The Magnetic Energy of Storms

©mattstaublemedia.com

©mattstaublemedia.com

Through the joys and chaos of our summertime season, nature has seen fit to join us with beauty, grace and chaos of her own. She looks upon us with glowing eyes one day, and pours her heart out to us the next. For whatever the cause of such drastic changes in weather, like the drastic changes in our lives, such storms often leave us clean and ready for something new.

So what is being cleaned and made ready in your life? At Twee, we clear beds of the eagerly growing mugwort, purslane, horse nettle and other such “weeds” to make space for the lovely herbs that have become a part of our signature products. And as the rain continues to soak our wild gardens, we find our work at once halved and doubled. With such a generous watering system, and many herbs still young in their new homes, it has become all the more important to keep space cleared for the growth that we desire.

As cleansing and nourishing as water is, it is only part of what makes these summer storms so powerful. With every downpour comes a charging and accumulation of electromagnetic energy in the atmosphere. This energy builds up to a threshold that climaxes as thunder and lightning, illuminating the sky, trumpeting the heavens, and purging the environment of stagnant energy.

In many ways nature’s oscillating temperament is a blessing to all of us.  Although the humidity can be a bit uncomfortable for humans and attractive to pesky biting bugs, and gray dreary days drag on into hazy twilights of half-wakefulness; still in the midst of her confusing weather, nature gives us the keys to a happy existence.

This time of year we are excited to be brewing tea from our freshly picked Mint, Lemon Balm, and Nettle patches. Our thriving rows of Lavender, Mullein, and  Tulsi Basil help us create teas that balance the mind and keep our bodies running smoothly. And by the by, the sun returns to recharge our batteries.

Everyday at Twee we learn that nature moves at her own pace and it is perfect.  There is no better time to plant for new growth than when a storm is imminent.  No better time to declutter than when it has passed. And we have even learned, from one of our best canine members on the farm Cyprus (WE LOVE YOU), that sometimes you just have to chase a storm for the fun of it.

-Omar

December to Remember

This month is crazy busy month for the farmers at Twee. We are upping the ante to provide our products to as many people as possible before we hibernate for the winter.

Tweefontein is at FOUR New York City markets a week!

Find us at Union Square Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, located by the Christmas Market (a pretty cool thing to check out if you haven’t).

On Sundays we are at the Jackson Heights Queens market (33rd and 78th). We went once due to the hurricane and now we’re back for more, every Sunday. The community at Jackson Heights rocks! Thank you for all of your warm welcomes and appreciation for our hot tea and herbal products. You make us feel at home.

Twee will be attending other holiday fairs such as Frozendale on Saturday December 15th behind the Big Cheese on Main Street, Rosendale.

On December 22nd, a Saturday evening, 5pm-midnight, come check out the Brooklyn Night Bazaar (bkbazaar.com) a sweet night time market with lots of vendors, art, music, and food. The line up for that event includes Tweefontein Certified Herbalist AnnMarie with her line of Infinite Roots herbal products like teas, spices, and smoking blends, Ustya of Clove Valley farm with her Medicine Garden products like her amazing body creams, AC reppin’ Twee, and Alex of Hugeunot Farm to work the table. Four strong, healing farm women under one tent…hope Brooklyn’s ready for us.

 

New products this month too!

-Lavender Massage oil, great for relaxation, headache relief, and as a mild perfume.

-Decongestant Rub with eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint essential oil that is meant to relieve stuffy noses and congested sinuses by dabbing it on the upper chest or adding it to a pot of hot water to use as a steam.

-Pain Relief Salve
We are especially proud to announce our creation of a Pain Relief Salve, a product many of our customers have requested. The salve is a blend of coconut oil, olive oil, beeswax, St. Johnswort , Yarrow, Arnica, Cayenne, and Essential Oil of Clove and Cinnamon, and of course, love. All ingredients are either organic or Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) like all of our products. The Pain Relief Salve is excellent for sore muscles, circulation, joint pain, bruises, and soft tissue repair. It is great for massage. It’s not meant for sensitive skin. It has a subtle scent, so the salve will not be overpowering if you want to use it throughout the day. It has been working great for the Twee farmers and has been selling out at markets so far with repeat customers coming back looking for more.

 

 
Tweefontein products can be found locally in the Hudson Valley at:
-Heavenly Scents in the Waterstreet Market, New Paltz, NY
-Health and Nutrition Grocer in the Stop and Shop Plaza, New Paltz, NY
-Benmarl Winery in Marlboro, NY
-and straight from the source of course at Tweefontein Herb Farm, 4 Jenkins Lane, New Paltz, NY.

 
The farmers at Twee hope that our friends, family, and beloved customers will enjoy this December to Remember. If you miss us at markets this month, don’t worry, we’ll still be on the interwebs and we’ll be back in the spring.
 

Blessed

This land is magic.

Every day I am reminded that the earth and its’ creatures are wild blessings. I sit on the porch to type my messages to the world with a backdrop of delicate flowers cascading from hanging planters, a variety of vibrant shades of green trees contrast the barns’ deep red in the distance. At my feet lies an adorable pup lounging on weather stained wood and nipping at flies. I rock in the chair to the rhythm of the cicadas and breathe in summer. There are so many treasures here to discover. The new features of the land I notice are usually the oldest, hidden under layers of dust or dirt. You can get lost for hours here. Exploring the attic the other day I swung open the old latched door to allow some relief to the thick, musky air. I ended up laying down an old rug over some broken picture frame glass, and sat there, watching the rain from my tall perch pour over the three dancing pines, Twee Privy, and the chicken coup. The days pass so quickly. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here over four months. I am constantly growing here. I have learned so much and loved so much here. My heartstrings have already woven themselves into the blades of grass here. I have found a blessed home here.

Love and light,

AC

 

Summer 2012 222

“Herbes de Tweefontein”

Herbs de Tweefontein is a unique homage to the popular culinary all purpose spice blend ‘Herbs de Provence’.  Made from nourishing and delicious herbs. It is wonderful to add to meats, fish, eggs, soups, veggies, and breads. Mix with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper for a delicious marinade or salad dressing.  Packaged in 4 oz Jars.
Ingredients: Tulsi Basil, Thyme, Nettle Leaf, Parsley, Mustard Leaf, Fennel Leaf, Lemon Balm, Chives, Wild Onion, Rosemary and a hint of Lavender.

Fire Cider

Fire Cider

Stimulate the senses and kickstart the immune system with Tweefontein’s housemade Fire Cider, a spicy blend of medicinal herbs, roots and Thai peppers infused in a base of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Fire Cider makes a tasty and nutritious salad dressing and an exquisite hot sauce. Enjoy Fire Cider as an alternative to alcohol based tinctures for a cold remedy or immune tonic, use about 1 TBS, 3-5 times daily for best results. Packaged in 5oz. bottles.
Ingredients: Organic Cider Vinegar, Ginger Root, Chives, Horseraddish Root, Garlic, Garlic Mustard Root, Thai Peppers, Oregano, Rosemary, Black Peppercorn

 

Herb Butter

Garlic Herb Butter

Twee farmers blend sea salt, Tweefontein Certified Naturally grown garlic and savory herbs with fresh churned, small batch butter from RonnyBrook Farm (Ancrandale, NY). Tweefontein herb butter is wonderful to add to any dish. Spread it on toast, melt it on popcorn, or season vegetables and meats. Twee farmers find it highly addicting and try to avoid eating spoonfulls directly out of the jar.  Packaged in 4oz jars.
Ingredients: RonnyBrook Farm Butter, garlic, rosemary, sage, sea salt.

Lip Balm

Healing Lip Balm

The healing lip balm has the same great healing ingredients as the salve, now available in convenient pocket size with added beeswax in a .15 ounce tube.  Our varieties include Lavender, Mint, Rosemary, and Calendula.
Ingredients: Organic Olive Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Vitamin E, and Certified Naturally Grown Calendula and Comfrey.

Tinctures

Herbal Tinctures

Tinctures are all natural herbal remedies made of concentrated herbal extracts infused in organic grain alcohol. Tweefontein currently offers four blends specially formulated by our resident, certified herbalist, AnnMarie Tedeschi.  Consult your practitioner before consuming if pregnant, nursing, taking medication or administering to children.  Packaged in 1 oz. bottles.

•    Immune Boost: A preventative tonic to aid in warding off colds and keep the immune system functioning well. As a remedy for colds and flu use in higher doses and more frequently.  For Best Results as a Preventative Tonic: 15-30 drops daily & as a Remedy: 15-30 drops 3 times daily.
Ingredients: Ginger, Echinacea, Garlic, Sage, Rosehips, Nettle, Tulsi Basil, Yarrow, Oregano, Parsley, Organic Grain Alcohol, Water

•    Breath Deep: Clears passageways in lungs for deeper, easier breathing. Expectorant for harsh, irritating coughs. Soothes the throat. For Best Results: 15-30 drops every 4-6 hours as needed.
Ingredients: Hyssop, Mullein, Marshmallow Root, Peppermint, Thyme, Violet, Tulsi Basil, Organic Grain Alchol, Water

•    Digestive Bitters: Soothing to the stomach. Stimulates digestive function. Stabilizes blood sugar. Most effective if taken before meals. For Best Results: 15-30 drops before meals.
Ingredients: Mugwort, Fennel Seed, Dandelion Root, Ginger, Nettle, Marshmallow Root, Orange Peel, Chamomile, Yarrow, Organic Grain Alcohol, Water

•    Tranquility: Calms the nerves. Stabilizes the mood. Helps promote relaxation, a healthy night’s sleep and an overall sense of well-being.  For Best Results:  5-45 drops 2-4 times daily as needed.
Ingredients: Catnip, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Hops, Bee Balm, Lavender, Organic Grain Alcohol, Water

Activating the Healers: September 2nd Workshop at Twee

Join us on September 2nd at 6pm for this workshop facilitated by traveling activists.

Radicalizing Herbalism and Activating the Healers

Facilitated by Claudia Abbott-Barish and Meghan Murphy

Using popular education, our workshop will cover a brief history of corporate power and how herbal medicinal use has been prevented in the past, barring us from actions of self-sufficiency. We will focus on why cultivating, wild-crafting and teaching about herbs creates new possibilities for us to create more healthy, reciprocal systems (social and economic) in the rest of our lives. This analysis will include examples, past and present, of how people have used herbs and herbal medicine to resist exploitation by those in power. The workshop will end with a dialogue on how to engage around these issues with members of our communities; what methods are inclusive, representative and equitable, and how to collaborate with the most people.

preserving the harvest

It seem like we live in a fixed world of abundance – fresh produce and herbs from our gardens come in everyday. But alas, we have to begin preparing for the fall and winter. This week, a group worked on redoing the solar dehydrator for mass herb drying with no electricity needed. Others made massive batches of sauerkraut and spiced peach jam. Next up… freezing our own greens and more canning.

 

We are sooooo past spring garlic…

Garlic scapes (the bendy shoots that garlic offers as a springtime gift) are up at Tweefontein. Check out our scape pesto at Union Square Greenmarket in NYC every Wednesday and Saturday!

Just out of curiousity to the stage that our garlic heads are at – here is a cross cut section of our spicy garlic. Can’t wait until those cloves are developed nuggets of aromatic goodness.

Happy scape season!

Forage, or bust.

       April showers bring May flowers; this old adage is on repeat within my head these days. I replay the mantra as I step through mud with green muck-boots, reluctantly lift wet cats caught in a rainstorm or spend a week’s income on a new rain jacket. When the hands are cold and the hair is wet, I repeat it with each stir of piping hot tea, “April showers, April showers, damn April showers”. With only two weeks left until our first market at Union Square Greenmarket, work is rain and shine. Emily has been creating new market signs, Jens has been sowing seeds nearly every day, Sarah has been making bread and cheese to keep our bellies happy and we have recently dubbed Meghan, Queen of Organizational Systems. We bustle about these nine-acres in any weather (April showers) with an ominous and omnipresent clock tick-tick-ticking down to the final hours of May 7th. As I wade in the water, I dream about those little May flowers. I envision them to be yellow, freakishly massive and blissfully hydrated.

        However, as it turns out, I don’t really care about those freaky May flowers. They are beautiful, smell fantastic and bring a bit of cheer to the place, but my interests are invested in other gifts of May. You see, April showers bring May morelsrampsfiddleheadsnettlesasparagusspringgarlic.

        Foragers are licking their chops and stretching their eyes with hopes of finding the morel mother load. Fetching nearly $60/#, there is a small fortune hiding in the woods of the Northeast. My foraging skills are pretty terrible and Marc is convinced that morels run when they see him, but we can’t wait to enter those fruitful woods. Starting around Mothers day, morels, ramps, fiddleheads, nettles, asparagus, spring garlic and many other goodies will be prolific. Word on the dirt-street is that ramps may be on a bit earlier than that.

        As luck would have it, there are great books available which will guide any novice to a patch of May goodies. I have attached a link at the bottom to help push the reluctant towards a delicious lunch of foraged bits. And to make it even more tempting, here is a recipe I make every spring – Pappardelle with Morels, Nettles and Ramps. As the rain comes down, I am asking it to bring up a few more morels instead of those pesky, water-loving flowers. Whether you have dreams of paying your way through Grad-school with your mushroom fortune, or just having a stellar lunch with a few friends, there is food in our back yards patiently waiting for us to discover it. April showers bring May devours…or something.

 Pappardelle with Morels, Nettles and Ramps

For the pasta:

1# All Purpose or “00” Flour
4 Large eggs
2 T freshly milked goat milk*
2 Large pinches of kosher salt
           In a bowl, make a well in the center of the flour. Whisk the eggs and goat milk together in a separate bowl. Pour the wet into the center of the dry and using the spoons that God gave you (your hands) mix the eggs slowly into the flour.
          It will look funky for a good while, but keep kneading it for 10 minutes (5 min in a mixer) or until it is a smooth, heavy, not-dry, not-sticky mass of deliciousness. Wrap in plastic and let sit on your kitchen table for 1 hour.
          Then, unwrap, cut the dough ball into quarters (keeping it wrapped as you go!) and utilize a pasta roller, rolling pin, a drinking glass, metal pipe – anything to roll it to a thin thickness. You should be able to see the shadow of your hand behind the pasta, but use your inner voice to know how thin to make it.
Cut the rolled pasta into 1” wide strips. Toss with flour and store on a floured tray. Save until you are ready to toss in a huge pot of boiling salted water to which you will cook it until al dente.
            *You don’t have to add milk, and any self-respecting Italian would tell you not to, but Marc tried this and I swear, it was some of the best pasta I have ever had in my pasta-loving life. In its place you can use nothing, olive oil or water. Play jazz with it and find your own favorite.

 For the sauce:

Slug of nice tasting olive oil
½ cup of the white and red portion of Ramps, finely chopped
3 heads of spring garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of Morels, quartered
Slug of left over white wine if you have it, or 4Tbsp. of Chicken stock
4 cups of Stinging Nettles, picked from their woody stems and roughly chopped
A bit of chopped tarragon, like 1Tbsp.
A bit of chopped chives, like 1Tbsp.
3 Tbsp of Butter
½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated on a Microplane
¼ cup of seasoned bread crumbs that you made with old bread…that you made.
             First, heat a sauté pan until you notice it to be a bit warm. Then toss in a slug of olive oil until you notice that to be a bit warm.
            Throw in the ramps and spring garlic. You want these to cook nice and slow with out burning – so watch that fire. Let cook for 2 minutes.
            Toss the morels into the pan and add the wine (away from the flame) or the stock. Add a pinch of salt at this point. Cook for 5 minutes or until the morels are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. *At this point, your pasta H2O should be boiling and the pasta should go in*
            Add the roughly chopped nettles and stir. The nettles will wilt and start to fill your kitchen with earthy aromas. This is a good sign. Cook until all the nettles are wilted – like your mamma’s Sunday spinach.
Turn off the heat and add in the butter, chopped tarragon and chopped chives.
          Using tongs, transfer your perfectly cooked Pappardelle to the sauté pan and toss. The butter should emulsify with the pasta water. Add half of the cheese and toss again. Letting it all sit for a second should yield a thicker sauce. Top with more cheese and seasoned bread crumbs. Yum.

 BOOKS: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=foraging&x=16&y=23

Waking Dreams

Our truest life is when we are in dreams, awake. – Henry David Thoureau

I had a dream.  It was of a few of us twee farmers walking the property and I stumbled upon a beautiful structure that we had some how not seen before.  Even though it was just a few feet behind our beloved farm kitchen, no one had known it was there.  The structure had open cathedral ceilings, beaming sun through the windows,  wood floors and the atmosphere of a blissfull meditation hall.  A space of clarity, and peace.  It had a balcony looking toward enormous red rocked, mountains.  This was in our own backyard.  It was incredible.

Waking to the pink morning sky through my window, and the memories of my dream, i was anxious to start the day.  Convinced  the dream was a sign.  With my trust in the land, i was determined to find that hidden ‘building’.  I spent the morning cleaning up around the perennial patch with our volunteers, moving wood, and pruning back.  It was with impulse that i started to cut back this enormous patch of honey suckle and grapevine.  Mostly to get back in the groove of using my loppers, and to finally trim this seemingly neglected area.

It was after an hour of cutting, pulling, and piling that the shapes of an old raised bed could be seen.  And there it was, the hidden spot, just beneath my eyes. A new garden.  It was a beautiful, full sun, dark delicious soil, garden patch.  Lined with large stones.  Right at the entrance of our perennial herb garden. It had been fully grown over by honeysuckle, grapevine, and multi flora rose.  Myself alone passes this spot at least 4 times a day and never thought twice about it.  And there, all along waiting patiently, under the brush was a beautiful, peaceful space ready to come to life once again.

And that is the way it goes here at Tweefontein Herb Farm,  your dreams manifest right before your eyes.  Sometimes you need a little soil, helping hands, or maybe some compost, but most of the time you just have to believe.  For our truest life is when we are in dreams, awake…..

 

 

Chilly thoughts

 

While this is the time that the garlic sprouts

It’s still so nice to come inside, warm your feet, and have a cup of tea.

While this is the time that the river floods and it takes an extra 15 minutes to drive to town,

It’s still so nice to see a beautiful change of scenery on the detour.

While this is the time to plan plan plan for the emerging season

It’s still so nice to stop, smile within, and enjoy the expression of this day.

 

Our First Seedlings Emerge!

It may only be the end of February but our anticipation and excitement for Spring and the new market season is high.

We got our germination chamber and seed table in action this week.  These are a few of our brave Kale sprouts.

Hibernation and Growth as Winter Ascends

This morning I ran a bag of left over wilted salad greens over to the chickens.  Not having a pair of shoes around, I decided to take the two-minute walk across the cold earth barefoot.  Frost was still visible, and as I emptied the bag to curious chickens and ran back to the house, my feet landed on frozen earth.  Soil, grass, leaves and twigs, cold to the touch and hard underneath my sensitive soles.  The notion that the earth is frozen- that plants are sleeping, and animals are as well, that seeds are suspended until a warmer time, hit me at once, as my feet stung with cold as I entered the warm farm house.

We are all busy at the farm, preparing for winter and the future promise of a warmer spring.  While the call to hibernate, to eat delicious, filling warm, meals, to sleep when the sun descends and spend our days crafting and cultivating ideas for the next season, is present there is still growth to be seen on the farm every day.

Our animal experience at the farm has expanded, as we joyfully accepted the addition of three goats, two of which are milking already, and the third is a little happy companion.  There is Pandora, Audrey and Bilba -pictures are soon to come!  This is in addition to our flock of 25 chickens, two beehives, our two farm dogs and two farm cats.  Milking twice a day is an adjustment of lifestyle, one of which the rhythm takes some time to be in harmony with.  We receive about 1 and a quarter gallon of milk a day.  There has been cheese, ice cream, soup, sauces and cream puffs created with this delicious milk, and soap and butter are soon to come.   The goats are happy and well taken care of.  They love being outside, eating apples and taking long walks up the hill into the woods behind the farm.  They’ve added a quality of slowness to my lifestyle that is much needed and appreciated, as they need and deserve a certain amount of time for me to be available, to walk with them, feed them, brush them, milk them and make sure they are comfortable and happy.

Another aspect of growth that has occurred at the farm is how the beds are being expanded, and the care of which they are being put to rest.  Our compost is ready for spreading, beautiful dark humus, that is layered thoughtfully on the ground, around our perennial herbs, on our annual bed rows with other organic materials to make the weeding in the spring lighter and easier on our bodies, and easier for the plants to really flourish.  Spring flower bulbs were planted, and garlic was planted in abundance and celebration as we had a small planting party with friends and family this October.

Tyler started working on a geodesic dome, which he already has labored intensely on, and I’m excitedly awaiting the chance to help and witness in his construction.  More news to come on that, as the creation takes shape, and his vision is witnessed and supported.

As the sleepy season of less daylight comes upon us, the farm is growing in leaps and bounds. This place on our earth, named over thirty years ago as Tweefontein, fills its inhabitants with life, warmth, creativity and a desire to know how to take care of our earth in better, more sustainable ways.

Hope this finds you warm, full from Thanksgiving and filled with life’s blessings

Sarah