Yesterday could not have been a more perfect day - blue skies, puffy white clouds, temps in the 70's, and the destination a farm with my eldest. His faithful companion would probably have gone along if I'd let him.
As it was, I did not even get out of the car when I picked Dougie up. Clyde was right there as soon as I pulled in. No, I am not afraid of this big guy - just afraid of being licked to death.
Eggs were the reason for our destination. For several years I have been a devotee of Bridgewater Farm eggs - ever since I first started getting them at our local farmers market. The problem is the market only runs from June to October. That leaves me with the option of either driving thirty-five miles (one way) for eggs or settling for what passes for eggs in the grocery store.
When I had finally used up the last of the three dozen eggs I got at the last farmers market last fall, I started getting the 'organic' eggs at the grocery. There is no comparison between those and Bridgewater Farm's organic eggs.
I used the last eggs from the store the first of the week and with the avian flu in Iowa's egg farms in the news, I decided I could not wait until June to once again have good eggs. (I can hardly stand to eat what's available in the stores.)
For lunch today I scrambled some of yesterday's prize along with sausage, topped that with shredded cheese, picante sauce and a dollop of sour cream and rolled it all into a tortilla for brunch burritos. Oh my goodness! I shan't use any other eggs but these as long as I can possibly get them.
I had called ahead to schedule our visit which was when I was also told we could look in the high tunnel if we wanted to. Exactly what I was hoping for. After greeting Dale and introducing him to Doug, we began chatting about his 40-acre operation. And because we were close to the hog pen, we walked over there. I had to show off my farm knowledge by observing, "I see you're raising Durocs.". Dale said, "They look like Durocs, but actually they are Red Wattles, a very old, almost extinct breed."
I didn't take any photos but did find this one online. You can see the growth or wattle on this pig's jaw. They have one on each side. Dale told us this hog breed has naturally lean meat and that it could survive on its own by foraging in a pasture or woods. Seeing hogs being raised like this rather than in confinement brought back memories of growing up on the farm.
Dale spent a lot of time with us showing us around all the planted areas before taking us into the high tunnel. He explained everything they do to maintain their organic certification as well as how they have expanded their markets beyond selling at local farmers markets (hospitals, schools, etc.). I noticed lots of radishes ready to be pulled and asked if I could buy a bunch. Good radishes are something else I crave along with good eggs.
This is a photo I took of Dale helping customers at our local farmers market in October 2012. You can read more about him and his farm here. (The first photo of the eggs is from their website.) With all he has to do at this time of year there aren't enough hours in the day, which is why I am especially appreciative of the time he spent with us.
This picture shows what's left of my radishes. I should have taken a before photo. It has been a long time since I have had white icicles. They made an excellent radish sandwich for my supper last evening.
Indeed it was a perfect day for a little road trip.