Those are sprouts of rye poking up in the little farm behind the Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park's transplanted Dutch farmhouse. It is, basically, my dream house. It was built around 1783 a few blocks away (and moved here in 1913). The Lefferts family burned its predecessor to the ground--burned down their own house--in 1776, just before the Battle of Brooklyn, so that the British couldn't get it. And we think we're tough when we sit in a park with a sign and a bongo!
Farm chores as play...
I caught a fascinating lecture by food historian Peter G. Rose about early Dutch cooking and foodstuffs. We owe them for pretzels, cookies, and pancakes...the debt can never be repaid. I also bought Ms. Rose's book, Food, Drink and Celebrations of the Hudson Valley Dutch; it is an early pebble in a coming avalance of research for a Top-Secret Flatbush-Related Project.
This hearth, built outdoors for demonstrations, wasn't baking up any pretzels today, but it gives an idea of just how gutsy cooks had to be back in the days of old Dutch Vlacke Bos (Flatbush). The builders incorporated a brick from the Lefferts House, probably one made in the nearby kiln or "stone bakery" (steenbakkery) near a clay pit at present-day Rogers Avenue and Lefferts Street. Built to last.