I love the city: the lights, the skyline, the pace. Anyone who knows me also knows that I hate to leave the city. I current reside in the District (D.C. for the uninformed). I’m such a purist that I constantly complain about having to leave the city to go to Virginia or Maryland. I staunchly refuse to leave if drinking is involved. Before you judge me, let me explain; there is a method to my madness.
Have you ever heard of the Alcoholics Theory of Relativity. No? Let me educate you. This is a theory I developed through painsteaking research during my college and graduate school years, and it has served me well since then. The Alcoholic’s Theory of Relativity is based on a couple of sound principles.
1. Always be able to get yourself home – super important – there are creepers out there.
2. Always have a plan b – if you’re planning to take the metro, make sure you know how to get home once it shuts down.
3. The first jump away from home that you make where alcohol is consumed is the furtherst away you should get from home the entire evening. This rule ensures that you’re always heading in the direction of home and that when you are inevitably at your most weary and inebriated, you’re super close to a safe place: see rule 1 & 2.
The city is like mother’s milk to me, if it can’t be found in the city I don’t believe that it exists. Cities are like the convenience stores of America, you can find anything there for the right price if the city is big enough. So when one of my buddies was like, “Lets go apple picking”, I was confused.
“You mean Eastern Market”?
“No, Picking from trees”, She remarked?
“Where do they have trees like that in the city”?
I was still confused, but being the good sport that I am I agreed, maybe this was some new performance art piece.
I was further confused when emails started going around about this Larriland Farms place. How could they house a farm within the city limits. Apparently they could not. Larriland Farms was not only outside of the city, it was waaaayyyyyy outside of the city, I’m talking like an hour and a half. For anyone who likes apples I’m going to go ahead and let you down easy, this was not some new spot where you could go and pick the Iphone 5 of your choice off of trees. I understand the disappointment, and will completely understand if you stop reading, but I’ll also go ahead and say that it’ll be your loss. While Larriland farms was the highlight of our day – the day itself is one of the most perfect that I have ever spent.
We started out with a breakfast made of vegetable omelets and salmon croquetts. This was possibly one of the best omelets I have ever made and one of the only occasions that I didn’t think to take a picture (sorry). I used zucchini, onion, green pepper, and mushroom for the base. I blanched the vegetables to cut down on the oil, and seasoned with a bit of soy sauce and old bay. For cheese I used Havarti – which I think is what made the omelet so amazing. Now with salmon croquettes I just used a standard recipe and bread crumbs. I would highly recommend using crackers instead since it makes them look prettier. Then Margaret, Mark, and I took showers and hit the road.
I hype the city a lot (see above), but truth be told I’m from a small town in Mississippi. Traveling along the back roads of Maryland was like being at home. I still remember summer days traveling dusty back roads in a 1965 black mustang with my best friend sipping cheap beer, music blaring, feet hanging out the window, not a care in the world. Our drive up to Larriland Farms was like that, except with Starbucks instead of beer and fall instead of summer.
Another difference I noticed was that fall came a whole lot faster outside of the city than in it. I had to wonder about that. Our drive out to Larriland farms was an ideally psychedelic array of yellows, and oranges, and reds. The ground was dotted with leaves, and yes we could hear the birds chirping (probably because they weren’t being drowned out by the sound of blaring horns.
A day spent picking Apples and other produce out at Larriland Farms was one of the best days that I have ever spent. I consumed not one drop of alcohol the entire day. I have definitely found religion. The farm itself was magnificently beautiful, picturesque to be exact. Larriland Farms gives the impression that this is where God manufactures happiness and sunshine.
We started out up at the farm where there was a country store built inside of a farm. The had a number of different varieties of squash from Mexican hat squash, to snake squash, to spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is my first love so I had to buy a couple.
The Larriland farm store was also selling bags of the last crop of summer tomatoes. Since my own dreams of making tomatoes sauce were dashed when my tomatoes failed to produce a single fruit, I got a bag with the intention of making tomato sauce.
Once we had made our store purchases, we wondered outside where there were llamas and goats for children to look at. There is food to be had at Larriland Farms: hot dogs, apple fritters, and turkey legs to name a bit. We skipped all of that in favor of heading down to fields to do a little sampling and picking of apples. It was a much better experience than picking the up from the grocery where the apples resembles mannequins in all of their shiny perfection.
Together my friends and I picked over twenty pounds of apples in about four different varieties: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji apples, and Enterprise apples. As of the writing of this article I still have a number of apples left (3 weeks later). I’ve made one apple pie and am planning to make donuts, and bread, and more pie. Since I don’t eat a lot of sweets myself, my coworkers are enjoying the fruits of my culinary labor.
We went on to pick spinach, cauliflower, and broccoli. I personally picked two pounds of spinach with the intention of making one of my favorite Indian dishes, palak paneer. The cauliflower was destined to become roasted curried cauliflower, a recipe that I had been meaning to attempt for some time.
Our final task at Larriland farms was to pick out pumpkins. It was October, my birthday was looming, and what Halloween celebration would be complete without pumpkins. Again I went overboard, choosing two pumpkins with amazing stems. I didn’t end up carving them for Halloween, so the new plan is a pumpkin curry that I’ve made before that is absolutely amazing.
I can honestly say that my day spent at Larriland Farms with good friends was an epically good day. By the end we were exhausted, but filled with fresh air and a sense of work well done. I love restaurants; but there is some magic about growing, picking, making your own food that makes it taste ten times better. Stay tuned for further posts about what I did with all of my produce.