Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Farm Tour

Do you remember that I was going on a Farm Tour?  And that I said I'd post an update when I got back?  I'm kinda slacking on that one!  I wanted to wait until I had some pictures to share  :)

Our first stop was at O'Tooles Organic Herb Farm where we met B, the owner.
Jami, B (the owner), Mae, Joey
Jami, B, and our friends Megan and Joey
Mrs. B took us on a walking tour around the grounds and into the "Secret Gardens".  There she pointed out flowers to us, gave tips on working in your own garden and showed us the Labyrinth.  She also says that there are fairies in her gardens.... I love this lady!

Pink plumbago?
Looks like Plumbago to me, but I've never seen it in pink before!

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Pretty in Pink

Me and the Labyrinth
Me in front of the Labyrinth.  You can see an aerial photo on the farm's website.
We gathered around and listened as she talked about how the farm looked in the old days and about making the labyrinth on one of her favorite pieces of land.  After her husband and soul mate passed, she built it in his honor.  Her story brought tears to more than one eye! 

You can see the design in the this photo.
Welcome the the Labyrinth

How can you not feel at total peace reading these words?!
(You can click on this picture, or any other, to see a larger version)
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I like to think her husband sits in this chair as he watches over her in the garden  :)
Lazy garden

The farm also has a shiitake mushroom grow house, but it was not in use when we were there.  We did get the run down on how it works, though!
Shiitake mushroom grow house at O'Tooles Organic Herb Farm
The room is under complete shade with a shade cloth over the top to prevent sun and yard debris from dropping in.
Shiitake mushroom grow room
Oak trees, mainly red or white, are chosen and cut from the forest.  They are used for about 3 years before they are replaced with new logs.  Holes are then bored into the logs and the spores are brushed inside where they will grow to maturity.  You can see where the last crop were grown.  I'd like to see this in action one day!
Shiitake grow logs
There were also two large greenhouses on the property to show the entire process of plant propagation and offering them for sale.  Once I got in there, taking pictures went by the wayside!  I was much too excited and had my hands way too full to be bothered with taking photos!  We managed to get a serious loot of plants!
In no particular order....
  1. DeCicco Broccoli
  2. Nassturium (Tropaeolum)
  3. Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)
  4. Bird's Eye Pepper
  5. Bay Tree
  6. Spinach
  7. Collards
  8. Bright Lights Chard
  9. Radicchio (Cichorium intybus)
  10. Rue (Rute graveolens)
  11. Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  12. Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
  13. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  14. Stevia (rebaudiana)
  15. Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  16. Kentucky Colonel Mint (mentha spicata)
  17. St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  18. Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys)
We spent so much time wandering around the gardens that we only made it to one other farm, Deep Roots Meat.  We didn't take the tour there since Jami grew with cows and the rest of us has spent a lot of time around cow farms.... that and we had to wait about an hour until the next tour started.  We did get some of their fabulous forage fed beef!  My it's tasty!!

O'Tooles is having an open house this weekend with several workshops.  My mother-in-law and I are planning to go to the soap making workshop with Magnolia Hill Soap Co. We've both been wanting to learn how to make soap for quite some time now, so we're very, very excited about this! And hey, I may even pick up a few more plants! Hehe!

I'll leave you today with a sweet picture of our friends under the Loquat tree.
Mae and Joey
Fun fact: I married these guys  :)

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