Farm to Table

de la ferme à la table

The farms around TSOP are known to deliver fresh homegrown produce to local restaurants in the area. These farms are associated with CSA so you get to know the farmers, their land, and their crops. There is this side of me that longs to be an expert organic, green thumb guru tilling the raised beds expecting a harvest. I know it is not as easy as it looks, especially at This Side of Paris where the climate does not allow for a long growing season. Growing up in the South in early spring, I remember my dad, would till the ground in preparation for the vegetable garden. He knew exactly what he wanted to plant. My siblings and I, on the other hand knew what would become of it — a playground for us to meander through the tunnel of green beans and bitter cucumbers. The “Big Boy” tomatoes were often picked before they could show off their size as part of the produce market game my brother and sister enjoyed playing.

We know we plan to enjoy cooking locally grown produce brought to us by our local farmers in the area. Much of their produce is sourced by local restaurants. However, if we decide to take a break from our ground work, we love supporting our local restaurants that source through local farmers.

Against the Grain is a certified biodynamic and organic produce grower not far from TSOP. Their modern approach to farming is helping their company expand their business to meet the demands for cleaner food consumption. They partner with one of our favorite restaurants in town. F.A.R.M cafe is a non-profit restaurant on W. King Street. It has a unique concept of dishing out high quality and delicious meals for lunch regardless of means. They stand by their motto, “pay what you can” and get a quality meal that is farm to table from local farmers in town. North Fork Farms is another small family farm serving pasture-raised high quality meat products without added hormones or antibiotics. They are a known meat provider to several local restaurants in the area such as Proper Restaurant— Boone’s local proper southern diner with all the fixins’.

For now, we are busy cultivating the flower beds for a bountiful perennial showcase of colors come middle of June. Finding the right plants to grow is half the battle. Thankfully, the soil at TSOP is extraordinary rich. We are borrowing gardening concepts from Paul Gautschi, founder of Back to Eden Gardening. The earth’s natural process of mulching the ground leaves for a very dark soil, rich in nutrients. This black gold makes the variety of ferns, hostas, wild irises, wild lilies, roses, and hydrangeas on the property to thrive. The property is a natural nursery for Cinnamon ferns, Ostrich ferns, Royal ferns, and Licorice ferns. Finding these all around the property, we have gathered enough variety for replanting in our redesigned garden beds. Along with the flowering plants, the variety of hostas, and the “Endless Bloom” hydrangeas propagated from our original plant back home will bring in the splash of colors and a source of flower cuttings all summer long.

We have also added large colorful terra-cotta pots around the gardens for added interest and an all year round pop of color. Most of what have planted at TSOP are perennials. With the warmer temperatures lately, I get excited to see little buds starting to pop up from the ground - weeds included. I discovered that pure vinegar works just as well to weeds as Roundup without the harsh chemicals, plus it is a fraction of the cost.

1. Terracotta pots in blue and white 2. David bust planter 3. Gardening stool 4. All in one bulb planter 5. All weather boots 6. Toile rain boots.

1. Terracotta pots in blue and white 2. David bust planter 3. Gardening stool 4. All in one bulb planter 5. All weather boots 6. Toile rain boots.

Our House of Fashion board has my best pick for garden essentials. Blue and white remains a forever classic color scheme for both indoor and outdoor decor. You must really see the colorful pots and gardens at TSOP. Our Airbnb, “Go on a Wine Tour at This Side of Paris” listing gets plenty of views, so don’t waste “thyme” but plan to come see us on the mountain side.

Noël

 

Christmas

It's that time of the year when my husband has an absolute season crush on all things related to Noël.  His joy meter is beyond full and can be quite contagious.  The second week of December brought in eleven inches of snow that blanketed the landscape in the brightest white.  Paired with O Holy Night -  Minuit Chrétiens - in its original language, This Side of Paris is a perfect setting for a White Christmas.


What better place to grab your perfect Christmas tree and trimmings than the surrounding farms around TSOP.  Watauga County Christmas Tree Association provides a downloadable directory of local Christmas tree farms for a good old fashion family tradition of selecting and cutting the perfect tree.  Our neighbors recall the time when the land down by the driveway was once a Christmas tree farm.  


Although we won't be putting up a Christmas tree at the Paris house this year, we are taking notes of how the first Christmas will be decked out.  The natural elements around the property will make up the majority of the festive decór. This Rustic Glam simplicity is a mix of wintergreens and pine cones interwoven with a bit of colorful animal print. If you make it to the High Country this time of the year,  here is a weekender list of a few things to do and see in the High Country during this festive season. 

Day One

Pre-dinner primer at Banner Elk Winery for a relaxing afternoon wine by the large outdoor firepit. 

Comfort food dinner at the Banner Elk Cafe.

Night skiing at Sugar Mountain.

Day Two

Get pampered and enjoy a relaxing Spa day at Westglow Resort and Spa.
Main Street Blowing Rock for afternoon shopping.
Festive Lights at Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock
Enjoy an elegant dining experience with live music at Timberlake Restaurant.

Day Three
Explore Appalachian State University for a Fine Arts Day.
Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
Catherine J. Smith Gallery
Mast General Store
Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar
 

Merci Beaucoup

It was "goodbye Summer - hello Fall" and "make my renovation list as painless as possible" season on This Side of Paris.  If you were ever involved in any home renovation project, you know it goes beyond the walls of your house and into the walls of your character. The process will soon uncover the hidden truth of what makes something stable and the naked truth about things that are bearly hinged.

Read More