Sunday, June 21, 2009

Have Garden, Will Travel

Some months back, the Family set today as the date for a mini-reunion -- a precursor for the usual August reunion, scheduled early to accommodate the visit of my dear elderly cousins from Idaho. Since I especially enjoy these cousins (he taught music for many years and was a big fan of mine when I was more involved in it myself), and though I knew I'd been running myself ragged lately, I had hoped that with a little rest I'd be able to make the trip to see them.

Sure enough, extra sleep worked its magic, and I managed to persuade My Wonderful Parents to pick me up a little early so that we could swing by the garden for a harvest.

With the heavy rains we've had lately, it was no surprise to find everything starting to get that mid-summer overgrown look.

Greens have started to bolt, herbs are already going to seed, and it's time to pull a couple of early crops (mainly radishes) to make way for new plantings (beans and carrots).

I worked for about 45 minutes to harvest a good crop of greens (lettuce, spinach, chard, and pac choi) as well as more of those deliciously sweet snap peas, the remaining garlic scapes, and the first beets of the season. I loaded everything into a big cooler I'd brought along, and away we went.

Of course, it took a while for the family (the older generation, aside from me) to gather, but within an hour we were ready to line up for the usual potluck lunch. And since the cousins all come from a hard-working farm family (some still do farm), it didn't surprise me that the lunch selections tilted heavily in favor of meats, creamy salads, and even salads garnished with meat.

Good thing I had that cooler in the car!

While it wasn't quite the same as grazing in the garden like any happy little rabbit, it was the next best thing: I washed and tore up lettuce and dill for a salad, rinsed and trimmed a handful of snap peas, grabbed a roll and some chips, and feasted on the vegetables of my labor.

After a good visit with the cousins and a drowsy drive back home (don't worry, I was in the back seat), I still had all those bags of produce to cram into the refrigerator. What to do?

Well, I used some of the snap peas in a stir-fry for dinner and then blanched, chopped, and froze all the pac choi (minus the two slugs that had come along for the ride). Tomorrow evening, I'll deal with more of it.

But it was a good thing I'd hauled my harvest with me today!

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