Day one at the farm, and I’m standing in the empty kitchen where three hours earlier I watched Chef Kinch flip a perfect French omelet for 16 eager cooking class attendees. On my left Pim pulled a clafoutis from the oven, testing it with her finger for the desired spring of the top and, satisfied, whisking it onto the counter. As a class assistant I didn’t have long to watch—the mixing bowls were piling up—and it is with fingertips wrinkled from dish-washing that I write this post to welcome you to a journal of my time here learning, cooking, and eating at Love Apple Farm.
It’s now day three, and one afternoon of compost making, two clafoutis, and three goat milkings later the welcome I started to write two nights ago is finally ready to post. Last week I folded my J. Crew pencil skirts for storage and searched out the biggest sunhat I could find (the kind with an oh-so-attractive drawstring under the chin) and now I’m finally here, working as a farm apprentice. My duties range from watering seedlings with worm tea (don’t ask) to assisting in cooking classes with Manresa chef David Kinch and Pim of the lovely blog Chez Pim, and from the soil to the harvested leeks I’ll turn into potato leek soup tonight, it’s all about the journey from farm to food.
The clafoutis Pim made was a traditional clafoutis, which is always made with cherries—“Saying ‘cherry clafoutis’ is like saying ‘egg omelet!’” she reminded us cheerfully during class. I don’t have my own recipe just yet, but I do have a new fondness for the dessert, not only because it is light and delicious, but because it became something of a symbol of my first day. There was the clafoutis made for the students, of which I enjoyed a few quick bites while washing up. But hours later there was another one: baked in our apprentices’ cottage kitchen, doctored with fresh goat’s milk, and placed on a kitchen table laden with lemon bars, a buttery onion tart, and a batch of homemade fried chicken and gravy. I felt entirely at home, and as we ate our dessert warm from the oven I’d already forgotten it was only my first day.