Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a new cottage industry

feeling inspired today to get caught up with the creative side of my life and wanted to introduce you to a new project that might be in our future. Lynnette wanted her daddy to make these two items for her wedding (candle holders and arbor). So he went down to the farm, got down some oak trees and proceeded to make her dreams come true, with the help of her brother - what a great dad and an awesome brother! Surprising two other brides saw them at the venue that day and both expressed an interest in having them, so we set a price and proceeded to discuss ways to market them. The venue has expressed an interest in showing them as well. They sell on etsy...We haven't put much time into them....yet, but possibly a new cottage industry has been born.

csa today

What is better than a crisp breeze, the warm sun (well maybe hot is a closer description), new friends and beautiful fresh vegetables? A membership in the CSA of course, so you can experience all of the above AND take the veggies home. Today was a good day with lots of color. I am not sure why I like to take pictures of food but it's become an addictive habit of mine over the summer. The richness of the colors, the contrast of the vivid shapes and capturing the textures and personalities (work with me here) is all part of the fun of being a harvest helper. And of course the best benefit is the eating of the freshest, organic veggies available with just a little effort from all of us. I've been keeping a journal of my weekly treats and the recipes that I have tried with them and am starting to get a nice collection. Part of the fun of being a harvest helper is listening to what others do with the same veggies. It is with some regret that I realize that the end of the summer project is almost here, and to add insult to injury my second favorite place during the summer, the farmer's market, will soon close its doors as well. What will I do with my Wednesday and Thursday mornings? Perhaps I will just look at my pictures and think of all the possibilities for next year, or else I will put my baker's hat on and get ready for the holidays. After all there is a lot of zuchinni in the freezer that needs to be made into cakes and bars. A short list of the new things we've tried this summer:

fennel...not too crazy about it but made a fennel parmesan gratin

swiss chard..I like it but the rest will pass so I hide it in things, there's lots in the freezer, I did make swiss chard gnocchi which was marked w/ passing grades by the family. They haven't noticed it in stuffed zuchinni or in soups

bok choy...also in the freezer

golden beets...i could eat any kind of beet and these are delicious roasted today, thinking about gumbo

pattypan squash...stuffing it tonight with a ricotta and sausage filling

a summer squash soup - next time take out the lemon

zucchini oatmeal bars...went over quite well
squash blossoms, yes I stuffed and fried them and they passed
made 2 pints of pickled peppers - always wanted to try that

and certainly not new - but a new method for processing tomatoes was oven roasted tomato sauce - added Merlot and garlic to the recipe and we have a winner

and refrigerator pickles - new recipe, made lots

eggplant...roasted with a touch of spices, interesting

YUM! hungry yet?

and if I don't feel like cooking, I can always use them in an art project - why yes, yes I did! My photo book Summer's Bounty came last week and I am using another picture for my green ATC project with my art group - Christian Paper Artists. So delicious and inspiring are the benefits of being a farmgirl.

apple sauce, apple pie, apple bread, apple's that time again

This picture says it all. It was past time to pick apples! Butterflies, bees, worms and obviously the deer have been having their fill of delicious appleness and before everything hits the ground it was time to get our share in. We picked 5 big contractor's pails and a large recycling bin full and now have them sorted for usefulness in the garage. Three batches of applesauce, 2 pies and some delicious fritters later we haven't made a dent. We plan to attend the Apple Festival once again at Albemarle Ciderworks in November and have decided that this year we will plant 3 more trees. Maybe a few more if work picks up - smiles. At least this time we will know what kind of apple we are planting - if even we can't pick them for three years. We have come to think that currently we have Pippins, Arkansas Black and perhaps a Rome or McIntosh of some sort. We also need to get up to speed on organic pesticides and see if we can't make "prettier" apples. But in the meantime, Bon Apetit!