Last Market

We are hoping for better weather on Saturday than we had last week. It was cold and windy like no other market day in the five years that we have been doing this market thing. Jars of flowers were crashing to the pavement as we were hanging onto the framework of the tent. I was too busy picking up pieces of glass to document the disaster. Thank you to those very loyal customers who showed up and bought vegetables, flowers or jam.

As I was strolling through the garden this week in preparation for what to cook for a dear friend's visit, I noticed unusually healthy rhubarb plants for this time of year.  Just a few weeks before, they were looking wilted and quite done for the season. I think the rain and cold weather were just what they needed. I don't recall picking rhubarb in October any other year. I would make rhubarb cobbler for dessert!

Rhubarb Cobbler
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2/3 cup sugar
1 T. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 beaten egg
3 T.  milk

Arrange rhubarb in a 9 inch baking dish. Combine 2/3 cup sugar,  1 T. flour and cinnamon. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture. Sift dry ingredients, together and cut in butter. Mix egg and milk. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until flour is moistened. Spoon over rhubarb. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Farmers, I think, are the eternal optimists.Terry has sewn the winter rye where the crops are finished. This will enrich the soil and discourage weeds from growing. In the spring he will till it into the soil. Later this month, we will plant the garlic heads that we have saved from the July harvest. The circle continues.

This week at the market we will have Swiss chard, lettuce, flowers and jams.
Thank you for your support this year!


Cleaning Up

Our tomatoes were a disappointment this year, as were the pear trees.  Good thing I made tons of chili and tomato sauce last year.  The tomatoes that we did harvest went into salsa. This week was all about cleaning up the garden. We have had an unusually long stretch of beautiful, warm days so we took advantage of that today. Terry rototilled where the garlic will soon be planted and spread winter rye grass seed to enrich the soil over the winter.

The chard is still looking great so I tried another recipe from the book, Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi. It was another winner and a little easier to prepare.

Swiss Chard Fritters
Serves 4 as a starter

14 oz/400 g Swiss Chard leaves, stalks removed
1 oz./30 g flat-leaf parsley
2/3 oz/20 g cilantro
2/3 oz./20 g  dill
1 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large free-range eggs
3 oz./80 g feta cheese, broken into small pieces
4 T. olive oil
1 lemon cut into 4 wedges
salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the chard and simmer for 5 minutes.

Drain the leaves and squeeze them well until completely dry. Place in a food processor along with the herbs, nutmeg, sugar, flour, garlic, eggs, generous 1/4 tsp. of salt and some pepper. Blitz until smooth and then fold the feta through the mix by hand.

Pour 1 T. of the oil into a medium frying pan. Place over medium-high heat and and spoon in a heaping tablespoon of the mixture for each fritter. Press down gently with the spoon to get a 3/8 inch thick fritter.  Cook fritters for 3-4 minutes in total, turning once until they have taken on some color.

Transfer to paper towels, then keep each batch warm while you cook the remaining mixture, adding the remaining oil as needed. Serve at once with the lemon wedges.  I also served these with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

This week at the market we will have chard, cilantro, red and green lettuce, jams, basil, beets (limited quantity) and fresh flowers will be back! 


A Swiss Chard Recipe

Two of my new favorite cookbooks are by Yotam Ottolenghi. One is Jerusalem and the other is Plenty. I renewed both from the library a ridiculous number of times then decided to buy myself both.  Plenty is all about vegetables. I love finding new recipes that can help me use whatever is in the garden, including fresh herbs  This week it is Swiss chard.

Chard and Saffron Omelettes             
Serves 4

1/2 lb. (1 medium) waxy potato, peeled and cut into 3/8 inch dice
1 cup water
Pinch of saffron threads
3/4 lb. Swiss chard (stalks and leaves), shredded
salt and pepper
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup chopped herbs (tarragon, dill, parsley)
vegetable oil
1/2 cup creme fraiche, cold (you can substitute sour cream)

Put the potatoes, water and saffron in a large pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes, then add the chard and some salt and pepper.  Continue cooking, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potato is soft. Drain out any excess liquid that is left in the pan.. Off the heat, add the lemon juice and garlic.  Leave to cool.

Whisk together well the eggs, milk, herbs and some salt and pepper. Pour 1 tsp. of oil into a hot 9-inch nonstick frying pan, then use one quarter of the egg mix to make a thin round omelette. Transfer to paper towels. Make 3 more omelettes in the same way. Leave to cool down.

Divide the cold creme fraiche among the omelettes, spreading it over one half of each. Taste the chard mix and adjust the seasoning, then spread generously over the creme fraiche. Fold each omelette over in half, then fold again to get a fan shape. Allow the chard mix to show at the open side. Arrange the omelettes in a lightly oiled ovenproof dish or on a baking sheet. (Keep in fridge if making ahead.) When ready to serve, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the omelettes in the oven for 5-8 minutes, or until hot. Serve at once.

The next recipe I am trying from this book is Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli!

At the market this week we will have our second planting of cilantro ready so if you haven't already made your winter stash of salsa, now is the time.

All of our flowers this week will be at Lindsay's wedding, but you can get some the following week!  We will also have jams, chard, and red and green lettuce.  See you there!


Sweet Corn for the Winter

When our neighbors at the market told us that they were selling the last of their corn I panicked. We have been buying a dozen ears each week for the two of us and enjoying them with every meal.  The frozen corn at the grocery store is OK and it's yellow - but I wanted to have fresh sweet corn during the winter.  The closest I can come to that is to freeze the last of this year's harvest.

When freezing you want to be sure to use only tender, freshly gathered vegetables. First I husked, trimmed the ears, removed the silk and washed them. Next is the blanching or boiling, which is a critical step in preparing the corn for the freezer. It cleanses the corn from any dirt and hidden microorganisms, brightens the color, helps retains vitamins and reduces the action of enzymes which can destroy flavor. The length of boiling time is particular to the specific vegetable. Ears that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter boil for 6 minutes, 2 inches in diameter boil for 8 minutes and larger ears for 10 minutes. The blanching time is followed by quick cooling in ice water to stop the cooking process. This usually takes about the same amount of time as the blanching.

After draining I cut the kernels from the cobs and then packed the corn into freezer bags. Portions are determined on the size of your family. For me and Terry I pack half cup servings for us or 1 cup per freezer bag.

When I use the corn this winter I will only cook it long enough to melt the butter that I will put on it.

This week at the market we will have flowers, jams, lettuce, swiss chard and kale.  Our second planting of green beans is just about ready to flower so they will be ready in a couple of weeks - that is if we get more warm weather!


Here Come the Brides

This summer we were asked to provide the flowers for two weddings. The first one is Saturday, the second one is later this month. Fortunately, the flowers are doing better since we staked them. We haven't had any more heavy rains, though we are keeping our fingers crossed that an early frost does not occur before the next wedding. Both brides are providing mason jars, which is how they first saw them at the market.

Scabiosa 'Black Knight' is amazingly delicate and unique, adding interest to all of the arrangements.

We cut the flowers either early in the morning or late in the day to prevent wilting.

At the market this week we will have gladiolas, lettuce, swiss chard, cherry tomatoes and jams.
See you there!


Savoring Summer with Salsa

It is not a great year for tomatoes for us. I won't show you what the tomato plants look like now - they have almost no foliage remaining and they definitely gave out on their production weeks ago. But the few we did get went into salsa this week.  This recipe is from the Ball Canning Book. I made the careless mistake of not wearing gloves when I seeded the jalapenos. I won't do that again.

Salsa - makes 5 pint jars
7 cups chopped tomatoes (3.5 lbs.)
2 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped green pepper
8 jalapeno peppers (or to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (5.5 oz.) tomato paste
3/4 c. white vinegar
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust two-piece lids and process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

I had 18 lbs. of tomatoes, adjusted the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly, and made 19 pint jars.

This week at the market we will have carrots, beets, red and green lettuce, kale, chard, gladiolas, flowers and jams.  See you there!


In Full Swing

It's hard to believe that we have been at the market for 16 weeks. The flowers are growing well, although because of so much rain, we have had to stake most of them.  When the ground gets saturated, they become top-heavy and fall over, causing their stems to curl upward.  That alone would not be a problem, but curved stems do not work in flower arrangements!

Our garlic is sold out for this year. 
We have shipped it as far as west as Hawaii and as far east as Cape Cod!

This week we will have cut flowers (cut arrangements and gladiolas by the stem), kale, swiss chard, red and green lettuce, beets, carrots, cherry tomatoes, strawberry and black currant jams.  See you there!