This week at the BG blog, we check in with our resident floral specialist, Sinda Karklina, who is piloting our first ever FLOWER CSA in May! We’re so excited for fresh blooms to grace our farm and hope you’ll consider becoming a member so her beautiful bouquets can grace your kitchen table all season long!
Where are you from?
I was born in Latvia, a north-eastern European country of about 2 million people. I moved to Brooklyn, NY when I was 9 years old. I also lived in Maine for about 5 years.
How did you end up growing at Brooklyn Grange?
It was winter 2011/2012 and I had just returned from two months of WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in France. I found out about apprenticeships at the Grange from the Internet, visited the Northern Boulevard location and immediately fell in love (despite it being February).
I’m a painter. Flowers, like a lot of art, have a different, less tangible value to people than fruits and vegetables. I’m into the mystery, the color, and also the science of growing them.
What is your favorite bloom right now?
I am most excited about a certain type of daffodil we are testing at the farm this year. The variety is called Sir Winston Churchill, it is a double, meaning it has multiple layers of petals, and it has an incredible scent. I’ve been dreaming about it since I planted the bulbs last November and should be seeing it bloom any day now. Daffodils are pretty easy to grow and if you leave the bulbs in the ground, they will return every year. They’re also the one thing that deer won’t eat.
Tell us about your plans for this season’s inaugural flower CSA!
Some things I am most excited about the flower CSA this year are some big, colorful, dahlia-flowered zinnias that we haven’t grown before, trying my hand at sweet pea for the first time, and lots of wonderfully fragrant basil flowers that will make a house smell like heaven. I’m also excited about growing some types of wild flowers that are native to our region. Native plants are totally blowing up right now.
What’s your earliest plant memory?
Trying to pick a flower in my grandma’s garden by pulling it out of the ground. I guess the flower stem was much stronger than I was, and I ended up falling backwards on my butt. I remember feeling really confused.
What vegetable did you dislike most as a child and have you come around on it?
I really didn’t like pickled mushrooms. My family would go out mushrooming and pickle the bounty for the winter. It was such a delicacy. People would be forking the mushrooms out of the jar, the viscous, slimy liquid trailing behind, eating them and rolling their eyes into the back of their heads. When I finally tried them, I realized they really are good. Now I search for that perfect jar in Eastern European food markets.
What’s your favorite thing to make with Brooklyn Grange veggies?
One of my favorite vegetables from the Brooklyn Grange are radishes. In Latvia, sandwich meant a slice of bread (never toasted), with butter, and some kind of sliced vegetable, cheese or meat on top. You could only choose one of those options, and only in one layer. I eat a lot of these with sliced radishes and salt when they’re in season at the Grange.
What’s your favorite place to eat in NYC?
I really like picking up some cool cheeses, cured meats, cherry tomatoes, and maybe a couple secret beers and heading over to Prospect Park on a warm day with a friend or two. Eating is always more fun outside on a blanket.
Ok, you have unlimited budget to create the menu for your ideal meal; assuming you can make small portions and have many courses, what are you eating?
All I can think of right now is a bunch of raw oysters, followed by lasagna.