week 11

OK, this week has been so full, it makes my head spin to even try to capture it in words. I will, however, try! First off, it has been a week of constant, drenching, blessed rain. The relief that began last Thursday with just over half an inch, has continued on and off throughout the week with a grand total of nearly 3 inches. The pastures are already greener, the temperatures have been markedly lower, and I think it goes without saying, our spirits are soaring. It was a great week to welcome a stream of visitors, old friends and new, to the hollow. Sunday, the first car arrived carrying Chris and Brigitte here for a multi day farm stay. Chris, a Tennessee native, is chef de cuisine at a Denver restaurant and his partner Brigitte, with Wisconsin dairy blood running through her veins, an architect. They intend to move back to family land south of Murfreesboro in Shelbyville, TN and have a go at an on farm supper club with all foods fresh and local. We enjoyed their company tremendously. They woke at dawn to milk Addie, worked diligently in the fields, and planned and shared their vision with us. We were so happy to meet them and plan to be the very first diners when they hang their shingle! Monday mid day the next car unloaded with long term Hill and Hollow members Sarah and Lizzie each with their dear toddlers Lucy and Nora respectively. Equipped for an overnight stay, we had such fun watching the girls explore with wonder their farm surroundings. Madeline was a prize older girl adoring these two young ones, and the whole crew smiled as creek play led to a rain storm which led to more fun than ever in said creek! The lunch table was packed on Tuesday when we got to sample Chris’s work, pulled pork cooked to perfection and the most refreshing cucumber and melon salad with basil and farm feta. I could not have been more thankful that day with William being “off schedule” having woken late and napped late, he was actually at Grand mom’s for a play date right when lunch was served. I got to sit and dine with all of our guests. Next day, the final guests arrived (some had left mind you, so our numbers were not swelling, just changing!) Anya and Danika, family friends from Nashville, arrived for an overnighter. Anya was our first intern a decade ago, helping us in these very fields when Sasha was a toddler himself. Her visits are always these wonderful perspective checks as we see how we’ve grown and changed through her eyes. Now, it is a rainy harvest and you all know how much we LOVE that. All but Sarah have left the farm to return to their homes, and in fact, in the midst of this past week of comings and goings, Sarah, our final apprentice, informed us that she too will have to leave the farm this weekend to care for her ailing Father in Ohio. That leaves us alone, solo operators from this point until the end of the season. Hard to imagine, Paul seems elated, tired of daily crew management, he looks forward to working according to his schedule. I am slightly fearful, as I have a 14 month in two slowing me down ever so slightly, but we shall see! It will be an amazing journey for us, already on a pretty amazing journey. Wishing you all a lovely week ahead, really, there is even more news, but I will save that for next week.

week eleven in your basket:

beets

onions

garlic

basil

tomatoes

peppers

eggplant

squash

Grilled Ratatouille Salad

1 12- to 14-ounce eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds1 zucchini or summer squash, quartered lengthwise1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 6 strips1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper and onion on baking sheet. Mix garlic with olive oil, drizzle over vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Grill vegetables until tender and tinged with brown, turning frequently, about 6 minutes for eggplant and zucchini and about 10 minutes for red bell pepper and onion.

Divide vegetables between 2 plates; drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle cheese and basil over and serve.

Note, this can also be done by searing vegetables in a cast iron skillet if you don’t often grill.

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