summer on the eastern shore

the first summer in long time that we have visited back to the motherland – the eastern shore of maryland.  i certainly don’t miss the oppression of the warm weather and humidity, but still it’s nice to enjoy home with plants growing instead of the cold dreary weather of december.  ma and i split up with i visiting my folks and she hers and meeting up again on the 4th.

few locations are as ingrained in my psyche as much as pemberton park, a small stand of woods that my family and i would go for walks at almost every week.  i don’t think i have completed a visit to my folks house without at least one walk there, and often multiple walks.  so we had to take a walk there.  always on the look out for food – we foraged on black berries.

blackberries

warm from the sun, and complex flavored – not just sweet, but with some tartness, and a little bitter flavor of tannin.  i think i’m coming to realize that i like black berries much better than black raspberries, or perhaps it is just that the flavor of cultivated varieties lacks complexity – it’s flavor profile reduced to little more than sweet.

after pemberton and a lunch time meal of crab cakes (you have to gorge yourself on the crustaceans when i can), we headed out to visit greenbranch farms.  the owner/operator – ted also used to work for my farming mentor jay.  i wanted to check out his operation and see what other organic farmers were doing in the area.

i have to say i was impressed.  ted had a really nice farm stand, and a very diverse farm.

produce

price list

in addition to produce he also offered beef, chicken, pork and eggs from his farm plus milk and cheese from a local dairy.  ted was kind enough to take a bit of time to talk about his operation and the lay of the maryland organic land – at least as he saw it.  Seems that there is still a huge amount of demand, and in talking i saw several gaps in the food system mostly in processing and in distribution.  the same gaps that you see in urban areas you seem to be seeing in rural areas.  part of the reason f0r this is that both communities are trying to create system that are based on local small scale processing.

my folks and i took a quick tour of his farm.

a view from the south end of the fields.

about half of the fields were in diverse vegetables and the other half was in pasture.  these get rotated every couple of years so that the area that was in pasture turns into vegetables.

broilers

out in the field he had about a dozen chicken tractors with broilers in them.  these are moveable coops that each day get dragged to a bit of pasture that has not yet been grazed on yet.

eggmobile

in addition to the broilers he also had this movable coop for laying hens.

chickens

the livestock operation seems to be somewhat modeled after joel salatin’s work at polyface farm.  in the wood lot were pigs but they were not interested in anything to do with me.

later that night my mama

and i put together a peach cobbler – easily among my favorite of treats – peaches just somehow lend themselves to being cooked with dough so well.  i mostly just listened and took pictures.  this is from my grandma’s recipe.

the filling for the cobbler

mama making cobbler

the finished cobbler

look at it glistening – looks like something that should be featured in magazine or something like that.  when ma was recommending that we take a quick trip home for the fourth of july weekend, i thought it was much to short of a trip to travel that far, but even just one day with my folks is worth the trip.  what fun.

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One response to “summer on the eastern shore

  1. I made my first lattice top pie last month and wish I’d taken pictures.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t been here for a long time but wanted to pass your site along to a librarian coworker who helped me out a lot on a project this morning… she is now up at the front desk reading Permaculture, I thought she’d like this too. But of course I got sucked into reading. Glad I did because I am taking some friends home this weekend who are super amped about farm stands, we will check out Green Branch. hugs to you and the missus.

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