At Tall Tree Farm, it is all about family. You understand this immediately as you pull into the driveway and park around back by the century-old Havelock Barn.
The minute you arrive, you see, you’re sure to be greeted by the young Tall Tree brood: mother, Amanda, straw hat askew and tanned from long hours in the garden sun; father, Dave, warm and welcoming and eager to lead a tour of the property; toddler, Dave Jr., leading the way and pointing out crops that are ripe and ready for the picking. After them will trail a menagerie of barn-cat kittens and the family dog. The chickens are cooped and penned, but you get the feeling that they’d be coming to greet you as well.
How hard to they work?
During a tour of their greenhouse, Amanda points out that they have to get up twice per night to feed the winter woodstove that allows them to get a head start on their spring market greens. I take a moment to imagine stumbling through the cold February midnight dark in order to hope for a springtime paycheque.
And I’m suitably impressed.
The work ethic shows as 3-year-old Dave, not yet up to his mother’s hip, toddles in and out of garden rows, picking perfectly ripe cucumbers and zucchini. He staggers up to us with a zucchini squash that looks like it weighs nearly as much as he does.
“I’ve got dinner for tonight!” he exclaims excitedly.
There is dinner there for a week, I think.
Recipe: Fried Zucchini
A perfect side to any BBQ meal. Kid friendly and fun. And a great way to use those bumper zucchini crops! This informal recipe is great for even beginner cooks.
zucchini (feel free to also include eggplant, mushroom, or peppers) – sliced to no more than ¼ inch thick
egg – start with one and use more as needed
flour – and handful or so (option: you can add a bit of dried oregano and/or a pinch if cayenne to your flour)
salt and pepper – a generous pinch of each
vegetable oil – just enough to cover the bottom of a shallow pan.
Sift a handful of flour, plus the salt and pepper into a ziplock bag;
Dip zucchini/vegetables into the egg, a few at a time, and then add to the bag of flour – making sure there is plenty of air in the bag as well – and shake until the vegetables are coated;
Repeat until you have coated all of your vegetables;
Shallow fry on medium-high heat until golden brown;
Blot oils with paper towel and serve with tzatziki or your favourite dip.