I haven't posted in a while because 1. farm work has been quite the adjustment for me, and 2. I slipped and fell while dismounting from a skid steer and seriously sprained my wrist. Needless to say, this is really the first day in several days I can type without too much pain. But it's still fairly uncomfortable (there's some weird sort of stiffness/pressure in the inner wrist) . So, I'm on hiatus from most things for a while. Should be back posting soon, and hopefully better adjusted to my new line of work after this forced rest.
We spent last night at The Art of Brewing event down on the Square in Stevens Point taste testing the best malty-hoppy goodness Wisconsin has to offer. By my count there were 10 breweries represented, one wine table, and a totally out of place Cold Stone Creamery cart offering their crap for $3 (beer and ice cream do not mix, OK?). Entrance was $15. We were given a three-ounce tasting glass and the opportunity to take as many samples as we wanted by 9 pm. Let's just say that I seized that opportunity. It was like liquid heaven.
Of tasty note was the Milwaukee Brewing Co.'s three offerings: pale ale, ale, and stout. I've had a lot of Wisconsin beers, but never from these folks. I think they're a fairly new operation. Glad they were there to show me the light. The Solomon Juneau Ale was exceptionally good; it seemed to be fairly light on hops for an ale and had a slightly sweet, almost vanilla character to it. Will definitely buy it.
Also great was South Shore Brewery from way up north in Ashland. I've had one of their beers before--the Honey Pils, which I believe is my favorite Wisconsin beer--and discovered last night that their Herbal Creme Ale is about as yummy as Ales come. Actually, the name of the beer says it all: it's got a complex body of herbally flavors that is exceptionally smooth and creamy. Probably my favorite beer of the night. They also had a very good Nut Brown. I was lucky enough to have been handed nearly a full bottle of the creme ale at around 8:58.
Other breweries represented: Wisconsin favorite New Glarus (always excellent), Minnesota-based Summit (didn't leave any impression on me), Sand Creek (OK), Capital (yum), Miller (boo!), Tyranena (not my favorite), local micro-micro Central Waters (great bourbon barrel stout and porter), and, of course, Point.
Point has changed the label of their White Biere. It is now being called Belgian White. The brew is still the same, but the dude at the Point booth told me that they made the name change to avoid some sort of confusion about the type of beer it is. Something to do with how the Germans say "vit" or something. I don't know. Either way, it's a pretty unique and tasty beer.
Also, local home brewing shop Point Brew Supply was on hand to let us know that they are in the process of opening a really really really microbrewery at their new location in Plover. They hope to have their first beer served up at the Springville Wharf Restaurant (which will become part brewpub when all is said and done) round about September. I forget what the name of the first beer will be, but it has something to do with a big "O." I can't wait to try it.
Things have been a bit out of the ordinary here lately. I had hoped to post with more frequency since blog traffic was on the rise. But I recently quit my job as an editor/writer to become a farmhand on a dairy farm (makes perfect sense, right?); I've been waking up at 4 am and putting in 14-hour days, which has left me sort of zombie-like and generally discombobulated. But I've just begun a four-day weekend, which is nice. More on the experience in future posts. For now I'll just say that it has been a great learning experience so far and much more satisfying than my last job-- but exceptionally hard.
Anyway, it's late and I probably need to sleep (sleep schedule is all messed up right now). Hopefully I'll post again in the next couple days.
Friday was a fairly easy day on the farm. We did a little cleanup from the previous days' harvest and set up boxes for the upcoming week. Then we hoed around the eggplant, which have beautiful little blueish flowers sprouting, and squished potato beetles that were doing their best to keep all the eggplant to themselves. It was quite unpleasant to squish adult potato beetles with my fingers (compared with the juveniles, who weren't crunchy), but such is the trade off: instead of spraying his crops with all sorts of pseudo-safe pesticide, farmer Mark employs a time-tested, more direct approach to crop protection. Either way, the bugs die; having to crush the beetles with my own hands has helped me realize that the production of almost all food involves some sort of death. I never thought about it so concretely when I bought my food in the grocery store or at the farmers market.
Oh yeah, we also rolled up some ground cover before working on the eggplant. I'm not sure what the purpose of the cover was; perhaps it was some form of insulation. I try to ask Mark questions, but I also try not to be a burden out there. Plus, we're usually really busy. Anyway, after the eggplant we moved some sprinklers around and laid some t-tape in the broccoli beds. T-tape is used to drip-irrigate the crops; it has tiny holes in it, which allows the water to slowly make its way into the soil. I believe Mark said he is testing out the sprinklers for the first time this year. He finds the t-tape more efficient, but doesn't like the fact that he has to trash it when he's done using it on a particular row of crops.
This week's sustenance: lettuce, mixed greens, salad turnips, garlic scapes, scallions, snow peas, snap peas (sweet like candy!), and swiss chard.