barking dogs and farms

I woke up this morning and rushed to the refrigerator, smiling to see the blue and pink eggs from chickens I watched peck around Emily and Jeremy’s yard this weekend next to a gallon of raw milk.

tendrils at Barking Dog Farm

Reassured the weekend in the Berkshires wasn’t all a lovely dream, I scrambled a few eggs slowly and thought about how extraordinarily lucky I am that Emily’s father—who seems in the middle of all sorts of useful projects, like working on bringing Internet access to more of the town—found this blog, forwarded the url to Emily, who wrote me a kind and intriguing note about the life she has created with her family in Southfield, Massachusetts, inviting me to visit Barking Dog Farm (I’ll share their new site address soon).

rose

In the large yard behind the house, flowers grow tall,

mass of orange

poppies

(I especially like these, that look to me like firefly orbs)

these are like firefly orbs

and wild arugula grows between beds of the vegetable garden with borage,

borage

squash blossoms (I learned from a CSA farmer at dinner that the blooms attached to the squash are female)

gorgeous female squash blossom

tomatoes still green,

tomatoes

baby lettuces that made a soft salad,

lettuces (these were so soft)

blueberries that will darken,

blueberries ripening

and serious rhubarb plants.

massive rhubarb

On the other side of the yard, their two dozen happy chickens were roaming,

happy chickens roaming the yard

and I followed Emily and Jeremy back to their chicken house.

Jeremy and Emily walking toward the chicken house

They have all different kinds of chickens,

happy chickens

that lay in a house with one wall panel from boxes of grapes they bought and pressed last year,

in the chicken house, the wine boxes from the grapes they pressed

fresh eggs

and then there’s Handsome the Rooster, who can be testy.

Handsome is Ag.It.Ta.ted.

Fortunately, they have an impressive (and suitably intimidating) pitchfork to keep Handsome in line, that also happens to be useful for digging fingerling potatoes,

raising the pitchfork

potatoes Jeremy dug

that were cooked and tossed with herbs and butter and joined by baby zucchini from the garden,

potatoes and baby squash

and then there was the best chard I’ve ever tasted (Jeremy explains below) and a fish stew with clams, mussels, and Red Striper. Jeremy is a chef and the owner of Fire Roasted Catering, so there was an intense and consistent level of really excellent cooking all weekend.

Emily began the plum tatin before dinner,

and unmolded it perfectly a bit later—

The night ended with tastings of dandelion wine and Jeremy’s tart hard cider and smooth apple brandy, and the next morning I woke up to find Emily making crumpets in her handmade Italian tins formed for that purpose:

And the crumpets were the base for eggs Benedict with a Prosecco hollandaise sauce—

eggs benedict (homemade crumpets in foreground)

this is how yellow hollandaise becomes with fresh eggs and yes, those are the orangest yolks I’ve seen.

eggs benedict (look at that beautiful orange yolk!)

There was a pressed cream spread Emily made topped with jam,

cream spread and jam

and then we were off to visit Blue Hill farm (this is the real one), where one of Jeremy’s brothers farms.

the road

Thistle abounds,

thistle

and the farm goes on and on,

Blue Hill Farm

to mobile chicken coops (these are neat),

the mobile chicken coops

beautiful pigs of a heirloom breed that make you smile, near the cows (the goats were hiding),

all on a farm that truly looks like this.

Blue Hill Farm

We went for ice cream and cheese (at Rubiner’s) in the town of Great Barrington and walked through gardens with friends of theirs, and I really didn’t want to leave.

Emily and Jeremy sent me back to Brooklyn with bottles of Jeremy’s good cider, raw milk (you know how I consider this a necessity), and a dozen of those beautiful eggs.

the fresh eggs from Barking Dog Farm that Emily and Jeremy sent home with me

The best part is that not only do I now consider them friends (they have a place to stay in Brooklyn), but I can support them in their new venture—a local butcher shop in Great Barrington.

In late August (the 22nd, to be exact), the two will host a fundraising dinner for the shop at their farm with a menu that includes, among other things, rooster ravioli, a rhubarb cocktail, and their own salami.

How nice to think we can, all of us, nurture small businesses into being; let me know in the comments or by email if you would like to go to the dinner too, and I’ll make sure you have all the details.

Emily and Jeremy

I imagine that, like me, you’ll find Southfield and the hosts charming and the area very difficult to leave…

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