Spring Opening Day

Yesterday we welcomed spring by opening our barn doors and garden gates. We hosted our artists and makers so that we could come together and build the Star Bright Farm community. Even though the spring weather of Saturday took a step backward, the chill in the air did not tamper with the spirit and energy of our partners and guests. Through the collective efforts of social media, nextdoor.com, and The Baltimore Fishbowl we had over 500 friends, old and new, come out to enjoy the day.

Our guests showed up bundled in sweaters, hats, and scarves to enjoy a walk through the fields on a surprisingly chilly day. They took some time in the open air to see our gardens even though plants have been slow to emerge from a hard winter. The entrance to the barn was welcomed by Matt of Park and Perk mobile coffee bar. After grabbing a bit of caffeine by the door, they entered the barn. In the top level, we had I.D. Salmon (Irene)  selling her pottery. Irene collaborated with us making branded Star Bright Farm flower pots. We planted them with the herbs we grow and they were a HUGE hit.(we sold out) Somehow Irene found the energy after a long day here to hit the potter's wheel last night to make MORE pots for NEXT weekend's event at Ladew Gardens where we will be a vendor.

Next to Irene was Priya of Priya Means Love Body Care. Priya has spent the last year sharing her wisdom and talents in helping develop a line of body care products from our lavender, mint and other herbs.

Local artist, Annie Howe spent a day at the farm last summer for a walk through the fields and garden, taking pictures so that she could create custom paper cut art for us. Her work is well known around Baltimore, in stores, on the labels of local bottled products, invitations, etc. We took the paper cuts that she made for us and then created cyanotype prints. It was a fun project to work on together and we love sharing our farm through her clever art.

The Sewlab family (Jeremiah, Cecelia, and daughter Addy) joined us with their assortment of soft goods made in Baltimore from recycled fabric signs. We have had a fun time working with them designing and producing the perfect garden apron: waxed cotton with a built-in leather holster for your pruners. Cecelia and Helen modeled them all day and they were also a huge hit!

Our literal family from One Straw Farm was of course here to sell their beautiful greenhouse spinach, onions, leeks and other farm made value-added products. Our two favorite products are the Boom Boom Bloody Mary Mix and the Habañero hot pepper jelly. Their season is starting to really kick into gear as they prepare for CSA season to begin on June 6, if you are interested, sign-ups are available on their website.

A new partner of ours, Lisa B. Doyle, creates baked goods that will make you swoon. Yesterday she was serving Brown Butter shortbread that we were sampling with our Blueberry lavender compote, Tomato & Pepper Jam, and Oven-Dried Tomatoes and dried garlic in olive oil. Lisa also made a lavender infused Financier from our culinary lavender. If you don't already know what a financier is, you need to know! She also made strawberry cardamom scones and S'more chocolate chip cookies. Her snacks were the perfect pairing to a hot drink on a cool, windy day. being enjoyed throughout the crowd.

Martha Thomas, who recently launched a new local publication Sip and Savor Magazine was handing out free copies, where Star Bright farm was featured in their premier issue. Check it out. The local Monkton Garden Club also brightened up the barn with colorful hanging baskets for sale.

Down on the lower level of the barn (where it was much warmer), Meg Page had her amazing artwork on display. Meg is a modern naturalist painter. We are grateful to know Meg as a friend and collaborator. She spent two weeks here last summer as Artist in Residence painting our plants for us to use on our labels. All of our lavender, blueberry and tomato value-added products have Meg's art on them. Do yourself a favor and go to her site.

Mary Mashburn of Typecast Press brought a small letterpress and was doing demonstrations. Kids and adults alike found it fascinating and enjoyed experimenting with the press as well. Mary also had a large assortment of letterpress labels, tags, note cards, etc. on display. We have enjoyed working with Mary extensively, as she has made our coasters, lavender tags, and business cards. We are really proud to hand out a business card that we consider a piece of art.

Our one partner who chose to set up out in the cold was Tim Alcarese from Hilltop Ironworks. Tim is a blacksmith using traditional methods of the trade. In the day, blacksmiths were very important members of the farming community. Yesterday, while demonstrating, Tim was actually making a new gate latch for us. The "modern" one from Home Depot fell apart, so we decided to replace it with something hand hewn and hardy. Tim also lives in White Hall, and seeing how frequently things break around here, I think we will be seeing a lot of Tim.

Last but not least we kept our bellies full with incredible field to table food from Wilde Thyme Food Truck. They were even able to get some last minute spinach and spring onions to use for their Mediterranean veggie balls. These gals are ones to follow!

The day was clarifying punctuation on what has been a busy winter of building friendships and ideas to put a community behind the culture of farming. The outdoor season is coming into full swing here, and as the soil warms and fields fill with color, we are excited to carry this momentum forward and look for more opportunities to share the ideas that spring forth from collaborative action.

Helen Norman