Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of going to a raw potluck farm tour at Spirit Bliss Farm.
The owners, Helen and Jeff Rose, a friendly and down to earth couple who began an online market called Natural Zing nearly 5 years ago.
How Organic Fair Trade describes Natural Zing:
"Natural Zing, is a company dedicated to feeding the mind, body and spirit. Through two decades of research and consulting with numerous nutritionists and vegetarian specialists they have gathered the best products to develop your natural energy and health, your natural zing.
In Natural Zing's Market they sell organic food, raw food, vegetarian food and vegan food as well as related chef's tools and personal care products, only the healthiest products for you and the Earth.
Natural Zing specialize in raw foods, living food, vegan food, organic foods and other products to promote health, including personal care, juicers and kitchen equipment. Their products and resources meet the needs of various dietary and lifestyle choices.
Natural Zing uses 100% recycled paper for its office and printers (e.g. receipts, packing slips, letters and shipping documents). Natural Zing recycles boxes and uses mainly corn based water soluble green packing materials.
Natural Zing gets its electricity from a 100% Green Bio-Mass generation facility. This is offered via Electric Choice through Pepco Wash DC.
Natural Zing employees love and prefer to wear hemp clothing, shoes and accesories. They believe in living by example and voting with our dollars. Lift your spirit with hemp."
The picture above is of Helen and Jeff Rose with their one and a half children. I was taking a picture of a piece of purslane and they magically appeared in the background(cute family).
I drove up alone and I wasn't sure I'd recognize anyone there (aside from the owners). But when I first arrived, we all mingled, talked, perused the bookshelves packed with books covering related subjects such as raw vegan food recipes, health & wellness, sustainability, and organic gardening. I met many friendly people; a couple who were going to be camping at a retreat with the Boutenko's in Oregon, some just going raw, and some who were raw for years. I met with an online friend, Sharon from GITMR as well as a friend(Nic) of another friend Jen from Twitter.
Jeff pulled out one of his juicers and I helped him juice up an entire gallon of watermelon juice! We got to talking and the juicer sort of overflowed, but I only spilled a little. The living foods prepared and set out on the tables looked marvelous! In a special bioplastic cup, I sampled lemon grass tea, mint tea, fresh lemonade with agave nectar, a dark musky herbal tea, cabbage rejuvelac, watermelon juice. I should have taken a picture of the main dishes and juice table but I forgot. I did get a few pictures of dessert as well as a few bites of it, too. I know, that wasn't the way to break a juice fast, but I have no guilt. I'm feeling healthier and livelier than I have in years! Life is good.
Jeff gave us a tour of the farm, describing the different plants and growing methods along the way. We saw container gardens, fruit trees & shrubs, greenhouse gardening, and covered crops.
There were fruit trees everywhere. I noticed a ginko in the front yard on my way in, as well as planters at the entrance full of edibles. Jeff said he found a sprouted seed inside his pink lady apple and he planted it. The mulberries were fresh right then and people were eating right from the tree(that's not my arm). There were two baby kiwi trees, one boy and one girl(awwwww). I'm not sure how wild pears taste, but I'll bet I could juice them...
Inside the greenhouse dome, I discovered flats of miniature tomato plants, HUGE dinosaur kale (I always try to call it "elephant kale") and an abundance of greens hanging down, growing up. An efficient use of space, really.
All the desserts looked wonderful, and by the time I pulled out my camera, much of it was gone. In addition to about a gallon of juice, I also ate a bite of raw ice cream, 2 bites of cacao/raspberry(?) pie, and a bite of hemp/coconut crispy. Mmmm!
After the tour, we all sat down to listen to the event speaker. We were back outside as the golden sun cast long shadows on the lawn. Jeff's friend Gus, gave us a talk on organic farming. Gus, owner and farmer of Jasmine Farm, in Howard County, Maryland. Its a certified organic CSA(community supported agriculture), providing weekly fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs during the growing season. He was a handsome fellow, entertaining, and informative. He seemed right at home telling us what he's learned, what works, what doesn't. Some people took notes, others just sat back and enjoyed the whole experience of being out on a sunny evening in a peaceful setting.
Eventually, I picked up my Natural Zing order, bought one of the books I was admiring (RAWvolution by Matt Amsden), and headed home. I was so happy with how my evening went, that I was still wide awake and peppy all the way home.