It was a day for the ladies…and gentlemen, but mostly just the girls. A tasting/signing/presentation took place last Thursday at Young’s Family Farm in Little Compton where a delightful group of women gathered around fresh cut flowers, autographed cookbooks, sweet iced tea, and a succulent lunch buffet…not to mention a few good laughs.
Organized by Karla Young, the summer event took place under the Young’s greenhouse and kicked off with a jovial floral arranging presentation by Kathy Melven. Kathy is a talented English florist who specializes in quick and easy but very elegant tricks, like how to use scotch tape to create a floating floral arrangement. Between her good humor and animated demonstrations, Kathy wowed the audience with over a dozen creative arrangement techniques to suit several occasions, and best of all, saved one bouquet for each guest. Kathy prepares arrangements for special events and custom orders at Youngs using the sophisticated selection of flowers grown on the farm.
Almost as enchanting at the flowers themselves, was the story of how Kathy and Karla met, by chance, underneath a tree where the Youngs used to sell out of a wagon. That’s where the farm started after all. “It started with one wagon, then two, then three,” said Karla’s Mother-in-Law, “and here we are.” The 180 acre land was bought by Tyler and Karla Young in 1997, and by 2007 the couple had a fully operating retail/farm stand now known for its colorful bounty. The stand has everything from seasonal produce to beautiful flowers and herbs to cooking essentials.
Also on the scene that day were authors Elaine and Karin Tammi who are all too familiar with starting something from scratch. While guests flipped through the pages of their beautifully photographed cookbook, Scallops A New England Guide the mother and daughter team shared the story of their 15-year-in-the-making book and the friends, colleagues, and celebrities who inspired them most. “It took all of New England to write this cookbook,” said Elaine, as well as encouragement from Julia Child who became a personal aquantaince and mentor for the pair. Julia urged them to produce what they had set out to accomplish: an independent, very authentic and reverent assortment of recipes. Both Elaine and Karin were on hand to sign and answer questions while the ladies enjoyed lunch made from Young’s fresh produce, including a mouth watering recipe of fresh grilled local scallops and nectarines with a mango glaze, prepared in person by members of Young’s.
To close the afternoon, guests at Young’s savored a homemade sweet dessert while bending an ear to Dorrie Brownell, as she told the story of her grandfather and his rose business, “Brownell Roses.” An exceptional hobbyist gardener, Dorrie’s grandfather developed a unique and beautiful crop of hybrid roses in the early 1900s that have survived thanks to the hands of his successors, including Dorrie who is the last family member to breed the gorgeous varieties. Dorrie showed guests how to propagate the roses, a two year project start to finish. Rest assured, the results are well worth the wait. Dorrie is passing the varieties on to Karla and Young’s Family Farm because the richness of their soil, and because she says she knows they’ll be in good hands.
Drifting in and out of rural counties along the New England Coast it’s not hard to find fresh strawberries and tomoatoes in the summer months. Farm stands, ready by the dozens, are something to be grateful for. But it’s not often you find one that offers you a little something more…Young’s Family Farm has this unique charm. Stop in and smell the roses.