To my daughters chagrin, I often use my Nissan Sentra as a truck. It has hauled decent loads of 2″ x 12″ x 12′ boards, rebar, and other building materials on numerous occasions. Most recently I used my little Sentra as an urban farm truck, hauling bales of straw and compost for my garden. This technique isn’t recommended for those who get squeamish when their cars are dirty. Straw sticks to everything and my headliner still sports the vestiges of my farm truck activity.
Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category
Posted in Local Food, Ramblings, Recipes, Uncategorized, tagged Crooked Creek Farm, Foothills Family Farm, Making Vinegar From Scratch, Meredith McKissick, Organic Growers School, Red Wine Vinegar, Sweet Earth Flower Farm, Vinegar Mother on March 15, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
MAKE IT FROM SCRATCH! At the 20th Annual Organic Growers School Spring Conference, Meredith McKissick taught a class called “Things You Should Be Making from Scratch” . The class filled up before the conference, so I could not attend…but Meredith gave me some vinegar mother [read super-thrilling!], and the class handout.
RED WINE VINEGAR
1 Large Glass Jar (1/2 gallon at least)
1 Bottle of Red Wine (doesn’t matter what kind…cheap is fine according to Meredith)
Pour the wine into the jar and float the vinegar mother on top. Cover the jar with a couple of washcloths and secure with a rubber band. Allow to sit at room temperature (or a little cooler, like a basement) for one month. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor.
Very do-able, right? It was super easy; starting the red wine vinegar took less than 5 minutes. Now all I have to do is wait a month while the vinegar mother does her job. Thank you Meredith!
Among other things…Meredith McKissick is the Executive Director of the Organic Growers School, the owner of Sweet Earth Flower Farm, co-owner of Crooked Creek Farm/ Foothills Family Farm, mother of two young sons, and a great cook who does a LOT of cooking from scratch.
Posted in Fair Trade for Farmers, Local Food, Ramblings, Uncategorized, Winter Markets, tagged Asheville City Market (Indoors), Farming In Cold Winter Weather, Local Food Asheville, market farmers, Winter Tailgate Markets Asheville, Woodfin Y Winter Market (Indoors), wooly worm on February 28, 2013 | 6 Comments »
I am aching for spring. Since I work outside, the weather is an ever-present phenomenon, and it seems that the mild mid-winter has morphed into a very mean late-winter. The wooly worm was right! Monday was spent attending to a new shipment of fruit trees in biting wind. Tuesday got colder as the day went on. Wednesday…ahhh…the sun actually stayed out for most of the day. It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t grey either.
Today I wore about 3 shirts, a vest, a fleece, a wool hat, gloves, and occasionally my lined Carhartt jacket. I felt a bit like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I checked the weather report and temperatures through the weekend will be colder than normal. That’s right. Colder than normal. This is gonna sound like whining, but ugg, and double ugg. My stepdaughter, Amelia, wrote a wonderful post about February. Here is the first bit, but you should read the whole post! “Every year I think that I want to break up with February a little more.”
Our tailgate market farmers have to move forward with determination despite the bitter weather. To get goods to the market as early as possible, you can bet that many of their days are spent outside on these fierce windy days. Stuff has to happen while we are sitting on our cozy sofas drinking tea. Otherwise, when the spring markets open there would not be anything for sale. Farmers are BUSY right now – growing transplants, planting seeds, plowing ground, cutting down cover crops, birthing baby animals, building structures for the coming year, repairing greenhouses, fixing machinery, maintaining fruit and berry plants, and God knows what else. All of these tasks are done by the farmers with a leap of faith that rain will come when it is needed, that the plants will produce, and that someone will buy their goods.
If you ever think you are paying too much for something at the Tailgate Market, flash on the dedication our farmers bring to their work. We probably aren’t paying them enough. These folks aren’t doing this only for fun. It is their job and
the way they pay their bills and buy their kids shoes. As I have said before – farming is a labor of love and we are the lucky recipients. Lets support them now (at the winter markets) as we anticipate the arrival of the spring markets soon. Best wishes and praying that the weatherman got it wrong.
Posted in Local Food, Ramblings, Uncategorized, tagged Annies Bakery Asheville, East Fork Farm Eggs, Foothills Family Farm, Foothills Pasture Raised Meat, Local Artisan Bread, Local Bacon Asheville, Local Breakfast Asheville, Local Eggs Asheville, Local Food Asheville, Local Grits Asheville on December 28, 2012 | 3 Comments »
Such a delicious and completely LOCAL breakfast this morning…pretty much the same breakfast I grew up eating almost every morning ~ thanks to my Mama.
But even better ~ all local bacon, eggs, grits and toast.
I am mostly a vegetarian, but my daughter is NOT. As far as the bacon, lets just say I’m spoiling my daughter who is home for Christmas break from Chapel Hill. She said it is the “BEST bacon she has ever eaten.”
The bacon was a gift from Foothills Pasture Raised Meats (Meredith & Casey McKissick). Eggs are from East Fork Farm. Grits from Blue Hill Farm. Toast from Annie’s Naturally Bakery.
Posted in Local Food, Ramblings, Uncategorized, tagged Fall Vegetables, Local Food Asheville, Pumpkin Carving Time, Soup Time, Squirreling Away Local Goodies For Winter on October 25, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
It looks like the weather will be cooling down by Sunday, and be decidedly cooler by Monday.
Predicted highs for Monday are in the upper 40′s. Get your big coat out. That’s officially soup building time! Time to go to the Tailgate Market and FILL your market basket.
It’s also pumpkin time. Look for quirky jack-o-lantern possibilities at the Tailgate Market. Turnips can be carved to glow from within on Halloween.
Chilly days turn our cravings toward the comfort of butternut squash soup, roasted roots, mashed potatoes, and seasonal meats. Since antiquity, we humans have turned to heartier fare in fall. What sounded overbearing during the hot months is suddenly appealing. Squirreling away goodies for winter, including treats like honey & sorghum, and preserves & pickles satisfies the soul. Its practical too.
Oh, lets not forget about broccoli, beets, cauliflower, carrots, maybe even Brussels sprouts, AND those delectable greens sweetened by frost! Stock up on staples like sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, pumpkins and winter squash for your holiday and winter enjoyment – before the farmers stop selling and start saving their harvest for their own families.
And then…there is bread and butter. Amen.
Posted in Local Food, Ramblings, tagged Asheville Local Food, B & L Organics, East Fork Farm, Local Blackberries, McConnell Farms, Megan Cole, Summertime Pie, Thatchmore farm, West Asheville Tailgate market on July 14, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Its berry pie time, but the berries disappear quickly – so go directly to the berry booths, and then do the rest of your Tailgate Market shopping. What is more luxurious than a nice summer berry pie? This time of year – your meals can easily be all-local…from the veggies to the meat to the dessert. All you have to do is show up at the market with your grocery list.
Made a quick after-work trip to the West Asheville Tailgate Market this past Tuesday…and came away with:
- Blackberries (made into a mini-pie for dessert after Wednesday’s supper…I just used store-bought pie crust to keep it simple) McConnell Farms
- Blueberries (used some in our green salad, some on breakfast granola, mostly eaten right out of the crate) Can’t remember grower name, but organically grown
- Pristine Apples (ate one right at the market…this is a very early apple) Thatchmore Farm
- Broccoli (so delicious with those mashed taters) B & L Organics
- Tomatoes (eaten in salads and sandwiches all week) Megan Cole
- Eggs (I was completely out! I refuse to buy eggs at the grocery store unless it is a dire culinary emergency) East Fork Farm
The West Asheville Market has expanded considerably. If you have not visited lately, they have many new vendors and a hopping market scene. Check out this market from 3:30 to 6:30 every Tuesday at 718 Haywood Road in West Asheville in the Grace Baptist Church parking lot, one block east of Brevard Road (do not park in the bank’s parking lot).
All year we hear screech owls calling softly at night. Last night at dusk, we saw four owls in the maple outside our dining room window – seemingly a family with fledglings about to strike out on their own. Tonight I stood vigilant at the window, and caught a few silent flights across the yard, brown wings moving without sound. Owls are so quiet in flight that your eyes must see them. Hearing is of no use, unless you count the agitated mocking birds in the side yard as an indicator of owlness.
Meanwhile the fireflies rise up like fairy lanterns around the yard. And you just know that things are growing – under the ground and above. Potatoes are swelling, tomatoes are pinking. Corn is throwing out its aerial roots and anchoring itself for serious reproduction. Bees are practically rolling in the pollen. They slurp up the nectar of rose blossoms so quickly it is astonishing…and profoundly busy-as-a-bee-ish.
Dinner this week was a luxury – sugar snaps from the garden and newly dug potatoes tossed with butter. The broccoli was so tender and sweet; it bore no resemblance to anything I have ever gotten from a grocery store. Salad of delicate oakleaf lettuce without any bite from bitterness, and beautiful cauliflower crowns cooked au gratin made up the feast as the summer solstice rolled by.
Oh I want to soak it up – the warm weather, the falling rain, the long days of late light, and the food so freshly harvested and fragrant with summer. I count my blessings because we have marvelous tailgate markets with farmers offering us the fruits of their labor. I eat like a queen.