Paradise Farms: Eat Your Flowers!
A visit to Paradise Farms is not your standard brunch. (Don't worry, there are still mimosas!)
Paradise Farms, which supplies produce for some of the area's best restaurants, is open for brunch. But, while there, you won't merely be getting a meal...
Paradise's dinners with acclaimed chefs are big ticket items ($155.00) and regularly sell out. Granted, brunch is also a big bill ($43.00 for adults, $15.00 for kids under 12). But... along with your meal, you get to join a farm tour - your chance to learn what makes the farm and its produce unique. The farm is only open to the public during these events.
Paradise Farms is not only organic, it's biodynamic, which means it follows a set of principles developed by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, that treat the farm as a living organism. This means that crops are planted according to an astronomical calendar that takes into account the position of the moon. While some consider biodynamic agriculture a little bit too hocus-pocus, many organic farmers swear by it. On a recent brunch farm tour, Paradise Farms owner Gabriele Marewski stressed that biodynamic agriculture makes farming easier.
Maybe the best way to see where you stand on the issue is to have a little taste. Go on the Paradise Farms tour and start eating.
Marewski encourages it. On last Sunday's tour, she took adults and kids around the farm telling them not only to pick the flowers, but to eat them. Edible flowers are in such high demand from Paradise Farms that Marewski is also in the process of drying them for possible future sale.
The guests were all over it. It was a little bit like a visit to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, except for all the bright sunshine. The farm has a funky feel; signs posted around the farm are painted in sea green and lavender. By the end of the tour, people were asking about the CDs twirling above the microgreens (hung there to distract birds from picking at seeds), and one young girl was begging her mom for a cotton candy tree (yes, there's a tree at the farm with red berries that taste like cotton candy).
Among the flowers eaten - were nasturtium (seen here as part of the brunch's mix of salad greens). It has a peppery, almost radish-like flavor. There's also wild petunia, (has a mild honeysuckle flavor), arugula flower (the flower of good ol'arugula, tastes like arugula concentrate), and mizuna flowers (tastes like broccoli!).
If you are still hungry after the flowers, don't worry. There's plenty to eat at the actual brunch. Guests eat family-style around outdoor circular tables, with each dish explained by Chef Kira Volz. The menu is not given out ahead of time because it can depend on what's available on the farm. On a recent brunch, there were carambola mimosas, homemade yogurt, fresh strawberries and orange segments, egg and malabar spinach (picked from the farm) strada, and pecan shortbread cookies made with a hint of rosemary.
Condiments included homemade pesto, chopped up and dressed golden heirloom tomatoes, and...dark amber-colored honey from the farm (yup, bees there, too!). To reserve your farm tour/brunch slot, visit the Paradise Farms website.
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