Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Gardens at Clifton Point

As I said in my earlier blog, my recent trip to California was undertaken to do research on organic farms for my farm project in upstate New York—(of course I had to do a little restaurant research as well). I’ve been a caterer, private chef, restaurateur, food and wine editor, and, after House & Garden closed, I decided that I would not jump back into any of those things, at least not right away. I decided that, along with my styling work, I wanted to do something new and something I could learn from. The perfect situation opened up--a friend upstate with lots of land and a strong desire to farm her land asked me if I wanted a blank canvas to create something.

So now I am officially an amateur farmer. I’m eager to do the kind of work that ties me to the seasons of the year, that allows for the growth of plants that will eventually be harvested and shared with others. I also am inspired by the fact that we have become a country of ethnic eaters. Yet, when I come back from a foreign country I often can not find that special tomato or pepper or flavor that makes that country’s food so distinctive. My idea for the garden is to grow things that will fill that niche and to experiment with heirloom vegetables. I am really liking the idea of birth, growth, and harvest.

I have started with a few beds as an experiment and I’ll see where they take me. The quality of the soil and seeds appeal to me the way the quality of ingredients appeal to me as a chef. So the first thing I want to know about is my soil which turns out to be quite poor on this farm. I am starting with raised beds and a few rows in a field.

I’m going to be blogging about this project during the coming months so you are getting in on the ground of it so to speak…


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