As we continue the weather pattern that has become the norm around here, I has provided me a forced break. I have neglected keeping those that only interact with the farm via this blog so let me catch you up with what has happened this month around The Barry Farm and the near term happenings.
Let’s start from the beginning shall we. The first of April was a lamb butcher class followed by a 6 course dinner served al fresco right here at the farm. Every time we do an event like this it feels more rewarding all the time. So many times I hear farm to table this, or local that, or “real” farm to table used and every time I hear it, it feels like sand in my britches. Call this experience at the farm whatever you like but make no mistake this is the real deal. For this dinner all the protein was sourced from our farm. In addition to the proteins herbs, vegetables and spices too. All this prepared at a chef led dinner and butcher class. Our goal is not to have a category for this kind of meeting, but simply to blow the doors off of the other categories and make them seem like a simplified version of what we do at the farm. The target is world class products with world class experience and service.
The very next day was Easter Sunday. The readers and followers of this blog will remember that we had big plans for easter sunday. Your farmers have been attempting to have a regular and meaningful interaction on the kids at Parks Youth Ranch. The youth ranch happens to be Ft. Bend County’s only shelter for homeless teenagers and it also happens to be about 3 miles from our home and farm. Renee and I have been seriously convicted that we need to use the potential of the farm to give the kids some sense of family events even while their lives are upside down. I remember very fondly what my Easter sunday meals we like. Surrounded by the hope of spring, chocolate bunnies, my mothers over the top meals and dress up clothes were the norm. Easter was one of the culinary hi lights to my child hood and even though it wasn’t a fancy meal it was very satisfying. I can’t imagine letting this pass as an opportunity to share this feeling knowing that just around the corner from our house were 20 kids whose future was never more up in the air. And on a personal note, I can’t imagine telling people that I am a christian man celebrating Easter and not doing what Jesus would do to those less fortunate than me. This is where faith should meet action right. If the Easter story is the most important narrative in my life what a shame to keep it quiet. I want to know love and hope and to the best of my ability I intend to reflect that to those that may be forgotten in my community.
Easter is not just about the Smith family sharing these emotions, but the regular supporters and members of the barry farm community came out en masse to help pull off this event for the kids. We put a watch for each kid inside a “golden egg” for their easter egg hunt and each watch was sponsored by a member of our community. Chef Chris and Boudreaux’s Cajun Kitchen provided the meal, while others made the pies and homemade ice cream, all of which were a hit. The kids were served on real plates with real silverware (which doesn’t happen at the shelter) on a table set glamorously by dedicated volunteers. They egg hunted, ate a hearty meal, toured the farm and heard from more than one new friend “we love you and are thinking of you” To say Easter was a big deal would be an understatement.
Now as to the farm work: Our ambitious plans never seem to end. We are continuing work on the blackberry orchard as the rain allows. 80 yards of mulch is being put around the blackberries 6″ deep then the trellis will be installed. The sheep have been battling hard this winter and spring as standing water, continuous rains and now warm day are a recipe for ruminant trouble and grass based farmers. True the grass is growing well this spring, but it has been a battle to get them out on it through the mud. I keep saying that this pattern has to end soon, and I’m sure it will but since thanksgiving basically we have had steady rain and have yet to not have standing water at the farm this year.
The pigs mind a lot less. Tomorrow the next 1000 lbs of barry farm pork returns from Lad’s Smokehouse and will be available for purchase at the farm or at Forever Fulshear Farmers Market on Saturday mornings along with pastured chicken and lamb. We are days away from beginning to fill our share orders that have been hampered by the rains, with more pigs taking that short ride to meet the butcher.
So what’s next? Well Renee and Layla are off to Duncan Oklahoma for the mid american dorper show and sale. They will be attending a 2 1/2 day breeders course taught by breeders from Australia and the rest of the US. The weekend they return we have a butcher class and dinner for 6 people led by Chef Chris. Then in May we have a lamb dinner with at a local Houston restaurant (stay tuned for more details)