Category Archives: Farms

Halloween Traditions

Gavin and his Pumpkin

Gavin and his Pumpkin

“Tis the night—the night
Of the grave’s delight,
And the warlocks are at their play;
Ye think that without,
The wild winds shout,
But no, it is they—it is they!”
Arthur Cleveland Coxe, Halloween: A Romaunt

Are you ready for Halloween? Chances are, you have plans this evening. You may have a party to go to or maybe you’ve already been to one? Maybe you’ve carved a pumpkin and roasted the seeds? 🙂

This past Thursday, we did what we have done for years. We made our way to my mother’s house for our traditional Halloween dinner. There were seven of us this year for her famous pastichio and salad. Jim and I, Michelene and her boyfriend John, Aunt Joy and Gavin- all at grandma’s house.

This has been a tradition of ours for at least thirty years. Since we live at the end of a short lane, I took my own children, and then my grandson to my mom’s. She still lives in the neighborhood I grew up in with lots of houses and even some of the same neighbors. I felt very safe taking my kids trick or treating there for years. When Gavin was born, we did the same thing with him.

Mom makes us dinner (she’s 86 now) and afterwards we hand out candy. I thought about taking some pictures of the kids for this story but I worry about their privacy. So you will have to be happy with this one picture I found from the past. It’s Michelene and her cousins. She loved to dress up as a black cat.

Michelene, Jerra, and Daniel

Michelene, Jerra, and Daniel

One tradition Michelene had with her son Gavin was the yearly carving of a pumpkin. Every year it was a different carving and over time she came up with some pretty good ones. Gavin is now fourteen years old. It’s hard to believe time has gone by so fast.

Gavin loved to carve pumpkins!

Gavin loved to carve pumpkins!

For years we also went to Hozak’s Farm at least one Saturday in October. We would pick out a pumpkin, enjoy hot apple cider, and look at all the Halloween decorations. It’s a great farm with hay rides and beautiful scenery.

Michelene, her friend Joyce, and John

Michelene, her friend Joyce, and John

I’d love to know what you do for Halloween. If you have a yearly tradition be sure and leave a comment below. If you follow this blog via Facebook, attach a picture of your carved pumpkin or your favorite trick or treater onto the post. Happy Halloween!

 

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View From A Farm

The Field at the Farm

“Sometimes I think there are only two instructions we need to follow to develop and deepen our spiritual life: slow down and let go.”
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance: Moving To the Rhythms of Your True Self

Every now and then I take the time to slow down and I remember who I am again. It happened last week when I spent four days with my sister Mary and her partner Starr.

Mary had a big event she could have used some help with and well since I’m an event coordinator (after all!), it was easy for me to head down to be of assistance. While I was there, I met some amazing new people and got to visit with some wonderful old friends. This event was called “In Good Company” and was a first time fundraiser for the Winston Salem LGBT community center North Star. I declare it a great success. There were 250 guests plus awards, speakers, music, food, silent auction- what more could a person want?

Mary and Rex at In Good Company

Mary and Rex at In Good Company

When that was over, I spent the next couple of days eating Greek food (and visiting with an old friend), going to the movies, shopping, and having Starr’s wonderful homemade cooking. I had lunch with my webmaster and learned some new things. My favorite gift hang out is still in downtown Winston Salem, Earthbound Arts, which you absolutely have to check out when you’re in the neighborhood.

But guess what I did in the down time? Nothing. Yes, that’s right. NOTHING. I laid in the big bed of my room and read and slept. I took lavender scented baths, and looked out the window. Here’s the view.

Sunrise on the Farm

Amazing, isn’t it?

What do you do when you slow down? For me there was no cooking, no driving, no laundry, no meal planning and only worrying about me. That is a hard thing to come by these days since my life revolves around my family and business. But this is important. This is necessary. This is what taking a break is all about.

And since Mary and Starr live on a farm, there were great views and scenery to remind me to keep it simple.

Even on the plane ride down and back I read, napped and took it easy. Unbelievable. But I have to tell you. I had a great time!

Morning Walk with the Dogs

The Barn

The Field Mid Morning

View from my Window

Thank you to Mary, Starr, Julia, Susan, Tamara, Gordon and the North Star friends who made this trip really special.

 

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I Love a Farmer’s Market

 

Peppers from Janoski Farms

Peppers from Janoski Farms

When I would spend summers with my grandmother as a little girl, there was a “huckster” who would come by her house once or maybe twice a week. He would have fresh fruits and vegetables and my grandmother would load up. In particular, I remember his peaches, so juicy and ripe, and how I would love to eat them on a warm summer’s day.

So in memory of my grandmother, I cannot resist a weekly trip to my local farmer’s market. Janoski Farms has been around almost as long as I can remember living in Clinton, PA. (almost 32 years!). The fruits and vegetables are in so much abundance right now, it is a feast for the mind and heart when I enter the store.

Potatoes from Janoski Farms

I went Tuesday and bought zucchini, tomatoes (so gorgeous!), cantaloupe, leaf lettuce, potatoes and green beans so tender I was eating them out of the bag. Arriving home, I made Greek green beans with our home grown garlic, fresh dill, onion and tomato sauce. I’m no recipe writer but if you’d like to make them, click HERE for a link to a great recipe.

There is just something about a farmer’s market. It speaks to you from the deepest depths of wanting to eat good and eat well. I love to have my kids over for dinner and make shish ka bobs with big slices of sweet onion and pepper. Brussel sprouts will come soon and I will saute them in a bit of butter and onion, or steam them and drizzle with olive oil and lemon. No doubt I will stuff peppers and tomatoes before the summer is over, doing them just like my mom and my grandmother, with browned ground meat, rice, a light tomato sauce, and a tiny spoonful of sugar in the bottom of each hollowed out pepper or tomato.

I like to make my stuffed peppers with homemade mashed potatoes. My mom always did this while I was growing up. I remember hoping there would be leftovers for the next day so I could warm them up for lunch.

Thankfully Janoski’s has homemade bread and pastries, good ice cream and Brunton’s awesome milk. It never fails that I need a last minute dessert and I can always find something good at the market to treat my guests.

So don’t forget, seek out and patronize your local farmer’s markets. It’s really worth it and you’re supporting local farmers!

20140819_092801 (1)

Thank you Janoski’s!

What’s your favorite summer fruits or vegetables?

 

 

 

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Farm to Table- the Autumn Finale

Dinner at Lewis Landscape

It was a beautiful autumn afternoon. The setting was Lewis Farm in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. The event? The last Farm to Table dinner hosted by my friend, Jacob Mains and his delicious business, The Farmer’s Table.

I had been to Lewis Farm before to meet Jane, the owner, and had simply fallen in love with the barn and the land (and Jane, who is one sweet person). It is a beautiful place for an outdoor wedding and reception and I look forward to bringing events to Lewis Farm in the near future.

So it was with great anticipation that my friend Lynda (winner of my first Katherine’s Daughter Events giveaway ever) and I made our way to the back roads of Cranberry, to experience both the beautiful scenery and the amazing food that I knew Jacob would prepare.

Dinner at lewis Squash bitesIt’s great to be recognized and Jacob and his father Martin gave me a warm greeting. Lynda and I took in the view and pretty soon the appetizers were tantalizingly displayed amid the back drop of the autumn trees.

Little squash breads with apple butter sage, apple slices with whipped hazelnut ricotta, and mini meatballs with sweet sour and spicy sauce were served while Martin played bartender and poured a delicious crisp autumn white wine. I loved all three appetizers but I have to say those tiny squash breads just won me over with their delicious flavor and soft, moist texture.

It is amazing how strangers become friends in such settings. Lynda and I chose one of the cozy outdoor seating arrangements and before long, we met the neighbors from an adjoining farm and  chatted like only good farm friends do.

We saw everyone walk into the barn and knew it was dinnertime. Lynda and I introduced ourselves to our dinner mates and met a couple who were there celebrating the husband’s birthday. We talked all evening about everything- kids, bees, chickens- you name it as we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves tremendously.

Dinner at lewis best menu

Dinner was five courses, including dessert, and each one was a culinary delight. All courses used local organic produce from Kretschmann Farm and included pumpkin, squash, cabbage and of course the delicious grass fed meat of Lewis Farm. My favorite course was the pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter and kuri squash puree. Oh, just the thought of it now as I write this, makes my mouth water.

Delicious slices of delmonico steak lay next to a delicate strada of new potatoes, and fresh asparagus for the main course. It has been a long time since I tasted meat that soft and flavorful.

Dessert!

Dessert!

Dessert was a perfect ginger cookie with pumpkin mousse and a dollop of cinnamon creme fraiche. The other dinner guests used their fork or spoon, but I put aside all formal manners and picked up the ginger cookie, swooped it into the mousse and creme fraiche and bit off a generous bite! Everyone followed suit and before you knew it, we were murmuring sounds of delight as we enjoyed the last morsels of our delicious dinner.

Jacob Mains

Jacob Mains

Now we must wait until spring or early summer, when Jacob will again bring his delicious dinners back to us. He told me he will be planning, promoting and posting the 2014 dinners on his website soon so I encourage you to bookmark it or follow him on Facebook. What a great Christmas present for a foodie- a gift certificate to one of Jacob’s dinners.

Here’s some links for you:

The Farmers Table, LLC

Lewis Family Farm, Cranberry Twp, PA

Katherine’s Daughter Events

As for me, I am already dreaming of an event between Jacob, Jane and I to showcase the beautiful Lewis Farm. As soon as I gather my thoughts, you’ll be the first to know about it!

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