2017 was a year to remember in a lot of ways. We had a hundred year flood (the second in twelve years), corn and tomatoes until Oct 30th and some exciting new products. However, we made some changes at the end of the year and in early 2018 we hope will improve your experience at SIW. Farming vegetables on a small scale(<50 acres) continues to be a challenge. We continue to grow our barn dinners to compliment our efforts and vertically integrate some of our products.
In mid July we had 8.5 inches of rain that knocked our stone wall out on to Creek Road in one 100+ft piece. We had to break the wall into pieces to push it off the road. We will be building it back in some fashion to allow for water to pass through while maintaining the look my Grandfather created.
The growing season was pretty typical with too much of this and not enough of that. Tomatoes were a challenge, corn held on until the end of the season with the warmest October in forever. It was a banner year for figs as the warm weather late in the year extended the season nicely. We picked figs on November 2nd! I’m not sure how they will survive the brutal cold we had in January. Also, we added the much sought after rice to our list of things to try with huge success. We harvested 3 varieties and over 20 pounds!! Everyone who has tried it (3 people) say it is very good indeed. This coming year we will up our acreage (to 1/10 of an acre) and hope to provide a little to our CSA members and the general population. I would say it was an above average season taking all 50+crops into account.
As previously mentioned, small scale farming continues to be a challenge. One of the many factors is providing products at prices that we cannot compete with. We hope the quality you can get from us sets us apart and is worth it to you. We know we pick our stuff fresher AND riper than most. With the added costs of handling such perishable items as a result of our attention to flavor and nutrition our prices are higher. If you think they are too high, pay what you think is fair.
You will see new faces at our produce stand as some of our employees have moved on to greener pastures. Please use these people to ask questions about whatever you want, they are there to serve you. If you cannot get the answer you desire feel free to call me at any time (610-715-7688).
Our barn dinners are going to continue to add to the whole farm experience and we have added some new chefs from far and wide to mix it up a little. We are expanding the usable space (a mega-spring cleaning) to provide for more guests. We will spruce it up a little to bring it in to the next century.
Our CSA and SIW bucks programs will be the same as before. Our CSA is $725 for a full share and $375 for a half share. With SIW Bucks you pay $400 and get instant credit for $440. Then you just work against that until you are out and then do it again and again and again…….
Bryan Sikora’s cooking experience ranges far and wide. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Sikora devoted much of his career to traveling and working in kitchens across the United States. Working on Cape Cod’s Chatham Bars Inn, Sikora mastered the restaurant’s then-Austrian inspired cuisine. He went on to make tapas in Portland for the Kimpton Group and cooked an all-organic menu while working with Nora Pouillon at Nora’s in Washington, D.C. Sikora finally headed back to Philadelphia, where he created Morroccan feasts at Tangerine.
While traveling around the country, Sikora met and married his wife, Aimee Olexy. After working at Tangerine, then 30-year-old Sikora realized he longed for the spontaneity and personalization of a small restaurant, so he and his wife created a venue of their own where Sikora could have full creative license and run his own show. Together, Sikora and Olexy opened Django, an intimate and food driven 36-seat restaurant, where Sikora earned a 2004 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award. Django, named after the great jazz guitarist and composer, Django Reinhardt, was a popular spot for diners as far out as Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg. After closing Django in 2008, Sikora moved around to several city locales before settling at a.kitchen, a casual bistro inside AKA Rittenhouse Square.
Sikora’s success is, in large part, due to the fact that he doesn’t believe in culinary short cuts - this labor-intensive philosophy is evident in his cuisine. From baking his own bread to making his own pastas, pastries, and even pickles, Sikora subscribes to the “old world” European philosophy of cooking. Sikora’s cuisine also centers on purchasing local and fresh top-quality ingredients from regional farmers, whom he credits on his daily menus.
(Rising Star Chef Bryan Sikora of a.kitchen - Biography [Interview]. (2011, November). Retrieved August 09, 2017, from https://www.starchefs.com/cook/chefs/bio/bryan-sikora)
He now owns Hearth Kitchen at 847 E Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, PA 19348. A fabulous kitchen that has a specialty in Handcrafted Pizza, Pasta and Italian Influenced Food. Such great food is served in a fantastic environment.
David A. Schorn has worked for 25 years in restaurants both corporate and private venues. Always working towards mastery of overall restaurant operations. In 2001, David took a culinary position with Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Sunrise, Florida. This is where he focused on a variety of cuisines including Pacific Rim, East Asian, and Caribbean. As Executive Chef for Gold Coast Seafood Grill and Wine Bar in Boca Raton, David achieved recognition of his restaurants Bacchanal Food and Wine Festival. His love for the "Wine Bar" concept and search for a new adventure led him to Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. This is a Chef-driven concept where David works closely with his culinary team and local farms to bring a creative and fresh seasonally changing menu to their guests.
The Field to Fork Dinner held here on the farm was prepared by Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. David and his team did an amazing job with creating such wonderful dishes featuring our own produce. The whole night consisted of four courses and fun!
The feast began with crostini with veggie kabobs, roasted red pepper hummus, fruits with cheeses, Harvest's own jams, and local Honey.
Next was our own heirloom tomatoes, pickled shallot, ricotta, oil, and more. All were absolutely delicious.
The third course was chicken asado, Jicama slaw, and BBQ. Yum!
Finally our own corn and some more to top it all off. David and his team truly prepared an amazing meal for everyone!
Brian Ashby, winner of Food Network 50 best brunches, is bringing his talents to our farm. 8th and Union Kitchen will be cooking for you on Wednesday July 26th in our barn. Brian studied at the University of Delaware with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management. After completing his bachelors, he spent the next year at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney Australia immersed in French cuisine. Once he returned to the US, he went to work for James Beard nominated chef Jay Caputo at Espuma in Rehoboth Beach. The next few years were spent living in NYC and LA working for Michelin starred chefs, April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig, Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park, and Brendan Collins at Waterloo and City. Before returning to Delaware, he had the opportunity to open a restaurant in the caribbean off the coast of Honduras. Finally in April of 2015 8th & Union Kitchen was born, where he has been ever since.
8th and Union Kitchen is a wonderfully rustic restaurant located in a little Italy neighborhood in Wilmington. The menu showcases creative food items by mixing American flavors with some Mexican and Southeast Asian specialties. They feature burgers, pad thai, pho, and a whole variety of small plates. The majority of our menu can be gluten free and can also be prepared vegetarian or vegan.