This is the eighth in a series of posts on Happyday Farms, the CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) located up here on Bell Springs Road, run by Casey, Amber, Lito and Courtney.
Happyday Farms fulfills a critical need in our community, affording the residents of North County the opportunity to eschew the sordid offerings of Corporate America’s pesticide-ridden, genetically-altered fodder, in favor of locally-grown, fresh, organic produce. Happyday Farms currently participates in two weekly farmers’ markets, and will up that figure to at least three, and possibly four when June arrives.
One of these venues is the Laytonville Market, every Monday, at which time many of the CSA shares are distributed. The second is the farmers‘ market situated each Wednesday at the rock quarry on Bell Springs Road, approximately four miles up from the 101.
The gatherings each Wednesday are a special blend of local flavor and folks up from the lowlands to participate in a uniquely quaint, down-home fair. Besides Casey and Amber with their produce, flower bouquets, herbs, spices and other Happyday Farms products, there is always an assortment of other vendors selling food, arts/crafts, vegetable starts, and occasionally services offered such as knife-sharpening, massages given, or face-painting performed.
Annie has been baking gluten-free products under the name, Happyday Farms, Mama-Made, Gluten-Free Baked Goods for many years. She usually bakes around six or so foot-long loaves of her multi-grained, gluten-free bread, and I slice them by hand, after first cutting them exactly in half. To ensure uniformity, I use a wooden rack which has a series of measured slots on both sides so that, as long as I keep the bread stationary, all slices are exactly the same thickness.
I am fanatical about being the bread-slicer. You see, Annie can’t do it because of her Carpel-Tunnel issue, and for the first couple years I really struggled to stay on task, it being the kind of job that requires one hundred percent of my attention. The nature of market day is that Annie has to bake early and carefully monitor the entire process to make sure that the bread cools in a timely manner.
Warm bread cannot be effectively cut; it must be completely cool. However, by the time this has taken place, the witching hour is darn near upon us and I need to get ‘er done, so that we can depart for the quarry. The kicker for me is that I am desperate to be the helper in this endeavor. Partly it’s because the bread is so well-received by people who can’t eat bread with gluten, but mostly it’s about letting Annie know that if she goes through the hassle of baking it, I will make it look pretty.
Her customers are always so appreciative to get the bread that I get an acute sense of enjoyment that I am part of that process. I have found that what works the best for me is to put the old headphones on and get into the bread-zone. And of course, Annie is always so happy to get the bread ready for market, that I am always going to benefit, in some tangibly pleasant form.
After all, I have not yet described the other gluten-free items that could accompany the bread to market on any given Wednesday. In no order whatsoever, any of the following might be on the docket: chocolate-cherry cookies; salted chocolate cookies; lemon cookies; jalapeno corn muffins; bacon-kale muffins; tri-berry muffins and any of a number of different flavored and frosted cupcakes; cheesecakes; focaccia bread, and pizza bread.
Then there are chocolate-zucchini cakes; zucchini spice cakes; carrot cakes; lemon cakes, and banana bread; there are the chocolate puddings and her Texas sheet cake. I could go on indefinitely, but you get the idea. Annie is the Gluten-Free Guru.
Next post: Rockin’ the Quarry