Wednesday, August 31, 2011

to market, to market

 So, not a great picture ... but the man on the right is the Mayor of Maywood!

The Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market.  It's where I spend my Saturdays this season.  I'm there to support local farmers (and buy peaches as often as possible, yum!).  I'm there to help provide fresh and, often, organic produce in a food desert.  I'm there to teach whoever is interested about food, farms, and nutrition ... to the small extent of my ability.  I'm there to have conversations both with fellow workers and fellow community members.

Some days it's quite slow.  Still, it's a morning spent outdoors (most of the time on beautiful, sunny days) around yummy produce.  I may or may not be slightly in love with fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season.  Maybe more than slightly.

Come by and visit, if you'd like!  We may have few vendors, but we always have great food.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

this lady rocks

so much produce ...

Another day of preserving.  This summer, we are receiving a big bag full of vegetables from Grass Is Greener Gardens along with fresh eggs and a once per month delivery of various frozen meats.  It's a wonderful way for us to eat local and sustainably-raised food.  At the beginning of the season, we weren't getting as much as we had hoped in terms of volume, which was a problem because our grocery budget believed that we had already gotten full off our veggies and didn't need to spend on anything else.  We needed to somehow get more food without paying for it ... but how?  While researching farms on Local Harvest, I came across this farm.  They offer a worker share, which means you can work on their farm for 4 hours and get a big bag of vegetables at the end ... for free!  Yes.  Totally awesome.  So, I started working on the farm every Friday morning and bringing home more produce.

Earlier, this meant that we had enough to last us a week, until we got our next share.  But now.  Oh my.  Pounds of string beans.  Many quarts of tomatoes.  Bunches of herbs that I forget to use.  Bags of potatoes.  And this does not include what we bring in from our own little garden (although we make a serious effort to share almost all that we harvest there with our church).  We finally realized that we have to start preserving at least some of what we get, or it will be a great waste of produce and money.  We started last weekend with some lacto-fermentation, mostly based on Sally Fallon's recipes in Nourishing Traditions.  The salsa is great but the sauerkraut went bad.  I think I'll try the weighing-it-down-with-a-plate method next time.  Today was on to blanching and freezing.  I've never tried it before, but it seems much easier than canning.  Taking vegetables out of boiling water is somehow different than taking really hot, slippery, breakable glass jars out of boiling water.  I'm sure I will come around to canning (probably next year) but I think I'll try freezing, lacto-fermenting, and dehydrating first.  Speaking of which, I'm dealing with more of our tomatoes using this method.  I'll let you know how it goes, but I'm loving their website in general.  Perhaps kale chips will be next.  We shall see!

And the "rustic" tomato tart pictured above?  So good.  You should try it.  The recipe for the dough was none too complicated and came from a cookbook I wish I owned, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  She's also awesome.

Do you have a favored method of preservation?

Monday, August 29, 2011


Last week, I turned 24 on the 24th!  Apparently that is my "golden" birthday, but I'm not sure what that means exactly.  What is more exciting is that Grady will also be turning 27 on the 27th this March.  OK, maybe not exciting to you, but exciting to me ... and Grady, I'm sure.

The day was beautiful and sunny and spent on good eating and reflection.  Grady certainly knows how to make his wife feel celebrated and special.  Additionally ... we signed a lease on a new apartment!  I'm sure there will be more to come on that later.

Thank you, o God, for your love that has brought me through the past 24 years and I know will continue to grow me in the year to come.  This is the greatest gift!

Friday, August 26, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

to the shore

:: Cape Cod::

A place that will always be near to my heart.  A place to be lazy, enjoy family, eat slowly, think back and think forward, eat s'mores, laugh so hard, and smile at the glory.

I have come to this place essentially from birth.  My mother has come with her family since she was a toddler.  It has been a constant in life when everything else keeps changing.  Yes, the beach gets a little smaller every year, some beloved stores we find closed, or the bike to the ocean is not as long as it used to be.  But it is the same.  In high school I would sit on the beach and wonder what the next year would hold.  Now, I sit on the beach with my husband and we wonder together.

A summer pilgrimage; an August ritual.  It is part of the rhythm of our family life that signals the end of one year and the beginning of another.  I guess it is this way because we have all been in school for so many years, but I've always thought fall is a better new beginning than mid-winter.  Some years, we are preparing to send a sibling off to high school, or college, or Africa as the case may be.  Some years we are preparing ourselves for those transitions, or for smaller ones ... like moving to a new apartment.

We used to all be there (all 6 kids and at least 1 parent) for 2 weeks with cousins, grandparents, and friends from other cottages.  Now, many of us are there for 1 week or even less.  Still, for the days we can, we drop everything else and conform our days to the pattern of the ocean.  When is low tide?  When is high tide?  What is the weather?  These are the most important questions of the day.  There is a good time for bike rides, a good time for beach reading, a good time for playful swimming, and a good time to simply float - time for long conversations and time for silence.

Our brief stay there for the year has already passed, but I will remember and anticipate the year to come.  In the middle of the winter, I might still be able to cling to the sun, the sand, and the sound of waves.  And, if God wills, I know we will return to pause and celebrate together again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One Stormy Day I ...

... took up my knitting once again.  The cooler air reminds me that somehow Christmas will be coming.

... waited for these veggies to finish culturing.  I'm trying to learn more food preservation this season but I don't have canning equipment, so I'm going the old-fashioned route.

... celebrated the sunshine I brought in from the garden the other day.

... looked at the sky and guessed about what time the rain would come (and was right give or take 10 minutes).  Lucky guess, I'm sure, but I'll tell myself my inner farmer has good senses.

... started a blog.

... decided to celebrate beauty a little more intentionally; to be grateful for moments every day.

for the beauty

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.