This week was full of new additions to the Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm. Most recently (as in today) we welcomed two new pigs. They are pink and sweet, and it seems like they are already making friends with the ninja brothers (our first two pigs). Yesterday, Jenn fired up the clay oven, and we cooked pizzas with Bob, Nancy, and Miguel. The dough was yielding when shaped and fluffy after being cooked; we topped the pizzas with kale, pesto, the ripest cherry tomatoes, and many different kinds of cheeses left over from Spring Planting Day. The oven was blazing hot, around 700 degrees. Jenn said that it could reach temperatures of 900 degrees and cook pizzas in seconds! We decided that she might need some heavy-duty protective gear before that happens. I think we are all happy about the new use of the clay oven. Jenn has had her nose deep into recipe books and blogs, finding lots of different foods that can be cooked in the clay oven over the course of one firing: pizza first, then roasting meat or vegetables, and finally baking bread and pies. Some farmer friends of mine in Maine like to bake beans with molasses over night in their clay oven for a hearty breakfast the next day.
Also this week, the forces in NYC and on Katchkie Farm had a couple of occasions to spend time with one another. I very much enjoyed getting to know the NYC Sylvia Center folks on Spring Planting Day. We shared our efforts in the garden, having fun all the while with good company and conversation. Then, on Monday Jenn, Julie, and I headed down to the big city in a very compact little car to tour the Sylvia Center/Great Performances “headquarters” and observe a Sylvia Center cooking class in Harlem. It was very interesting for me to see this side of the organization and understand the tremendous amount of work and human input that it takes to run a good organization. At the cooking class, we all picked up tips to improve our own teaching skills in the kitchen or the garden. It was great to connect with other educators there who were doing the same sort of work, just in a different setting. Chef Karen, the instructor at the Harlem community center we visited, was excited about visiting the farm during one of our programs later in the season.
The photo of the week is in honor of Jenn, who turned 24 this past Wednesday!
-Meg, Garden Intern