Food Roadtrip

Ok, I didn’t take my camera on my roadtrip. What can I say? I’m a slacker blogger. I just didn’t want to have to chronicle everything and think, “that would be a good blog post.” I wanted to relax and let shit happen. Which it did. I’m writing a new book and all the juicy details will spill around, um, 2014.

Luckily, Bill bought a camera in Chicago and so he got some photos of Chicago, which we went to mainly to eat. We went to the Ukrainian Village and enjoyed a bunch of crazy stuff (for us), including meat balls in a dill cream sauce, pickled fish, a pickled apple which bobbed around with friends in a vat of sugary vinegar (gotta try making those at home), beet and horseradish spread, and the most amazing sauerkraut that was pickling in a big vat. Somehow we didn’t get a shot of the vat of pickled herring from Iceland, which smelled to high heaven, so this has to suffice.

We also ate pizza, sliced in the square-cut style that I really love.

Up to that point, we had been stopping at the numerous roadside produce stands that we encountered in most of the small towns along small roads. I was so excited to see people growing their own food. Some people didn’t even man the stands, they just had a stand with an umbrella and a money jar. Genius. The produce was amazing, as you might expect in the middle of August. Sweet corn, cantalopes, cucs, tomatoes. Because we were driving, I’d sliced up cucs and tomatoes and onions,  throw them in a tupperware with vinegar and olive oil and they would marinate. Then I would fork bits into Bill and my mouth while we hurtled down the highway.

Detroit. I have a lot to say about Detroit, because I’ve always imagined it as a mythical city filled with urban farms. And it does have a bunch of them. We could only stay for two days, so we barely scratched the surface. I loved the vegetable garden at Earthworks Urban Farm, where they pump out produce and honey for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and train people how to grow their own food. They even had a bike repair shop. Note drying garlic.

Then we went to the alternative high school featured in Grown in Detroit, called the Catherine Ferguson Academy, where, my heart swelled, they have goats!

The deal is they have a curriculum for pregnant teens and young mothers that involves raising chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, bees, a horse, and fruit trees in the name of science and self-empowerment. I hadn’t heard of the movie, but the leader of the school, a fellow named Paul, sounds incredible. Like they feed the goats by growing alfalfa on six blocks of abandoned land, which Paul cuts himself. Whoa!

They also had a “musuem” of ways to keep bees. It included a stump, a skep, top bar, Lang, and a strange octogonal shaped hive. Here’s the skep:

After Detroit (see Patrick Couch’s excellent blog for more about the Detroit scene), we headed to West Virginia for Bill’s family reunion. There I consumed about 20 pounds of the best-tasting tomatoes I have ever had. West Virginny definitely has something over California in that regard. We also ate amazing home-made canned green beans, pickled sweet beets, canned venison, and cousin Barb’s zucchini lasagna.

The trip was pretty much over for me, I flew home, and you know–I was mighty proud (and I’ll admit it, surprised) that there is good food all across our great land. Bill continued on, hitting some amazing joints along Highway 61. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I might even do another road trip.

Of course, now that I’m back, after neglecting my poor garden, it looks like hell. Still, I harvested some apples and have some greens and honey, so come on by Tuesday Sept 7, 5-7pm to pick up some supplies and say howdy. I have a new goat, too, who might want to meet you.

665 28th street (at 28th street and MLK)

This Tuesday, Sept 7, 5pm-7pm

13 responses to “Food Roadtrip

  1. Howard Herrington

    It’s “West by God Virginia” not zzzzzz’West Virginny”, and the riverbottoms do produce some great tomatoes.

  2. 2014!? 2014 is a lifetime away! LOL Glad you had a great time..I love road trips more and more the older I get!

  3. Hey, just finished Farm City, loved it. I feel like we almost ought to have run into each other. I left Sacramento in ’99, now sub-urban farming north of Seattle. Should have waved at you on the interstate.

    I want a vacant lot so badly! Lol, running out of room! Have rabbits, chickens, and garden and getting bees and ducks in spring–the goats are a desperate pipe dream. But with goats, I think I could be content… 🙂

  4. I also just finished Farm City. I first read about it in Southwest Airline’s magazine (the one in the seat pocket of the plane) while on our way back to Philadelphia from visiting California. If I had only known before our trip, I certainly would have come over for a visit! Like “aslansavz”, 2014 is a long time away for the next installment! I am hoping that your blog will hold me over until then – thanks!

  5. I love the idea behind the school. I’ve often thought of how great it would be to start a beekeeping society for at risk girls here in Durham. Ten people were injured in a drive-by Sunday morning, not far from my home. Beekeeping is so empowering, we need more of that around here.

    Anyway, glad your trip was a success! Love the pickled fish pic, yum.

  6. Sounds like you had such a good time. I think Urban Farming just takes a while to catch on maybe Detroit will be at the level Chicago is soon. I know it’s really just catching on in Flint a lot of churches are getting involved and teaching their young people how to farm and they sell their produce at the Flint Farmer’s Market. They just started a food coop for urban farmers there too. Things are starting to change. Can’t wait to see pictures of the new goat.

  7. brandy: sweet, hi five
    howard: west by god. love it.
    teanna: you should do it!
    vickie: oh, did i make it seem like there wasn’t urban farming in detroit? it’s really really huge there. more so than chicago–like acres and acres of farms in the city. it is leading the way.

  8. My garden was consumed by Mexican bean beetles and scorched by the heat! Glad others were more prosperous. Am looking forward to getting in the fall crops and seeing what takes. Onward!

  9. thanks for the link dear! just got back from growing power in milwaukee, look for a post in the next week or so about that – had a great time.

  10. Dean Burroughs

    Visiting son and family in Oakland until Nov.6. Enjoyed Farm City and your blog. Let’s harvest your honey this week and trade beekeeping ideas. I’m a Master Beekeeper from MD, managing 225 hives for pollination, honey and beesawax candles.


  11. ghosttownfarm

    hey dean;
    sorry i missed you. i really couldn’t predict when i would get to extracting tuesday (it happened at 9pm). feel free to stop by. i just have one beehive!

  12. Dean Burroughs

    Hi Novella,

    Good to hear from you. Yes, one bee hive can provide a bounty of honey and wax if the nectar flow is strong. I’ll try to stop by and say hello the next day or so. Good luck w/ all the animals and plants your are cultivating on the urban farm!

  13. Pingback: ghost town farm | little house on the urban prairie

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