Smile when you say Farm Fresh Jun 19, 2015 On an early June “bluebird day”… a sunny respite from the heavy rains that have finally broken the state’s epic drought… our Chef and Culinary Director, John Brand, traveled a few miles southeast of San Antonio to visit Peeler Farms near Floresville. The Peeler family produces grass-fed beef and lamb, raised humanely, without antibiotics or hormones and finished on non-GMO feed. Eggs are gathered daily from busybody hens that roam pastures in pursuit of bugs. Mariana Peeler, a dynamo with a friendly smile, rolled up in an elderly Dodge pickup with three Great Pyrenees pups riding shotgun and just beginning to learn their trade — guarding the farm’s livestock. After a flurry of canine and human greetings, John and Mariana walked the farm, communed with the laying hens and talked about the farm’s soil, this growing season and the next, and how the farm will meet John’s exacting standards for Hotel Emma’s beef, lamb, eggs, vegetables and herbs. The discussion ranged from staple vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers) to allowing cilantro to “bolt,” which results in delicious coriander blossoms — John says, “they smell and taste amazing and look beautiful on the plate.” And delivering baby cucumbers while the bloom is still attached, possible only if carefully transported a short distance… like in the front seat of Mariana’s truck. The pups will stay down on the farm.