Summers in New Orleans are harsh–sweltering daytime heat, thunderstorms, occasional gusts and breezes that give the cicadas up in the oak trees an excuse to buzz. I’ve learned quite a bit over the past few months and am looking forward to what the fall season has in store for us…
Again, we learned early on that weeds and grasses will eat you alive in this Southern tropical climate. We thought we’d be able to keep their growth at bay with some tilling and weeding but we were wrong. So we dropped layers and layers of mulch to protect the soil from the heat and to retain moisture. It seems to have worked so far… things are coming along nicely.
The purple hull peas are looking fantastic. Lots of blossoms and pods forming.
I can’t even keep up with these cucumbers.
The okra is unstoppable.
Fruit is starting to set on some of our tomatoes.
Lost track of what kind of pepper this is… oops. Rookie mistake.
I think this is going to be a huge month for us so stay tuned for more updates. Also, there has been some talk of bees. Bees?
It’s been a bit since our last farm update, but things have been moving right along. What started as an overgrown lot is certainly starting to resemble a farm.
Once we got a rototiller we immediately started clearing the land and tilling the soil. We were warned that this would happen, but the weeds shot up like crazy right after we tilled. The soil was still nice and loose despite rampant weed growth, so we knocked down whatever tall grasses had shot up and got our hands on as much cardboard and wood chip mulch as possible.
We were able to get a good pile of mulch going to get us started, so we spread it fairly evenly across most of the area we tilled. Here are some pictures of our progress.
These are a Purple Hull peas, a Southern heirloom variety.
Okra Alley. We’ve been harvesting it pretty much daily.
Some Nufar Basil seedlings. Smells wonderful.
I still can’t believe we have an actual water hose.
Henry, our Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster with his two Welsummer ladies.
Cicada chilling on a twig before flying up into an oak tree.
Planting a bunch of lemon basil with the Earthway seeder. This thing is amazing.
Many more updates to follow. We’re tracking down more mulch and are getting ready to prepare a lot more beds for the Fall.
Just over 3 days to go on Kickstarter and we’re almost there! I can’t believe it’s already been a month and that we’re so close. I put together this short video over the weekend for the final push. (Change the quality to 1080p.)
Click the Kickstarter link on the right!. Thanks again to everyone who has shared this and supported the project… it’s been an amazing month!
Been a while since I did a proper blog post. Spent the day out on the property yesterday and rented a rototiller for the day. Cleared a ton of brush and grass by hand and tilled up a good portion of the property. While I was able to remove quite a few bricks and rocks from the soil, I also encountered a few areas of concrete foundation that I didn’t anticipate.
I definitely need a bigger rototiller than the 5hp one I rented, but I was still able to make some good progress.
Also, I was a guest on the Agricultural Insights Podcast the other day and they put it up this morning. Have a listen.
Only 6 days left on Kickstarter! Thanks to everyone for the generous pledges! Keep spreading the word.
Working on another short video for the final push.
Guess how impossible it is to upload an audio only version of a podcast. Insanely impossible.
So for now, here’s an HD video (!) version until I can figure out all this audio nonsense.
Podcast: Play in new window
If you’re making fried chicken and aren’t using beef tallow, you’re just bonkers.
We went full-Southern last night at the Hohne Compound with fried chicken, collard greens, and Colonel Taylor old fashionedses(?). And beef tallow is a magical golden oil that fries up a mean chicken thigh. It’s actually the beef fat that surrounds the kidney. Generally it needs to be rendered down, but I was able to get my hands on some rendered grass-fed stuff from Cleaver and Co. It has a high smoke point and great flavor–although it does have an interesting smell for those of us accustomed to grain-fed beef.
As for the chicken, I don’t think it’s necessary to go crazy with batters and breadcrumbs and egg washes and whatnot. The skin should be seasoned and crispy, which can be obtained with a light dusting of black pepper and salt. We also did a light coating of flour following this recipe, but we’re going to try a little coconut or almond flour next time.
Then you simply bring the oil up to 375-ish in some cast iron–enough oil so that the thighs will be almost entirely submerged. Then it’s 5 minutes skin side down, 15 minutes skin side up with the lid on(lower heat and listen), and then 5 minutes skin side down with the lid off.
While the thighs were frying I simmered the collard greens in some of my homemade chicken stock and finished them with a splash of apple cider vinegar and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
Many of you have probably seen this TED talk by now but Ron Finley is a bad ass.
Time to start growing some shit.
On my second attempt at podcasting I encounter some technological difficulties while talking about how the amazing support for our Kickstarter project, hamburgers (again), and Allan Savory’s recent TED talk.
Well, that was a podcast.
Thanks to everyone for showing so much support yesterday… I can’t believe we almost hit $4000 within the first 12 hours!
I’m trying to keep everyone updated on this whole project by podcasting regularly. I’m still working out the audio feeds but the first one is available via YouTube.
We officially launched our Kickstarter campaign this morning. Let’s get the word out to as many people as possible!