The French connection

Globe peddling bikers found their way to Jubilee. They were headed to Nebraska and then biking to Columbia…. the country in South America. I could have closed up shop for the day and listened to their stories -leurs histoires étaient whooee! One rider was from Paris, France and had cycled all over Europe. Imagine, somehow we were located  – I love it.

A year ago, a young man from southern France came to help us pick aronia berries. Wouldn’t you know, but we were harvesting aronia berries when the cycling duo showed up yesterday?

Continuing on with this French connection…this is the season to be making ratatouille – all the fixings are available: 1# eggplant,1# summer squash, 1# onions, 1 Tbsp garlic, 2# tomatoes, 1/4 # green peppers, 1/4 cup olive oil (or more), salt to taste. Sauté the onions and I add the rest and cook on low until most of the juice is gone. I plan to freeze it in serving sizes for use in sandwiches, pizza, pasta and other tasty dishes.

It is ratatouille farm share week so look for tomatoes, green peppers OR green beans, eggplant, onions, summer squash as well as cucumbers, potatoes OR celery,  carrots OR beets, sage OR parsley….. The ‘OR’s’ are for the mini farm share choices.

C’est délicieux!

Chez Esteban

Caramelized fennel and onions over ground turkey meatballs with rosemary and a schlup of cream, new red potatoes and fresh green beans with lemon basil – OH MY! The night before was ground nut stew with brown rice at the only Chez Esteban in town. Steve (Esteban) has agreed to take on the next 40 years as head cook……not exactly, but it has been a real treat to have fantastic meals served on my Grandmother’s china and all I do is show up! Let me know if you can top that – haha

Red Norland potatoes jumped out of the ground at yesterday’s harvest – no need to wash them for storage, most amazing. Last year, more than half of our crop rotted in the ground due to the continuous rains and the low field they were in.

The larger beets have been harvested…over 400 pounds – whoo whoo! Now to begin making pickled beets along with dill pickles, bread & butter pickles, chunk pickles and garlic scape) pickles.

Salsa, both fresh and canned is now available. Steve and I figured out the pH meter that Loida and Nathan left behind and we can can can as long as we are below 4.6 pH!

Today’s harvest boxes should contain: new potatoes, summer squash, green onions, broccoli, green beans or eggplant, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, cucumbers or kohlrabi and choices of herbs: genovese basil, parsley, anise hyssop or sage.

 

Crickets

While out weeding in the onion patch, I noted a labyrinth of tiny tunnels and crickets everywhere. There is more life beneath my feet….the soil food web, than I can ever hope to understand. It is what supports all that is above ground and yet it is indiscriminately modified and doused without thought of future generations of critters both microscopic and those larger than life, we’uns.

This week a couple walked into the market and asked about some strange-looking plants that were growing at the other end of  Mountain Lake Road, the street I call home; it is the only way out – east or west. These plants were brown and stood upright. Goodness, after I mentally zipped through all my neighbor’s homes to the west it became clear these folks were talking about the field that had been sprayed to kill all organisms. above and below ground level; and what remained were the brown plant skeletons. Hmmm It is to be an industrial ‘park’ of some sort.

Crickets find their way into the market by ones and twos and commence tuning their fiddles. I wish they kept time with the music I am playing. The magnitude of sound they present to the world is amazing. Maybe I should sing my conversations!

Produce is flooding in so be prepared: Green onions, green beans, green cucumbers, green parsley, green kale & chard, green savory, green broccoli, green & yellow squash  red tomatoes and herbs: summer savory, parsley, basil, cilantro…. Fennel decided to come 6 weeks early. Carrots and beets are in the ready.

 

Fun beets

A customer walked into the market today and asked if I had anything that was ‘fun’. My mind went to the antique puzzles in the corner or maybe some art supplies hidden in the bathroom. That question had not come up before so I asked him what he meant. He was thinking of beets! Well then, from now on, when seeing a beet, I will think of the day when I sold 20# of beets to a man as a gift to his wife…..fortunately, she knew about the fun and had asked him to buy some – haha! He will be coming back for more.

Farmer Steve just informed me that we have a 400′ bed of MORE FUN and they are ready for harvest! YOIKES!

The garlic harvest came off well and all the little darlings are hanging up drying their heads in the breeze. Our soil was like cement…..Steve dug them all out with a fork before the rains came. It is the best garlic harvest we have had, I think we have learned a few things since we started this adventure. We will continue with the composting in hopes of the day that we can pull them out of the soil like we do beets. Though I think some of it has to do with the shape of the vegetable – a beet is right on the soil surface with the larger end upper most whereas garlic is quite the opposite, in labor….I’d choose the first option and have more ‘fun’.

There’s a bunch to fit in the farm share boxes this week: broccoli, green onions, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes large & small, kohlrabi, fresh garlic, herbs (sage or basil or cilantro), summer squash, and Swiss chard or kale for the regular shares.

 

It’s the berries….once again

I spend about 5 hours a day picking, heading & tailing, munching and processing berries. Gooseberries, Saskatoons, red – white and blue currants (patriotic smiles after a munch or two!) and raspberries are in high season. Aronia and nannyberries are later and the sea berries must have to get older. Sour cherries are frozen as are the haskaps.

I know, I know – we are crazy…. Did you know that all these berries are just about native to these parts, are tops in nutrients – phytochemicals and antioxidants, and grow on their own without any chemical sprays (organic or the other sort) such as many of the commonly eaten fruits require?

This week begins the summer CSA farm share season through September. That seems like a long way off and mountains of fruits and veggies to work through. We think we are ready – are you?

Farm shares will get several kohlrabi, a beUtiful head of broccoli, green onions, Hakurei turnips, cucumbers, kale, herbs, raspberries and tomatoes for the regular share members. Now that is saying something to commemorate July 5 – Steve’s birthday!