Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hell Is Going On Here?

Dear Friends and Family Members,

Hello and welcome to my old-fashioned, world-wide-web log, known to the youth of today as a "blog," which you can view instantly from your own personal computer-device. I never thought I'd be blogging, but here we go. This'll be an adventure.

Along with the adventure of blogging, I'll be posting here semi-regularly about my actual, non-digital adventures. If you haven't yet heard, I'll be perusing the hills and dales of Europe starting this fall and continuing indefinitely (most likely 3/4 of a year) with a specific goal in mind: job training. Through the WWOOF program (more on that later) I'll be working on farms in exchange for room and board. Not just your regular old, washed-up vegetable farm, though. (Blegh, who eats vegetables?) No. Cheese farms and farms with breweries. This will all be in anticipation of coming back to the States after some refreshment, invigoration, and inspiration to pursue further a career involving cheese, beer, or perhaps something else that involves fermentation or moldy shit. Kombucha? Sauerkraut? Unlikely, but only time will tell.

So, this blog is not entirely self-serving. I hope that it will entertain some, make others jealous perhaps, inspire a few more, but mostly allow folks to know what I'm up to and encourage them to respond in turn with their own life stories. This especially applies to those of you who just graduated from Brown with me. Keep in touch before we both fall off opposite faces of the Earth.

Also, I started the blog early both to get you on board and hooked and to let you know what I'm up to this summer (I'm working in a most wholesome bakery and will be going to music festivals and enjoying other tidbits and morsels of fun). More on that later this summer.

Before I lose you all, I'd like to announce my first farm! I'll be starting in south-central France (Dordogne Perigord, I guess) in early September at La Ferme de Laubicherie. The farm is run by a man named Gerolf Jacobs, a Belgian ex-pat who's had a dream of living on a farm in France since he was but a wee lad. Now he's running what looks to be a gorgeous farm and B&B, with everything from pigs to a clay oven to fields of golden barley. The highlight for me will surely be his microbrewery, where he makes some outlandish but truly satisfying-sounding beers with walnuts, chestnuts, and even truffles (the fungus, not the chocolate). Check out his website here: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/gerolfjacobs/welcome.html
I'll be at Laubicherie until mid-November, then I have to decide whether to hang around southern France at a cheese farm for the winter or head north to Belgium and spend the blustery months at a farm near the fairyland cities of Bruges and Ghent. I'm leaning towards Christmas in Bruges. You, dear reader, will find out soon enough. All the farms I'll be staying at will probably be found through the WWOOF program. WWOOF, or Willing Workers On Organic Farms, is an organization that has a database of thousands of farms, mostly organic, from all over the world. Workers, preferably willing, pay a nominal fee for each country to access the contact info for these farms. All we have to do is contact the farm, set up dates to work, and find out a way to get there. Grub and a place to rest your weary bones are provided in exchange for your work, so it's a fairly cheap way to see the world and learn a thing or two about the pastoral life.

So that's it so far. I hope you all can follow this pointless public diary for at least a post or two. And comment if something I said tickles you, or inspires you to break out in song, or annoys the crap out of you. Anyhow, enjoy!


PS - About the title: There's a category of cheeses that are termed washed-rind. Generally orange in rind color and fairly pungent, they are so because they're periodically washed with or cured in a brine solution or a bath of beer, wine, or other alcoholic treat. Cheese and beer. Bingo.

About the blog picture: Beer by Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont (Chimay Grande Réserve), cheese by Lincet (Le Délice de Bourgogne), farm cottage by Wood, Body By Jake


  1. Well, whenever you have some time off your baking, there is a bottle of Allagash tripel here waiting for you. and you must come up before you leave for europe.

  2. hey owen sounds amazing...cheese and beer two incredible inventions. im moving to edinburgh in september if you pass through or need a place to crash our couch has your name on it....paige

  3. I can't turn down Allagash, and I'll certainly keep your offer in mind, Paige. Thanks!

  4. love ya o-dawg, hope everything goes well for you in europe! miss ya

  5. can I come work for you when you start your own cheese farm? Also I know my way around sourdough, if you want to branch out

  6. Kiri - I'm working at a bakery this summer, so mayhaps we can bump brains about sourdough sometime!

  7. Yo Owen, as someone who is considering taking some time off from school and WWOOFing in the next year or so, I eagerly anticipate your future postings!