swings that my kids made one day when it was slow in the store made my day. The rest of the event was cool but this picture just summed it up. So much so that it’s taken me all week just to put this into writing.

I asked the name of the group before they left, and I’m sure I’m butchering it because I can’t remember names. I think it was the Autism Society of NC. I don’t know anything about them other than what I saw that day, but what I saw was pretty special.

Oh why do I do these things to myself

I get all kinds of invites to participate in various things. Classes, meetings, charity things, whatever. I generally delete these emails before I’m tempted. You see, I’m a home body. I like to be here, doing my thing. I also have lots to do, so even if I want to go to some shindig, I probably don’t have time. And then there is church. And the kids, and projects that were scheduled to be completed in June of 2013. And, and, and it keeps on going.

So a while back I had an invite to submit our information for a Farm to Fork picnic pairing thingy. It came out the first time and I deleted it. I don’t have time for that. Plus I tried to get the Mrs. to go with me one year. She said no, we were too busy, which was true.

Then a few weeks later, a second invite came through. I had a spare five minutes (always dangerous) so I submitted our information to see what would happen. The next thing I heard about it was an email, addressed both to me and to the Chef at the Counting House in Durham. “You two have been joined at the hip in this endeavor. Here are the rules. Good luck.”

Gulp.

So we are supposed to feed 500 people, at Fearrington Village no less. Home to the famous Belted Galloways. You know, these guys.

Belted Galloway and calf
Belted Galloway and calf

Or, um. These guys.

Ninja Cow farm logo
Our now somewhat famous logo

You know that crazy uncle who comes to Thanksgiving that everyone secretly hopes won’t come this year. The one who makes inappropriate jokes and embarrasses everyone but himself.Uncle Buck

Yeah, I think I might be coming to dinner.

Oh well, it’s only for a few hours and the worst that happens is they throw me out.  As I recall, that crazy uncle always has a rather large time so at least I have that going for me.

Here is the list of who is who in this shindig.

Announcing This Year’s Participating Farms, 
Restaurants and Artisans
Please join us June 2-4 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Farm to Fork!
Today we are pleased to announce our farmer-chef pairings as well as participating food artisans and beverage producers.
ACME with  CASTLEMAINE FARM
ALLEY TWENTY SIX with PARKER FARM AND VINEYARD
AMERICAN MELTDOWN with ELODIE FARMS
BONA FIDE SANDWICH CO. with NOURISHING ACRES
BULL CITY BURGER AND BREWERY with FOUR LEAF FARM
COUNTING HOUSE with NINJA COW FARM
CROSSROADS CHAPEL HILL AT THE CAROLINA INN with PERRY-WINKLE FARM
EAST DURHAM PIE COMPANY with LYON FARMS
FEARRINGTON HOUSE with PRODIGAL FARM
GARLAND with SWEET PEAS URBAN GARDEN & GRANITE SPRINGS FARM
GLASSHALFULL with EAST BRANCH GINGER 
GRAVY with TERRASTAY FARM
HARVEST 18 with WALKING FISH COOPERATIVE
IRREGARDLESS CAFE with WELL FED COMMUNITY GARDEN
JUJU & JUJUBE with LIL’ FARM
KIMBAP CAFE with IN GOOD HEART FARM
KITCHEN with GRATEFUL ACRES
LA PLACE LOUISIANA COOKERY with TAYLOR FISH FARM
LITTLER with MAPLE SPRING GARDENS
MANDOLIN with SOUTHWIND PRODUCE
OAKLEAF with ELYSIAN FIELDS FARM
PATRIA FOOD with LILY DEN FARM
PICNIC with GREEN BUTTON FARM
PIEDMONT with COON ROCK FARM
PIZZERIA FAULISI with FUNNY GIRL FARM
PIZZERIA MERCATO with PEREGRINE FARM
POMPIERI PIZZA with EASTERN CAROLINA ORGANICS
PROVENANCE with FIRSTHAND FOODS
REVERENCE FARMS CAFE with REVERENCE FARMS
SCRATCH BAKING with RAN-LEW DAIRY
THE EDDY PUB with ROCKY RUN FARM
TRIBECA TAVERN with DOWN 2 EARTH FARMS
THE ROOT CELLAR with CHAPEL HILL CREAMERY

THE TRAVELED FARMER with FICKLE CREEK FARM

Artisans Include:
Big Spoon Roasters, Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, Carolina Farmhouse Dairy, Escazu Artisan Chocolates, Fiddlehead Farm, Goat Lady Dairy, Honeygirl Meadery, Just Bee Apiary, Loaf, Lady Edison, Left Bank Butchery, Piemonte Farm, Strong Arm Baking Co.
 
Beverages: 
Aromatic Roasters, Bean Traders, Bond Brothers Beer Company, Bull City Burger and Brewery, Carrboro Coffee Roasters, Durham Distillery, Fair Game Beverage Co., Fullsteam Brewery, Haw River Wine Man, James Creek Ciderhouse, Mystery Brewing Co., Piedmont Wine Imports, Steel String Brewery, TOPO Organic Spirits, Trophy Brewing Co., Wine Authorities
The Farm to Fork Picnic is the culmination of a full weekend of events, including a family-friendly Sustainable Supper on Friday June 2 with special guest, culinary historian Michael Twitty, and a sold-out Five Chefs in Five Courses dinner on
Saturday June 3.  Details on these events is below.
Tickets are selling fast! You can purchase yours at www.farmtoforknc.com
Feel free to buy a ticket and come and harass your poor farmer.

At this point, maybe I have seen it all.

Pig dressed up as a cop. Police pig

Nothing tangible on this one. I saw this picture and just had to share it. A baby pig, dressed up as a K9 unit with the police. Maybe they are hunting for illegal truffles? Who knows.

We are open today till 5pm, rain or shine. We have a lot of tours this afternoon but the store is wide open and the girls are manning the store so stop by and get some goodies for your lonely freezer and happy belly.

Our load of fresh beef came in early!

Ribeye steaks, ready for sale
Ribeye steaks, ready for sale

We were scheduled for tomorrow for our cow to be ready. That was kinda bad due to a tour I have on the calendar for an autistic group in the early afternoon. Plus I need to be onsite for an internet install for GranSWMBO at her house. I mean, I probably don’t NEED to be there. But she did just watch all three of our kids while SWMBO and I went to a food show in Asheville where we looked at all kinds of awesome new stuff that will be coming to the store. (Number 1 favorite was hickory syrup, smoked, and aged in whiskey barrels. WOW was it good! But more about that later when we start receiving stuff in.)

What that meant for Friday was that our load of fresh beef wouldn’t have gotten in the store till about 5pm on Friday, pretty much missing everyone on Friday. But wonder of wonders, our friends at Chaudhry’s knocked it out and our beef is ready today! I’ll be heading over there this afternoon, after picking up a fresh load of pork at the processor, and chicken and dairy when I meet our chicken farmer this morning, then driving back to the farm, unloading, loading back up, and heading west towards Siler City.

Since I’m heading to Siler City, may as well stop by our friends at Celebrity Goat Dairy and pick up our fresh goat cheese, fudge, gelato, etc. Thursdays are my driving days, in case you can’t tell.

It’s a good thing Lucy (and you wonderful customers) made some room in the freezers. We’ll have to bungee cord them closed tonight they’ll be so stuffed.

For those of you who never seem to get ribeyes, I think we may be caught up a bit on pre-orders so plan on stopping by Friday 2pm-6pm and grabbing a pack. They are impossible to get since our regulars always pre-order them. Tomorrow could be your lucky day.

Twitter is back

So my auto poster thingy quit working last fall. It’s the software that automagically takes my WordPress blog post and pushes it out to Facebook, Twitter, whatever. When it broke, it was for no reason I could discern.

Not to worry, I just turned it off, and installed a new plugin. A bit of work and Facebook was back up and running. Twitter? Well, it had about 5 pages of instructions. I’ll do that tomorrow.

And only six months later, tomorrow finally arrives. I’d completely forgotten about Twitter not working. I went onto our Twitter page and the last post was October 2016. Oops! Sometimes being a farmer nerd is hard. So this is a welcome back to the Twitterverse. It’s also a test so I can see if I’m done nerding for today so I can go farm instead.

Snow is coming and we have milk

I don’t know what kind of snow we are going to have.

Usually when it snows in North Carolina, it is something akin to this:

However, the largest snow I can recall came in March in the 80s so who knows what it will do. If we don’t get the above, maybe it will be more like this. 

Enough snow to disturb the parents is usually welcome amongst the short people here at the farm.

Regardless, we have lots of milk on hand and plenty of other goodies for some warm meals on the next few cold days. We’ll be open from now till 5pm today with the kids working and taking care of you when you show up. Stop by and get ready for the wintry weather!