Monday, July 16, 2012

Linden Blossom Cocktails and a Salad Farm

Last week I was featured for the second time on Design Sponge (first story here), for their series called "Behind the Bar." I've been making some fabulous and quenching sips of late and it seemed like perfect timing to share these simple recipes - more like guidelines and then a "have at it!" kind of rule. If you haven't seen the full story, I encourage you to visit. Be prepared for temptation - which of course will lead you to refreshment. :)

In other news, I am working on content for the workshop I will be teaching this October, for the 2012 Conference of the Academy of Nutritionists and Dietitians. I'll be leading close to 100 people through the ins & outs of food styling and photography! If you would like to learn more, click here. To register to attend, click here and follow the prompts (member/nonmember, etc.). Will keep you all informed as things progress further....

Speaking of nutrition and refreshment, I visited a gourmet salad farm back in May during my trip home. It all happened by accident when I went on a wild goose chase for a woman and her roving food business called the Pink FlaminGO, but boy am I sure happy I landed at Brother Nature (thanks, Kristyn!). Set on an acre in Southwest Detroit, this prolific little farm even produces its own dirt.

Hay, helping to break down the compost into fabulous dirt

Using composting as a method to salvage would-be trash and also make use of loads of nutrient-rich organic matter, Greg Willerer harvests spent grain from a local brewery, collects aged zoo poo from the Detroit Zoological Society, and adds coffee grinds and their filters, and food clippings from nearby Astro Coffeehouse. And voila, incredible rich, black and dense dirt. Detroit Dirt.

Don't think that just because I was seduced by the dirt, I didn't fall in love with the greens. On the contrary. Between the most peppery and sharp mustard greens to the sweet-sweet flavor of the pea shoots, I wish I lived a little closer. Each tender herb, leaf, and flower is hand-picked by a small crew and the whole operation is a labor of love.

Left, clipping verbena for a customer

Right, the cloth keeps bugs away and insulates the tender greens as they mature

The bees make everything better...

Carrot tops in the tire 'container' garden

That visit was just long ago enough that writing this makes me feel like a return trip is in order. To see what they are harvesting now and hang out for a while with the honey bees, and of course, get my hands into some more of that dirt.

A final parting piece, in case you aren't enchanted already: there are some odds-and-end bits from the time spent soaking up my mother's backyard that are worth sharing. Small moments where time stood still and the only noise was the busy-ness of the insects and birds.

Young garlic pulled from one of the beds, and a birdseed thief


  1. You have to excuse the bias, but we just love the story line and photos about our city - Detroit. They hit so close to home, if you know what I mean....Dirt never looked so good. Getting one's hands into dirt never sounded so good. Those images with Greg captures the feel of it nicely. We hope you'll act soon on your thirst for more (of Detroit, I mean).

  2. Hi Melina, your photos are stunning as always and I love everything from your gorgeous drinks and styling to those little moment captured with the earth. It's amazing how something so simple as patches of dirt or Hay can have such an impact (especially) when we're not used to seeing nature and it's surrounds as often. Beautiful story and thank you for sharing. :)

  3. Fabulous post, spectacular tour of that 'dirt' congratulations on your feature as well as your upcoming teaching course!

  4. Each of your thoughtful,lovely comments gas been so great to read. Thank you for pausing to share your observations!

    So many people tell me they love reading my blog - which of course is nice to hear - but it's comments Like these which make me swell with pride. Thank you very much for your appreciation.

    Looking forward to sharing more. It's been a wonderful and eventful summer. Just wish it didn't travel so quickly. ;-)

  5. gas=has! Oh, the lovely typing on a tablet/smartphone - not always so smart.

    You guys know what I mean... :)

  6. Dirt. Where all good food comes from....;-)

  7. congratulations, you have a wonderful blog! I will follow you now! kisses!