Minding my own beeswax and taking my own advice.

Local ingredients yields the opportunity to learn new homesteading skills.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our friend, Randy Bulla, a well known blues harp player who has been a touring musician for most of his life, lives on his 92 year old father’s land near the Paris River bottoms between gigs. When he’s in town we play a little music, talk about gourds and lately he brought me some beeswax that he harvested from beneath an old trailer on Pappy’s land. He thought I’d like to try it in a recipe for the latest “farm to salon” beauty product that I’m working on.

I watched a youtube video on rendering beeswax, ruined a few plastic containers and a sauce pan and ended up with 4.7 ounces of beautiful local beeswax!

I have been testing a mint tincture, plantain salve, rosemary hair spray, and a charcoal drawing salve for the past year with great results.  I look forward to working with this local beeswax and bringing new products to the market.

The Farmer’s Market is the perfect field test environment for gaining face to face feedback about products.  And for us newcomers, a great way to meet the more conscious people of the town.  All of the vendors and attendees are the best and brightest that Paris has to offer.

A couple of other lives ago I owned boutiques in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Austin, Texas, and Barcelona Spain. I started making bath salts and selling them at the counter. I found the Chinese take out containers that I’d used to package the bath salts. I added the blooms and botanicals that I had gathered and dried for the past year and a half to the bath salts recipe from boutique days of yore and put our farm’s logo on it. Found some burlap bags and gourds in the barn, cleaned them up and we were ready for our first Farmer’s Market.

We’d visited the well attended Ft. Smith Farmer’s market and asked a friend who has successfully created a product line which she sells at the award winning Fayetteville Farmer’s Market for some coaching. We bought a tent, folding table and market tea jug and set out. The smaller size of The Paris Farmer’s Market felt comfortable for us newbies.

People really responded to the fresh mint tea (made from mint and stevia grown at Bohemian Farm) that we served at our booth.  The feedback we received regarding our packaging, logo, and aestethic was positive and affirming.

Farmer’s Market Assessment:

Some pop up tents are heavier than others.

There are people on the planet who are unfamiliar with mint tea.

People care about packaging. The months I spent researching and designing our brand paid off.

Beige blooms in the bathtub are less appealing than ones with color.

Hire a beautiful friend to model your T-shirt.

My approach to design, styling, and writing skills are valued by my new community. I’ve had the pleasure of contributing my expertise to many projects in town. However, Paris does not share the same population as the larger markets such as Ft. Smith and Fayetteville.

After advising a fellow farmer to look outside of Paris for the recognition and fulfillment she seeks, I’ve decided to take my own advice.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard

I made my own assessment of my life, and I began to live it.

Bohemian Farm Photo shoot

Bohemian Farm Photo shoot

I made my own assessment of my life, and I began to live it.  That was freedom.  Fernando Flores- Chilean Minister of Finance, Engineer, Philosopher

August’s brutal heat kept us from selling at the Farmer’s Market, but provided us with time to assess the progress of the prior months since April.

Assessment: We are great at planting and sucky at harvesting.

A friend waiting tables at a new trendy Farm to Table restaurant offered an introduction to the chef. We’d thought to deliver, herbs, micro greens, tomatoes and maybe flowers.

Assessment: Our sucky harvesting skills kept us from pursuing this account. What if some of the harvested greens were not harvested on time and half were perfect and half were bitter?  Micro greens needs to be harvested several times a day it seems and bolt if they get too hot. We used a shade cloth and tried to harvest promptly, but invariably some bolted causing me to worry about bitterness. I wanted to take a bite of each leaf to check. Not gonna work.

Further assessment: Tiny tomatoes require more time to harvest than large tomatoes and require more prep for dehydrating than does the prep for blanching a large tomato.

Some varieties of spinach look like petunia if you do not harvest in time.

Hot peppers are not as hot as they might be if you harvest too early.

So, our only commercial account (friends Bert and Carly, owners of the award winning hot sauce company http://www.mundisauce.com) needed peppers in July. Our bushes were laden so Bert drove down from Eureka Springs with his kids and we spent an enjoyable evening picking peppers.

Early on I’m in the kitchen making some iced tea for the kids when Alan bursts in followed by Bert chewing on a habanero. Alan: “They aren’t hot”!  Me:”WHAT?” Alan: “Not hot”!  Bert: “Not hot”. I bit into one and felt a burn. I choked and grabbed some tea.  Me: “What do you mean?”  “This is burning my mouth.”  The peppers were not hot enough for Bert’s needs.  After some research and speaking with chef friends, we realized that we’d harvested too early.  We were/are so excited to work with them and thankfully, they are having a time finding enough hot peppers to fill their orders. So, as ours mature and hopefully heat up, we’ll have the chance to try again.

We are still learning how to determine when things are ready for harvest. We pendulum between becoming distracted by outbuildings that need purging, and an ongoing parts replacement for the well saga; preparing beds to fill with thinned out daffodil, iris, and lily bulbs to what to plant next.

Harvesting means food prep soon to follow.  This year we’ve grown enough produce to put back enough salsa, red sauce for pasta, roasted peppers and tomatoes, peas, collards, and squash for the winter, as well as some for the Paris Farmer’s Market.

My next blog post will assess our Farmer’s Market experience thus far.

Orange beefsteak heirloom tomato with heirloom cherry tomato

Orange beefsteak heirloom tomato with heirloom cherry tomato

sidedoorgarden

sidedoorgarden

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Standard