First Harvest!

In early May we planted three gardens on the farm. I’ve never had a garden before, and it’s been amazing to watch our plots of dirt transform into lush, green spaces. We planted a variety of vegetables and fruit: potatoes, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, beets, onions, pumpkins, all kinds of squash, cucumber, strawberries, asparagus, watermelon, and honeydew…just to name a few. I’ve always wanted a garden and it’s been an awesome learning experience… Learning what each plant looks like as they first began to come up out of the ground; trying to differentiate between the tiny, new beet plants and the weeds that surrounded them; watching for certain kinds of bugs — some beneficial to the plants and some that are not good at all.

As the plants have continued to grow, I’ve been anxious for the first thing that we could pick or cut or pull up out of the ground and eat! This week I was able to cut garlic scapes, and pull up our first radishes! So exciting! Really, there is nothing like pulling a vegetable out of the ground and thinking, “I grew this!” I don’t know why more people don’t grow their own veggies.

DSC_0014

Well, you probably know what a radish is, but you might not be familiar with garlic scapes. I had no idea what they were until the other farm intern and his wife made us some garlic scape pesto recently. (So good!) The garlic scape looks like part of the stem on a garlic plant. It shoots up in between the leaves and you’ll know it’s ready to cut when it’s curling at the end. It’s actually beneficial to cut the scape off so that the garlic plant can use more energy to go toward growing the garlic bulb itself. And, bonus, you get to eat the delicious garlic scape! I wanted to try out my own pesto with the scapes, so I decided to use them all up, slather it on some bread, and top with thinly sliced radishes. Mmm, delish.

Here are a whole mess of garlic scapes in all their glory. Aren’t they pretty?DSC_0027 DSC_0029

This pesto was ridiculously easy to make. We whipped it up in just a few minutes. Along with the bread, radishes, and some white wine, we had ourselves a simple summer meal. You could also definitely serve this as a yummy appetizer.

Head to your local farmers market to try to hunt down some garlic scapes! They have them at our market now, so I’m hoping you’ll find some at yours. Looking for a farmers market? Check out this website to find one in your area: http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

Garlic Scape Pesto (makes about 1 cup)
10-20 Garlic Scapes
Handful of fresh Basil
Olive Oil
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Walnuts or whatever nut you’ve got on hand (almonds, pine nuts, etc)
Salt and Pepper (optional)

Chop up your scapes, leaving off the white pointy end. Toss them in a food processor along with your basil, about 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1/3 cup of cheese and a handful of walnuts. Blend for a bit, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides with a spatula.

DSC_0049

Add more oil and cheese if you like. Pesto is great because you really just add what you like until it’s the consistency and taste that you like. I added probably another 1/4 cup of oil to get it to a smoother consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

DSC_0051

Ta-da! Pesto, with bunny ears.

I slathered this deliciousness on some toasted bread and topped with sliced radish and a bit more cheese. I would have preferred to use a nice loaf of french bread or a baguette that had been toasted in the oven. That would have been amazing, but of course I didn’t have a baguette on hand so I just used some wheat bread that I had. Still delicious! Either way, this is a really simple meal with lots of fresh ingredients. Enjoy it.

DSC_0052

It’s been a while…

It has been over nine months since I’ve last written. If you’re a new subscriber you might be wondering why it’s been so dang long.

Please do excuse my long hiatus. My last post came shortly after I began a new job with the amazing hunger-relief organization Feed My Starving Children. For nine months I worked two jobs — during the week I worked in the marketing & communications office of a university, and I spent most weekends traveling around the country for FMSC. As you may be able to imagine, it has been a busy year. From September to May I didn’t have much time off, and Ric and I were on somewhat opposite schedules, so what little time we had together we spent together. In the process, my blog got left behind.

In May I left my job at the university to work on a farm. Yup, I’m a farmer… sort of. Back in February Ric had the crazy idea to apply to be interns on a small family farm that we had purchased eggs and some meat from in the past. We both thought it would be a really great experience. So we applied, thinking it was a total long shot, but in the end we actually got it! So for the past month I have been working on a small, diversified, family farm that raises antibiotic-free, hormone-free, pasture-raised animals.

I’ve been torn about continuing the blog under the guise of “Not Quite Vegan,” because I have to confess that I am nowhere near vegan at the moment. In fact, my meat consumption has gone up about 500% since working on the farm. You may remember my confessional post about eating bacon last summer. In it I explained why I would occasionally eat meat if it was from a local farmer and I knew it was raised without any of the bad stuff.

Well, now I have gone from eating meat maybe once every one or two months, to eating meat five days a week.

So, dear readers, do I start a new blog? Do I continue this one with a new title?

What I would like to write about is my love of food — natural foods; food from the earth that still has dirt on it; meat raised by local farmers in a humane and healthy way. I love food, and I think working on the farm has given me a new perspective on food. I am passionate about the local food movement, and trying to move away from the processed junk that seems to consume so many Americans’ diets (myself included sometimes!). What I would like to write about is what to do with the food you might find at a farmers market, for instance, and how you can prepare that food. I think a lot of people who have been in the habit of eating a diet consisting largely of processed items might have a hard time figuring out how to make the shift to whole foods. I have had people tell me that they just don’t know what to do with some of the vegetables they find at the farmers market. I totally understand, and I’ve been there myself. It takes work and it takes a sense of adventure and a willingness to try new things, make mistakes, and get your hands dirty.

So, my diet may have changed, the title of this blog may change, my reader audience may change, but in the end it’s all about what I love: food. Because of my love affair with food, I want to continue to share my recipes and thoughts with you, just maybe in a new way.

Please comment and let me know what you think! I will be brainstorming a new title for the blog and new posts! In the meantime, here are some pictures of the farm.

photo-2 photo-8 photo-3