Super berry to the rescue

We harvested 120 pounds of aronia berries with the help of a young friend from France. This is up from a bowlful last year! They are super in all respects: the highest content of antioxidant capacity which translates into keeping our bodies protected from free radicals that go around stealing other molecules’ electrons. Phytochemicals are also right up at the top of the chart. My memories of organic chemistry classes bring on dark thoughts but they did help to explain what happens behind-the-scenes in our bodies on the biochemical level.

Much is written about aronia berries, or chokeberries, which can be researched at some later date. Many episodes of favorite shows are being watched late into the night (morning?) as we destem the berries – over half way home! My fingers are taking on the shade of purple – not a bad choice for this state.

Fresh and frozen aronia berries are for sale at the moment. I add them to smoothies, jam, cookies and soon much more since we have plenty! I prefer to go to the source for good eats – rather than from a capsule, bottle or what have you.

The garlic and onion harvest is in, cured, stored and now for sale. Our watermelon, cantaloupe and raspberries are moving into the spotlight.  Pluots and red Starkcrimson pears from the west expand the fruit selection. Bulk peanut butter is delicious – I can eat it by the spoonful….not a good thing!

Farm shares this week will get a selection of: raspberries, summer squash, cucumbers, sweet peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, cabbage, kale and Swiss chard. Carrots, beets, celery, herbs and more are stage left -  for sale.

Soak it up

Glossy purple eggplants are jewels in the making. They are short-lived, best stored on the kitchen counter and then roasted, stewed or fried fresh from the garden. I leave the skin intact, which I try to do on most things to retain the goodness. An eggplant is like a sponge  and will soak up its weight and more, thus the reason for sprinkling salt over it prior to frying.

Eggplant pairs well in any dish with its cousin, the tomato. They are both from the nightshade family, as is the potato, so of course, don’t eat the flowers!

Steve and I are on our own this week – the shape of things to come…. Once we know the future definite plans of the rest of our family farm crew, then we can pull out Plan B, C or even Q. I’m not good at doing the limbo or hanging there but that has been the shape of things for this year. Ho on – which is oh no in reverse, either way is appropriate.

Farm shares should have a jolly mix of sweet corn, celery, eggplant, Swiss chard or kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon basil, rough garlic and summer squash. There is a meal right there in the making!

Consider the elephant

I have been enamored with the huge cloves of ‘garlic’ from the latest elephant harvest. They are mild in flavor and wonderful for crushing, chopping and eaten raw or cooked. Hold and below, elephant garlic is NOT garlic but from the leek family! Whoops!  We harvested our crop of garlic, including the elephants. They have cured in the lean-to with their  ‘tails’ tied around ropes in the rafters and are now ready for the market. The not-so-pretty-ones will be given to share members this week.

Garlic, onions and others in the allium family, like to be kept in cool places – the refrigerator…..and NOT under the sink, as I have always done. If the elephant is more than you can manage, peel the cloves and freeze them for later use.

The other goodies for farm share members will include: cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, green beans and/or beets, basil and/or thyme and did I mention tomatoes?


No nibbled beets

Meadows of clover, dandelion, lambs quarters, invasive bell flower and everything else EXCEPT grass make lovely meals for all the creatures that roam this spot. In other words, be at peace with all the ‘weeds’ and the waddits won’t find the beets and carrots – haha! It worked this year; I have not mowed certain parts of the yard in weeks. I’ve been called in before city council for being a nuisance due to a messy yard in the past and almost arrested for driving on a ‘lawn’ so been there – done that.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the French had no access to sugar. What would you do? Consider the beet – it grows well in northern climes, survives winter storage and seems to be sweet. Voilà! There is sucrose in beets as there is in sugarcane which may have brought the Caribbean slave trade to its end.

Folks often say that beets taste like dirt. According to Irwin Goldman, “the beet guy” at CALS, it is the compound geosmin that soil microbes produce. Spinach, lettuce and mushrooms also contain geosmin but I don’t hear complaints in that department.

Roasted, grated fresh in a salad, pestoed, pickled and boiled – whooeee! The red pigment is an antioxidant and is used as an artificial dye in foods.

Other than beets in the box this week – there will be tomatoes, SWEET corn, cucumbers, summer squash, kale or Swiss chard, green beans and carrots. Know that we labor intensely over these harvests – oh my can I tell you stories!

Making dew

Emergencies do not form queues during working hours; the past two Saturday nights have been nigh on catastrophes….. first night a basement flood then the following week an ice berg in the freezer fan! Steve and I heard a clunking as we hauled in 70 pounds of green beans from the HOT mosquito-ruled night. We put on our winter gear for the -7°F freezer weather and wrangled out a huge chunk of ice that had built up around the freezer fans causing them to quit working. Oh my! We are always on the knife edge – I can’t remember the last time I was bored…..maybe back in second grade math.

It is now raining again – do not report us to the authorities for not mowing our meadow! Our neighbors have perfectly clipped lawns and then there is us….

Jubilee Market & Peacemeals has taken on a new look – whoo whoo! We now have matching tables and chairs to replace the eclectic look of cast-offs. Our extras are to be hauled to Care & Share for their next home.

The harvest this week includes: tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, cabbage, kale, chard, green beans and more. Make a deal for large quantities of cucs or tomatoes to can or pickle. Beets are for sale. Onions and garlic are to be drying out in the greenhouse and lean-to. The organic apricots and pears are delish – not ours, of course. Plenty of cheese curds.