Thursday, April 17, 2008

We ate flowers in Richmond.

The local paper had a story about a new organic vegetable farm in Richmond, JPS Vegetable Farm on Blundell Road. We decided to check it out. When we drove up, we weren't sure it was open. There seemed to be a seminar going on inside at the front door. Four people were sitting on wooden stacking chairs. They stared at us.

"Uh, are you open?" I asked.

The proprietor, Jose, welcomed us in and the four people on the chairs mysteriously melted away.
We walked through the main building into the greenhouses. It wasn't only a greenhouse. It was a de facto children's amusement park and petting zoo. There were chickens with fuzz-ball chicks, a rooster in full performance mode, muscovy ducks, and more. Jose led us into the hot area where exotic salad greens grew thickly.

He led us to some sort of mustard-thing. "This is mizuna. Eat the flowers."

"Excuse me?" No one has ever told me to eat flowers before. I have, now and then, eaten flowers, but never on the command of a stranger.

He grabbed a handful of flowers and ate them. "Go ahead, eat some!"

The kids looked at me. I reached and plucked a bunch. I nibbled them. I ate them. They were sweet.

"I want to eat some!" said our daughter.

We all ate some. Then we ate arugula flowers. Spicey!

Then we picked way more bok choi than we could use, just started hauling plants from the dirt and got carried away.

Mizuna Brassica rapa nipposinica. Yellow, and delicious.

But here was the best thing about JPS Vegetable Farm:

Guinea Fowl!

I've been a big fan of Guinea Fowl ever since going on an ill-planned birding trip to Cape May NJ one frigid February Reading Week and ending up lost in a rural area. We came to a farm house, and knocked on the door to ask for directions. There was no one home except for two Guinea Fowl engaged in an endless game of "Chase you around the house!" My friends and I stood on the farm house porch transfixed as the birds raced past, disappeared around back, raced past, disappeared around back, and so on. There is something admirable about birds who entertain not only themselves, but also lost strangers.

JPS Vegetable Farm. Go for the vegetables. Stay for the Guinea Fowl.

1 comment:

Cicero Sings said...

I was recently a food blog that touted Mizuna as the "in" green and now flower! I had never heard of it before ... now you've beaten me to the punch on tasting. It'll be a while before the likes of Mizuna appear in our northern regions!

Those guinea fowl sound ... interesting!

That beetle WAS interesting wasn't it ... I hope you checked out the links!!