Catching up here a bit this weekend after last weekend was a long weekend and it threw me off schedule. I’m not complaining though, it was nice to have an extra day off! This weekend has been great too, I enjoy sharing these updates with you.
Last weekend almost felt like a four-day weekend to me because it started on Friday at Terra Nova Farm, in Richmond, for our pastry school term field trip. It was so amazing to be outside all day and learn about the cycle of food, bees, and baking in a cob oven. It was a working day, lots to learn, but it was really fun too.
This post has a lot of photos, which really tell the story of the day best. I can’t wait to go back and help out again. There is a lot to be done there and my school has a few plots in the community garden their too.
Welcome to Terra Nova Community Garden! This was the main view upon arrival, so peaceful and a beautiful day to be outside.
This what wheat looks like when it grows. A lot of people may not realize where four comes from, but it starts here… There are many varieties too.
The day began with an orientation to the farm which included a tour. As we passed this field of buttercups I couldn’t help but take a photo.
The red barn in the background is where our class took place for most of the day, this was the path back to the barn after the tour – through all the community garden plots.
We learned about bees… This is a home for mason bees, the ones that don’t make honey and help pollinate everything. Bees are a very important part of the food cycle.
Earlier in the day, we finished our pies that we created on our own, to be baked in the cob oven. I had enough filling to make two: using gluten free crust, with a blackberry and apple filling with some cloves and lemon. The crumble on top is a cornmeal crumble.
Here’s my tart before it baked!
We also prepared apple streudel. The dough was made the day before at school, mixed for a long time to work up the gluten so it can be stretched really thin – so thin that we could wrap it across the table.
Then we gently rolled in the apple filling, and prepared it for the cob oven.
Once the pies were ready, we walked them over to the cob oven.
Here they are, in the oven!
I took a video of the cob oven and shared it on Instagram, it was fun to watch!
Me and the oven while the pies are baking.
Here are some of the finished pies, they were all different and they all looked amazing!
My pie! You can see some of the black bits that made their way onto the pies during the baking, a result of the cob oven – just more flavour!
The biggest memory for me on the farm day will forever be the bees. We were split into groups and dressed for a visit to the bee hives, while the other group helped shovel some mulch. I was so nervous, I hate bees. I’m not allergic but I really don’t like them, even though I LOVE honey and find the process fascinating. But I thought to myself, it’s now or never and this is part of the baking world I want to be in, so I had to do it. I suited up and focussed on staying calm because bees really can smell fear. I just focussed on breathing and trusted the Chef touring us that we were safe. And I did it! No bee sting. Learning how bees communicate, their hierarchy and life cycle, and how honey made is a really interesting topic.
Here is the other group during their hive visit, while my group worked from a distance.
I do enjoy labour work, it was not easy, but made easier with the team effort!
After the bees and shovelling we headed back to the barn to look at our finished pies and strudel and wrap up the day.
Here is the apple strudel out of the oven – it sure tasted great after a full day outside. From helping around the compost area to shovelling, and baking our pies, it was truly a great day.
Yum! There was an added smokey flavour in all the pies from the cob oven. Not something you can make in a regular kitchen!