Thursday, June 28, 2007

From the Garden Gate Wednesday, June 27

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A meal fit for a queen

My first One Local Summer Meal for OLS 2007

This is the second year that Liz at Pocket Farm has issued a challenge to eat One Local Meal each week for 10 weeks in the summer. Last summer I was traveling too much to participate, but this year I am committed.

So last night was our first One Local Summer (OLS) meal. I’ll begin at the center of the plate. My protein was a sirloin steak from Clarissa Allen’s farm. I had bought lamb from her before, but never knew she sold beef until this spring when I saw a Grass Fed Beef sign on her lawn. She has a small herd of about 10 now. The potatoes were from Glenn and Linda Hearn’s Tiasquam Brook Farm and the strawberries from Andrew Woodruff’s operation out at the old Thimble Farm. The lettuce was from Ethel and Ralph Sherman’s patch in Chilmark. For about two weeks every summer Ralph has the most extraordinary local iceberg lettuce. One outer leaf can cover sandwiches for four. I mixed that with salad greens from Blackwater Farm to give the salad a spicy bite.

From my own garden I managed to garner 4 small zucchini, a few garlic scapes and some VERY early garlic. I sautéed the garlic, added the zucchini and scapes flipped the pan a couple of times and then put ground salt and pepper and slivered mint leaves. Then I covered it and turned off the heat. The potatoes were seasoned from thyme, parsley, rosemary and garlic from my garden, and the salad with nasturtium blossoms.

That first bite of steak was sublime. Over the years Clarissa and her husband have planted over 27 varieties of organic grasses in their pastures and they tend to finish the herd on the south side of the property overlooking the ocean. The proof is in the taste.

So I would say I dined like a queen last night. Can’t wait until next week!


iceberg lettuce - Sherman Farm (2 miles)
Salad greens - Blackwater Farm (3 miles)
nasturtiums - garden (0 miles)
dressing Annie's Naturals Balsamic - (not local)


red potatoes - Tiasaquam Brook Farm (1.5 miles)
herbs and garlic - garden (0 miles)
olive oil salt and pepper (not local)


Zucchini, mint and garlic - garden (0 miles)
Olive oil, salt and pepper - not local


Strawberries - Whipporwil Farm
Mint - garden (0 miles)


one sirloin steak - Allen Farm (5 miles)
salt and pepper - not local

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer signs

morning greeter

a rocambole garlic in full swirl

garlic scape harvest

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Solstice

The solstice came and went yesterday. We are now officially in summer. For me the solstice is always a bittersweet yin and yang moment. We wait and wait for summer to come, only to realize that now we are moving back toward winter. Perhaps the real message should be to savor every moment in the garden ... even the days when you are planting potatoes on a cold day in March ... even the sweltering humid days of weeding ... all of these are part of living in the present moment. This is a good reminder for me ... I tend to be waiting for the first squash, the first pea, and of course the first TOMATO ... and I need to remember that what it is really about is the process not the product ... or at least about the balance of product and process.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Intended and UNintended Consequences

So this year I decided NOT to plant potatoes ... and what happened? I got potatoes anyway. It sure LOOKS like I planted them doesn't it. I'm naming this bed after the Tennessee Vols.

I notice that Liz at Pocket Farm has posted her invitation for this year's One Local Summer Challenge. I wrote and told her I am in for this summer. I invite you to visit and browse and look at last year's entries and recipes and see if you wouldn't like to sign up too.

I held off buying Barbara Kingsolver's new book Animal ,Vegetable, Miracle in the hopes I would get it as a brithday present and I DID! What a great read.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

From the Garden Gate Wednesday, June 12

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This is a Hold Up!

So I have been trying to arrange support for my 36 tomato plants. I am working with four different types of supports. A single bamboo pole. String supports from a bamboo cross piece. A single bamboo pole with what is called the Veggie Cage. And finally the Gardener’s Supply Tomato Ladders.

A single bamboo pole with what is called the Veggie Cage.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

From the Garden Gate Wednesday, June 6

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Random Garden News

We are in the middle of the annual winter moth caterpiller infestation. This year we decided to hire a company to spray the perimeter trees with a product called Conserve. It has made a big difference for what we see out the window. They sprayed twice at 3 week intervals and yesterday was the second spraying. If you compare last week's garden gate picture with this week's you can see that trees are actually losing leaves as time passes.And now for a big announcement .... drum roll please ... I spied my first fruit on one of my apple trees this weekend! Ta dah da dut da dah!
The rhododendron is flowering beautifully and is home to every bumblebee in the neighborhood. I love watching them at work. And on Saturday I even saw a sphinx moth in among them. I felt so smart building my table bouquet from the side of the rhodie that need pruning. In addition, the clematis is blooming as are the lamb's ear and blue iris.

The new herb beds are built and we have been moving compost and soil into them. They should be planted this week. The sweet potato slips arrived, the winter squash have been repotted, the cucumbers are in and awaiting their lattice trellis. Early June is a GREAT time to be in the garden.herb beds

Friday, June 01, 2007

The garden takes shape

I have 35 tomato plants in the ground. Yikes! And there are a few still in the wings. The current count is:

Principe Borghese – 1 Boxcar Willie -7 Viva Italia – 2

Little Moma – 1 Radiator Charlie -1 Supersteak -3

Steak Sandwich – 1 Early Girl – 4 Better Boy – 7

Italian Sweet – 3 Sweet 100’s – 4 Costoluto Genovese – 1

As I spouted my litany to my gardener friend, Annie, I could see her brow get more and more furrowed. It wasn’t until I got to Early Girl and Better Boy that she relaxed and said, “So you’ll actually have some to eat this year.”

When I “went wild” and bought TEN of those Gardener’s Supply tomato ladders, I felt so extravagant. Now with 35 in the ground I’m wondering how to best support the rest. You can bet it will have SOMETHING to do with bamboo since I have an unlimited supply in a neighbor’s yard.

Meanwhile, I have had my first garlic scape sighting. As happened last year they are showing up on the Pskem. Pskem is a marbled Purple Stripe from Uzbekistan. I have figured out why it is so early. Most garlics have 10 outer leaves before the scape shows up. Pskem only has 9 leaves. Mystery solved. If I had to take a guess as to which variety I might enter in the Fair, I would have to go with the Montana Giant. It’s strong and healthy with a lot of girth. Have you noticed I look at garlic the way most people look at cattle?

The peas have found the trellises, I’m pleased to say. And the inula royleana may just give me a bloom this year. If anyone out there has ever grown this successfully, I’d love to hear from you. As you know, I am NOT a flower gardener … not a successful flower gardener. And this pesky little specimen has only further contributed to that reputation.

the peas have found the trellis

inula royaleana