Food ‘n Flix, The Biggest Little Farm, and a Chickpea Salad

Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting The Biggest Little Farm this month for Food ‘n Flix.  It’s been a while since FnF has featured a documentary (Spinning Plates  and before that Jiro Dreams of Sushi).   I had not heard of this film and I’m so glad that Wendy introduced me to it.  You can read her announcement post here.  

The film follows the trials and tribulations of two wanna-be farmers, a documentary filmmaker (John) and a chef (Molly).   By the end of the film, they are not weekend farmers but died-in-the-wool, back to basics, all-in agriculture rock stars.

The opening of a panic stricken Molly madly packing while watching rising smoke clouds out her window was not an optimist foreshadowing.  Leaving us all hanging, the film then goes back to the beginning as John starts narrating what led them to their biggest little farm.  “Ernest intent” is what they started with but “Intent alone is not a protector.”  Because they knew very little, they sought the expertise of Alan, the gentleman-hippie farmer who shows up in linen and sandals.  While Alan’s advice might have been hard to take in the beginning, they trusted him and their land is better for it.  Along the way, their farm family grows with human helpers who want to learn this way of life.

As far as the rest of the farm family, there’s Emma the pig (formerly known as Ugly Betty), Todd the dog, Greasy the misfit rooster, and hosts of chickens, ducks, sheep, Scottish Highland cattle, and Great Pyrenese  guard dogs.

One of Alan’s mantras was “Diversify, diversify, diversify.”  I found it fascinating to watch Alan’s vision of the farm grow and interconnect.   Then, to see John solve sometimes insurmountable problems was just fascinating.  When the snails converged on the orchard, I was hoping Molly might diversify and make escargot.   The amount of snails they were picking off the trees was unreal.   Thank goodness ducks like snails!

I grew up on a farm that relied on pesticides and non-organic fertilizers to get the most out of the land.    It’s what everybody did to try to make a living.    While we grew wheat and  raised cattle along with the random lamb or pig for a 4-H project, we obviously never achieved what John and Molly have.   Which brings me to a question I had throughout the film.  Just exactly how much money did they sink into this project?

There’s indeed a lot of food in the film:  poultry, pork, beef, seventy-five different kinds of stone fruit, avocados, lemons, honey, herbs, milk…..lots to get inspired by.   Since we are using up what we have in the pantry, fridge and freezer, I went to the Apricot Lane Farm website to find a recipe that I could make with  what we had.

I found two that I could manage:

Sparky Carrots and Cauliflower and Tracy’s Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

I had just purchased some fresh green beans that seemed to start deteriorating immediately.  They had to be used.  I also grabbed some grape tomatoes on my last outing to the store.  Having frozen already-cooked chickpeas in the freezer, we were in business.

I’m not typing out the recipes here but let me at list list the ingredients.   The Chickpea Salad is simple and delicious with raw green beans, tomatoes, red onion, and chickpeas.  The dressing is an apple cider vinaigrette with thyme and oregano.   I loved it.   (Warning though, the recipe yields four very small servings.  You might want to double it.)  This salad could be very versatile as well.  I’m thinking about throwing in edamame and carrots.  It’s a tart salad, too, which is fine with me but you might want to throw a little honey into the vinaigrette.

The Sparky Carrots and Cauliflower did not make it to the table before this post.  It’s a simple roasted affair that uses bacon fat (YUM) and nutritional yeast.   This recipe will be on our table soon.  You can find other recipes from the farm here.

If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it.  It certainly got me out to the garden.  I don’t know how biodynamic we will be or if we can problem solve like John when it comes to pests, but at least Apricot Lane Farms has given me hope.

Thanks again, Wendy, for an inspiring feature film.

Next week, I will be posting the May announcement for Food ‘n Flix.   I am hosting Midnight in Paris.  

This is one of my favorite films that I’ve seen at least five times after only discovering it a couple of years ago.  I hope you find time to view it and join up in May.


I’m linking up with Deb’s Souper Sundays 

and Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.



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