It is 5pm at the bar at Zingerman’s Roadhouse and I am finally getting to hang out with Mark Baerwolf. He has been up since 3am because he had a dream that he was stir frying celery. Naturally he got up immediately to go to the farm and hunt for celery in the middle of the night. He tells me he needed to be at the Roadhouse at 4:30am anyway so he may as well. I was here this morning and got to taste the dream realized. It was delicious. While he was out there he grabbed some beautiful Chioggia Beets and used them to make some amazing beet chips as well. These are things that typify the Mark I know, extremely hard working and extremely excited about growing and cooking things.
This is the time of year for cleaning up the fields and putting them to bed for winter. The back kitchen of the Roadhouse has been overwhelmed with the tomato and pepper haul coming in these last few days. When all is said and done, the numbers are impressive.
App.6500 tomato plants yielding close to 15 TONS of tomatoes!
Over 11,000 pepper plants yielding around 12,000pounds of peppers!
You will undoubtedly see these showing up in Roadhouse dishes throughout the winter, and that is not all the yumminess we have to look forward to.
Two miles of winter carrots that were planted in August are being hand weeded right now. Mark says, “It sounds like it takes a long time, and IT DOES.” Ha! Half of them will be harvested at the end of October and the other half with go under a bed of straw to come up in winter.
Cover crops have been planted. Winter Rye, Hairy Vetch, and Red Clover are covering much of the new acreage. These help keep nutrients in the soil and prevent erosion. Steer are grazing there now. Mark is especially excited about this natural re enriching of the soil. Steer are grazing. Nitrogen is being added to the soil. Manure is being produced. In the spring when it is all plowed up it will be rich and ready for planting.
Meanwhile, the compost pile is growing and changing and breaking down into rich soil for us to use next planting season.
Now that work out on the farm is slowing down a bit, Mark is back on the line cooking, mostly in the mornings. If you happen to show up at the Roadhouse most weekday in the winter between 7-10am and Mark is working on a new recipe, EAT IT. Don’t even ask questions. It will be awesome.