do you know these people? after you read this, you’re gonna wish you did. this is michael & amy werst, otherwise known as the creators and caretakers of copper dog farms. not only are they some of the nicest people you will ever meet, they are also among the most unassuming and the coolest. they are normal people, just like you and me. however, they do extraordinary things. they live on an urban farm. they not only grow their own food (and much of mine and many others i know), but they also raise chickens, a rooster, dogs, ducks, and 2 beautiful children. they don’t have a website, they don’t advertise, they don’t sell their veggies and eggs at the local farmer’s market, they don’t hit ya over the head with all the good they do. they just do it. in fact, they think it amounts to highway robbery when they see the prices that are being charged for food at local farmer’s markets, and i have to say that i agree.
talk about recycling. oh, how wonderful to recycle the old recycling bins to use as planters! why didn’t i think of that? brilliant! the usual early summer suspects are here:
genovese basil. one of several varieties.
wouldn’t you love to have a peach tree in your back yard? what about figs or apples? yep, they’ve got those, too.
yellow crookneck and zucchini squashes. i was offered and accepted the squash blossoms on this visit, fully planning to stuff them with goat cheese and lightly saute them in olive oil. then i promptly went on vacation for 10 days and forgot about them. i cried real tears when i thought about them on the plane. houston thinks knows i’m such a food dork.
tomatoes. lotsa heirlooms and the like.
and super special stuff. i believe these are the beginnings of italian flat beans (romanos).
a garlic scape. just gorgeous. especially when simply sauteed in butter with a pinch of flaky salt.
baby chicks and ducks. oh, my word. is it wrong that i wanted to make a blankie out of one (or more) of these?
oh, and here’s big daddy, otherwise known as ‘wild thing’. or is it ‘thang’?
michael harvesting potatoes while us vultures stand around waiting for our haul.
wait, that ‘basil’ above looks an awful lots like these potato plant leaves. hmmm…
did i mention in addition to planting, maintaining, harvesting, composting and everything else that has to be done to the garden beds, that michael is a professional classical musician? that’s him playing cello in the back. oh, and he also teaches music full-time to middle school students here in austin. and amy works full-time downtown, does a bang-up job taking care of the two little ones (so does michael), is smart as a whip, and is a fantastic baker? whew-i’m exhausted just thinkin’ about it all.
gotta love the rain barrel collection tank….
the following are pictures of produce that i have taken over the past spring. the colors make me weep.
so, unfortunately for you, this not a csa that you can join. this is just a co-op between friends. some bartering takes place. pickled and canned lovelies and baked goods are sometimes handed over. donations for seed, scratch, and water are gladly given. i know i’m lucky to be in with this group of friends, believe me. it seems that every last one of has something to offer another. some are doctors, some are pet groomers, some are bartenders, some are photographers. some spend more time growing food, while others spend more time cooking it. hell, i think we even let a coupla lawyers in our group. we are a micro-society. this makes sense to me. lately, i have had such an aversion to going to the farmer’s market. it has become so frenzied and competitive. and over-priced. i am glad that people have become interested in food and eating locally. don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. but sometimes i think we’ve turned it into such a frenetic trend that it is almost unenjoyable. this is like a bad habit. we let something good slip from our hands, allowed someone else to do it for us, then they turn around and sell it back to us. how strange we must seem to other societies. it’s time to take a step back and find your own micro-society. take what you do best and offer it to someone you feel good about and it will all fall into place. i promise.