Growing & Learning at Reid Weatherby Farm
Customers aren’t the only beneficiaries of the wisdom of the farming community represented at Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Farmers learn from each other, too, at the market’s weekly gatherings.
“When I get to market, I can compare farming conditions and see other farms’ products, and how they have fared in the current growing season,” comments Bruce Weatherby, who with his wife, Abigail Reid, owns Reid Weatherby Farm.
In addition to swapping knowledge, various groups of the farmers at the market sometimes work together on common projects, notes Weatherby, including sharing seed orders before the growing season begins.
Garlic is one of Reid Weatherby Farm’s largest crops, with the “seed garlic” ordered in conjunction with some other area farms from an operation in Ontario. The farm has already started harvesting this year’s flavorful “Music” variety, which is known for its mild to medium heat, and large cloves covered in pinkish skin that is easy to peel. Music is a kind of hardneck garlic, with hardneck types known for their more complex flavors than the softneck, longer-storing varieties found in grocery stores.
Other crops grown on the three to four cultivated acres of Reid Weatherby Farm’s land in the town of Buskirk in southern Washington County include greens (lettuce, kale, Swiss chard), and other assorted vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and summer squash.
“Our location is on a very hilly road, the last climb of the Tour de Battenkill bicycle race,” chuckles Weatherby. “We’re about a half mile north of the Hoosic River, and seem to have a very favorable micro-climate for growing.”
While not certified organic, everything grown at Reid Weatherby Farm is cultivated following naturally grown practices, including the use of cover crops and a compost/fertility system that enriches the soil naturally.
Weatherby notes that he’s relatively new to farming, having started just eight years ago, after working as a journeyman carpenter and in commercial maintenance for many years. Abigail Reid works as a teacher at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, but assists on the farm when she can, and particularly during the summer when it’s most busy.
“I had always had a garden, and got a big kick out of working with it and sharing what I was growing,” notes Weatherby. “Farming seemed to be a good second vocation for me to pursue, and one that we can still enjoy for many years. I like that I can make it my kind of labor.”
“I feel lucky to be where we are—just five miles to Cambridge—and Washington County has a tremendous agricultural community.”
Reid Weatherby Farm attends Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Saturdays only, and its stand is located on the north lawn. Asked for a favorite recipe, the farm offered several with garlic as a featured ingredient, including grilled garlic scapes (a great dish in late spring when the green, curled tips of the garlic stalk are trimmed) and this recipe for a pesto incorporating several summer market ingredients.
Garlic, Pistachio & Kale Pesto
*Ingredients can be found at the market
5-6 large leaves of kale*, stems removed and leaves torn
1/3 cup roasted pistachios
2 cloves Music garlic*
1 cup assorted herbs* (parsley, basil, mint, etc.)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese*
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for garnish
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Partially cook the kale in a large pot of boiling water, until just wilted but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Transfer kale to bowl of ice water to halt cooking process. Once cool, drain and coarsely chop the kale.
Using a food processor, chop garlic and then add pistachios and chop together. Add kale and herbs, and grind until very finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil, and then “pulse” the processor while adding the Parmesan, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
Pesto can be used in many ways: to top pasta (add about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water to make it easier to blend the pasta and pesto together), as a sandwich spread, dip, or as a flavorful enhancement to sautéed vegetables, eggs, or pizza.
Abigail Reid notes that she varies this pesto on occasion: substitute more lemon or even lime juice for the oil, use almonds instead of pistachios, etc.