The wonderful Isabel Subtil, curious about our maple syrup project, once again graced us with her presence, camera and video equipment in tow! William is gonna lament, "I sure would like to get that barn painted this summer!" when he sees this photo, but it's such a lovely pop of color this time of year. The blush of swelling buds on the forest edges hints of spring, and the forsythia has opened on the dining room table showering us in its golden optimism, but the pastures are still brown at least for another day or two. It has been warm for March.
With buds on trees and such warm temperatures, the maple season has come and gone. We had great fun collecting and cooking five separate batches this year. The color spectrum surprised me in that our first batch was a little darker than our second, and our fourth a little darker than the last. Typically, the color starts light and gets increasingly darker over the season. Our last batch in years past was the color of molasses, but this year's syrup all stayed fairly light in color. Somebody asked me if and how the flavor changes in each batch. It does change, but the flavor profile is hard to pinpoint. Overall, it tastes of maple, but the tones tend from caramel to a sharper almost metallic tinge. "Metallic tinge" does not sound appetizing, yet there is something about maple that has a zing of some sort of sharp mapleness. I would say that quintessential maple flavor seems to develop over the season.
Despite the fact that the maple season is over, the pails are still out in the woods waiting for us to collect them. The trees are likely dripping, but if we take the sap that is out there, it will probably taste a little funky. Better to pull the taps and let the trees rest.
HIKING TRAILS OPEN
Need a little cardio in your life? Or a healthy shot of Mother Nature for wellness and balance? Our "SUGAR TRAILS" will be open all summer for visitor hiking through the woods and fields. Not only can you get out and enjoy the outdoors of "Fransconsin," but as spring planting progresses, our hiking routes will also include information about the crops we grow and farming practices employed. There is a lot of talk about regenerative farming. Come regenerate yourselves and see what we do to grow and protect the soil. Hiking paths vary from 1.5 miles to about 5 miles if you do the whole works.
WHAT'S NEW IN THE STORE?
I've been searching for things to make with CORN as that is a main commodity on our organic farm. Unfortunately, Grandma's recipe box doesn't have any goodies that call for cornmeal, but I did find a cool recipe from the Tarahumara people in Mexico. If you are unfamiliar with this culture, check out the documentary on Netflix called, Lorena Light-Footed Woman. This is a fascinating story of the Tarahumara people who run as part of their culture and have become some of the world's most accomplished ultramarathoners. Somebody who runs hundreds of miles must need calories!
The recipe is a corn cake powerbar of sorts and I tweaked it to contain a BIG Wisconsin signature. Basically, these bars are made from a dough of toasted ground corn, chia seeds, dried cranberries and maple syrup. They come out chewy and very delicious. This treat is gluten free and vegan, too! The only thing not from Wisconsin is the chia seed. Apparently, the Tarahumara carry these when they run for an energy boost along the way. Come on out for a hike and take a little Tarahumara love with you on the trails! I'll take mine with a bowl of berries for breakfast, please!
Speaking of fruit...the Farmhouse Bars are back! The first batch is a Plum Compote with Almond and White Chocolate. This makes me think of the fruit progression out here: rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, currants, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries, plums, pears, ground cherries, apples...rose hips! We are so fortunate in the warmer months...and they are almost here!
There are more new treats in the store this week, but you are going to have to come see!
WOMEN'S WRITING WORKSHOP - Sunday, April 18th 12:45 - 4:30
This is going to be such a fun event exploring the Dirt Farm spring gardens, walking the woods, reflecting on ourselves through the lens of Mother Nature, and exploring our inner thoughts through reflection and writing! I have all kinds of inspiring writing springboards lined up for the event, so I hope you consider joining me. You don't need to be a writer, but might be surprised if you leave as one! Bring a friend. Make a friend. Sign up HERE.
Sending Peace and Love,