So much of being a farmer is being an observer. I spend hours each week just looking around the farm. Watching for ripeness, for disease, for pests, for growth, for germination, for maturity, for weeds, for death. The farm and every crop are constantly changing. Is there enough moisture? Too much? Will the weeds take over this week or next? Are the flea beetles too much or will the plants be ok? And so many times there are no answers to the question of why. Why didn't our second seeding of beets and carrots germinate even after plenty of rain and fertilizer? Why are the plants in the seedling flats stunted and small when nothing has changed in the seeding mix? And this is when the ultimate excercise in letting go must happen, even though you've done everything right, the crop has failed with no reasonable explanation. Observation and letting go, those are the farmer's 2 biggest jobs.
Scenes from the farm: some choice harvests of radicchio and garlic, the second succession of tomatoes looking great, and a sample of the pictures my phone has the most of: broken pieces of things so I can remember what parts to buy and how they fit back together.
Roasted Potato and Fennel Salad
10 to 12 servings
- One 5-pound bag red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine the potatoes, fennel, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread the mixture in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Cool, about 30 minutes.
Combine the mayonnaise, chives and parsley in a large bowl. Add the cooled potato mixture, tossing gently to combine. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 3 days.