Here at A Simpler Place we love two things: local businesses and bread.
Christmas has brought us a new farm partner and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Passion Organics Farm to the Simpler Place family!
Passion Organics was established in 2000 and they are located in Thonotosassa, FL. Since the beginning, Passion Organics has been dedicated to providing their customers (and now ours!) with 100% certified organic produce. They use all organic fertilizer, sustainable farming practices and no chemical pesticides.
We currently have Passion Organics’ strawberries, yellow and green squash, and squash blossoms in our farm store. Come taste the difference of organic and local produce!
The holidays always bring together good company and good food. We thought we would bring you some fun breakfast recipes that you can make for or with your family this holiday season. Everyone loves a good ole pancake breakfast but it’s nice to switch it up sometimes. This week we thought we would play off of some produce we have available in our farm store!
We acquired four fuzzy baby chicks through someone who was looking to rehome them (a little more on that story here). We thought they were all girls but much to our surprise one grew to have really large feet. And then started making a funny noise. He found his voice; his crow. He was a rooster.
For many, a rooster in the coop is not a problem. They create fertile eggs which if collected can still be eaten just like any other. But roosters can become very protective of their coops. And unfortunately, that was our experience. One day Sherry was out collecting eggs and was attacked by said rooster. He flew up at her and left his mark.
I got the call and dreaded what had to happen next. At dusk I made my way over to the hen house and draped a blanket over him. I held him closely, said a soft thank you, and sent him off to Trailbale Farm for processing. I went home that night and cried. I even tear up as I type this passage. I know this is not a post for everyone. And many will disagree with all of it. I'm not here to say that how we do things is right or wrong. I'm simply sharing our story. Perhaps it'll shed light on farm life (even that on a small farmette) and bring awareness to where our food comes from; the value of the life and process it takes to make it to our tables.
If you asked me six plus years ago about grape season or any other season for that matter I would've responded with a deer in the headlights look followed by a sheepish grin. The “I don't know what you're talking about but if I smile maybe this will all go away quickly,” kind of grin. Fast forward a number of years later and here I am with my daughter Lorelei; counting her age in seasons.
I always remember picking grapes in the heat. So when the summer days are upon us I know it's nearing that time. Last summer (2016) I started searching for a local u-pick to share the experience with Lorelei for the first time. We found a great farm in Lithia called Blue Heron Vineyard. We picked and picked, ate them straight from the vines, and picked some more. We had pounds upon pounds of many different varieties of Florida’s muscadine. We took them all back to the house and spent the day processing the remaining Noble variety into a sweet jam.
This summer (2017) Lorelei and I had the pleasure of trying a new farm in Valrico called Thompson's Nursery. We met our friends, The Harter Family, and introduced them to picking Florida's southern gem.
These are memories I will cherish with Lorelei forever. I know in just a short time I'll get to experience the season with her again; she'll be one year older and we'll be one memory and a grape or two fuller.
We've been throwing around the idea of pizza on the farm for months. And have been held up by one small-ish hurdle. Water. When we set out to open our farm in the heart of suburbia with a passion in our hearts to bring our community together over good food we never thought we'd be met with this obstacle. We have a great well; tested, inspected and permitted as required by all county agencies. However, we've discovered that in order to expand our farm kitchen offerings beyond our current selection we have to connect to county water. So we are asking for your help. We are pre-selling tickets to our Summer Pizza Nights. By purchasing a ticket you are helping us take the necessary step to to connect to county water. In return you'll get a homemade pizza cooked in a wood fired oven; topped with local, seasonal vegetables and fruits, some of which will come from our own gardens. We are excited to once again bring our community together over good food and local agriculture.
A Simpler Place (Our Garden):
Lettuce, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, Purplette Onions.
Fresh baked wild yeast Sourdough Bread, Flavored finishing salts, and desserts from our Farm Kitchen.
Greens on the Gro: Lacinato Kale
Fasig Family Farm: Green Beans and Spinach
Peach Pit Farms: Lettuce, Cabbage, Ginger, Peppers
We feel lucky to have surprises arrive every week from new local growers and farm friends.
Florida Peaches and Tomatoes (Conventional)
Farm Fresh Eggs from Jorden Farms and Scrambled.
Non-Local Certified Organic Fruits & Vegetables:
Asparagus, Gold and Red Beets, Blueberries, Pink Lady and Granny Smith Apples, Yellow Onion, Navel Oranges, Grapefruit, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Red Leaf Lettuce, Red Bell Peppers, Garlic, Avocado, Eggplant, Fennel, Meyer Lemons, Shiitake Mushrooms, Pineapple, Black Plums, Red Pears, Zucchini, Tomatoes on the Vine, Sweet Potatoes, Spaghetti Squash.
Non-Local Certified Organic Spices:
Lavender Flowers, Poultry Rub, Steak & Chop Rub, Pickling Spice, Five Spice Powder, Thai Seasoning, Bay Leaf, Vanilla Bean, Juniper Berries, Nutmeg, Italian Seasoning, Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Jamaican Jerk, and Crystallized Ginger.
Local, Raw, Unfiltered Honey from Ranthum Bees' hives on the farmette and Rodney Brammer from Valrico.
The Chill Dill fresh pickles
Mother Kombucha on Tap
It's been fun on the farmette with four new baby chicks and our four girls (laying hens). The chicks came as a surprise when I received a call from a mother who had donated two chicks to her sons PreK. The school could no longer keep the babies. They were looking for a place to adopt them. Her son Miles had already named them Charlotte and Lulu.
Less than a week later I received another call from someone new. Same story. Welcome two more baby chicks. Four baby chicks later...
When old enough we'll introduce the chicks to our four ladies in the coop.
We've done some Spring Cleaning in the hen house this week. We raked out all of the old bedding in the coop and added it to our compost pile. The girls' nice addition of poo will age in the compost pile and eventually make its way to our garden and flower beds. We have another days work on the extension of the coop to secure any loose chicken wire, cover holes, and barricade perimeters from unwanted intruders. Then the ladies will be ready to enjoy their new space!