The Kale Kid

Zane
Working hard at the Youth Farm.

We’ve talked a lot about how to cook the food you get from one of our gardens or farms. I wanted to talk a little about a few of the people who grow the food, starting with Cori Ash.

In the first year of the Youth Farm, farm director Cori Ash was sitting at her Mobile Market stand. Most of our Mobile Markets take food from the farm to senior housing. But this market was set up at an affordable housing complex for families.

A 10 year old boy came biking up to Cori, asking for kale. He had his allowance with him, and wanted to spend it on the kale. She was impressed, and sold him two bunches. He teetered off on his bike, a bunch under each arm.

The next week he was back, and he brought a friend. They each bought kale again, and again went away.

Mobile Market
Mobile Market in full swing.

The third week, he came alone. He suggested that maybe he could trade his labor for kale. He’d help her at the market, and take home kale in return. She was thrilled. It was often just her at the stand because of school scheduling with the teens that worked at the Youth Farm, so she really did need help unloading the boxes, making change, and talking to customers.

We stopped serving that apartment complex the next year, and lost touch with the boy.

A word about the Youth Farm. Most all of the workers save Cori, the farm assistant, Mark, and farm apprentice, Kaya, are teens living in a group home. There are anywhere from 3 to 10 youth that work 20 – 40 hours a week at the farm, plus many of the other teens at Youth Homes come by to volunteer at the farm once a week.

When one of the Youth Homes volunteer groups came, there was a familiar face in the crowd. It was this boy. Cori couldn’t place him at first, and neither could the boy. So they both took shy glances at each other until they figured it out. “You’re Captain Kale!,” Cori said.

She offered the boy a job by mid-season. He said yes.  Zayne has proven to be a hard worker — one of the teens she depends on to get things done on the farm. Because they raise food for a CSA and market stand, there are high standards and strict deadlines. These teens have to get things done efficiently and beautifully.

Zayne is still working at the farm today, as the days get cooler and the weather wetter. And he still loves kale. He makes sure the harvest doesn’t go to waste at in his group home’s kitchen.

Zayne and Kaya will be writing about their favorite times and recipes in the next few weeks. The kale only gets sweeter as the weather cools, so it is a great time to cook it up.

Youth Farm Barn
The red barn at the Youth Farm.

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Savory Bread Pudding for Dinner

Savory bread pudding is a special occasion dish I use for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The prep is time-consuming and the cooking time a tad long, 90 minutes, but the results are worth the effort. This is a dish my children ask for again and again. It’s also a great centerpiece to a brunch buffet for friends and family.

I typically use fresh garden vegetables, but, in the winter, frozen vegetables work fine too. Be sure to thaw and drain frozen veggies before using. Be creative and combine meats and vegetables you like. The recipe is forgiving as long as you don’t add too much liquid to the ingredients.

Savory Bread Pudding

Ingredients and instructions:

1 loaf crusty French bread (baguette), cubed

12 eggs

2 cups milk (Skim, 2%, Whole, or even Soy Milk will work)

Beat the eggs and milk together. Set aside.

The three ingredients above are essential. The list below can vary and I’ve offered suggestions.

1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled into small bits (or ham, chopped small or other sausage)

1 medium onion, chopped and cooked (cook with the meat)

4 cloves garlic, chopped fine and cooked with the meat and onion

1 bunch of Swiss Chard (or kale, or collard greens, or 3-4 cups of spinach) roughly chopped. If using kale or collard greens, remove the stems. With the Swiss chard, you can include the stems. Thinly slice the Swiss chard stem that extends below the leaf.

1 bunch asparagus, chopped (or 2 cups chopped fresh green beans)

1 zucchini (small to medium, the size usually in stores) seeded and chopped

Optional:  1-2 cups sliced Japanese eggplants, salted, rinsed, and drained

2 cups grated cheese (Swiss, cheddar, parmesan, or whatever you have on-hand)

Place Swiss chard, asparagus, and zucchini (and eggplant if using) in a large bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften but are not cooked all the way through.chard

1 cup fresh mixed herbs: sage, basil, dill, marjoram, oregano (or whatever you can find). Mince herbs together. Dill and sage will be strong flavors so only use a little of each. If you can’t find fresh herbs, just add 1 tablespoon of Italian herb mix or even a tablespoon of Mrs. Dash no-salt spice mix.ingredients

Add the minced herbs and 1 cup of the grated cheese to the microwaved vegetables and stir.ingredients-2

Mix vegetables, cheese and herbs with the meat and onions and the cubed bread and put in a large, buttered, baking dish (a lasagna pan is perfect). Pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread mixture. The ingredients should be just covered by the eggs and milk. You may need to add more or even not use all the eggs and milk you mixed up.

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and thirty minutes. Set your timer for 60 minutes. When the timer goes off, add the remaining 1 cup of cheese to the top of the pudding. Cook for another thirty minutes. The pudding is done when a knife stuck in the center comes out “clean” (meaning no wet egg/milk on the knife when you remove it). Depending on the size of your pan, the pudding may take longer to cook. If you don’t have a lasagna or a 9×12 cake pan, you can split the pudding into several smaller pans. If you bake in smaller pans or ramekins, your cooking time will decrease. The cooked pudding freezes and reheats well.finished-dishThis is a bountiful recipe that easily feeds 6 to 8 people.plated

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Garden Realities

This week The Real Dirt is featuring a guest blog from Patrick, Community Gardens Operations Coordinator. Patrick grew up in Wisconsin, and from day one wanted to be outside whenever possible. While earning his degree from the University of Montana, Patrick enrolled in the PEAS Farm class, and couldn’t give it up – staying for two semesters and a summer session. Through the PEAS Farm and his Environmental Studies Program classes, he’s decided he wants to keep working on local food efforts now that he has earned his degree. When he’s not digging in the dirt, he is hiking, biking or fishing with his dog, Lola.


 

For many of us, gardening can offer a deeper and more tangible relationship with our surroundings.  Weather it is mingling with fellow gardeners, spending some time outside, or appreciating your hard work and dedication after taking a bite into a delicious garden meal; gardening can offer a much needed dose of connection with our place.

5340212542_470cff8820_oBut with this delve into our very real and unpredictable surroundings, comes certain realities that we must accept.  These may come in the form of an early fall frost, as many of us saw this week, or countless other instances that we may or may not expect.  We may get a strangely warm April and be coaxed into giving our peppers and tomatoes an early start, just to have an unexpected late frost take them out.  Our spring greens may go to seed seemingly immediately due to an abnormally hot stint. We may lose track of time and put off watering just a bit too long, returning to a sad, dry patch wilting on a hot, dry day.  Or it could be a band of hail that obliterates every leaf in your garden, just when it was really starting to take off.  All of these happenings, though extremely disheartening and frustrating, can also be a powerful reminder that many things are simply out of our hands.

7342926264_b2eb56fd29_oSome things are just plain unfortunate, such as a sudden hail storm.  Not much we can do against that. Yet, other battles we can learn from.  We may reconsider putting our warm weather crops out for an early start after losing a crop a few years back.  Covering susceptible plants as the weather cools in the fall may come more natural next year.  We may construct some form of shade to help our spring greens though a hot streak, or grow them in the shade of a tall or climbing crop in an attempt to help them survive in the summer’s heat.

5502993383_0668ed1127_oThese days, we are lucky to have things like floating row cover, shade cloth, and weather forecast that help us prepare and get through some of the uncertainties.  Yet, despite our best efforts, one of the greatest aspects of gardening is the reminder of uncertainty, that while participating in the natural world, somethings are just what they are. All we can do is try our best from year to year, and learn from our experiances.

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Warding off Vampires & Boosting Fertility – Harvesting Garlic Part II

Picking up on where we left off oh so many weeks ago, a la Harvesting Garlic – Part I, it’s now well time to harvest your garlic. Before we walk through the simple process, here’s a few facts to wet your palate, ward off vampires, treat your wounds, prepare for battle, and boost your fertility.

According to the researchers at American Folklore, “Garlic: Superstitions, Folklore and Fact” …

  • Garlic (Allium sativum) has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Sanskrit records show its medicinal use about 5,000 years ago, and it has been used for at least 3,000 years in Chinese medicine. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans used garlic for healing purposes.
  • Hippocrates (300BC) recommended garlic for infections, wounds, cancer, leprosy, and digestive disorders. Dioscorides praised it for its use in treating heart problems, and Pliny listed the plant in 61 remedies for a wide variety of ailments ranging from the common cold to leprosy, epilepsy and tapeworm.

  • During World War I, the Russian army used garlic to treat wounds incurred by soldiers on the Front Line. Although Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928 largely replaced garlic at home, the war effort overwhelmed the capacity of most antibiotics, and garlic was again the antibiotic of choice. The Red Army physicians relied so heavily on garlic that it became known as the “Russian Penicillin”.
  • Dramatic results in treating animals infested with ticks showed that garlic was able to effectively kill the ticks within 30 minutes, while garlic proved to be a repellent toward new infestations. Garlic was also successful in treating cattle with hoof and mouth disease.

  • In a study conducted in Russia in 1955, garlic extract used therapeutically was found to bind with heavy metals in the body, aiding their elimination. Workers suffering from chronic lead poisoning while working in industrial plants were given daily doses of garlic extract and saw a decrease in their symptoms. Other experiments that took place in Japan using mercury and cadmium also found that garlic bound with the heavy metals.
  • Egyptian slaves were given a daily ration of garlic, as it was believed to ward off illness and to increase strength and endurance. As indicated in ancient Egyptian records, the pyramid builders were given beer, flatbread, raw garlic and onions as their meager food ration. Upon threatening to abandon the pyramids leaving them unfinished, they were given more garlic. It cost the Pharaoh today’s equivalent of 2 million dollars to keep the Cheops pyramid builders supplied with garlic.

  • During the reign of King Tut, fifteen pounds of garlic would buy a healthy male slave. Indeed, when King Tut’s tomb was excavated, there were bulbs of garlic found scattered throughout the rooms.
  • It became custom for Greek midwives to hang garlic cloves in birthing rooms to keep the evil spirits away. As the centuries passed, this ancient custom became commonplace in most European homes.

  • Roman soldiers ate garlic to inspire them and give them courage. Because the Roman generals believed that garlic gave their armies courage, they planted fields of garlic in the countries they conquered, believing that courage was transferred to the battlefield.
  • Dreaming that there is “garlic in the house” is supposedly lucky; to dream about eating garlic means you will discover hidden secrets.

  • European folklore gives garlic the ability to ward off the “evil eye.” Central European folk beliefs considered garlic a powerful ward against devils, werewolves, and vampires. To ward off vampires, garlic could be worn on one’s person, hung in windows, or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes.
  • This old Welsh saying may indeed have merit as a health remedy: “Eat leeks in March and garlic in May, Then the rest of the year, your doctor can play.”

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Untie your bundles of garlic from their drying place.

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Clip off the top stalk of the garlic and brush off remaining dirt around the cloves so it looks like this:

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Be sure to save some cloves from larger bulbs, break them apart, and plant them for next season’s crop.

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And shazaam! Garlic for the year!


Facts from “Garlic: Superstitions, Folklore and Fact.” American Folklore. Last modified December 13, 2014. Accessed  September 6, 2016. http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/10/garlic_superstitions_folklore.html.

3 Freezer Meals for the Cold Dark Nights Ahead

The nights are cooling off. The days are getting shorter. My little is back in school. It’s labor day weekend, again. As I put away my white pants and shoes (haha), I brush off my Carrot Cardamom Soup recipe from Michelle Tam and shine up my soup pot to make some of my favorite freezer meals for those times when we need a quick meal that reminds us summer is waiting for us in a few months. While this weekend I am heading to the Helmville Rodeo (a Montana institution), I will be making or have made many of these meals in the next few weeks.

1. The Soup: Carrot Cardamom Soup, by Michelle Tam

Austen eats carrot soup
There she is, loving on the carrots and cardamom!

I love this soup. What’s even better: my four year old Austen loves it too. It is a bowl full of carrots and apples and homemade bone broth. Nutrients abound. She has no idea. Moo ha ha ha.

When we’re talking soups and freezing them, however, what I often do while I have fresh carrots, celery, and onions, is make a mirepoix — a french term for the flavor base to many dishes — from a pan of beans to a meat skillet to a pot of soup. Because it is the base to so many dishes I make, having some frozen and on hand in the winter months saves time. So, if you don’t want to make the whole cha bang, just saute two parts onion, to one part carrots, and one part celery in a pan with your favorite cooking oil (butter is GREAT, bacon or duck fat work as do olive or coconut oil).

If I am feeling ambitious, I will cook the base, leaving out the apples and cardamom in case I get tired of this soup (it happens occasionally, but not often) and feel more like Curried Carrot Soup.

Or I’ll just go for it and make the recipe, cool it, and most importantly, put it a bag or mason jar that is the appropriate size for what my family would want in one sitting.

I once put all my carrot soup in gallon sized bags in the freezer. Two things happened: one, I put them on the door, and the bags leaned into the bar on the freezer door and froze, forever molded into place. One pinning the other in place as well. I think I had to break the bar to the the damn things out. It’s best to lay them out flat, let them freeze, and then stack them either like library books or in a big stack. Two, I had to thaw the whole bag to get about 1/3 of it for all of us to eat. Then I had to eat carrot soup for a week because I couldn’t bare to re-freeze it. Then, I didn’t want to see carrot soup for the rest of the winter. I use quart sized bags now.

2. The Main Event: Shepherd’s Pie by Elana’s Pantry

This is technically a cottage pie, because it is made with beef rather than lamb. However, it

Shepherds pie
That’s the shepherds pie I made — complete with creamy mashed cauliflower topping.

sneaks extra veggies (this one has a mirepoix base, too!) in the topping: it is made of cauliflower. You can use your lovely potatoes from this week too, if you’d prefer.

The last time I served this, we were hosting my 16 year old niece. She is a pretty typical teenager, sweet enough to eat anything I put in front of her, but only enthusiastic about a few things. This she loved. She was seen later in the evening spooning up the faux mashed potatoes and eating them all by themselves.

This makes a lot, so you could serve half and then freeze the other half. Make it soon! Cauliflower is on its way out.

3. Breakfast: Breakfast Cookies!

Seriously! Adapted by the Kitchn from 101 Cookbooks (two of my favorites)

Photo by the Kitchn
Photo by the Kitchn

These are filled with carrots and lots of other yummy dried fruits. The only sweetener is maple syrup. And they freeze beautifully. They are there for you when you are short on time and need breakfast. You can also freeze and put a cookie or two in a kid’s lunch when you are trying to stretch to the next grocery trip.

 

 

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Strawberry Fields Forever

This week we’re featuring a guest blog by Seth Swanson, who has a background in horticulture and agronomy and is the Horticulture Extension Agent with Missoula County Extension. Seth works with producers, nurseries, landowners, and community members to strengthen and improve local agriculture and plant production.  This is achieved through technical assistance and educational opportunities for commercial producers and hobbyists, as well as a variety of on-farm research. MSU Extension improves the lives of Montana citizens by providing unbiased research-based education and information that integrates learning, discovery and engagement to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals, families, and communities. The Extension Service provides coordination, educational outreach and training using current research-based information and resources to address the needs of the public in the areas of weed & pest management, horticulture/agriculture, youth development, family and consumer sciences, and nutrition.  The Extension’s Horticulture and Plant Clinic programs are great resources and offer help with plant care and pest management issues. Bring in samples of bugs, plants, disease problems and they will identify and give information on how to control them. They also answer questions on landscaping, gardening, soils, and related areas.


Winter is approaching Western Montana, and though the intensity may be relatively mild (for Montana), the duration can make for a challenging environment.  Yes, many of us live in this region so that we can take advantage of the seasonal outdoor opportunities, but as March comes around winter’s grasp often takes its toll.  One factor in particular that makes the winter season seem so long is not the ubiquitous gray sky, the shortened day lengths, or the perpetual ice on the trails; it is the lack of fresh local produce.  How we long for the first bits of green or small flowers that emerge from our gardens, or for the seemingly exponential weekly growth and additions of fresh goods at the farmers markets’ and grocery stores.  Once June comes, we are treated with the jewels of the summer; the strawberry.

Strawberries are indeed a symbol of summer, and are embedded in the memories of nearly everyone taking them back to u-pick farms, fresh pickings from the garden, and the cherished preserves that help ward off summer withdrawals through the long winter.  When we actually take the time to think about where our strawberries come from, it may be difficult to nail down a source.  You may have a small collection of plants in the backyard garden, or you may be lucky enough to live in a town that has a u-pick strawberry farm.  Generally speaking, Montana does not have much for strawberry production, just 13 acres for the entire state in 2012 according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.  It is not because our state is too cold to grow strawberries; Minnesota in comparison, has nearly 600 acres of strawberries in production (USDA NASS, 2012 Census of Agriculture).

Anybody who has grown strawberries in their backyard knows that despite their dainty white flowers and ruby gems, these plants can be a mess to deal with. Weeding is a bare, pest and diseases management can be a never-ending battle, and spring and fall maintenance is a hassle.  Think of the labor required to expand your ten foot garden bed of strawberries to an entire acre or ten acres!  What makes strawberries more of a challenging crop is that contrary to the efforts required for maintaining the crop, there is a small window of consolidated harvest for June-bearing plants, and smaller yields over a longer season for ever-bearing varieties.  Yet, there is a huge market opportunity for Montana producers to integrate strawberries into their existing production systems.

In 2015, with the support of funds from the Montana Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Missoula County Extension began working with producers in Western Montana, including the PEAS farm, to initiate a three-year study to investigate alternative strawberry production strategies.  In particular, we are evaluating the efficacy of annual strawberry production in high tunnels.  High tunnels are the unheated hoophouses that are employed by many small producers in our region to stretch the short growing season out on both ends.  Strawberries are perennials that are typically productive up to three to five years, but if we treat them as an annual crop we can eliminate much of the maintenance required.  Treating this crop as an annual will also allow the producer to grow the plants entirely during the productive state, and open up planting space for alternative crops once the strawberries have been removed.

Planting at the PEAS Farm.
Planting at the PEAS Farm.

So here is how it works…  Typically June-bearing strawberries are grown as a matted row system where a single row of plants is lined out in the middle of a two foot (or wider bed).  The plants are planted in the spring, and the entire first year is dedicated to establishing the beds through the stolons (runners) and no fruit is harvested.  This requires a significant amount of maintenance with no return until the second season when the plants bear fruit for a small window in early summer.  Contrary to the conventional matted-row system, the plants in the annual system will be planted in the late summer/early fall at a much higher density.  The plants will then produce fruit the following spring and the plants will be immediately removed.  Once the plants are removed, the production bed can be used for an alternative crop, thus maximizing the return on the available planting space.  Additionally, the integration of hoophouses for the annual system will likely result in an earlier harvest. Preliminary results indicate that annual high tunnel production of strawberries begins five to six weeks prior to the perennial matted row system outdoors.  That means fresh strawberries by the first week of May.

Fall high tunnel planting at the PEAS Farm.
Fall high tunnel planting at the PEAS Farm.
Early Berries3
Early berries!

This production strategy could allow for producers in our region with existing infrastructure, to add a high value crop to their production system without sacrificing the production of other crops, and to make use of the shoulder season maximizing the productivity of their high tunnels.  And more importantly (perhaps selfishly), more strawberries produced locally means more tasty gems at the grocery store for us all to consume.


 

We’ve Got the Beet (Recipe)

Dave enjoying a burger at the Farm PartyWe’ve gotten a lot of requests around here for the Farm Party recipes. And what I think that really means is GIVE US THE BEET RECIPE! It is clear from this photo that a Farm Party dinner makes a guy happy. I posted the Kamut® recipe a few weeks ago, another favorite at the party. Now, let me give you the beet.

I will also tell you the story of how our beet salad came to be.

First we got a group of about six or seven EVST Grad and undergrad students and two Youth Harvest teens who have spent their summer up at the PEAS Farm. These folks have seeded, planted, harvested and weeded and weeded (and did I mention weeding?) to bring food to the Missoula Food Bank, their faithful CSA members, and all of our Mobile Market patrons at (mostly) senior affordable housing around town. Farm Party is a way for these students to team up and show the community what they’ve been up to. It’s a proud moment.

Tuesday before the party, the interns and Youth Harvesters harvested the beets and onions (and many other ingredients). Wednesday, the Farm to School staffers whisked the beets and onions to the Missoula County Public School’s Central Kitchen, where they have fancy machines like the robot coupe that chop and slice the veggies REALLY FAST.

Then, to the UM Catering kitchen, where they are roasted in the oven to perfection.

Then, to the First Presbyterian Church commercial kitchen where they are cooled overnight (because you don’t want to melt the cheese) lovingly combined by the PEAS Farm students and Youth Harvest teens the morning of the Farm Party with a simple dressing and delicious Lifeline Farms Feta-U-Beta.

FarmParty_2014_Will Klaczynski (14)
The beet salad in action at the Farm Party!

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Farm Party Beet Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized beets (should be around 1.5 lbs or 4 cups cubed beets)
  • 1/2 a medium Walla Walla onion
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil (or any oil you enjoy, at home I would use olive, but Safflower is definitely more local, if more refined)
  • 4 oz feta (we used Feta-U-Beta from Lifeline Farms to keep it local and organic — whoop whoop!)
  • Salt to taste

How to

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash the beets and remove tops if still attached (and feel free to use for another dish!). Peel and chop beets into bite sized pieces. Chop coarsely, about the same size as the beets.

Place beets and onions on a large cooking sheet (or two, best not to crowd the veggies). Cook until fork tender, approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

Let the beets and onions cool enough so that they won’t melt the cheese when you toss it all together.

While the beets are cooling, combine the crumbled cheese, safflower oil, and salt.

Once cooled, combine all ingredients together and serve!

 

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Going Green Pasta

As summer winds down, my vegetable garden is in full swing. Every plant is producing and I find it a challenge to eat what’s ready to be picked on any given day. The recipe below is a great way to take advantage of the fresh produce now available.

Fava bean dinner
Fava bean dinner with green pasta.

Creamy Green Pasta

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 small zucchini or 1 medium zucchini, seeded and chopped

2 cups green beans

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 cups spinach (or Swiss chard, stems removed)

1 cup basil leaves

¾ cup evaporated milk

¼ cup walnuts

¼ cup almonds

1 pound of pasta

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

ingredients

Heat 1/8 cup of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and sauté for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and reserve.

Steam (or boil in a little water) the green beans until tender, 5-8 minutes. Set aside.

Place 1/8 cup olive oil, garlic, spinach, basil, evaporated milk, walnuts, and almonds in a food processor and process until smooth. You may have to add the spinach in small batches, processing it down a few times before all the spinach fits in the food processer.

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water per package instructions.

Drain the pasta and mix with the spinach-basil cream, sautéed vegetables, steamed green beans, and crumbled feta. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.

Note:  Vegan version – use soy or almond milk for the evaporated milk and substitute tofu for the feta cheese; omit the parmesan.

Midsummer Madness: a recipe roundup

KateCooper2009 (2)August. It’s August. And not just the beginning — it’s mid August. Bittersweet: I think that is the word for this month. The slow letting go of lots of sun, swimming holes, and unstructured days. Deep breath.

But we don’t have to say goodbye to vegetables too soon — we are just hitting the peak. From now until mid to late September our gardens and farms will be plumping up, ripening and sweetening our vegetables for your tables. This summer has been relatively cool, so tomatoes and eggplants and peppers may be slow, but the rest of the high summer veggies are coming on strong.

So pack it in while you can, friends.

Here are 9 recipes that make the most out of our last month of summer.

Summer Chicken Stew from BBC Good Food

This recipe has two steps. Really. It’s that easy. Great for a weeknight, has lots of seasonal veggies.

Vegetable Hakka Noodles (AKA Chow Mein) from Manjulas Kitchen

Simple sauce and noodle base that allows you to build whatever veggies you can in there. This recipe happens to include only veggies you’ll find in your CSA.

Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous with roasted chickpeas from Andrea Bemis of The Kitchn

(hint: the cauliflower is riced, so it takes the place of the couscous — sneaky!).

Cauliflower couscous by The Kitchn.
Cauliflower couscous by The Kitchn.
Cauliflower Steaks from The Kitchn

Apparently, this is a thing. Popping up on restaurant menus all over the place. I didn’t know. But it sounds easy and amazing, so put it on your menu this week! Great for vegetarians and those looking to give the cauliflower main stage.

Zucchini with Chorizo and Lime from The Kitchn

An easy one pot meal. There’s a lot of parsley in my CSA, so I’d sub that in for the cilantro in this recipe, and maybe add a little coriander (since that’s the seed of the cilantro plant).

Green Bean Potato and Corn Salad from Love and Lemons
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Love and Lemons’ green bean, potato & corn salad.

This could be a side, or add your favorite meat or seafood and make it dinner. It even has basil, which I have a lot of. Making this tonight!

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza from Love and Lemons

What a great way to use up veggies: grab a Le Petit crust, roll it out, and load on the veggies and herbs and a little tomato sauce or olive oil. Done and done. This one from Love and Lemons is a great mixture of seasonal veggies.

Darla’s Delicious Frittata from Epicurious

I’ve starting making a frittata over the weekend when I have a bit more time and serving it for breakfast (or dinner) throughout the week. I recently read a frittata recipe that, instead of listing what vegetables, just said “vegetables.” As in, as long as you have some veggies, cheese, and maybe a little cream or meat (totally optional, though I do argue bacon is always a good idea) along with eggs, you’ll be good to go.

Easiest Refrigerator Pickles from Smitten Kitchen
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Easy refrigerator pickles by Smitten Kitchen.

And a little nod to what’s coming down the pike: storing veggies. Pickling! Cucumbers, they are great for snacking, salading, and some great Greek food. But when in doubt, pickle them!

We’ll be taking a break next week. Because #peasfarmparty. Hope you all will join us for our 20th anniversary get down Thursday, August 18th.

I’ll be writing about going back to school (gasp!) next time around. Until then, eat well.

 

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What Do You, Beyoncé, and Weeding Have in Common? Y’all Slay.

Weeding. The never-ending task. As our gardens progress through the season, it’s easy to put off pulling those pesky intruders from our plots. If you’re like me, weeding was a romantic endeavor early in the season, a responsibility that has visual consequences and offers that instant gratification. You get in that zen-like zone, clearing the unwanted growth from your plot, nurturing, brushing your shoulders off after beautifying your space and helping your fruits and veggies thrive. Then time passes, you keep at it, it gets hot out, you go on vacation, you come back, and boom. All romance is lost and the task turns to work. Before you realize it your plot is a jungle of intrusion, of unwanted visitors overthrowing all your hard work. Those little monsters spreading their seed like it’s the garden plot apocalypse, battling your cherished plants for energy, water and space. Having grown up gardening in a Pacific temperate rainforest, I’m well acquainted with the rise in blood-pressure that can, and will, ensue.

It’s okay gardeners, we’re all in this together. Let’s put our heads down and win the battle, let’s not schlep, let’s slay.

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At least it’s not this bad…

The term weed refers to anything you don’t want in your garden, or simply, a plant out of place. In our neck of the woods this can include dill, sunflowers, horseradish, mint, and yarrow, among others. More typical weeds that plague us are purslane, quackgrass, lambsquarters, pigweed, dandelion, sow thistle, knapweed, and ugh, bindweed. Download this helpful resource for common garden weed identification and management practices to better equip you for battle.

One plus for weeding is that some varieties are edible and/or medicinal, and downright tasty such as lambsquarters, purslane, and dandelion. Read more about edible weeds and recipes in our previous post, “When Your Garden Gives You Weeds, Make Salad!

And remember, in the words of Beyoncé, when it comes to weeding, slay:

Sometimes I go off, I go hard 
Get what’s mine (take what’s mine), I’m a star
Cause I slay, I slay, I slay, I slay
All day, I slay, I slay, I slay
We gon’ slay, gon’ slay, we slay, I slay