Fleur-de-TravelAtHome

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 This week, I’m going to share a secret. Well, two.
Perhaps because I know I am soon leaving my home of 14 years, I am discovering local charms that I simply have to pass on to all of you.
The first is an event I’ve known about for years but never took advantage of until a few weeks ago: Kutztown University’s International Banquet. What a way to travel around the world in the faces and personalities of college students!
Jen, perhaps Bethlehem’s most devoted Fleur-de-Lys Farm hen fruit customer, emailed asking if I wanted to buy tickets to the event. Who could refuse dinner out for the price of a $5 ticket? I ordered a half-dozen to share.
Hosted by the International Student Organization, this buffet dinner from around the world is accompanied by a parade of nations, geography games, and an international student talent show. This year’s entertainment included students demonstrating tai chi, singing Egyptian songs, playing a Turkish guitar and Chopin on piano, and a great round of drum jamming. As I sat in the all-purpose room of McFarland Student Union, I remembered all of the other events I attended there with the kids, from History Day and Model UN to health fairs and the KAHS After-Prom Party — dinner, arm-chair travel, and a trip down memory lane for five bucks! Check out KU’s website next spring for info on the International Banquet.
Next treat, hop off the global circuit and head to the Kutztown countryside for a special Winemaker’s Dinner at Blair Vineyards, 99 Dietrich Valley Road, Kutztown. You will think you detoured and went to heavenly Napa Valley wine country. As you sit at the outside tasting pavilion, furnished with oak barrel tables and stools, you can scan the horizon (1.000-feet-plus above sea level) and feel as if you are sitting inside a crown encircled with the emerald hills of northeast Berks County. OK, maybe I was a little too tuned into the royal wedding. Don’t take my words for it; see for yourself.
Winemaker Richard Blair has monthly Winemaker’s Dinners where a different Blair wine is served with each course of a seasonal meal prepared by a guest chef. Now my wine vocabulary isn’t much more detailed than “red”, “white,” “sweet,” and “dry,” so I set my sights on the agricultural part of the endeavor and opened my taste buds to the rest.
First Course: Spring Pea Fritter with Fresh Mint Gremolata paired with Blair Vineyards 2009 Riesling
Second Course: House-Cured Salmon with Dill Creme Fraiche paired with Blair Vineyards 2007 Chardonnay
Third Course: Choice of Pan Fried Local Trout or Panko and Mustard Encrusted Baby Lamb Chops with Three Potato and Morel Mushroom Hash Paired with Blair Vineyards 2008 Pinot Noir
Fourth Course: Dark Cherry and Orange Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream paired with Blair Vineyards 2010 Off Dry Pinot Gris.
This Farm/Vineyard-to-Table treat is just that, a treat, forging partnerships between farms, farmers, and foodies. Reservations must be made in advance and the price is $60 per person. http://www.blairvineyards.com/  Laurie Lynch
At Fleur-de-Lys Farm this week: Eggs, asparagus, Picasso shallots, chives, parsley, lovage, sorrel, and the beauty of spring unfolding … check out this week’s photos: Asarum canadense (Canada wild ginger) and Heuchera villosa “Beaujolais’; Asian pear in bloom; and over-wintered parsley and chives.
Also Ripe for the Picking: Lest anyone think I sugarcoat this farming life I love, I will admit to spending too many hours pulling weeds. This week’s Top Five: dandelions, shepherd’s purse, henbit, thistle, and speedwell. And on the home front, Most Unwanted Pest: Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (aka BMSB or in Lynch family lingo, Dinosaur Bugs).
Moveable Farm: I’ve potted up a few flats of Picasso shallots and a couple of tubs of potato plants to move to State College. I also have a few luffa seedlings and plan to create a garlic bed to keep my planting stock going until, well, until. In State College Borough zoning allows four backyard chickens, but my Mother’s home with four acres is in “rural” College Township, where you need to have 10 acres to house even one hen. So, I decided to think outside the coop … and came up with a plan.
Bees Please: When Paul and I moved to Fleur-de-Lys, we wanted to raise honeybees. We took a weekend course in beekeeping at Delaware Valley College (Aunt France farm- and kid-sat). We raised bees for two or three years but then I was busy with too many other things and Paul had a demanding work schedule so he decided beekeeping would be a better retirement hobby. When the last colony didn’t make it through a harsh winter, we put the hives in storage. Time to pull them out.
Written on Slate: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  E.M. Forester
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One thought on “Fleur-de-TravelAtHome

  1. Oh Laurie, I hoped somehow you could stay. I don't know what to say except that I'm so sorry. And I hope wherever you go there will be gardening and chickens and love that you deserve.

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