Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CSA Week 22 and Carrot soup

Three weeks left of my CSA for 2014. Yes, we are getting close to the end.

The last few days in the garden have reminded why in recent years I have chosen not to do a complete winter CSA.
Folks, I tell you, it isn't that much fun. My body can tolerate the cold, with the exception of my hands.
Today getting the carrots out of the freezing water, picking some outdoors kale and chard and digging out the leeks had them tingling.

The older I get, the less I appreciate the cold.
My daughters tease me because I have been researching good places to retire. Panama it seems is a good choice, and who knows...
But for now here I am. I'm starting to get excited about 2015, am shelling my beans like mad to package up for seed, have finally ordered a small scale to weigh up my seeds instead of counting them, have ordered my Seed Savers Exchange seed to sell, and am organizing yet another Seedy Saturday. (Mark the date-Feb 14th here in Wellandport!)

It's hard to move on from 2014 though when some things still niggle away at me.
I've been trying for months now to get some people and businesses to pay up. Christmas is coming, the produce has long been made into overpriced dishes sold for a good dollar. My calls, my emails are not returned and people, I tell you, you are being duped.
You are made to feel that the farmer and the chef are buddies as they stroll through the fields of produce. They chuckle and pat each other on the back for a job well done. Sometimes it's true and I've had relationships like that.
But there are chefs who are just a bit too good for you and I. They've let the fact they can cook go to their head. They speak well of you when it serves their purpose, but when it doesn't and no one is looking, they just don't care.
Marketing. Local food is a marketing tool the same way that VISA tries to warm your heart with their commercials, banks try to make you believe they care, and the flipping pink ribbon on everything makes you believe you are helping people with cancer.
And you know what the bottom line is? In any line of work there are people who are difficult to deal with. Period. Just because people are farmers, chefs or even radio hosts, it doesn't mean that they are good people. Over the years my motto has become to only deal with nice people. Sound silly? No, it is the only thing that makes any sense. Life is too short.
End of rant.
The CSA baskets today were heavy, although without question the variety is diminishing. Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck squash, a very good lot of carrots, potatoes, leeks, herbs and winter greens.
I put the potatoes in the baskets with the leeks thinking potato leek soup, but for supper I ended up making carrot soup with those same ingredients and more.
This recipe is adapted from "Laurel's Kitchen" one of my favourite ever cookbooks.

5 large carrots, cut in 1" pieces
1 large potato cut into pieces
2 leeks chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups veg stock
2 cups non dairy milk
1 tbsp dried herb or fresh-thyme, tarragon or rosemary

Cook the carrots and potatoes in enough water just to cover them.
Saute leeks in the oil, add herbs.
Add both the veg and onion to a blender, blend till smooth.
Return to pot, add veg stock and milk.
Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CSA Week 20

Sorry for my absence from this place as of late. I just needed a little break from blog writing. The creative juices have not been flowing and I was even boring myself.

Today pictures, because the pictures say it all.

November 11 and tomatoes (from the hoophouse). Also hot peppers, eggplants or tomatillos, carrots, jerusalem artichokes, jelly melons, watermelon radishes, greens(mustards, arugula, chard, kale, sorrel), savoury mint and leaf celery

Have a wonderful evening, my friends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CSA Week 17 and Sugar Beet Latkes

My house has turned into a jungle over the past few days.
About 2 weeks ago I dug up 3 African Blue basil plants, a number of peppers, rosemary,House tomatoes, sweet marjoram, a geranium, Amish Cockscomb and a few more that I couldn't bear the thought of parting with via the sure death that is frost.

They lived in my garage for a while as they adjusted to the pots and the lower light levels, and as of last night, they came all the way in.
Some are under lights, some are in the front window and I'm hoping that my cats will be gentle on everything.
The chickens enjoyed having the plants in the garage, scratching at the dirt, pecking at my sad little impatiens as though they were the only plants in the world.
Of course they had everything, absolutely everything available to them to peck, but my treasured little plants were their focus.
I'm hoping I can keep them all safe indoors with my cat crew.

Some of them will be starter plants for a new crop next year.
In a few months I'll start taking cuttings from the rosemary and basil, and begin all kinds of new plants, some for my garden, maybe some for yours. One season leads into another and I'm already thinking of 2015.
There are also a few more gaping holes in the garden too.
My little mustards, arugula, salads and chards that I seeded are growing nicely in my greenhouse for winter crops.  Last year I successfully dug up a number of kale plants very carefully from outside and moved them in the hoophouse, and I've done the same this year too. I dug deep and left lots of my lovely clay attached to their roots, waiting for overcast days for a successful move.
It's been pretty successful. There have been no droopy leaves, no apparent transplant shock at all.
Instant gratification.
Todays baskets were pretty root oriented, with a continuing hit of summer....and heat.

Still a taste of tomatoes in the baskets, a good helping of peppers which survived outside because I have been careful to cover them, carrots, winter radishes, kale, thyme, rosemary, leaf celery and a sugar beet which is pretty large.
If you want to experiment with making your own sweetener with it, be my guest. You will find instructions HERE Essentially you are boiling the beets and using the sweetened water.
But sugar beets are very tasty and obviously very sweet which is why I grow them. If you boil them to eat, then use the sweet cooking water as a sweetener as a side benefit. They are also good roasted, and the greens are fully edible as well.

This recipe is adapted from "Modern Farmer"

Sugar Beet Latkes

4 cups shredded sugar beet
11/2 tsp kosher salt
pinch of cardamom or fresh herbs if preferred
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3 egg whites
olive oil for frying

Stir the shredded beets with the salt and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid.
Combine the cardamon and flour, then stir in egg whites, and the beets.
Form into patties and fry until golden brown.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Repeated from several years ago, things have changed since this post, but remained very much the same. Pickle is gone, but not ever forgotten. No one lays eggs anymore, they are beyond that. But they remain awesome, especially Ruby with her stellar personality. New family members have come on board, notably "the kittens" ,Basil Rathbone (BR) and Stella, and also Edina, Esmerelda, Alice and Charlotte, my hens who needed a new home. Love 'em all.
Happy Thanksgiving!

...for wonderful memories,

... my girls,

..my friends who need me (and I need them!)

Well, yes.  For Pickle

...for someone to cuddle.

...for small miracles,

...for diversity,

 and for the chance to do what I love.

Of course, for tomatoes....

...for beauty and...

the opportunity to carry on.
There's so much to be grateful for.

I am.