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Archive for the ‘green living’ Category

With our growing season a little later here this year, we’re just now have bundles and bundles of garlic scapes for the picking in the gardens for the next week or two. Yummy, Jimbo!

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For those not familiar with scapes…. the garlic scape is the flower shoot that has shot up from the stem of a hardneck garlic bulb when growing. The scapes are slender, bright green, and often twisting and turning in elegant swan-like shapes. Shortly after they appear, which seems to happen almost overnight, it is important to snap them off of the rest of the stem to allow the garlic plant to instead put its energy into growing the garlic bulb, which will be harvested a couple of weeks later.

A favorite of mine, the  scapes have a flavor that is definitely garlic, but much mellower, with hints of herbal summerness. They make a stunning pesto, turning into an outrageously bright green paste that keeps its color when cooked or frozen. I will often just puree garlic scapes with olive oil and freeze in about one cup portions that will keep for several months.

Always on the lookout for new oils and vinegars for homemade salad dressings, this year I made garlic scape infused vinegar. It will still be a week or so before it hits its full potency, but so far so good, and the snaking scapes in the bottles are stunning if nothing else. The vinegar will be beautiful in simple vinaigrettes to dress greens and cucumbers from the garden, and also added to a marinade for grilling meat and seafood, splashed on sauteed chard, collards or kale, or for dunking crusty grilled bread. If your herb garden is overflowing, you can experiment a bit, and try adding a few sprigs of basil, thyme, dill or even a dried chili pepper to the bottle. Or, chop the scapes and add to potato or macaroni salad…  like to grill? Roll those beauties in olive oil and toss them on the grill.. once charred, sprinkle with fresh grated Romano cheese.

And because I have so many of these scapes right now… I decided to make a new jam for farmers market as well.  Simply scrumptious!

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Don’t let scape season escape you! You’ll be sorry if you do… don’t grow garlic? No excuse! Get to your nearest farmers market and pick up a handful! 🙂

 

 

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One of my favorite parts of the month of May, harvesting the asparagus beds.

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The Strawberry Moon coinciding with Summer Solstice has surely cast its wonder in our neck of the woods this month, and the three things I love about the month of June are the rhubarb patch, the strawberry fields and the beach roses coming into blossom.

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Last week, I looked over the table at Chase Farm filled with pints of gorgeous berries and just took in the aroma. The delicate perfume just made me pause. Without even realizing it, I bent over the fruits and said, “Hello!” I think I was overcome with sensory pleasure.

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The woman next to me smiled and leaned in to me..”Sometimes I want to say ‘hello’ too. They’re just so beautiful.” Feeling both silly and sweet, I realized that I had connected with another culinary kindred spirit.

With our recent mix of sun and rain, fresh pick strawberries are at their peak this week, so with baskets in tow, off to the strawberry fields I went to begin my picking week. After three trips so far, I have nearly 40 pounds of this much loved Spring bounty presently in my new freezer and I’m loving it!

U-pick farms are overflowing locally with berries, so be sure to get out there and pick some for yourself! Or surely any farmers market nearby will be offering– trays of fresh picked strawberries- in addition to gazillions of garlic scapes I’ll be offering this week, so don’t let the season eSCAPE you! 🙂

Do you remember last October when we planted our garlic cloves, Jimbo?  Woohoo!  Great rewards from a few little cloves<3 em! j.a.s.14

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The perfect way to spend Earth Day..wrapping things up in the garden… and then I’m leaving for a long overdue, and much desired  vacation.<3

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My ninety-year-dear old friend, Francesca took several tulip bulbs from a paper sack, instructing me as she threw them, “Dig the holes precisely where they fall.  The tulips will look far more natural, and you can learn a most valuable lesson from the experience.  Grow where you are planted! Life has a way of hurling us in all directions.  Some of us grow and bloom, while others complain and die.  When I’m ready to die, I’ll quit planting bulbs. Until then, I’ll have something to always look forward to in the springtime.”

I am so ready, awaiting the arrival of this season’s tulip bed to come alive with it’s splendid colors, and warmth of the season.

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Finally, it’s nearly Spring. I’m saying this with fingers crosses because all of us New Englanders know so well, we can ‘march’ our way right into Spring or take an about face into Winter for another storm or two.. ( or more!) Just when we thought winter was over, Mother Nature has decided that instead of seeing the croccus popping out of the ground on the first day of Spring, she is going to deliver to us a first day of Spring Nor’easter with accumulations of up to a foot in our neck of the woods.

Though the calendar may say spring, on Sunday.. winter won’t be going away quietly for certain.  But the nice part of a spring Nor’easter is that whatever amount of inches of the white stuff we get, it won’t stick around for very long… and may prove to be a nice blanket for the peas I’ve just set. Unlike last winter, I’m back on schedule in the garden this season and for me that means getting the peas into the ground on St Paddy’s day!  As I went about my task I could see the first signs of the season. Only a few spotty patches of snow remained and though muddy, green pastures surrounded me, while last Autumn’s leaves blew aimlessly across the fields. The grapevines and elderberries buds are already plumping up! The tulips, croccus and daffodils are already poking their heads out of the ground and the fall beds of garlic coming along nicely. I’m glad I decided to leave the salt marsh hay over them for another week, with the impending forecast moving in on us.  Once the garden was squared away, my dear friend Bill suggested we head to the local Irish tavern to celebrate the day and fill up on corned beef and cabbage dinner, before we headed to the beach.

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Yesterday was a great day here for spring beachcombing. Sunny, bright blue skies and balmy, for this time of year.. 62 degrees. The tides were out and we found ourselves not wanting to come off the beach after our walk. I saw more people on the beach than I had all winter. The harbor seals could be seen playing in the chilly waters at the end of the the channel. The quohog beds were plentiful and from the looks of it, the gulls had a feast fit for a king. Ayup.. shades of spring are clearly on the way… and the Red Sox opening day, just a couple of weeks away!

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Winter being the longest season here, at least for me ~~it’s time for rest. Many of the other seasonal chores have been put to bed under a blanket of snow..

The seed catalogs are quite the gayest blizzard afforded during this cheerless month of January. Since about half of every catalog is given to annuals, is it any wonder that these visionary Edens are a true delight of three-foot larkspur, glowing snapdragons, fragrant mignonette… and culinary herbs, Lavender, Basils, Rosemary and Thymes.. and vegetables–so many delicious varieties of tomatoes, squash, peppers and every other perennial flower we’ve ever wished to grow to perfection?

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We can sketch some tentative plans on paper, make out seed lists… and think green! Then, on the first of February, my growing season begins in the grow room, with about as many flats of herb seedlings you can imagine–setting, all in rows over heated benches. And here they will remain until mid March, when they can safely be moved out into the coldframes for hardening off before their final stages of growth into the garden in mid to late May here in Maine.

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Last season a friend send me here, GrowVeg.com where I was able to design my garden plot. It was a fun project, and it gave me a good resource guide, (because I can no longer depend on this old memory) as I put to paper my plan for this years garden. You might want to give it a try–it surely beats shoveling snow 😉

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