“How many days until we get to go to the farm?” asked Jon over and over again — counting down the days, hours, and minutes.
“Hmmm….” I thought.
Menacing skies and heavy downpours threatened our plans to spend the afternoon at the farm with Fig & Fauna.
It’s funny how life has a way of bringing people together sometimes, doesn’t it?.
I only recently learned about the Fig & Fauna blog through my friend Kerri who said to me “you have to visit their farm!”. Featured in Kinfolk and collaborations with Tiger in a Jar amongst others. I was really taken by their aesthetic
How is it that I have lived so close to them all this time and have never crossed paths until now? Always surprises me when that happens.
That afternoon, the rain finally stopped so I packed up the kids and drove to the farm without hesitation. I could not let this one pass — nor would my kids.
When we arrived, Megan and Rose greeted us kindly. They are the two sister-in-law behind Fig & Fauna. They live on a beautifully-kept farm not far from where we live. On this property, along with their husbands and darling little Dane, they raise cows, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, and even keep bees — hypnotizing bees. I have never seen Jon and Miren more focused and still as when we watched the bees.
There is also a plentiful garden. I would have loved to see it a couple of months ago during the peak of growing season in Florida. They even grew white strawberries, which I have never seen outside of Europe. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed I had missed the white strawberries. But not to worry, they still had a plentiful garden with yellow carrots, watermelon radishes, tomatoes, eggplants, beans… even a fig tree.
Of course there was a fig tree.
Miren and Dane immediately hit it off. They went off to say hi to the rabbits and collect eggs.
Jon sat in the rocking chair in front of the bees patiently waiting for Megan’s husband Mike to come home. His excitement was visible with his non-stop hair twirling (taking after me).
I asked Megan and Rose a million questions of “how did this all come about” and “when” and “where”. I needed all the details of how a family gets to build not only a sustainable life but a beautiful one as well. It is all about the small details, the individual choices… of what to grow and how to grow it. I was in awe as I was watching Megan harvest pigmented watermelon radishes and sweet and peppery yellow carrots out of this black soil — the black soil Florida is known for.
When Mike arrived in his truck, all the kids flocked to him. They knew he was the key to get to the bees.
Jon, Miren, and Dane sat about six feet away from Mike as he pulled panel after panel. They listened quietly and the bees did not even make a fuss. They were busy making honey.
That afternoon I learned some interesting bits about the social structure of bees, how they operate, and how their behavior is highly steered by their queen’s personality. I found it all so interesting. I know a little about chickens and their behavior but had never really learned much about bees. And there they were, calm and collected.
Megan arranged a colorful basket of vegetables for us to bring home. I couldn’t wait to cook with them.
Suddenly, the sky turned black and we knew it was time to run. Thanked everyone for their generosity and ran for shelter.
The smell of onions in our car was making me hungry.
Jon and Miren feel asleep on the way home. I started to imagine all the dishes I wanted to make with them. I knew the striped beets would have to be turned into beet ravioli.That night I made pisto with the onions, peppers, zucchini, and eggplants.
So during the weekend we ate from the Fig & Fauna garden.
Thinly shaved striped beets filled with goat cheese and herbs and dressed with a parsley oil vinaigrette made a great little appetizer.
We also ate a spring salad with fava beans, fennel, yellow carrots, watermelon radishes, tomatoes and soft-cooked eggs, as well as a yellow carrot and fennel soup that I finished today for lunch.
So, so good.
And now, we will just have to turn to say hi to the cows and watch Mike collect some honey. I say we do.
Raw Striped-Beet Ravioli with Herb and Goat Cheese Filling
2/3 cup (175 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
Combine in a blender and mix until green. Strain into a glass jar and refrigerate.
Goat Cheese and Herb Filling
4 ounces (110 g) goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip (this is optional as you may fill the ravioli using a small teaspoon, but this makes it easier in my experience)
Striped Beet Ravioli
2 medium striped beets (or any other beets), peeled
1/4 cup (60 ml) parsley oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Using a mandoline, thinly slice the beets. Slice them as thin as possible. Cut each slice with a cookie cutter that is approximately 2.5-inches in diameter, but that will depend on the size of your beets.
Arrange all the beet slices on your work surface. Pipe a small of filling (like 1/2 teaspoon) onto the center of half of the beet slices leaving about 1/5-inch border around the edge. Using a small pastry brush or your finger, brush the edges with water. Place another slice of beet on top and gently press down on the edges. It will be a bit smaller than the bottom and that is ok, just make sure to tuck in the filling well. Finish filling all the beet slices.
Whisk together the parsley oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Arrange the beet ravioli in bowls, drizzle with the vinaigrette and top with microgreens. Serve immediately