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Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

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One of the things I’ll miss in my garden, with the cooler days moving in…the daily shots!

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I do so enjoy this time of year, and though we still have a boatload of tomatoes, hot peppers, bok choy along with the endless supply of greens still to go,  it’s the crossover time.. with the winter squash, root crops–potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, onions, cabbage, shallots and leeks all vying to be harvested, too! Don’t even get me started on the kale crop LOL. I think I’ll still be picking kale until XMas this year! And that’s just fine with me.

It’s been a successful season at my new farm in spite of our drought conditions and weeks of oppressive humidity that I can’t ever recall occurring as it was this season. My cupboards and freezers are loaded in readiness for that gawd awful white stuff, with so much yield from a great growing season. Sausage making will begin next week for me and I can’t wait! Only four weeks left for farmers market, too! Then I begin the buttoning up process for the year 😦  but, it will also be time for me to set next year’s’ garlic in the ground… along with building my new raised beds! I bartered with a few of my farmer friends this year for many new garlic varieties to try, so it will be fun to see what I end up with next summer.

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With these cooler nights, dinner around here means comfort foods, too. And while I still love grilling there’s just so much produce around here to not use up within minutes of harvesting. So, yesterday it was ‘leek day’ for lack of a better phrase 🙂 and as soon as they had a good bath, into the pot they went along with some shallots, carrots, kale, just pulled spuds, onions and some wine for one of my fave fall soups… Leeky Onion.

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This morning it was like pea soup here and wet, wet, wet so I grabbed only a couple of cabbages and made two trays of galumki’s–stuffed cabbage, while I await the arrival of the sunshine that is to burn off this afternoon.. then it’s back into the fields for more clean up grunt work… and to set the spinach seed to overwinter. And then I’m done for the day! Oh wait, the lawn still needs to be mowed.. ugh sigh!

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Easy recipe alert! Some scrumptious goat cheese… on toasted baguette with some fresh basil pesto, roasted tomatoes will be what you are craving all season. Yum!

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Whether you call it Chow Chow, Chow-Chow, or Seasons End Relish, this dish is made in lots of variations, just like the spelling of it’s name and comes in lots of variations.

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Around our “neck of the woods,” Chow Chow is typically one of those end of the season recipes that utilizes things that are quickly fading from the backyard garden.

It’s a way to use those tomatoes that are still on the vine, but will never turn ripe enough before the first frost gets them. Alas! Same for some of the other vegetables that are included in it. You pick them, then you figure out what you’re going to do with them. But because I got carried away planting far too many tomatoes and cabbage this year, I decided to step-up my typical seasonal year end process and use up some of my green tomatoes now, instead.

Some folks use cucumbers, some use cauliflower, some use pretty much just cabbage. If you start looking for them, you’ll find lots of different variations. It just depends on what you like and don’t like I suppose. For me, I just stick with old fashioned, family tradition.

Home Food Preservation seems to be fading away around my part of the country, at least among my non-farming/gardening friends, which I think is a crying shame.  It does take a little work, but it’s always fun afterwards to share a jar with friends and be able to say “I grew and made this myself, as a remembrance of my summer garden. ” Plus…. you always know just what went in to that jar,  and I like that a lot! (Though, sometimes my aching back grumbles a bit over what it took to get it all into those jars 🙂  Apparently my devoted customers think so too; I can’t make enough of my pickled items for market each week, because they clean my out of whatever selections I bring along!

A remembrance….

Circa 1960’s: The old metal meat grinder is firmly mounted to my mom’s kitchen table, the abundance of our summer garden stacked in bowls and baskets around us. As often as I could, I’d take a turn at the grinder, cranking the handle despite my stinging, watering eyes. I watched as onions, bell peppers, and green tomatoes were pulled into the turning screw, a crunching sound coming to my ears over the noise of the squeaky handle turning. Mom hovered, sure that with every turn of the handle one of my tender young fingers might join the mix in the pot that was catching the crushed green vegetables. LOL! Clear juices, tinted green, dripped from every point of the old grinder, running down to my elbow and then to the floor where a large towel was ready to catch the overflow. The bright green pulp from the unripe remains of a bountiful harvest would be transformed into a relish with the funny name, “chow chow.”

Circa twenty-first century: As times have changed, so too have my methods. Nowadays, my Cuisinart food processor makes quick work of the unripe tomatoes, peppers, and onions. But while I am feeling nostalgic about the days I spent hand cranking the grinder in my mom’s kitchen, I share the details with my daughters. I want them to know that this is a family recipe, one that my grandmother and theirs made, salvaging the last of the fruit from the vine before winter relegated them to the compost heap. Forty-some years later, the chow chow tastes the same and my eyes still water, though as I think back to my childhood…. I’m not sure if it’s the pungent ingredients or the memories that cause the tears. Perhaps both! 🙂

I made this a few years back, and placed a jar in the New Hampshire State Fair. It won Second Place that year, and this year I’m planning to enter a new batch with hopes of getting that prized Blue Ribbon. We’ll see. Happy gardening!

 

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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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