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Fun at a farm: Eco Farm with DC Food Bloggers

First, a quick reminder to enter my 2 year anniversary recipe contest!! Recipes must include both mangoes and tomatoes.

When Mary of Arugula Files sent a message to some of the DC food bloggers about volunteering at a local farm, I signed up without giving it too much thought.

Are you nuts? Asked some of my friends? You see, I will be the first one to admit that I'm not a huge of manual labor, getting my hands dirty (unless I'm cooking, or making pottery), and being out on the sun for long periods of time. But once in a while, I like doing things that are out of my comfort zone. Plus, it was a great chance to hang out with my food blogging friends.

Mary, Elyssa of State Dinner and I met up for brunch, and then joined Luke and Joe of Passion Fruits, Maya of Maya's Kitchen and Tammy of Florida Girl in DC at Eco Farms in Lanham, MD. Eco Farm sells its organic produce to some of DC area's top restaurants!!!

After meeting some of the other volunteers and getting a quick spiel about the farm, we got our gloves on (I wasn't about to ruin my manicure) and set to work. First we had to weed out some beds.  My mom would have loved to see me pulling weeds, since I never like doing that when I visit her in Seattle. This is a before picture.

There were already some beets and cucumber plants in the ground.

Then Mike Pappas, the owner of the farm, talked about the dirt and the use of U-bar before we were ready to start planting more beet and pepper plants.

Let me just remind you that I am a city girl: I was born and raised in Moscow. My family didn't have a dacha (a summer vacation home), and so I wasn't really exposed to any gardening. When we moved to the States, we settled in Seattle, another big city. And although eventually my parents bought a house with a bit of land, which my mom tends to with her plants, I had no idea what a U-bar is and what it does. Turns out, it tills the land. You dig it deep into the ground, then stand on it, and then use your body weight to tilt it so that some of the dirt comes out.....just look at the pictures! Mary was the first brave person to give it a try.

And then it was my turn!!!!

All of a sudden, Mike called all of us to come over because there was a giant turtle that made an appearance.

After doing more work, we were treated to a sweet & cold watermelon and some iced tea. I love it when volunteers are being treated well.

Here are some photos of bibb lettuce already growing on the farm.

I love beets: I'm holding mini beet plants that we then planted. Check out the gorgeous root system!

Tammy and Elyssa:

A few varieties of basil:

The green house:

After our had work, we were fed!!! Several types of pesto, hummus, grilled vegetables, cous cous and cookies!

This was a great experience. I'm definitely not caught up to be a farmer, but I'm glad I came and spend a day on a farm.


Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said...

Beautiful photos! Love the turtle. :)


Mike Pappas said...

Great photos, Olga! Thanks SO MUCH for coming out and volunteering on the farm! You did a great job, and we got some much done! Everything is looking great...I'll post some pictures soon so you can see how well you did! Thanks again!

Mike Pappas, Eco Farms

Unknown said...

Great post! Love how you've documented everything so well with the pictures.

♥peachkins♥ said...

Nice post! That turtle is huge!
The Peach Kitchen
blowing peachkisses
peach and things

lisaiscooking said...

Sounds like a fun day! It must have been great to see how the farm is managed and join in the activity for a day.

Molly said...

Whenever I do a little gardening (and I do mean little as I'm confined to container gardening) I always get a little nervous that I'm not doing it right. But my goodness, it's such a joy to see the basil leaves finally grow. To be able to pluck fresh ones for a dish is a nearly indescribable moment of happiness.