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Archive for the ‘green living’ Category

Well say  hello to summer! 🙂 Yeehaw!

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This farmers market season is off to a great start! Despite a very dry spring and some rogue frosts, we farmers are attending our markets with diverse green products, and other cottage industry producers, like artisan bakers and cheese makers and specialty jams–like me! 🙂  are rounding out the spring farmers’ markets in our neck of the woods.

As a market manager, overseeing 25 wonderful vendors… so far I’m seeing strong shopper turnout this spring, which is fantastic news! Rain or shine or even sometimes an early snow…. for the past sixteen years, are open from early May through mid October. It’s always been a pleasure for me when market season rolls around again each year… after a long hibernating winter here, to see old friends and meet new ones each season.

The hours are indeed long, the pay.. nominal. But the growing passion and their rewards are ten-fold in my mind. As a one woman small cottage business owner/farm gal, I can honestly still say I absolutely love my job! 🙂 And yes, some days I moan and grown.. but hey, none of us are getting any younger, and there surely are days when you can hear me yelling at myself, “I’m never going to get this all harvested”… but then somehow I do! Somebody up there must be watching over me, for certain. Since moving to Maine ten years ago my farming routine has clearly changed from having a working farm in N.H. for the prior 23 years… but it keeps me hopping. These are some of what I grow, or bake, or process.

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Yesterday was a great market day for me! They cleaned me out of 35 quarts of strawberries and shortcake biscuits in one hour! ( many asking if I had real whipped cream for sale too! ) Oy vey! LOL! Funny how passionate folks can be about the first strawberries of season… myself, included.

Once established here in Maine,  I acquired my Maine state inspected licensure to produce canned and baked goods. So these days, in addition to my line of “wonderful herbal soaps” and skin care specialties plus organic veggies and fresh herbs, I’ve added a line of wine and herbal jams and jellies. It keeps me incredibly busy keeping up with my local shop orders, as well as various canned veggies –depending on what I’m pulling out of the gardens, and my infamous Wicked Good Pickles, along some cut flowers bouquets, that all goes to market.  As you can probably imagine.. my days are pretty full in season, so blogging has to take a back seat and it does, until Autumn for me. So thanks to you readers for continually returning here, and for all your support and encouraging words. It’s much appreciated. You know who you are. 🙂

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And thank you to everyone who takes the time to purchase what they can — straight from the grower/producer. That effort makes a huge difference, and helps we farmers and farmers markets make the leap into a robust summer season ahead. We surely appreciate your support! If you’re ever in our neck of the woods, stop by the Wells Farmers’ Market (shameless plug 🙂 LOL–we’ll be there!

Happy Summer Solstice! I can’t believe 4th of July is only two weeks away! 

 

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We are just loving our newest eco-friendly gadgets–our new power mowers. Earth friendly, conserving energy, cruelty-free, with zero waste… well, discounting the manure that’ll naturally fertilize the fields. 🙂 A win, win for all.

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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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