Day 1

One day down. 364 to go… Kidding!

I’m not entirely sure today counts as my first day. I woke up on the farm and will go to sleep here, but I don’t start working until Wednesday. My work week will be Wednesday through Sunday. The market is open Friday-Sunday so on those days I’ll be doing a mix of farm work and educational stuff for the customers. They recently acquired a hay wagon and the plan is for me to lead farm tours once I’m comfortable enough with how things function. Since my long-term ambitions are more educational in nature, it will hopefully be a good fit!

Reality hit hard this morning. I am not in Brooklyn. I decided to run to the grocery store to check it out and pick up a few things. The closest stores are in Downingtown, 20 minutes away by car! In Park Slope I had 4 grocery stores within 5 blocks of my apartment. That doesn’t include the corner markets (3 within 3 blocks).

I headed for Kimberton Whole Foods which to my delight is very similar to Brooklyn’s Back to the Land. It carries all my favorite brands and a wide variety of local items. Plus, I prefer frequenting local establishments when I can. I spent a few minutes just browsing before grabbing a thing of flour and some frozen berries. I brought a lot of stuff from home and can get seasonal produce at the farm so I didn’t need much more than that. There is a dairy farm right around the corner from Wyebrook so I knew I’d be picking up my milk, yogurt and cheese there.

As I drove home, I had every intention of making biscuits with my organic, locally milled, whole spelt flour, raw milk, pink Himalayan salt and pastured lard. That looks much more pretentious than I intended. It sounded better in my head. Sorry. Anyways, I was very excited to make these biscuits when I realized I had no baking powder, a key biscuit ingredient.

Fail.

In Brooklyn, my grocery shopping method was to stop at the store on my way home from work every other day or so. I never really made lists (except for the farmer’s market on Saturdays) because if I ran out of something, I just went out and bought more. With gas at $3.65/gallon, that is not an option here. There was no way I was turning around for a tiny tin of Rumford’s finest just so I could make some biscuits. They will just have to wait until the next grocery run.

Needless to say, I downloaded a grocery app for my phone and will be keeping lists from here on out.

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Other than that, it’s been a great day. I stopped by the running store in Downingtown – Downingtown Running Company. I chatted with the owner – Kevin – about running opportunities in the area and he gave me some websites that might be helpful and suggested some trails. I bought a hydration belt which I am not excited about, but will be a necessity when it gets hotter. I ran all last summer without one, but there were water fountains all through Prospect and Central Parks. The store was having a big sale on winter running clothes so I also got a pretty pink vest (it’s reversible!) to get me through the next few weeks of cool weather.

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After that I headed back to the farm, but made one quick stop for some raw milk. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on raw milk for over a year now, but finding it in NYC was next to impossible. There was one co-op that sold it, but they were cash only with a crazy delivery schedule. Basically, you placed an order online and left a cooler outside on Saturday with money in it. I didn’t have a cooler and wasn’t 100% sold on the system so I just stuck with my local, unhomogenized milk. Pennsylvania laws are different and raw milk is legal here. Kimberton actually carried raw milk from several different farms, but I wanted to get mine directly from the farmer.

The dairy is literally down the road from Wyebrook. Thankfully, there was a regular customer there when I arrived who showed me the ropes. The store is unmanned. You go in, get your stuff, write down the items in a notebook and leave your cash in a bucket. A step above the NYC cooler system. I haven’t tried the milk yet, but might make up some decaf coffee after dinner just so I can taste it.

When I got back to the farm, I headed out on a run. I did 4 miles, but 4 miles of hills is very different from 4 miles in Prospect Park. I considered 4 miles to be an easy run, something I could do in 35-40 minutes. I was huffing and puffing at the end of 4 miles today. These hills will either be the death of me or get me into the best shape of my life. There are a couple of state parks nearby so I will probably try some trail running this spring.

Grocery shopping. Running. Photography. Reading. Catching up with friends (via phone and email rather than in person). All in all, a Wyebrook “weekend” doesn’t look so different from a Brooklyn weekend.

 

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