i have a friend. a good friend. she has been a member of our CSA for longer than i can remember. she and her man, heck, we knew them before they left nashville for the great open skies of the southwest. we knew them before they had twins (now in first grade), we welcomed them when they came back to nasvhille. these folks are shareholders in the CSA that we have seen through too many life shifts to count. obviously, when the opportunity to collaborate arose, we jumped.
MEEL is an amazing culinary project. full of integrity, style and hard work. our friend marti spends countless hours each week curating boxes for her customers that include seasonal recipes, the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients to cook those recipes and heart felt inspiration to share the meals with your loved ones. our farm’s produce, along with fruits and vegetables and meat and dairy from nearly every sustainable farm serving metro nasvhille has found its way into a MEEL box. like so many mama entrepreneurs i know, marti does the work, family, home, delivery dance with grace. right now, with her local MEEL project dangling on both sides of the viability fence, marti decided it was high time to try some alternative marketing. with a celebrity coming to the music city for an event this weekend,she arranged to have a very special MEEL box waiting for her upon arrival in nashville.
obviously a visiting celebrity is not likely to cook a family meal while in town, so her box included all locally sourced ingredients for a lovely cocktail hour. clearly, this is where we entered the story because a meyer maple cocktail was on the menu. for this seemingly significant beverage and for the love of a friendship and collaboration we did indeed find ourselves driving through a winter storm warning to meet marti at the state line yesterday: 6 meyer lemons and 4 TBS of maple syrup were needed and there was no stopping us.
i am quite sure that right now as you read this tale, gwyneth paltrow is sipping the finest of cocktails mixed with hill and hollow farm’s meyer lemons and maple syrup.
this is not a cooking blog, but you already know that. it is in this space that we muse on farming and parenting, homesteading and knitting. we ponder life as we roll with the seasons, we speak of things near and dear to us and we share the highs and lows of life as we engage to the fullest. on occasion, we have invited you into our kitchens , offering you glimpses into how we dine and feed our families.what follows is the tale of how a lovely pair of pies came together on a sunny spring day.
i have been wanting to make either a key lime pie or a lemon meringue pie since we first began harvesting those delightful citrus fruits here on our farm (in a greenhouse, of course!) i have baked countless confections with our abundance, but the meringue intimidated me. perhaps my fear of that recurring shoulder pain coming back to haunt me while hand whipping egg whites for all those minutes, or a lack of high volume fresh eggs, but something held me back, until Friday.
we had a love filled farmwives meeting that day . so much was gained from our get together: much needed friend time for adults and children, heart felt inspiration as we plunge into the season ahead, sharing news face to face, ahhh, the list goes on. two culinary episodes occurred as well: the first in the form of a pavlova created by coree and devoured by all, the second, dozen upon dozen of eggs from cher. yep, with the sweet taste of my friend’s meringue on the tongue and a load of fresh eggs, i went for it. both of them. key lime pie and lemon meringue pie and one long night of baking with my most able assistant. spring never tasted so sweet.
it was many, many years ago when the first moment of inspiration struck. my oldest was a child and we visited the folks at au naturel farm for the first time. there our mouths were agape with wonder at all going on, but i will keep focused on my current tale. we saw for the first time citrus growing in kentucky in a relatively small propane heated greenhouse. our hosts offered my children each a tangy, citrus treat and my son’s world view shifted. he would have this at home.
the first flowers nearly 2 years ago now
those of you that know this guy (then little guy, now big guy) understand his will and gumption. he did it. he worked and saved and worked more and saved more and went in halves on our farm’s 22′ x 45′ propane heated greenhouse. immediately planting his sacred citrus trees; some from seed saved, some purchased.
those first citrus trees in his bedroom the year before they were planted in the greenhouse
now, inspiration returns, for he has a huge crop of meyer lemons. there are literally hundreds of lemons dangling from the trees. alas, we are not attending our usual farmers market now, we are in our “off season”. looking for a local venue to sell this bounty, i didn’t have to look far. invited as guest vendors at not one but two of our region’s finest markets, we will celebrate this saturday february 14th lemon love at the wondrous Community Farmers Market in Bowling Green, KY and the Bounty of the Barrens Farmers Market in Glasgow, KY.
anyone near enough should come on by, taste the childhood dream of my son, enjoy the sweet and tart combination of the freshest meyer lemon found around these parts, and celebrate the love, kentucky style.