something green and tasty

Our CSA’s ginormous bags of greens combined with the eternally delicious stash of lettuce from our own garden, has equalled to some truly crunchy and satisfying meals.  Greens go in smoothies (good enough for green lantern!), on eggs, in eggs, sautéed, and my personal favorite: Ground up to a delicious paste and spread on pizza.  While Rowan isn’t as easily convinced that sautéed beet greens are the best thing since sliced bread, Miles is quite excited to stuff his little mouth with anything green, be it spicy, crunchy, or as earthy as can be.  And truth be told, on the long wagon ride back from the CSA farm (it is uphill both ways if you didn’t know), I have caught Rowan happily, absent-mindedly, munching on everything from fennel tops to dinosaur Kale.  It makes my heart soar.

Last night after knocking the towering mason jar of fennel tops over for the millionth time in my refrigerators side door, I felt it was time to use those silky fronds.  So I plopped them in the food processor with a dozen garlic scapes, a handful of basil, a touch of mint, some freshly toasted pecans and a very generous pour (or two or three) of olive oil.  Salt, pepper and a fine grating of romano and oh yes I was feeling pizza for supper.  It’s only right when you create something so impossibly green to devour it with the ever sought after fresh mozzarella and some goat cheese, mountains of caramelized onions, and sautéed, crispy early zucchini and summer squash.  Toppings of an early summer harvest, you just can’t beat em.

(please ignore my oblong, misshapen pizza, I truly would benefit from purchasing a pizza peel or a box of cornmeal at the very least…) 

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the hill

There seems to be little reason to leave this “hill” lately.  Truly we have just what we need right around us.  Sometimes I can’t help but think this is how it should be.  Milk for butter, yogurt and guzzling is provided on one side, and with that sensibly enough, beef too; And vegetables plentiful enough to store for the entire year on the other side of us.  It is an event each Wednesday when we pick up the CSA, which by the way makes my vegetable garden pale in comparison (oh how much I have to learn!), loading up the wagon, strapping on Miles’ helmet, leashing up the crazy twelve pound mutt and making our way to the red barn down the way.  Since our field has been hayed very recently we can make the trek down to the farm through our pasture, looping back around to check the mail afterwards and when needed getting our milk too.  This way we get to observe the vegetables growing and farmers tending and the cows grazing that inspire us so.  These farmers truly are some of the hardest workers I have seen.  Yesterday we received beets, kale, red and green lettuce heads, early, small, summer squash and petite, adorable, zucchini.  Proof that their work is not in vain, as just up the hill from them our squash plants haven’t even flowered yet.  The price is right too, I must add.  And while I realize the cost of purchasing a CSA share does vary from one area to the next, from my experience it is financially (and sustainably and conveniently and deliciously) the way to go.  It isn’t hard to see if the farmers have any seconds they would be willing to give at a discounted price for your canning needs either.  This has been a pleasant past time for us, and I believe if this third baby in our life doesn’t completely consume us (as in a stick a fork in me, I’m done kind of way), I can see this year being quite the same.

IMG_2044  While surely driving too much is something you must be conscious of when living in a rural area, there are so many ways we can live in this world in a cohesive way.  Whether you reside in a city or out here in the sticks there are always options.  It is hard not to feel the tug of obligation.  

whats growing on?

With the burst of serious growth in the land around us, I have noticed that in my mumbling of plants I recognize, and constant looking up of those I don’t some little ears have been perking up and cueing in.  These little botanists have picked up more than I can recall sometimes!  We did a little scavenger hunt yesterday after a really ugly and long morning.  (I truly hate those type of mornings, but in the future I am promising myself I will stick my toes in the cold stream a little earlier… perhaps that will cool us all down a bit quicker.)  The boys found and checked off wild columbine, strawberry flowers, st. johns wort, spiderwort, a few types of ferns, and some stray jack in the pulpit fading quick in the warmer weather.  It was quite fun with lots of distractions along the way starting the day again on the right foot again.

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A peek through our back yard into the neighbors farm during the hunt, (our CSA purchase for the year too.. in case my efforts in the garden are a little off) and we were filled with wonder of what they are growing.  A lot of their crops are under the sheer white fabric that protects from insects and deer so well, keeping our suspense high.  We wandered over, careful to check for ticks periodically, and peeked under a few of the cylindrical tents to see what we could see.  Sweet peas, corn, brussels, squash, and pretty much everything you can imagine was already giant-sized, putting my little seedlings to shame.  But alas, they are professionals and I will not let that discourage me one bit!  It was quite good timing to get so curious anyhow for my cravings for fresh greens had turned into somewhat of an obsession.  The maple leaves and long blades of grass have even become so appealing they cause me to salivate on dewy warm mornings.  I was beginning to wonder if I had the deficiency causing pregnant women to crave dirt!  But luckily my want stopped at the green stuff, and as even more luck would have it, I got an email that I could pick up my first CSA share!  Oh pounds and pounds of greens were carted home in our little red wagon, and a whole pound between the four of us was devoured!  Seconds were had by even the little ones among us!  It felt wonderful to have a table full of food grown by either us or our neighbors.  Milk and eggs, spinach and mesclun lettuce.  What could be better on a late spring evening… Not much.

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As for my own garden, things are coming along!  Though my fear of nothing growing at all still reigns true, I am seeing some serious growth over the last few warm, wet nights.  Carrots have sprouted and are being thinned little bits a time, radishes and second batches of radishes are growing tall, potatoes are popping up and Jerusalem artichokes too, all the lettuce, peas, spinach, and onions are settling in quite nicely; Polka dotting my garden with green slivers that make me impossibly giddy.  My close observation of the soil, (some may say over the top obsessing) waiting for seedlings to emerge has come to an end.  Now the picking off of beetles and weeding will commence.  I placed some of that magical white fabric over the top of my squash in hopes that little yellow striped beetles will stay away… and so far it seems to be working!  I was informed, by the experts across the street, that those beetles really like a new plant, but will stay away from my grown squash a bit more, so not to worry.  Whew.

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Have I mentioned how proud I am of this almost complete fence my friendly husband made?  It is a sight to behold and now complete with a gate so the crazy chickens and dog and cats will keep out.

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I feel like a true gardener when I take my walk through the mulched path several times a day.  It is a passion we have all gotten involved in and that is my most favorite part!  Anything good growing in your neck of the woods?

some food to inspire

Oh, the bounty was over the top abundant today!  A mama friend, so sweet and hard-working, set up a food co-op with an organic farm not to far down the road.  It is the csa dreams are made of.  The farmers are friendly, the atmosphere divine, and the produce crisp and fresh as can be.  Oh yes, and inexpensive to boot!  Unreal as a matter of fact.  I am no stranger to the csa.  This is my fourth, in four states, so I have seen the different methods played out.  And this one?  I think I will stick around… for this is going to be something to write home about…

This was truly the days giving.  

23 dollars.  Even.  Ok, add six for the okra.  But minus that addition, it was a mere 23 dollars.  Enough produce to fill all four of our bellies for the week to come, perhaps even the months to come, for I will most certainly have to put some of it up.

There was also the opportunity to purchase raw milk… oh that gloriously thick soothing milk… I have searched far in wide for some of this stuff since my arrival in january with no luck.  In Georgia it is illegal, like many states.  This is something that baffles me.  I can’t wrap my mind around the idea that a food can be illegal but something like…. cigarettes?  That is a choice.  Make no mistake, pasteurized or not, dairy is the least likely to give you a food born illness.  It is a fact.  Look it up.  Well, I am not an expert of any variety, so I will step off this little soap box of mine and chug a cup of the good stuff.

Oh, and I have not included the most spectacular piece of this produce picking up puzzle.  

Friendship.  What a day it was.  So very exciting.