breakfast in the pasture

a couple of weeks ago we had the joy of getting up early on one of the coldest days (that is relative I know) of the year and heading off to parts unknown (Ocoee) to tour Lake Meadow Naturals Farm and eat breakfast prepared by local chefs in the pasture.  I had bucolic images of sitting at a white tablecloth listening to a brook gurgle past while I sat all dainty-like in white flowing dress with Hunter boots a la Beekman….. oh my word.  Get real.  I did have an image of something other than it turned out to be but it went a bit like this… lakemeadownaturals

We drove up to the farm and parked in a field where some adorable goats and their donkey shepherd usually live.  We saw one of the little goats escape out the fence and wander around the cars until he freaked himself out and squoze back in.  We walked down the drive seeing small chicken houses, bunny houses, a large garden and a little store and a big house with a well kept ornamental garden.  We met our farmer-guide who walked us through the premises explaining all they do there on their little farm.  They garden and tend the animals and this is fun, have u-pick eggs.  We had a little talk from a local seafood purveyor called Wild Ocean told us about the shrimp we would be eating a little later and how they wild catch them off the eastern coast near Cape Canaveral.  The tour continued in the egg washing room where they clean up the eggs and then to see 100 or so newly hatched chicks…fuzzy and peepy in big heated washtubs.  Then into the main free-range open to the great big chicken house.  The chickens swarmed around our legs and pecked at my jeans.  I love those birds.  They do have a terrible reek but they are so friendly and interested in visitors.  Then out the door to the field where we shared breakfast with the birds.  Tables set up in the yard with mason jars filled with rosemary, eggs, and straw, each table supplied with locally bottled hot sauce by Fat Cat.  We went through the line and picked up shrimp and grits smothered with a tomato sauce, fresh Maldon salted biscuits with fresh kumquat and strawberry jalapeno jam and roasted vegetable and egg frittata.  I think the biscuits and jam where my favorite taste of the morning besides hot coffee-so fresh and bright.  It was one of the few times I have been cold in Florida so far.  While we ate, the chickens ambled around our feet and gave little innocent pokes with their beaks.  We watched the more timid geese, ducks and guineafowl who kept their distance. We finished off our visit with a trip through their little farm store where we picked up some blood oranges for marmalade and a slab of crazy bacon.  Then home to dump all those clothes straight in the washing machine.


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