This past weekend, Slow Food First Coast had its first Tour De Farm event.  The tour was on Sunday, April 12, 2011, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. This was the first year for Tour De Farm and it looked like it was going to be a successful event.  There were approximately 24 farms that participated in the event. St Johns County had the most participation with 14 farms. The other 10 farms that were in the event were in the following counties Baker, Bradford, Duval, and Putnam county.  List of all farms that participated.

Some great local restaurants helped sponsor the event like 29 South Eats, St Augustine Grill, Bistro A.I.X, The Floridian, Purple Olive, and Orsay. Some of the local chefs from these restaurants partnered up with many of the farms on the tour and were giving demonstrations.

 

When my wife first told me about the Slow Food Tour De Farm event I wasn't interested in going. Then she asked my son of 2 1/2 years of age if he would like to see some goats.  Well, of course, the animal lover in my son would not miss the opportunity to see some goats.  So, not wanting to disappoint my son, we headed out to Terk’s Acres Goat Farm.  We arrived at the farm around 10 minutes to 1 and there were a few people already there.  We started off by enjoying some free samples of artisan homemade organic sorbets by Seacow Confections.  Wow, this was some of the best sorbet I've ever had and you can find them every Saturday at the farmers market at the Saint Augustine Amphitheatre. The farm was pretty well set up with 4-H students giving demonstrations on how to take care of goats. The 4-H students showed us the proper way to clip the goat's hoofs, shave the goats, remove the horns, and milk the goats. As for my son, he wasn't interested in the demonstrations he just enjoyed seeing all the animals and getting a chance the pet them.  As we walked around the farm we saw chickens freely roaming around and my son asked: “ I hug them”.  Understanding the chickens are a lot faster than he is, the wife and I agreed that he could go "hug them". After walking toward a few chickens and realizing that he wasn't able to catch them, he went back to petting goats.  

 

 

Fresh Start Hydroponic Farm was the second stop of the day. When we got there Chef Jean Stephane Poinard of Bistro De Leon was giving a demonstration on making a hor’duerve on toast with cream cheese and fresh Datil pepper sauce.  They had Datil pepper products, Minorcan clam chowder, lettuces, cucumbers, and other organic vegetables for sale.  At  2:00, Connie Foy put together a workshop called “Hydroponics at Home”. She put together a great demonstration explaining how hydroponics works and answered questions people had.

 

At the beginning of the day, I had no interest in the tour.  But, by the time we arrived at the  Fresh Start Hydroponic Farm, I found out that hydroponics is very interesting and found myself asking Connie Foy questions on how to start my own hydroponic garden.  Overall, the family and I had a great time visiting that the two farms. The only thing I regret is not having more time to visit other farms.  I hope Slow Food First Coast's Tour De Farm was a great success and I hope they make this an annual event.