I love nesting

The weekend is almost over.  Sad.  I’ve really enjoyed the day, we’ve spent most of it cleaning, doing laundry, doing stuff around the house.  This stuff makes me happy, I’m a little strange. It’s also long overdue, because we’ve both been so busy.  K spent this afternoon painting the ceiling and trim of the den – that room we started painting way back in February.  Maybe one day it’ll be finished and we can move everything back in.  Have I told you that the bannisters from our painting we did in the hallway LAST Memorial Day (2008!) are still not back up?  Yea…we have issues with painting, me thinks.

Yesterday, we headed to the Co-op as part of our weekly food shopping, and we found this!

Bufala di Vermont maple yogurt

Bufala di Vermont maple yogurt

We were excited to see that the yogurt made at the water buffalo farm we visited last week in Woodstock is sold at Honest Weight Co-op. Unfortunately, they don’t carry the Espresso yogurt that K was hoping to find.  But it was great to have a discussion with one of the store workers all about the farm.  He knew all about the farm’s history which we had learned last week.  Hopefully one day they will start carrying the Espresso flavor again, because we’re not quite sure how the maple will be.

Anyway, today we started the day off with the Farmers Market, since we haven’t been in a couple of weeks as we were in Vermont last weekend.

Market booty

Market booty

Bought today:

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider from Migliorelli Farm
  • 1 quart 2% milk from Battenkill Creamery
  • 1 loaf honey whole wheat bread from Our Daily Bread
  • 1 stick of rhubarb (I just wanna try it!) from Migliorelli Farm
  • 1lb ground beef from Mariaville Angus Farm
  • 1 quart spring broccoli from Barber Farm
  • 1 apple from Migliorelli Farm
  • .20lb Caerphilly cheese from Argyle Cheese Farmer

We had to hit the market quickly because we needed to get over to Schoharie to meet with the leaders of the Schoharie Co-op Cannery.  After getting slightly lost, we finally made it, but unfortunately there was a low turnout for today’s meeting and only the founder, Peter, was there.  However, we sat and talked about the cannery and what I might be help out with.  Should be interesting, I have a bit of homework to do.  I honestly never thought I would need to know about Agricultural Cooperative laws!

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Back at home, I’ve spent the day doing tons of laundry, cleaning out the refrigerator, and cleaning around the house.  Fun stuff.  But it’s kind of comforting in a way. I guess that’s why they call it nesting, right?

And the planting is done

I’m totally exhausted.  I feel sunburned, drained, in need of more water, you name it.  The hubby and I had a pretty full day of running errands, and we decided to go before dinner to the garden.  We completely lost track of time and spent almost 4 HOURS there this evening. Now that the days are so long, we don’t even notice the darkening light.  We got in the car when we were done and saw that it was 8 pm! What?! Where did the time go?

We started off the gardening part of the day (other parts included going to the local bike store to buy a kickstand, helmet for K and a water bottle holder for my bike, going to the Co-op, and some other errands) by checking out the plants on our deck and getting them ready for transplanting to the garden.  Bailey decided to help us out by cramming himself (unsuccesfully, I might add 🙂 ) into one of the cardboard flats we used to bring home some plants from Pigliaventos in.

Bailey the Bo-bo in yet another box

Bailey the Bo-bo in yet another box

Our alpine strawberry plant is looking pretty good! Flowering already!

Alpine strawberry

Alpine strawberry

Hubby dug up the frying peppers and Moon and Stars melon that we started in planters on our deck earlier this Spring.  We brought them with us to the garden to transplant.

Moon and Stars melon in the planter

Moon and Stars melon in the planter

Moon and Stars melon transplanted to the garden

Moon and Stars melon transplanted to the garden

Frying pepper transplanted to the garden

Frying pepper transplanted to the garden

Then of course, I had to take the obligatory pictures of the “state of the garden.”  Today was the first time we’d been there since last Sunday.

Carrots

Carrots

The Danvers carrots look like they are doing well!  The carrot tops are about 1-2 inches high now, and I think in a few weeks we can start thinning them out and eating the leftover baby carrots.

Everbearing strawberries

Everbearing strawberries

We are in a perpetual state of “what to do” with our strawberries.  They say to pick off the flowers the first year and not let the plants bear fruit in order to get a stronger plant that bears more fruit the following year.  So in the beginning, we picked off the flowers.  But then we thought we might not be here next year, so we should enjoy whatever strawberries we do get, so we’re letting them flower now.

Golden chard

Golden chard

We’ll have to start thinning the chard out soon as well.  They are about 2-3 in. high right now and they can get to be quite large, so some babies will have to go.  (Woe!)

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

These are about 3 inches, maybe 4 right now.  Looking good!  As an aside, the hubby and I went with friends to a new German Biergarten on Thursday night, and one of said friends is vegetarian and ordered an awesome side of cooked brussel sprouts. It was so yummy and I can’t wait till we have our own!

Our three lettuce beds, getting huge!

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And the spinach and onions!

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Our snap peas keep growing, but haven’t yet decided to climb the bamboo poles we gave them. They are at least 6 inches high now.

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Besides transplanting the melon and pepper plants, the hubby and I planted our final two seeds…sweet corn and green beans.  He tells me the green beans grow fast, we should start seeing them sprout within a week.  No idea how the corn will do!

Then, before we came home, we decided to go “shopping” in our garden for the week!  We cut more lettuce for salads this week and much of the spinach!  No need to buy any this week at the farmers market!

K holding bags of lettuce and spinach from our garden

K holding bags of lettuce and spinach from our garden

Then for good measure, I cut some of the prolific curly parsley to use in the kitchen this week.  I think it’s going to start going to seed soon anyway.

Curly parsley

Curly parsley

Bringing it home with us

Bringing it home with us

And that is most of what we did today in the garden, besides mulching and weeding of course.  No wonder why we were there so long.  The more amazing thing is that it didn’t feel like 4 hours at all.

And…we are DONE with our planting! Every single seed we bought this year we have planted! I can’t believe we fit all of it in there. It required some creative layouts, but we did it!  We started with this:

In the beginning

In the beginning

Fully planted garden as of 5/30/09

Fully planted garden as of 5/30/09

All that green in the beds by the fences is all our lettuce and onions and spinach.  The beds in the middle are the strawberries, melon, brussels sprouts, snap peas, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, carrots, chard, corn and garlic.  Holy cow, I can’t believe we fit it all, just barely.  Soon that brown dirt will be overflowing with fruit and veggies galore, and the spinach and lettuce will be done and turning back into brown dirt. Perhaps we’ll plant another harvest of lettuce and spinach for the fall when it’s cooler and will grow well again.  If we actually get a little bit of everything we planted, this will have been the greatest experience.

It’s late now, and I need some sleep.  Tomorrow is the farmers market and after that we’re heading to Schoharie to meet with the Cannery Co-op to see if we will get involved.  Hopefully we’re a good fit for each other and I can volunteer my time and they can use my help.  Night!

Can It, Preserve It, Pickle It, Savor It

A couple of friends pointed out this article to me in yesterday’s New York Times.

Preserving Time in a Bottle (or Jar)

It’s about the not-new interest in food preserving.  Right up my alley and I was thrilled to have more than one person “think of me” when they read it 🙂

Being a new canner myself, I was interested in learning that there are “warring factions” in preserving (is there anything that doesn’t?) and that some people actually make pectin themselves from green apples and some people don’t use pectin at all!  I had no idea. I gladly use the powdered and liquid pectin they sell at the store. It honestly never occured to me that the pectin sold isn’t “natural.” I just figured it was.  Food for thought.

Nor did I realize there were once community canneries!  Imagine being able to do this with lots of people with lots of great canning equipment, instead of your plastic tongs and flimsy magnet stick over your little stove.  Of course, with community canneries, perhaps comes less control over how you can.

I was thrilled to read, in the article, about a group in Schoharie County that recently received a grant to start a new one.  It’s only about 20 min. away from me – it’s where my BFF lives!  I checked out their website at Schoharie Co-op Cannery and saw they are looking for legal counsel. I don’t have any experience starting a non-profit (or a for profit) myself but I have worked with non-profits before, so I’ve sent an email asking if they need any help.  I’m not sure what I would (or could do) but I would love to get involved.

ETA: I heard back from them quickly! They are having a meeting this weekend that I might be able to get to.  We’ll see where this goes!

They have even gotten a letter of interest from Honest Weight Co-op (the co-op I am always mentioning on this blog 🙂 ).  They are already interested in carrying the cannery’s products when it gets up and going.  I love how the community is already getting involved in this -it’s really one of my favorite things about the local foods movement.

Woodstock Part 2

I couldn’t finish writing about our day the other night because I was so exhausted! We had walked around a lot, and the good, lilac-filled air was in my lungs and causing me to conk out early.  But before I did, we ended up going out to dinner at Mangowood, the restaurant over at the Lincoln Inn just a little bit down the road from where we stayed.

Mangowood

Mangowood

I wasn’t really in the mood for Asian fusion food, but by the end of the night, I was inspired by the local foods the chef, Teresa Tan, had infused into the cuisine.  We started off with an appetizer of brulee made with local produce: Vermont-harvest ramps (harvested by the chef herself), chinese mushrooms, goat cheese and moscatel.  Next, the hubby had a delicious mild green curry coconut asparagus soup, and I had a salad of mesclun greens, goat cheese, and spiced nuts with maple balsamic vinaigrette.  At that point, we were entreated to a “Chef’s gift” – two truffle-sized objects that were green in the middle and covered with what looked like crushed nuts on the outside.  We were asked to guess what was in it.  It was delicious, but we were stumped – neither one of us should ever go on Hells Kitchen!  It turned out to be spinach and mushroom balls covered in panko breading and dipped in a chili-honey mustard sauce.

The hubster had lambchops for dinner and I had coconut risotto cakes, which I didn’t enjoy that much.  But my sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce was to die for! I’d never had it before, but I’m a fan.

We ended the night back at the B&B with a bottle of apple wine from Boyden Valley winery.

Apple wine

Apple wine

The next day we had a delicious breakfast cooked up by George and David and we talked with them about our love for local food.  David mentioned that there was a local water buffalo farm that started just last year that we might be interested in checking out.  It was just over one of the many covered footbridges in the area, and up a big hill.  Nice!  So after breakfast, we headed over to Bufala di Vermont.  We got out and I was assaulted by one of the worst stenches I’ve ever smelled.  Now seriously, I’ve been in MANY barns, and NEVER felt so nauseous from the smell emanating from this farm.

Woodstock Water Buffalo

Woodstock Water Buffalo

After awhile though, we got used to it, and some farm worker welcomed us (even though we were there randomly, and on a Sunday) and showed us around the farm.  We saw the buffalo waiting in the barn stalls to be milked and others wandering around the open fields.

Waiting around to be milked

Waiting around to be milked

Outside

Outside

They looked pretty happy, but honestly, I don’t know how comfortable I felt with the farm.  There were 350 “cattle” on that farm, and almost everything is mechanized – the milking, etc.  But maybe I just don’t know much about non-agribusiness farms…to me it seems like way too many animals to be non-factory farm-ish, but they had plenty of room and spent a lot of time outside…so I don’t know.

We bought a pound of fresh mozzarella from the farm and ate it later.  OMG – the best mozzarella I have EVER tasted.

After the farm visit,we headed to Simon Pearce glassblowing workshop to check out their wares.

Simon Pearce

Simon Pearce

Store

Store

We didn’t find anything we wanted to buy, but we enjoyed watching the glassblowers work.

Glassblowers

Glassblowers

After Simon Pearce, we headed straight to the Farmers Diner in Quechee for lunch. I basically planned this trip around this diner – ever since I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I’ve been dying to go to this place.

Farmers Diner

Farmers Diner

I love the mission of the Farmers Diner:

The Farmers Diner in Quechee, Vermont demonstrates that buying local and regional foods and making them available to the entire community is possible and profitable. We strive to spend over 65 cents of every food dollar with farmers and small-scale food producers who live and work within 70 miles of the diner. From the success of this diner, The Farmers Diner will build more diners, first in Vermont and then regionally, to continue the good work of reviving strong rural communities.

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I ordered a Sticky Hen- local chicken with maple syrup sweet and spicy BBQ sauce wrapped up in a fresh tortilla.  The hubby had a bacon cheese burger that was TOTALLY local -yee ha!  For dessert we both had milkshakes made with milk/cream from local cows!  I had chocolate (of course) and K had a maple milkshake.  Never heard of that before, but it was delish!  The maple was subtle enough.

Chocolate and maple milkshakes

Chocolate and maple milkshakes

Of course, after lunch, we had to work off all those calories we’d eaten.  So we took a hike down into the Quechee gorge.

Quechee gorge

Quechee gorge

At the bottom, K and I dipped our feet into the water.

K!

K!

I promise, if I ever find a picture of myself I like, I will post it.  I just hate every single one, I’m so unphotogenic.

After hiking, we stopped by here, just to look:

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And we found these.  Are these not the most beautiful, intricate cookies you’ve ever seen?

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Of course, at $5/cookie, we didn’t get to see if they were as tasty as they were pretty.

We headed back to the B&B to relax before dinner. I was looking forward to reading outside on one of the Adirondack chairs but we ran into George and David having a drink on the back porch and joined them.  After a little while, two other guests, Matt and Gretchen also joined us, and we passed around our fresh mozzarella to share with everyone.  Honestly, the world was a little bit perfect at that point 🙂

That night we went to dinner at the Red Rooster over at the Woodstock Inn and I found out that a maple margarita exists in this world.  It may or may not be better than my elderberry liquor drink I had 🙂

It kinda sucked to come home on Memorial Day, but this was a very worthwhile trip!

Great Flats Pic of the Week 5/26

May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009

To see all of my Great Flats pics of the week, see my Great Flats page.

We’re Famous!

Ok, that’s a little, no, a lot much 🙂  But the article I was interviewed for last week came out on Sunday while we were away.  It basically discusses the increasing popularity of community gardens due to a variety of factors, the economy, the local food movement, etc.

Take a gander!

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2009/may/24/0524_veggies/

Back to the garden

After we got home from Vermont, we went over to the garden to give it some water and pick more weeds.  We were SHOCKED by the growth in 4 days!

Black-seeded Simpson lettuce

Black-seeded Simpson lettuce

Spinach

Spinach

If we didn’t have so much spinach still left over from the Farmers Market last weekend we would have picked it tonight.  Instead, we cut some of our lettuce for salad!

Cutting lettuce

Cutting lettuce

We took it home and used it on our burgers and for salad tonight.  It felt SO good.

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That’s probably going to be the only thing to come out of our garden for a few months until everything else starts growing.  We have a lot of lettuce 🙂

The only other thing we did was stake the snap peas and the tomatoes.

Staked 'maters and peas

Staked 'maters and peas

Now we just need them to grow!