Friday, 29 June 2018

Cooking with Fresh Herbs

What’s for dinner you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  Last night we enjoyed a lovely pan-fried salmon filet with wild rice.  The best part was the garlic scapes gently sautéed in myer lemon olive oil and a pinch of Himalayan salt which were sprinkled over the salmon, rice and beet greens also sautéed in the same olive oil.  Every lunch or dinner now we enjoy lettuce, sometimes alone with a lovely infused olive oil and red or white balsamic vinegar and sometimes tossed with various other crunchy ingredients like toasted nuts or shelled sunflower seeds, a cheese of some sort, fresh or dried fruit, shredded or sliced radish or carrots, sun-dried tomatoes – whatever has colour and is within my reach at that moment.  What do you put in your salad?   
Some of you wondered out loud what the difference might be between the Lettuce Variety Mix and the Salad Greens.   
The Lettuce Variety Mix is heads of lettuce we cut at the base, tear off any undesirable looking leaves and gently place in a bag for you to wash and combine to make precisely the salad you want.  This Mix may contain any of the lettuces we grow here such as Australian Yellow Leaf, Black-Seeded Simpson, Boston, Cracoviensis, Flame, Heirloom Romaine, Iceberg, Red Salad Bowl, Royal Red, Green or Red Deer Tongue, Speckled, Sunset, Tango to name a few. 
Salad Greens are a combination of lettuces, mustards, herbs, flower petals and some leaves, chard, beet greens, arugula, chicory, spinaches and baby leaves of most of the above “Mix” lettuces.  We wash all of these, spin them dry and package them for you to serve up immediately either with or without your own additions. 
Usually I would include basil as one of the herbs BUT I believe Basil belongs in its own category today.  Did you know there are more than 40 varieties of Basil.  It is a member of the mint family and such a wonderful herb you can use in so many dishes, such as Pesto, which many of us love.  Greek Basil has tiny little leaves packing a rich strong flavour and is used to spice up salads and soups.  Genovese Basil and Large Leaf Italian Basil are the favourite of pizza chefs.  Purple Basil boasts the loveliest smell with a hint of floral aroma.  Lemon Basil and Lime Basil smell like their names and add a nice touch to fish dishes and iced tea.  Holy Basil, also known as Sacred Basil, has leaves which can be used to make tea for boosting your immune system.  These are the kinds we grow here from which you can choose. 
And since we have so much basil, why not blend this fantastic herb with our garlic scapes to create that pesto yumminess we’ve been missing since last summer.
What will you choose from the following list this week?
APPLES, organic, dehydrated  $2 / snack bag
BASIL:  NEW  Genovese, Greek, Holy, Large Leaf Italian, Lemon, Lime, Purple  $3 / bunch
BEET GREENS   NEW   $4 / bunch  sold out
CHARD  $3 / bunch
Edible FLOWERS    $3 / bag
GARLIC SCAPES   $3 / bundle of 10
HERBS, fresh:  Chives, Citrus Thyme, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Stinging Netlte   $3 / bunch
KALE   $4 / bunch
LETTUCE VARIETY MIX:   $4 / bag   
MICROGREEN MIX:  broccoli, cress and kale   $3 bag
MUSTARD GREENS (red and green)  $3 / bunch            
PESTO, Garlic Scape and Basil   NEW  $5 / 125 mL jar
RADISHES   $3 / bunch   
Red ORACH   $4 / bag
SALAD GREENS, washed and table-ready  $6 / bag   sold out
SNOW PEAS  NEW   $4 / bag  sold out but can pick and wash more with enough notice :)
SPROUTS  $3 / bag
  Sandwich Booster (clover, alfalfa, radish & mustard)  
  Spring Salad Mix (broccoli, radish, red clover & alfalfa)
Tomatoes, frozen whole  (Gardener's Delight - ping pong ball size) $2 / pound  

I deliver to Kemptville Friday afternoons, to Merrickville and Ottawa at some point each weekend.  You can also pick up your order here.
I look forward to receiving Your Special Order.  Call or email me with amounts you’d like and any questions.  

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Many Hands . . .

. . .  make light work.  Jennie are I were feeling a little overwhelmed by the backlog of tomato and pepper plants needed to be transplanted in the last couple of weeks and this week.  I sent out an S.O.S. to a few people and they showed up, gloves in hand, rainboots on feet, sleeves rolled up and we are now almost done.
It’s not just a matter of plunking plants into lovely soft soil.  Rows of 30” width needed to be weeded, hilled, smoothed out with a rake and flattened.  Then the extremely heavy roll of plastic mulch (made of non-GMO organic cornstarch which breaks down after the first year of use) needs to be rolled out to cover the 50’ long rows.  We dig trenches on either side of the mulch and then bury those sides so the wind doesn’t blow it all away.  We then cut slits in the plastic, dig a hole large enough for each plant, THEN we plunk each plant into its space, covering each one with the soil we removed from the hole.  It’s a lot of work and we are so very grateful to Marg, Kelly and Lisa for getting us through this stage.  Tomatoes and sweet peppers are all in the ground now and we’ll get the outside hot peppers in over the next several days. 

Tom’s been loving the tractor.  He jumps into the seat, turns the key and goes – for hours and hours – moving soil, rocks and wood.  He cuts the grass in the field.  Our lawn mower is in the shop so he’s been trimming with the weed trimmer where the tractor can’t go.  We are grateful for Tom making our gardens look like gardens again instead of the hayfield they resembled a week ago. 

Thomas will be pounding stakes into the tomato rows so we can start the Florida weave in a week or so.  The tomatoes have only been in for many days really and they’re already forming suckers.  If you follow me on facebook you saw me post to get yourselves out there and remove those suckers or you’ll have a jumanji effect in your garden.  Each sucker (the new leaves that form in the crotch of the stem and an already existing branch on indeterminate tomato plants) produces an entirely new plant, which if you have only a couple of tomato plants is not such a bad thing and if you have space for the hugeness of it all.  But in a garden bed with hundreds of plants it gets totally out of control and you end up stepping on plants in the aisles and can’t reach, or even see, the tomatoes themselves for the leaves. 

You know I’m always thinking of you and the foods you like so we started producing microgreens again.   They should be available the week after next, or sooner, I’ll let you know. 

I haven’t forgotten about the workshop for growing microgreens and sprouts.  I’ll let you know the date once we get the last of those hot peppers in. 

Garlic scapes should appear in a week or so. 

Some radishes have chosen to be ready this week, some are waiting a little longer.  We have a few handfuls of green onions ready so far. 

Build Your Best Salad
Lettuce heads are a pretty good size so I offer them to you in a mix before it gets hot again and they bolt.  The mix includes a variety of some of the following beautiful colours: Black Seed Simpson, Boston, Heirloom Iceberg, Heirloom Romaine, Red Deer Tongue (funny name), Red Salad Bowl, Speckled and Tango. You can choose a bag of your favourite varieties or leave it up to me – mwah ha ha ha. 

Here’s what you can eat from here this week:

APPLES, organic, dehydrated  $2 snack bag
CHARD (aka Swiss Chard)   $3 bag 
Edible FLOWERS    $3 / bag
Green Onions  NEW $2 / bunch
HERBS, fresh:  Chives, Citrus Thyme, Dill, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Nettle, Oregano   $3 / bunch
Lettuce Mix:  NEW  $4 / bag
Mustard Greens (red and green)  NEW  $3 / bunch
Radishes  NEW  $3 / bunch
Red ORACH   $4 / bag
SALAD GREENS, washed and table-ready  $6 / bag  
SPROUTS  $3 / bag
   Broccoli Brassica Blend (broccoli, broccoli raab, radish, mustard & arugula)
   Sandwich Booster (clover, alfalfa, radish & mustard)  
   Spring Salad Mix (broccoli, radish, red clover & alfalfa)
TOMATO SAUCE  $6 /500mL jar  sealed – very few jars left now
Tomatoes, frozen whole  (Gardener's Delight - ping pong ball size) $2 / pound  

I look forward to receiving Your Special Order.  Call or email me with amounts you’d like and any questions.  

Until next post, have a great every day.