November 15, 2018

Visiting Phillips Mushroom Farms

I love mushrooms. Whenever I go hiking at Skylands, my home in Maine, or in the woodlands of my Bedford, New York farm, I always enjoy discovering and identifying the different wild mushrooms I see along the way.

A mushroom is the fleshy spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus. Not long ago, during one of my trips to QVC, I had some time to visit Phillips Mushroom Farms in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania - a multi-generation family owned business that has been cultivating mushrooms since 1927. The process of growing mushrooms is very interesting and very different from growing other crops. It was a great visit - if you're ever in the area, I encourage you to make a stop.

Here are some of my photos - enjoy.

November 14, 2018

Making Prepared Horseradish

If you love spicy foods and dishes with an extra flavorful kick, then consider making your own prepared horseradish.

Horseradish, Amoracia rusticana, is a hardy perennial herb that has been cultivated since antiquity. It's easy to grow and is best harvested in the fall, winter, and early spring when the soil is still very cool. Cool soil promotes the formation of compounds that give horseradish roots their pungency. My gardeners recently harvested a bounty of horseradish from my garden. It was then cleaned and stored in the refrigerator until I made a large batch of “prepared horseradish” - it was delicious.

Here are some photos.

November 13, 2018

The Mighty Ginkgo Tree at My Farm

The mighty ginkgo tree in my Summer House garden is bare once again.

Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as ginkgo or gingko, and also known as the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta. It is found in fossils dating back about 300-million years. Native to China, the ginkgo tree is widely cultivated, and was cultivated early in human history. I have several ginkgo trees planted around my home, but the majestic ginkgo in my sunken garden is original to the property and about 250-years old. Although not as large as others I've seen, my tree is quite massive. Ginkgo trees have beautiful green leaves that turn a luminous gold-yellow in fall. And on one day, after the hard frost sweeps down the east coast, my mighty ginkgo, along with the others at my farm and countless more in the area, drops its leaves to the ground leaving a gorgeous carpet of color below.

This happened over the weekend. Enjoy these photos.