Friday, April 30, 2010

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 13

some sort of greenhouse lettuce, mushrooms, baby red chard, baby spinach, eggs, bison patties, spring garlic.

This is our LAST WEEK of the winter buyers co-op!  A month and a half break until the CSA starts...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Garden Update - 4/23/10

radishes all in a row... peas starting to climb

carrots sprouting!

mountain spinach sprout!
spinach is sprouting!

the deck is still pretty bare...

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 12

This week: oranges, green beans, yogurt, mushrooms, smoked bacon.  I forgot to pick up greens, so I'll have to make up for that next week!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Garden Update

This is one of Dave's Okra buckets I forgot to photo last week.

This is the current set-up on our back deck.  From left to right: spinach, cilantro, ruby orach, mixed salad greens, ceramic pet frog, carrots, mint & lavendar that both survived the winter.

Here are the growing snap peas.  Also - I forgot to mention that last week (April 11) I planted Early Scarlet Globe Radishes and White Hailstone Radishes from Baker Creek.  Look - they are sprouting already (directly to the right and slightly above the middle pea plant)!!!

Look at these cute little sprouts - they are Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry plants!!!

Dave transfered some of the tomato plants into larger containers... I'm not sure they were quite ready, but we shall see!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 11

Boston lettuce, yogurts, ground beef, cremini mushrooms, fingerling potatoes (freebie since they're starting to shrivel), onions and green beans!

All arranged on one of our new plastic Adirondack chairs that Dave picked up on a whim at the hardware store. I like the style... but really can't wait til we own a home and can get real nice wood ones.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food & Faith Challenge: Creation

This week's topic is Creation.

•What are examples of sustainable agriculture you’ve encountered? Do you know farmers who are actively improving their farm’s soil, water quality, treatment of animals, biodiversity, or community involvement?
The CSA we buy into has a fantastic set-up on a large scale (one of the largest in the country) although small enough that they invite all the shareholders for a tour and a picnic dinner, and then a couple I am friends with back in Nebraska have been starting sustainable agriculture on a much smaller scale with their start-up farm and CSA.

•Walk slowly and mindfully through a piece of land that’s important to you.
I took a stroll through our very small city back yard (stroll might be exaggerating!) and tried to imagine what our small garden will look like when it is the middle of June or July and the plants are bursting with fruits.  The land is not even our own - but the fact that we have made a choice to amend and nurture the earth in hopes of providing ourselves with food (we are still young enough gardeners to get really excited about the fact that WE GREW THAT TOMATO!!!) increases the value of the land ten-fold!

Watch Food, Inc. and post a review on your blog or email me your thoughts.
I am bummed about the timing of this action item and urge everyone who hasn't already watched the film to watch Food, Inc. for its television premier on PBS April 21st! That is my plan (although it's absurd we haven't already watched it through Netflix, I am very happy to support public television!).

Sorry to be short, but I wanted to get in under deadline for this week and it is also WAY past my bedtime!

Food & Faith Challenge: where does your food come from?

I'm a little behind on the blog, but hopefully this weekend I can get caught up on the highlights of everything.  First of all, the Food and Faith Challenge:  check out the explanation here... this is put on by The Local Cook, who was also a participant in the Dark Days Challenge.

I had a slight pause in joining the Challenge since the texts that are focused upon are very much Christian based (an fyi... I'm Jewish), but as someone who has studied religion at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, it's not like I haven't seen the new testament before and conveniently much of it is sourced from the first 5 books (aka "old" testament) anywho.  In addition, it sounded like Wendy (I'm pretty sure that's her name) is pretty welcoming and open to non-Christian participation, and the focus seems to be how each person relates their food experience with their own faith - which I can certainly do!


The first week (last week), the topic was "where does your food come from?"

My biggest concern about the current food chain is the loss of flavor and nutrients in industrial ag's produce.  In a very short period of time we have gone from a nation (and world, for that matter) where communities grew their own produce and ate it only when in season to an environment where nothing is off limits at any time of the year.  Don't get me wrong... those champagne mangos (grown in chili, maybe?) are mightly tasty - so flavor is not always sacrificed.  But the resources required to get those mangos to me in Baltimore in the dead of winter are certainly contributing to a much larger problem.

•At your usual grocery store, see if you can find information about where the produce is grown. Then check out meat, milk, and eggs. Is any of it local?
I am very proud to say that our "usual grocery store" is a small locally owned market where the owner carefully sources everything she sells.  If she sells eggs- she visits the farm and makes sure the conditions are acceptable.  Just about every item in the store lists the source of the food, and about 90% is within 100 miles of the store.  We've gotten to the point where we go to the market to pick up our Winter Buyers Co-op (in the winter) or CSA (June-Nov), and then grab whatever dairy, meat or bread we might need - AND THEN, if there is an additional something in particular we need which cannot be found at the market, we'll hit the "regular" supermarket.  Honestly - I say we (as in my hubby and I), but the local agenda is being pushed by me - and my very lovely husband is being very good in going with my SOLE leanings when I am in the lead.  When he runs to get ingredients for a dinner he is fixing while I am working late - he still goes straight to the supermarket for the meat that's on sale or the frozen totino's pizza.  Baby steps, I say.... I try and pick my battles for now.
In the summer we try and hit the farmers market at least every other week - but with the CSA and the fact that we've begun growing some of our own veg - we're normally swimming in local produce.

A quick note on the text selection:
3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

4 Every man will sit under his own vine
and under his own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

The bolded is the emphasis from The Local Cook - the italics highlight a passage I am much more familiar with.  It is good to see the two passages together.... that once we stop fighting there might come a time when we would all be able to provide sustanance for ourselves and our families.... although I'd like to think that we can work on both goals concurrently!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Garden Update

Lots of stuff in the ground this week - woohoo!
Amish Snap Peas from Seed Savers Exchange

Dinosaur/Lacinato Kale from Seeds of Change

This shot shows the kale on the right and Broccolli Raab from Seeds of Change on the left.  Not sure if those will make it - they're rather leggy... they were started from seed in a tiny little container all together in our kitchen window sill months ago!

This shows the garden in relation to the rest of our little yard.

No pictures for the remainder of today's planting since nothing has sprouted yet, but I also planted Ruby Orach (Mountain Spinach) & Tarpy F-1 Spinach from Seeds of Change in window boxes, Cilantro from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in an old salad container and St. Valery & Atomic Red carrots from Bakers Creek in a round 21 quart planter.

We also gave our indoor plants a little sunshine to start hardening them off:

Don't worry... we're planning on giving some of these away!

One last thing: Dave is growing Okra in two 5-gallon buckets on the front porch.  I forgot to take pictures, but they are already impressive little sprouts!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 10

MORE PARSNIPS, thick-cut bacon, cremini mushrooms, cream cheese, multi-colored beets, apples

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dark Days Week 19 - Midwest represents!

I wrote this March 29.... but had a heck of a time posting it.... so here it is, rather late - but better than nothing! 

Is this the last week?  I think it is... but I'm not sure.  I was totally planning on going out with a bang, but things have sort of fizzled around here.  Most people have claimed they are too busy preparing their gardens and seedlings for spring - but we haven't even done that!  Working a lot of nights has been a major issue for me.  Preparing for vacation was another.  In our stage of life, vacation means going to visit family in Omaha.  Both my husbands family and mine live there, and would like us to visit often.  We would like to visit often as well, but it really makes me mad that a pair of non-stop tickets to some place AWESOME like San Francisco are cheaper than flying to Omaha.  So we don't really vacation... we just visit family.  Some day this will change, but that's what it is now.

I did go on a local food buying adventure, however.  I was curious, now that we've made all our SOLE finds in Baltimore... how easy it would be to find local produce and meats in Omaha.  You'd think that a city surrounded by a bunch of farmland would have a good system set up, but I know better and was doubtful that there would be an abundance of anything that I could directly eat (Nebraska grows mostly corn and soy feed for cows).

I was pleasantly surprised.  This place called Tomato Tomato (I don't know how to type the markings that make those two words get pronounced different - long A for the first word, short A for the second) was a store my mother in law has been telling me about forever, so we checked it out this past weekend.

Here was my haul:  LOCAL BARLEY (yeay - I can finally make that mushroom barley soup!), ostrich jerky things, tomatoes (heavenly), english cucumber and kale.  Oh yeah, and that little tube is honey-lavendar lip balm... yummy!

I immediately turned the kale into kale chips for my in-laws to snack on:

An now the rest of the haul is sitting untouched as we prepare a not-so-local Passover seder meal at my parents house.  Although I'm very excited to eat a cucumber tomato salad tomorrow for lunch.

All in all I really enjoyed this challenge.  Even though there were weeks where I got to Sunday and had to scramble to put my meal together, I know for a fact that our cupboard has a much higher percentage of SOLE items than it did when we began, and I also know that most my meals all week long had at least one SOLE ingredient.

I have decided that I like the challenge of this so much that I am going to go right into another challenge which requires weekly posts (and has to do with food, of course!).  More on that later (I'm almost late for dinner!).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I FINALLY made the roasted parsnips I had been meaning to make, having talked about doing so here and here.  Recipe originally found over on Sprouted Kitchen.

I also broke in the Silpat the hubby bought for me (hanukkah, maybe?)

With the marinara sauce they were quite tasty - although Dave's commentary was that they tasted too much like parsnips (shocking, I know).  So make this if you are a fan of parsnipy parsnips.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 9

I was still out of town when Dave picked up our share for this week... so he took the picture.  Sure, I could have photoshoped the edges out to exclude my little note to nudge him to take care of getting the new comcast box before posting - but what's the fun in that?
Red onions, salad mix to plant, jumbo eggs, apples, fingerling potatoes, breakfast sausage links & orange rind muenster cheese.