We have started our Sandy Mush Hiking Club, a group of us who can’t imagine a better way to enjoy a day than hiking in Sandy Mush and enjoying the wonderful company, conversation and beautiful mountains. We were fortunate to have our local historian, Vance Garrett, lead our hike through the Garrett Cove into the high mountain pasture overlooking Crabtree in Haywood County, circling around Sharp Top through the Flatwoods and then back down into Garrett Cove. We enjoyed the 4 and 1/2 hour hike with over 1000 elevation gain with a surprise visit to a cave, a botany lesson in the garlic mustard invasive and a conservation talk with Sarah of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. SAHC holds conservations easements on three of the properties in Garrett Cove. I am thankful for the people with the foresight to conserve this land for now and for many future generations, and I am thankful for the history that Vance so graciously shared with us.
Enjoy the photos!
We enjoyed the vegetables of our labor with Dad and Barbara Sunday. Everything came from our garden, except the chicken which we bought from Reeves Homeplace Farm in Little Sandy Mush and the cream style biscuits which I made from a recipe in Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food, one of my favorite cookbooks. I also used Alice’s guidelines for roasting the chicken which I stuffed with fresh herbs and garlic from the garden. I steamed broccoli with a hint of sea salt and roasted the cauliflower in olive oil and then served with a sage butter, and, of course, a bountiful freshly harvested salad. Tastebuds were rejoicing!
Here are a few recipes our farm families shared for favorite ways to enjoy cauliflower:
I prepare my cauliflower by cutting it up, drizzling it with olive oil and sprinkling it with fresh pepper and salt. Then roasting it on a baking sheet at 400 for 10-15 minutes. While it’s roasting, I brown butter in a pan and add fresh sage. I toss the cauliflower in the butter and add pasta and bits of ham. It’s a great quick summer dish. If you puree the finished product (sans ham) you have a lovely substitute for mashed potatoes.
This is from John’s stepmother Betty:
Hardy, I don’t really have a recipe! I just go with the flow, so to speak.
I make a roux of melted butter and flour, guess-te-mating the amounts
!! Then I add milk until I get it to a pouring consistency, or what
looks like a cheese sauce. If it’s a little too stiff, I add some
water!! Then I use good old fashioned sliced cheddar cheese from
Publix, nothing fancy. I tear it into small pieces and add to the
sauce, stirring all the time. Again if it gets a little too thick, I
just add some hot water. Nothing fancy, but John senior seems to
enjoy it. I sometimes add a little nutmeg, but he isn’t too keen on
that! Sorry I can’t be more specific, I just make it until I think it is ok,
and pour it over steamed cauliflower florets!!
“Betty steamed the whole head of cauliflower when she cooked it for us
and then poured the sauce over the whole head. It was beautiful AND
delicious.” ~ Hardy
” We Loved our cauliflower. I roasted it with the baby beets and mixed
in the greens at the end. Yummy! ” ~Patricia
As a whole, farmers are generous souls who are willing to share their knowledge, their time and their stories. I had fun visiting a couple of local farms this past week. I finally dropped by to meet Janet Peterson on her lovely Cloud 9 Farm in Fairview. Janet and her partner, Jeff, are building on what her father started several years ago as a timber and blueberry farm.; they have now diversified into beef, chickens, honeybees, blueberries and a sawmill operation. They also have two lovely accommodations for those wanting a Blue Ridge vacation; they have a charming cabin and a ranch home with a spectacular view. If you have visitors coming to Asheville, I recommend a Cloud 9 Farm stay; it even includes fresh eggs delivered to your door. An additional important aspect of the farm to me is that they are working with Buncombe County Soil and Water on a Conservation Easement.
I also dropped by Ostara Farm in Sandy Mush to talk garlic and mulching with Tara, and came home with yummy homemade cottage cheese for my mom that brought back childhood memories of Big Nanny, what I called her grandmother, who lived on Curtis Creek in Candler; she was a very self-sufficient woman with a green thumb and a big heart. I love to hear stories of Big Nanny and her strawberries and her milk cow and her quilting and her strong independence.
Since I love farmers and love their stories, I am going to add a new aspect to my blog. I am going to share stories of farmers in Sandy Mush, and since Sandy Mush is full of interesting people and stories, I will probably include stories of crafts people and others as well. I’ll try to share a story once a month, and you will find all of them archived under the Sandy Mush Farm Stories category. I hope you will get the opportunity to know these people and to support their passion and hard work.
Since I just visited Tara and Sean of Ostara Farm, I will get started with them. Stay tuned…