Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chert Hollow Farm-Dinner Photo Roundup

Eric and Joanna Reuter of Chert Hollow Farm hosted 16 Slow Food Katy Trail members for a farm tour and dinner on Sept. 16.

They talked about their diversified organic-farming methods as we explored the fields of beautiful amaranth, heirloom beans, tomatoes, corn and greens. After meeting the goats and chickens, we were treated to a delicious Southern meal prepared from ingredients grown and produced on-farm.

The menu featured a tasting platter of black cherry tomatoes, sheepnose pimento, Costata Romanesco squash, Fin de Bagnol green beans,Burmese okra, Poona Kheera cucumber, Lina Sisco's Bird Egg and Hutterite soup beans and farm-fresh cheeses.

Next came the Hoppin' John, which was prepared with heirloom cowpeas, onions, garlic, hot peppers, tomatoes, mixed greens and fresh cheese.

From there we moved on to a mess of greens
(collard, mustard, kale and beet greens sauteed with garlic and vinegar). Then came three batches of cornbread, each made with a different variety of corn (White Hickory King, Mandan Bride and Arikara White). All were delicious--especially when drizzled with local honey and sorghum.

The fried green-heirloom tomatoes and okra--breaded with freshly ground cornmeal and delicately pan fried--made all of us swoon.

A beautiful apple-pecan cake made with farm eggs and yogurt and Missouri-produced apples, pecans, honey and wheat flour competed for our taste buds next to a luciously smooth custard made from farm eggs and milk and topped with Missouri cherries, farm-grown rhubarb and gooseberries.

Eric and Joanna strive to live by the principles they market: a dedication to local foods through self-sufficiency and avoidance of processed foods. They are working to integrate vegetables, fruit, grains, livestock, poultry, dairy, and more into a self-sufficient farm that respects the traditions of their ancestors while making use of appropriate innovations. Maintenance of diversity is one of their basic principles of farming, as evidenced by their focus on heirloom vegetables and heritage breeds, including a number of Slow Food Ark of Taste varieties. They intend to earn a decent living while feeding themselves and visitors with the freshest and best food possible, sourced on-farm as most farms once did.

Drop by their stand at the Columbia Farmers Market and say hello. If you get there early enough, you may be able to get some of their cornmeal which they've been grinding on site.

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