Property to be farmed seen prior to first season.
Ferment Pittsburgh’s Justin Lubecki, together with his brother Nick, began a farming project in Spring 2017 to explore what it meant to feed thems
elves and their families throughout the year. Experimenting with crops and traditional farming techniques with a focus on slow and hand-done, the crops would subsequently be harvested, processed, and preserved naturally.
In the winter the challenge would be to seamlessly transition the stored cupboard and larder into interesting, traditional, and experimental recipes that continue to reflect the Western Pa landscape even in the slumber of deep winter.
This project attempts to explore bridging a harmonious lifestyle, in tuned with the rolling seasons, while also residing in a modern urban place.
Please enjoy a brief tour below. Click on images for descriptions.
Cabbage sprouting out of plastic to become our sauerkraut and kimchi for the winter.
At harvest time we select and put aside seeds to replant for the next season. Here is our sesame.
Young black garbanzo beans. This season they took an unexpected role of distracting the groundhog’s from the rest of the crops. Unfortunately.
Dry land rice trial. Using SRI method, it did well even without ideal conditions.
Trial of flax this year to get comfortable with fibers. Food is not the beginning and end of what we need to grow.
Mammoth sunflowers doubling as a pole for our Good Mother Stallard beans to climb. They got along very well.
It seems our mammoth sunflowers last year crossed with a whole bunch of other varieties. An interesting lesson learned.
The sesame plants below Wapsi Valley corn. Sesame being a long season plant did very well with the help of the plastic cover.
We hope corn to be very useful staple crop but tried out an old-fashioned way of making corn sugar. Thinned out the green stalks that didn’t produce ears and boiled them with water until a thick sweet syrup resulted.
Our first stook of wheat, from Fife was planted last fall. The resident cat immediately took advantage of its shade.
All the new crops naturally go through an awkward period of us getting to know them. This is the first cutting of fife stuffed into my Volvo 240 wagon, to take home and dry.
A collection of favorite potatoes, some trials, and some to build up seed stock.
This is our second year with peanuts. They are a lot of fun and do pretty well surprisingly.
A fun recipe of ants on a long. Celery from our garden, dried blueberries from a nearby pick-your-own, and last year’s peanuts into butter. Behind is pepita butter.
The dried stallard beans on the sunflowers. Unfortunately this method means you need to put aside a some time to pick them one at a time.
A couple of our beans from our first year. We love the ease and fun of growing theses. They are a pleasure to play with all winter.
With some extra space we gave a small bit of buckwheat a shot. We decided to dry in the barn, which we’re hesitant to do with our more prized grains. It turned out that Admiral wan’t enough and it was cleaned up by the rodents.
Our first year with sorghum sold us. High sugar content and this sugar press made the process a breeze.
The refuse of the sorghum and all other processing goes back to the fields.
Some apple trees will help us with a little alcohol as well as supply us with vinegar for the year.
Ginger trials went well. It’s always exciting to have too much of something to figure out what to do with it. After kimchi, we’ll still have plenty leftover.
Close up of our fife. We did barley, Red Fife wheat, and Rye this year. Currently we now have five varieties of wheat and it keeps expanding.
We focused on the fife to be our bread wheat. We lucked out and got a strong wheat in the first go. This is a sourdough bread made with 100% our own grain, handmilled with a tabletop device.
November means it’s time to make the winter’s kielbasa. Pork comes from friends but the garlic and herbs come from the garden.