Friday, May 29, 2009

Independence Days #3

Thanks to the long holiday weekend, I managed to get a good amount done toward building "food independence." And now that the CSA season has begun, I'll have to stick with it!

1. Plant something: I had another good week for planting, extending my garden reach to yet another friend's homestead as well as to my own front porch. I planted buckwheat with the Farmgirl Wannabe; sunchokes, Hutterite soup beans, basil, and cosmos at the Renaissance Man's garden; and Jacob's cattle beans, broccoli, Rutgers tomato (one little seedling), onions, dill, and marigolds in pots on my porch.

2. Harvest something: The garden is off to a roaring good start, with lettuce, spinach, amaranth, pac choi, garlic, scallions, radishes, sage, dill, and cilantro ending up in bags to take home; also picked up first CSA produce!

3. Preserve something: Hung a bunch of sage up to dry; blanched and froze all the pac choi I had picked; dried cilantro in the dehydrator; tried drying a vegetable puree "cracker" in the dehydrator (sorry, forgot the photo; but it's tasty!).

4. Reduce waste: Reused plastic bags for the harvest, and used my canvas bag for CSA pickup; tried to eat more of the radish greens instead of composting them all; built a simple compost cage at the back of the Renaissance Man's property (I'm sure he'd have done much better, but I did this single-handed and tried the best I could with a staple gun).

5. Preparation and storage: Stocked up on sugar for jam-making; took down dried mints and stored in glass jars (not canning jars).

6. Build local food systems: Edited the proposed producer guidelines for Local Roots and tried to clarify our vision for how to prioritize in-market sales (since we will have limited space); wrote the first newsletter to prospective members; shared ideas and information with the Farmgirl Wannabe on what she had already planted and what other possibilities she might consider.

7. Eat the food: Aside from a wonderful day of all-local food (the individual dishes carried out over the week), I also enjoyed a number of good fresh salads or handfuls of crisp radishes, and I shared the last breaded eggplant with the Farmgirl Wannabe over dinner one night. (I also shared the recipe with her a couple days later.) The night after CSA pickup, I enjoyed a CSA scramble with fresh eggs, kale, scallion, dill, and some Cheddar cheese -- a good dinner!

I can see I'll have to do some thinking for next week, though -- is the garden ready for me to plant more? What other ways can I reduce waste? What else do I need to prep or store? At least I'm starting to keep these questions running in the background of my mind to help keep me a little more focused.

Above all, it's a good way of getting experience at juggling all of these things.

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At 5/29/2009 10:46 PM, Blogger Sarah Lenz said...

How do you prepare your radish greens? I, too, want to eat more of them this year, rather than composting them. I have an iffy looking recipe for radish top soup--basically a potato soup with radish greens added. Do you have any insights to share about cooking with radish greens?

At 6/01/2009 6:52 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Well, Sarah, I confess I haven't gotten around to too many as they wilt pretty quickly, but I've eaten them raw (quite an eye-opening mouthful!) or with a bit of goat cheese rolled into them; chopped into a salad; and I have yet to add them into other sauteed greens. You might find that they'd be good in a potato soup, something peppery and almost mustardy to contrast with the creamy potato.


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