Monday, September 19, 2011

tour de farms

On Saturday Evan and I participated in the Massachusetts Avenue Project's 3rd annual Tour de Farms. If you aren't familiar with MAP, their mission is to "nurture the growth of a diverse and equitable community food system to promote local economic opportunities, access to affordable and nutritious food, and social-change education." You should check out their website right now, because the work they do is amazing. 

Tour de Farms is an annual community bicycle ride that celebrates the Western New York local food system, by exploring everything from urban community gardens, to farmers' markets to rural farms. Registration fees go toward supporting both MAP and Green Options Buffalo, an organization devoted to making bike riding a healthy, environmentally sustainable and community-friendly mode of transportation for more Buffalonians. In other words, making Buffalo more bike-friendly.

The first stop on the tour was MAP's Growing Green Urban Youth Farm, which has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. They have an aqua-ponics fish farm, a chicken coup, and several raised beds growing herbs, tomatoes, peppers, rainbow swiss chard, and lots and lots more. Its so impressive! 

If you've never been, they have farm tours every Saturday at 11am during the growing season. 

Growing Green Urban Farm 
389 Massachusetts Avenue 
Buffalo, New York 14213
Phone 716-882.5327 ext.2

Here are some highlights of the day through pictures. 

First Stop - MAP's Growing Green Urban Farm.

Second Stop - Trinity Place Community Garden. This place was stunning. Especially considering that in April, it was an eyesore of a vacant overgrown lot. Raised beds were constructed in May, and all this beauty ensued over the next few months. 

Can you believe it?

For more about the quirky house in the above shot, click here. For more about the Trinity Place neighborhood, click here. The members of the community garden put out a delicious homemade spread for us - so thoughtful!

Third stop - Wilson Street Urban Farm on the East Side of Buffalo, operated by Mark and Janice Stevens. The story of how these two farmers from rural Wyoming County decided to move to one of Buffalo's most impoverished and abandoned neighborhoods and set up an urban farm in an effort to help the neighborhood "reconnect to the environment and to each other" is pretty inspiring. 

Bikers gather to listen to Mark Stevens talk about the farm. 

Click here for a slideshow of the farm from the Wilson Street Urban Farm blog. And click here and here for articles about Mark and Janice Steven's saga in getting the necessary city approvals for their farm.

Fourth Stop - The Clinton Bailey Farmers Market. I can't believe I had never been there before! I will definitely be adding it to my Saturday routine next summer.

These peppers were so red, and SO enormous!

If I weren't riding on for 20 miles or so, and already had a full bike basket, I would have brought some of these home with me. They were some of the prettiest most perfectly ripe tomatoes I've ever seen. 

We made a fifth stop at Bippert's Farm, but I only got off my bike long enough to stretch, and chow down a granola bar. By that point we were about 10 miles from our destination at Ole's Farm, and starving, so we just wanted to get there!

Grilled corn and potatoes, barbecued pulled pork, cucumber, tomato and green bean salad, coleslaw, cider, oatmeal cookies and Flying Bison's Rusty Chain beer on tap greeted us at the farm....

... as well as many many adorable children. I could take some style tips from this little girl - I mean look at those bangs! That jacket! Those tights! Not to mention those moves!

Happy baby Owen and mama Bess. 

Couldn't resist a stroll through the flower beds.

Long lush row of Thai basil - smelled amazing as you can imagine!

I walked a bit down a dirt road flanked by masses of jewelweed. I couldn't resist showing my friend Liz how the seed pods "explode" if you touch or lightly squeeze them - so funny how I had completely forgotten about these pretty weeds from my childhood, but as soon as I saw them that was my first thought - "MUST! POP! SEED PODS!" 


And then there was this alluring electric purple flower, that from a distance looked like a giant thistle. On closer inspection, we realized it was an artichoke! I had no idea that they developed flowers like that!

Red and green lettuce. 

It was such a fun day - if you live in Western New York and you own a bicycle, you should definitely put the Tour de Farms on your radar for next year!

1 comment:

  1. holy raised bed gardens batman!

    also: TRUFFLE SNUFFLING. xoxoxo