"Dog-sheep" Holly, Sean, and Mary Adore
The route to Randall Cove Farm took us back through Boone, NC, and to a dumpster diver's dream. For those of you not familiar with dumpster diving, it is simply finding food that is not quite good enough to sell (bruised, dented, almost passed the expiration date, etc) behind local grocery stores. Even picky dumpster divers like ourselves are still able to find a plethora of perfectly delicious culinary options. We enjoy supplementing our diet with dumpster diving, it is satisfying to save food from going to waste, and get free food.
On our previous pass through Boone we had checked the dumpster of a local grocery at John's suggestion, and had found a cornucopia of produce and other tasty treats. We excitedly checked it again, but were disappointed to find it recently emptied. In order to cure our melancholy we decided to check another grocery store on our way out of town. By random chance we were met with the dumpster haul of the century. Loose on the bottom of an otherwise empty dumpster were dozens of still-frozen quarts of Breyer's ice cream, probably deposited minutes earlier. The tubs were a little banged up, but still maintained their integrity. Holly exclaimed expletives of joy and held the bag while Randy grabbed three of the tubs. The urge to grab as many tubs as possible was only tempered by our blatant lack of refrigeration possibilities, since we still had hours to go. As we made our exit two employees came out of the back door, any earlier and we would have been caught with our hand in the cookie jar, so to speak.
Our GPS took us perhaps the most direct, but also the most treacherous route possible. Our poor little overloaded Volkswagon had to go up and over Glade mountain (the highest point in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness). Although the ride down wasn't quite "out of control," it certainly took a few years off the life of the brakes.
Randall Cove is in Sandy Mush, a rural community nestled in the mountains outside of Leicester ("Lester"), NC. It was by far the most out-of-the-way farm that we've been to so far. Sandy Mush is made up of countless different "coves" (valleys between two ridges), most of them named after and still inhabited by the same families that first settled them. Many coves contained numerous "hollers," which are simply the small valleys formed when two large hills meet. Randall Cove Farm fills a holler within Randall Cove, a cove no longer inhabited by its namesake family. On the road in we passed falling down farms with peacocks, carved wooden creatures flanking a bridge, and had to pull over to let an old farmer on a tractor pass.
|Kaitlyn feeding the goats|
|The "snood" in the unicorn position|
|The guineas contemplating mortality|
|Jared inspects the newest kids|
|Guinea chicks are so cute; what happens?|
|The farrier shoes a horse|
In addition to all of his other knowledge, Jared is also an excellent mycologist, and we went on a few forays with him. He has inoculated countless logs with oyster, shitake, and chicken of the woods, and already has restaurants waiting to buy whatever mushrooms he can grow or find.
Since it's still that time of year, we also did plenty of planting, including planting potatoes in the middle of the night by the light of the full moon. The full moon is a good time to plant root crops, and we all had a lot of fun gardening at midnight.
Sean was a Connecticut transplant who helped out on the farm. He was hired to work the gem mine, but often helped out with whatever needed to be done. He and his wife have an impressive farm of their own that we were able to see when we visited one evening. We enjoyed a lovely evening of farm talk and popcorn, and hope some day to play that game of Scrabble.
Dwayne and Kerry also worked on the farm, they were in charge of keeping the horses in order and leading trail rides. One morning we were fortunate enough to tag along on one of the rides, and got a few trail miles under our belts.
|Holly's market face|
Every Friday and Saturday the farm went to the Leicester tailgate market, where we sold everything from mushroom logs to llama poop. The cow poop tea was a great seller. This was the first farm where we got to sell at market, and we enjoyed interacting with the locals, as well as the free samples from other vendors. mmmm...cake.
We hung out with Jared, Kaitlyn, and Manny quite a bit since we ate all of our meals together (mostly consisting of sausage and goat cheese) and spent all of our free time in the same place. Jared had a camper where we ate and hung out, taking advantage of the electricity and running water. One night we all went up to the guest cabins where we luxuriated in one of the hot tubs, soaking away our farming aches.
|Manny strikes an angel pose with Kaitlyn|