Posts Tagged ‘S Market’

27-Days of Change – Week 2

Friday, May 4, 2012



We had a bit of a rocky start to this day and ended it with a kitchen disaster. Such is life!

Brianne jetted out the door at the crack of dawn to a cattle showmanship workshop and I was right behind her an hour later on my way to a garden tour. Needless to say our morning of French toast and homemade sausage never materialized.

By 2pm though, we were back at the house and using last night’s lamb and leftover greens to make a delightful salad.

I was so inspired by the tour and our new commitment to eat local that I swung by the farm stand on my way home to pick up mushrooms for an onion, spinach & ‘shroom quiche. I’ll use the extra spinach and mushrooms to make a spinach salad and toss it in vinaigrette made with avocado oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and onions. I got the recipe from a friend years ago and it has been on our summer hit list ever since; perfect on a spinach salad. Oh – and the egg for the quiche and spinach salad? Our girls of course.

By the time the quiche was out of the oven, 35-minutes later, the dishes were washed and in the drying rack and the kitchen was pretty much cleaned of our cooking experiment. It’s time for dinner, putting my feet up after a long day and relaxing to our homemade meal.

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll get my French toast.

Oh—great news on new finds in our county. Just over the hill is an organic honey tasting room; I’ve passed it for years, but never had a chance to stop…until now. I was able to taste about a dozen different kinds of honey, from citrus to sage to wild buckwheat. It was amazing the difference in strength and color seeing side-by-side. I bought a jar of citrus, which will taste great in tea and when used in some of my baked goods.

I also found a small farm business on the other side of the county that presses their own olive oil. The drive would be a bit far (almost 40 miles) to buy the occasional bottle, but happily they sell at the Thursday Farmer’s Market. So far I’ve sourced milk, honey and oil locally. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Onion-Dijon Spinach Salad Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp onion, grated

4 Tsp Dijon mustard

¼ Tsp pepper

1 Tsp salt

4 Tbsp white wine tarragon vinegar

1 cup avocado oil

9 Tsp lemon juice

After grating onions place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Chill before using.

Gratitude for Blessings Not Yet Seen

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I spent quite a bit of time on my garden rearranging project this past weekend. There’s still a lot left to do, but I did manage to move the berry bed to the north side of the garden, digging up and moving some of the blackberry, boysenberry and Fall Gold raspberry canes. The rest of the canes were planted in a large black tub to winter over. In the early spring, when it’s time to plant I’ll repot them for my front porch farmer’s market or the sale my garden club has each year.

The fruit trees were pruned and given 2 pounds each of gypsum. I spread it around the canopy line and gently scratched it into the soil. Sunday’s steady rain storm will push the nutrients down to the roots to feed them all through the winter.

Our big storm slated to arrive on Saturday evening finally blew in on Sunday and should last for several days. I raked leaves and dug them into the new raised vegetable beds, a foundation of organic matter. Some were piled over the perennial bulbs for protection.

By Saturday afternoon, the only task left to do was to dig up and separate my collection of Iris bulbs. Admittedly this is coming late in the season, but in Southern California Irises can be planted or divided any time of year with great success. Last months hot east winds had battered the Iris foliage, turning it dry and brown; very unsightly. Read the rest of the story »


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our summer weather continues to be cooler than normal, with few days in the 80’s much less over 100. Many of our heat loving vegetables are slow to mature, but cool weather crops like lettuce and peas are flourishing. We have been enjoying the chance to work the farm throughout the day, no need to break during the hottest hours. But, I am still nervous that our temperate summer will turn into a firestorm of searing heat come September and October.

Late summer rows of beets, radishes, and carrots are in the ground. There’ll be big salads well into fall. Onions and garlic will find a home in the newly built beds, later in September. But — the two zucchini plants, started late, are doing well.

When it comes to zucchini nothing compares to a squash picked minutes before eating; not store bought nor farmer’s market. The zucchini along with the single Patty Pan are providing enough squash for this farm of two. It is a delight to fill the house with the smell of zucchini bread baking or the heavenly aroma when we sauté zucchini in lemon juice and garlic.

If I am tempted to pick some up out-of-season it’s usually because we have a craving for this rich and moist quick bread with the warm spicy kick; it’s perfect on a cool fall day or a cold winter night, toasted and slathered with fresh churned butter or a bit of sweet honey.

Since I know I’m not the only one over-run by these prolific little green sticks or golden saucers I’m including our two favorite recipes. Enjoy! Read the rest of the story »

Heart & Soil

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What a great way to spend a summer evening. “Heart & Soil”, a sustainable agriculture documentary will take you on a journey into the lives of southwest farmers, energetic farmer’s market and vibrant school lunch programs. The farmers are an inspiration for us all to dig more, grow more or to support those who do.

To learn more about the mission of “Heart & Soil” and their desire to promote local agriculture check out their website at

We’re all trying to save on food these days and homesteaders are no different. While most folks we talked to admit that cooking from scratch and growing their own food are a good place to start, some haven’t made the jump to a garden that provides all their food needs. They do admit that buying in bulk, canning and planning meals around “in season” produce is a good way to go, and offer these helpful hints for saving on your next grocery bill.

  • Share a CSA with another single person or couple and split the cost.
  • Ask neighbors who have over loaded fruit trees if you can pick unwanted fruit from their trees.
  • Glean fields for Second Harvest or other local food banks who work with local growers to reclaim un-harvested produce and reward volunteers with part of what they pick.
  • Trade with a local hunter – your canned, frozen or baked specialties for wild game or fish.
  • Ask a local butcher who processes wild game for bones and odds-and-ends that can be made into stock or broth.
  • Start a “micro-coop” with family or friends, buying large qualities of staple items like flour, sugar, rice, beans, coffee and wine and splitting them with everyone.
  • Consider volunteering for a vendor at your local farmer’s market in exchange for leftover produce. There may even be enough to can.
  • If you live in an area with wild game, consider contacting the local police department or game warden to have your name put on the list of “takers” for animals that have been killed by vehicles. You may have a short time in which to react, but the venison, elk or other wild meat could be worth the effort.
  • If you live in maple syrup or honey bee country, ask a local farmer if you can help with the harvest and processing for a gallon or so of the good stuff. The hands-on education would also be sweet.
  • Many grocery store chains will give away “past prime” produce for livestock uses if asked. Many times this produce is not past eatable, just past sellable, and can be made into a variety of dishes or baked goods; canned or frozen for later use. What isn’t useable can then be given to chickens and pigs, or cooked down to supplement dog or cat food.

Other creative ways to stretch food into nutritious meals can also mean stretching every dollar.

  • Toss together all kinds of veggie and meat odds-and-ends into fabulous stir-fries or satisfying soups.
  • Use “filler” ingredients like rice, celery, onions and potatoes to add bulk and flavor to dishes.
  • When recipes call for filler type ingredients try using oats, barley, brown rice or potatoes for added variety.
  • Many dishes can use beans or legumes as the prime ingredient instead of meat.
  • Cut down on the quantity of meat in your meal and load up on “in season” veggies, greens and fruit. Meat servings of 3 to 4 ounces should be sufficient if there are plenty of side dishes to go along with it.
  • Get every last bit of meat off “bone-in” cuts of meat, chicken, turkey or rabbit carcasses. No matter how much you think you’ve pulled off the bone there’s usually enough, when cooked, to make a small pot of soup, a casserole, a stew or a pot pie when mixed with vegetables. The broth can also be frozen and used later.
  • Go Meatless! One or two days a week. Or, substitute protein packed eggs for a meal that would normally include meat. Omelets, frittatas or egg scrambles with potatoes and fruit can be just as satisfying as a tradition dinner entrée.
  • Use up all the food you buy. If produce is passing its peak plan a meal around them so they can be used. Don’t pass up the chance to use spent veggies in baked goods either. Zucchini and carrots make great quick breads, bananas are fabulous in pancakes and corn can be added to muffins for sweet, yummy, nutritious treats.
  • If you can’t use “past-prime” veggies right away toss them in the freezer for later use.
  • Instead of sipping on that pricey designer wine check out the two-buck-Chuck selection at Trader Joe’s. He may just be the only man that won’t let you down!

Armed with these grocery saving tips you are now armed to go forth and SAVE!

If you’re looking for people in your area to share or split bulk items with, check out  Or, if your area is not listed consider starting your own split group with neighbors, family and friends.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Yuya Tamai

Growing Persimmons

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Persimmons are the quintessential fall fruit. Known to the Ancient Greeks as “fruit of the Gods”, these tomato or heart-shaped fruits are high in glucose, a well-balanced and a good source of vitamin C. They can be eaten fresh, dried, raw or cooked. But watch out for varieties that have a more astringent taste. To learn more about growing persimmons click the Vegetable Gardener link here.

For more information, try this link from Virginia Tech here (pdf).

While you’re waiting to grow your own persimmons, buy a few from a local Farmer’s Market or grower and bake some of grandma’s persimmon cookies.

Persimmon Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup persimmon pulp
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts, raisins or candied fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg. Dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp and add to mixture. Sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt, then add to the mixture. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, then drop by spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Creative Commons License photo credit: pixel_d0ts