Emerging from our COVID has left us hungry – for experiences and joyful connection. For more than a year, we closed in on ourselves, threw ourselves into gardening and growing food, and found solace in the outdoors, perhaps becoming more curious about the natural world. It would be good to shed the isolation but keep forging relationships with the land.
One way to do that is through Seed and Spoon Culinary Farm Stays. They’re working at the intersection of creating community, growing and teaching about food and farming, and strengthening our bond with nature – all in a relaxed and elegant setting inspired by the farm on which it sits.
Located on Husky Meadows Farm in Norfolk, CT, Seed and Spoon provides an intimate experience for curious and like-minded individuals. Weekend farm immersions are held monthly during the growing season from late spring to late autumn.
Food from the ground up
Farmer-turned-program director Tracy Hayhurst occupies space at an intersection as well – that of farming and food preparation. Seed and Spoon is a natural outgrowth of her work at Husky Meadows, a three-acre organic-certified farm with a robust CSA program and an expanding prepared food operation.
An experienced farmer, she’s also a Ballymaloe Cookery School-trained chef. Comfortable in both worlds, Hayhurst marries the food she grows and how she grows it to its preparation and consumption. It’s that 360-view Hayhurst wants to share that with Seed and Spoon attendees.
Seed and Spoon Farm Stays begin with the registration process and a chance for Hayhurst to get to know you and your interests and any particular aspects of farm life you’re curious about. Hayhurst and her team intend to make these requests part of the weekend to the extent they’re able. A lot depends on Mother Nature’s timeline and priorities.
Even though you’re spending the weekend learning about sustainable farming, you’ll be doing it in an a refined setting with tasteful accommodations that pay homage to traditional farm structures.
Up to ten guests arrive on Friday evening, where they’ll meet each other and the farm crew over a glass of wine or a signature cocktail. Hayhurst will create a dinner around what’s happening on the farm. During the relaxed meal, she’ll introduce the weekend’s itinerary, describe the farm, and explain concepts in sustainable agriculture. Hayhurst is also keen to emphasize the role good food plays in building interpersonal connections, so casual conversation is an integral part of her vision.
Rise and shine, but not too Early
Saturday brings an earlyish rising to begin the immersion into the farmer’s life and rhythm. Don’t worry, no 5am farm chores! After a light breakfast, you’re planting seedlings, tending beds, weeding, harvesting, or foraging. Again, what’s on offer depends on the growing cycle of the farm and what nature dictates.
Leave your trendy togs home. On a Seed and Spoon weekend, you’re getting dirty working alongside Hayhurst and the farm’s knowledgeable crew. For Hayhurst, “I want to give people a taste of organic, sustainable, small-scale farming. I’d like them to see what it’s like to run a farm, explain our methods and why we do what we do, and what it means in the larger picture of farming and eating.”
Farm-to-table – literally
“I want food to be fun. I want us to share our enthusiasm for farming and food and have that be the takeaway. We love what we do, and while we work hard, we also love this life with the land,” insists Hayhurst. Through Seed and Spoon programming, Hayhurst brings the farm-to-table movement to a new level, where the table is literally at the farm.
After a day of farming, on Saturday night participants gather around the oversized kitchen island and prepare the food they’ve harvested during the day. “You can be washing, chopping, and cooking, or you can sit in a comfortable chair and absorb what’s going on around you. There’s no judgment. This is your weekend.”
The Saturday meal is also where Hayhurst can get creative with her teaching and cooking. “I want to demystify seasonal cooking and eating. I plan to show guests how to adapt to available ingredients and relax about their cooking with new ingredients.”
Easy like Sunday morning
Sunday morning dawns in a relaxed way. You can do more work on the farm or hike on its trails, relax by a sunny window, paddle in the pond, meander through Norfolk, or hike in the nearby Great Mountain Forest. “This immersion weekend extends to a deeper relationship with the local community,” explains Hayhurst.
Hayhurst is both humble and spacious with her goals for Seed and Spoon, “I’m excited to bring the farm into people’s lives. Our farm stays allow them to learn about food and farming in a relaxed setting in the rustic communal, yet sophisticated, spaces. For me, food is relational, not transactional. Our farm stays are an extension of that philosophy.”
Seed and Spoon shares with guests the land and the people who nurture it. Attendees can see the farm through a farmer’s eyes. They can then make connections that resonate with them, whether that’s a greater appreciation for food preparation and seasonal cuisine, spending time in the garden, or creating a more profound knowledge of agricultural methods.