A gratitude-filled finale for our first Feast Baskets
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
The lead up to this year’s November feast has been an exciting time at Our perfect Farm! All year we’ve been making and harvesting food for our Feast Baskets, and packing them this past weekend to prepare for delivery Monday and Tuesday was a wonderful culmination of months of work.
We started harvesting Feast Basket contents in July, with Killarney Red hard neck garlic. We also harvested our Inchelium Red soft neck garlic, but we’re saving that for December. The garlic was a fabulous success with large healthy bulbs!
Shortly after that we harvested our Dutch Red shallots and Borrettana Cipollini onions, which also did well. They were a little small this year. We harvested the French Grey shallots too, but they were so small and undeveloped we didn’t include them in the baskets. We had just enough to find out that they make a delicious addition to deviled eggs!
In October, we harvested the winter squash to give it time to cure. The grandkids were happy to help us harvest a range of squashes, including Winter Luxury Pumpkins, Thelma Sanders acorn, Guatemalan Blue Banana, and Zeppelin Delicata. We even got to send each of them home with a carving pumpkin! A lot of the fruits hadn’t finished developing, but given the change in weather, it wasn’t going to. Then some of the fruits we did harvest didn’t cure properly. It’s certainly been an adventure every step of the way. We followed all the general direction for curing and then storing the squash, so aren’t sure what went wrong. We’ll do some research this winter so we can try something different next year, and hopefully be able to update you and include more perfect squash in our 2021 Feast Baskets.
Turns out if we plan a wedding in winter (and re-plan multiple times to accommodate COVID) and get married in early spring, we get things in the ground late! Earlier planting might be a place to start to solve the underdeveloped squash issue. We’ll let you know!
In the weeks leading up to the Feast Basket delivery, we harvested potatoes. The potatoes are amazing! We have a lot and they got to mostly reasonable sizes for their varieties: Rose Finn Apple fingerling, All Blue, Purple Viking, and Keuka Gold. It was exciting to see their brilliant colors come through as we washed them.
During those same weeks I spent most of my evenings trimming the alliums. I felt such wonder as I turned them into the tidy alliums you’d see in a grocery store.
There were some sacrifices to the local wildlife population along the way. We knew we had rabbits, deer, and elk that come onto our land and browse. We didn’t know just how much they’d enjoy the gourmet buffet we created—seemingly just for them! They devastated the brassicas, so the collard greens, kale, and Brussels sprouts we intended to include just never happened. In August and September, we got to watch them come up leaf-by-leaf, and then get eaten back to the ground again and again. We had just enough Lacinato kale from our own garden to share with two or three people. And the carrots hardly developed at all, with their tops being eaten whenever they got big enough to start building the vegetable root. We did end up with a handful of Rainbow and Tonda di Parigi carrots per customer to share. While tiny, they are beautiful, and we find them just as delicious as the rabbits did!
Shaun has a long history of foraging food. He regularly visited our neighbors on Beacon Hill to ask about their grape leaves, strawberry tree fruit, plums, and other food growing in their yards. He applied these well-developed skills in our new community, visiting our new neighbors with apple trees in their yards and asking if they were planning to pick the fruit from their trees. He had so much luck, and we had delicious apples for our Feast Baskets. Our pigs were quite excited to get all the leavings!
Our last days of preparation before we packed the truck in the early morning hours and headed out for delivery were spent with friends and family. We filled a socially distanced weekend processing birds and packing up the boxes. It felt so good to see all the food we’d spent the year making and harvesting ready to share.
Earlier this fall, Shaun spent hours finding packaging that we felt good about. You can read a little more about our search for great packaging and the things that were important to us in this blog post. The painstakingly selected boxes, labels, and twine didn’t arrive as promised. So on the eve of delivery the farm team did some creative problem solving. As it turns, out, you can find 100% recycled and 100% recyclable boxes on short notice in almost any city in the world - classic bankers boxes. As a bonus, they don’t require tape to be held together, reducing the material that eventually go to the landfill.
We were ready to deliver our sustainably farmed food in sustainably produced packaging that looked, at first glance, like a box of files!
We are sold out of Feast Baskets for December, but still have turkeys, geese, and ducks available!
We are so grateful for all the support from all our loved ones and for the opportunity to be a part of so many celebrations this year.
What a year! And what a community to share it with.
P.S. The packaging we ordered arrived while we were out making deliveries.