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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Harvest Weekend!

Andy and I took a break from our own Backyard Market to venture to Viroqua. The inspiration for our weekend-get-away was Harmony Valley Farm's annual CSA member Harvest Party on Sunday.  With  a quaint Farmer's Market, a bountiful food co-op, an eclectic coffee shop, and a Mexican restaurant serving amazing food, Viroqua has become a favorite spot for us to take a little break from life.

Saturday morning, we spent time at the Farmer's Market, which had a wide variety of vendors. We bought a bird feeder made by a local artisan, two jars of fruit preserves for my parents (they were our chicken-sitters this weekend), and a bag of garlic to be planted in our garden this fall. There were several furniture vendors which tempted my checkbook and loads of Amish baked goods that tempted my stomach, too!

We ventured to the Vernon Winery that afternoon. I've discovered that eating fresh Concord grapes from the vine is one of my new favorite activities! I can't wait to grow some in our yard next year!

Saturday evening we ate at a new restaurant called Optimo, serving only local food. Andy had a wonderful squash ravioli with collard greens. 

Sunday morning, we had our second breakfast at the Viroqua Co-op. Something about the atmosphere of that place invites dreaming, planning, and high hopes. Andy and I planned out the next twenty years of our yard over a few cups of coffee and some delicious food. With the pictures below, there's no need for me to give a further explanation.

The next day, we made our way out to the Harmony Valley Harvest Party, our favorite CSA event of the year. The colors are so beautiful, the hayride is so educational, the pickings are always good, and the potluck is always more than amazing.

This year, we visited the pepper and raspberry fields. We grabbed an insane amount of mini-sweet peppers for eating and for harvesting seed, guajillo and poblano peppers for drying, and UW roaster peppers for roasting and freezing.

Next stop, turnip, radish, and cauliflower fields.

The collard greens and kale field was beautiful. Notice how high the tops of the purple kale are. A sign of a good harvest!

Then, the kids' favorite part of the day: the pumpkin harvest.

After that highlight, the wagons all made their way back to the farm for the pig roast and potluck. This year, the crew prepared pork barbacoa with guajillo salsa and cabbage, mango, and jalapeno pico de gallo. The farm's hard-working Mexican crew put together a permanent underground oven for events such as this. The corn tortillas were moist and wonderful. Of course, all of the members brought delicious dishes, and we all ate too much. Being around such like-minded people for a day is so refreshing.

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