We weren’t really planning on expanding the garden this year, even though we’ve done so the last two, because we thought we’d be busy with end of the school year senior year activities, but as it turns out, all this time at home has led to some new projects.
For the first time ever, I got a proper spring garden planted. I’m not at all sure why I’ve never been able to accomplish this in all my years gardening. Despite the fact that I get paid to offer unsolicited gardening advice to complete strangers in a some pretty magazines, I really am sort of a half ass lazy gardener. I am death to houseplants. I stick to perennials in my yard because once they are established, I don’t need to do anything for them on a regular basis. It’s a tough love style of gardening, where plants just have to get themselves established by mid-July, because that’s when I kinda start forgetting to water. Pat will catch up the slack on the vegetable garden and thankfully, begonias and geraniums do well with my summer neglect, so for all outward appearances, I pull off looking like a competent gardener. But, to be completely honest, I’m really not at all the gardener I write about being. When people have me to their gardens and want to talk gardening with me, I have to admit the only flower names I know are the ones I like and/or grow well. And vegetables? I stick to greens I know I do well (arugula) and things anyone can grow, like peppers. Growing okra and field peas last year was a bit step outside of my garden comfort zone.Continue reading
For several years now, my Tuesday afternoons have been spent in various school kitchens, teaching area middle schoolers to cook. I began as a volunteer for one program, moved to another school with that program and am now back at the first school, Walker Upper Elementary, where I am now the lead on the after school cooking program. Continue reading
New Roots Farm has a semi-regular stand at the city market that sells produce grown at the community garden sponsored by the International Resource Committee here in Charlottesville. The garden sprung out of wanting to help refugees feel at home as many of them have a farming background, while also giving refugees access to fresh food, particularly some harder to find items from their home. By selling some of the excess produce, refugees learn new skills and earn some income. (Here’s a nice article that ran on them this past July) When I see their stand at market, I like to check out what they have to offer because it’s a good opportunity to try something new while also supporting a wonderful project. On a recent visit, this caught my eye:
It almost escaped my attention that Sandor Katz was speaking at the Heritage Harvest Festival up at Monticello this past weekend. Upon discovering this news, I immediately booked myself a spot in his morning workshop that was billed as a ‘premium workshop‘, meaning in addition to forking out money for a festival ticket, I shelled out money for the workshop as well. I mention this because I pretty sure I haven’t paid to attend any sort of food or wine related event in a solid 15 years or so, with the last one I paid for also held up at Monticello – a canning and food preservation class (which yes, was THE class that began my canning odyssey), managing to get into all the events I’ve attended over the years for free. I found out later I probably could have finagled a free entry for this, but in the interest of karma, I figured it doesn’t hurt to actually pay for something once in a while. Continue reading
I stumbled upon the most wonderful little discovery the other day. Well, I thought it was wonderful, but I’m not sure anyone else would be as easily impressed. Continue reading
I know at least some of you have heard of Mrs. Wheelbarrow, aka Cathy Barrow, blogger and columnist for the Washington Post, if only because so many of you sent me her star-shaped watermelon rind pickle blog post this past summer. But did you know her food preservation knowledge is now available as a cookbook?
My last post was on the gift of a citron melon. I had cut into it to determine exactly what it was, so the clock was ticking in terms of me figuring out exactly what I was going to do with it. Uncut, the melon would have lasted months properly stored – similar to winter squash – but because I had cut into it, I needed to use it up and quickly.
For a few months now, I’ve mentioned various projects I’ve been working on but haven’t explained here exactly what they all are. As the time has been right for each one, I’ve shared them. This particular one that I’m about to share is probably the biggest one I’ve been working on, but have been the quietest about in this space.
It was hard to capture exactly how loaded our cherry tree was this spring with cherries. Last year, being the first year we harvested any fruit from that tree – a banner two pounds! – I was hoping to get as lucky, if not luckier this year. Continue reading