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basil, tomatoes, peppers, honey, pecans 7-28-17

Basil. Tomatoes. Peppers. Oh summer, I love you. Please stay forever.

These veggies, along with fresh eggs, came from Rod and Cindy of Mudluscious Gardens in Mars Hill (so grateful for this taste of summer, y’all). I immediately made some delicious breakfast using their eggs, peppers, tomatoes, and basil – along with some cheese, butter, and onions. What a great way to start my day off!

eggs scrambled 7-28-17

The picture also includes two special items gifted to me by my sister and brother-in-law from their farm in the Florida panhandle – Fox Squirrel Farm. They sent me a jar of hand-extracted honey from their very first honey harvest. The other package contains candied pecans. These pecans were harvested from pecan trees on their family’s farm, shelled by hand, and then candied. I am trying not to gobble them up right away and instead savor them – little bit by little bit.

I still don’t have a serious garden at my house. I have a few peppers planted and some flowers. I am fascinated that my tiny flower patch really does attract pollinators – mostly different types of bees and small butterflies. The agastache by my mailbox is a magnet for pollinators as soon as the flowers open, and it continues to attract pollinators of all sizes until frost. It gives me a thrill anyway, and I hope all of you will plant a little allotment for our pollinator friends too.

zinnias july 2017

I just learned that the bright circle of pollen is called a “fairy ring”. All the more magical.

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White Rose

White rose peaches. A man came by the garden center selling these off his truck – grown in his yard using no chemicals. The essence of summer!

peaches white rose

sandwich after tailgate 1Fresh + ingredients you won’t find in grocery stores. That is the beauty of our tailgate markets. My sandwich ingredients from today’s tailgate market:  ripe purple tomatoes, crispy white cucumbers, and pan-roasted Italian sweet pepper on a bed of sweet basil, and from the grocery store – organic cream cheese, balsamic vinegar, and local artisan bread.

Yes, you can buy basil and purple tomatoes from the grocery store, but are they this fresh and from people who farm in our neighboring counties? People with kids that they are raising. People with land payments. People we know. Will my meager purchases help send their kids to college? Well, no, not exactly. But each little purchase adds up.

I pray that when they count up their money at the end of each market, it is enough to sustain them and their families. Cause these are some hard working folks. Heros. Their food tastes like it came from my home garden. Just look at the color of that tomato. I mean really look. Soak it in. This food brings me to my knees.

I have missed this food during my recent period of busy-ness. I have missed the people too. Manysandwich after tailgate grilled have been so kind to ask about my recently married daughter. Some conversations have made our eyes well up with emotion. Together, all of us have watched these tailgate market children grow and blossom. Suddenly the baby is a seventh grader is a college student is adventuring in Europe is being married or becoming a parent. Again I am on my knees with wonder, and so grateful that I am sailing along on this lovely planet amid this miraculous journey.

Back to sandwiches. This is important – sandwiches taste so much better when they are made on good bread. It is worth the splurge to get good local bread if you are a sandwich-eater. Pan-roast the peppers. Pile the ingredients to the edge of the bread and grill in a skillet with your choice of fat (I used olive oil).

pistachio shortbread sweetheart bakeryPistachio shortbread cookie for desert from Sweetheart bakery.

Purple tomato from Green Toe Ground Farm. White cucumber from Full Sun Farm. Peppers from Gaining Ground Farm. Basil from Mountain Harvest Organics. Bread from Annie’s Naturally Bakery.

Yes. Tailgate Market Fan Club has been on a bit of sabbatical.

I bought a house last summer. Much of my time has been occupied with renovating my “new” 1964 red brick rancher. It is amazing how much time every little thing seems to take. Wonderful carpenters have done most of the work, but I am the painter and decision maker. Since the trim is now brand new, all of the trim has received 3 coats of paint. And the new doors are still mostly unfinished. As they might say in Madison County…Oh, law.

On top of that my daughter is getting married this June. Both the bride and groom have lots of extended family members, and then there are the dear friends. So between wedding planning and my house…my extra time is nonexistent. I feel like I have been under water for months. Luckily I have a few really sweet friends who have been extra thoughtful lately.

eggs in carton

Mark’s eggs. Notice caulking gun and paintbrush on counter.

My carpenter friend, Mark, has gifted me with fresh eggs from his hens a couple of times which has resulted in some delicious breakfasts and dinners of breakfast food. Gracious, good eggs are a blessing. To imagine Mark’s hens running about seeing  blue sky and puffy white clouds – compared to the poor little hens penned up in industrial slavery. There is no comparison. In either the happier life Mark’s hens have, or the way his hen’s eggs taste that reflect their happier life.

Things should ease up around mid-July. My daughter will be married and on her way to Switzerland. I will have the luxury of working in my yard, starting a garden, and perhaps taking an adventure or two.

Happy local eating. Enjoy this glorious season of bounty to the maximum. Because, believe it or not, winter will soon

eggs, Mark Anderson

Real good eggs!

return. Most every market is open now with amazing food to be had on each market day. Savor this luxury.

With fond regards, Ruth

'Purple Haze' Carrots, Mudluscious Pottery & Gardens

‘Purple Haze’ Carrots, Mudluscious Pottery & Gardens

Vitality filled my nostrils as I scrubbed the carrots. Just brushing their skins brought home the power of local. This soil. This good Earth. The personal association with the farmers – Cindy Trisler and Rodney Bowling. I suspect this carrot is called ‘Purple Haze’, and being a Jimi Hendrix fan I gotta love that name.

I added these beauties to a creamy potato and kale soup. Chilled to the bone after working most of the day in the rain (even though it is relatively warm), a cozy soup with buttered bread sounded just right as a quick and satisfying supper.

Now I must find the inspiration to stir up some primer paint and roll it on the walls…but that is another story.

Soup, creamy potato and kale soup

Tuberose from Flying Cloud Farm

Tuberose from Flying Cloud Farm

This simple flower, the tuberose, is sending me to my knees every time I walk down my hall. She is getting more fragrant by the hour; slowly intoxicating the house. I wonder if she is pumping out her breathtaking scent in hopes of finding a pollinating bee.

Anticipating my sister and niece spending Saturday night with me (along their route to Charlottesville), the North Asheville Tailgate Market was packed when I arrived to shop around 8:30. I gathered goodies at the market for the happy occasion – Pecan Sandies from Jean (we ate ALL of them in one sitting); Rosemary Fig Chevre from Spinning Spider Creamery; Roots and Branches crackers; beautiful lettuce mix from Full Sun Farm; Asiago Ciabatta from Wake Robin Farm Breads, and blueberries from a farmer I don’t know. All of it contributed to our LOCAL hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and breakfast. And the tuberose from Flying Cloud Farm got right to work putting out her sweetness. Thank you farmers!

From North Asheville Tailgate Market this Saturday

From North Asheville Tailgate Market this Saturday

P.S. My niece contributed a delicious bottle of wine from Argentina – San Gimignano Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.- very lovely!

Been kinda quiet on the blog front here…especially in the bountiful middle of summer. Right? Well… I bought a house and moved. That is

This is what my life looks like right now (actually last week). Demolition in progress.

This is what my life looks like right now (actually last week). Demolition in progress.

time  consuming, especially when you start tearing out parts of your house. So I am more or less camping in my new house for a while. Before I moved, I was a few blocks from a wonderful Saturday market. Even on Saturdays when I was working, I could quickly grab a few things when the market opened and make it to work on time.

I am going to have to be a little more organized to pull that off now. My new house is closer to the Wednesday Weaverville Market, so I anticipate becoming a regular at that market. I also get an occasional delivery from some Mars Hill farmer friends. Plus this week I bought two pints of blueberries while I was a work – out of a farmer’s trunk.

On the Fourth of July, The North Asheville Tailgate Market was cooking – with customers everywhere and fresh local food piled up in the farm stands. Truly marvelous. Here are some pictures of that market:

NATM July 4 2015

Beautiful!

The line at the Full Sun Farm Stand!

The line at the Full Sun Farm Stand!

Full Sun Farm Eggplant

Full Sun Farm Eggplant

Sweetheart Bakery Mini-Pies

Sweetheart Bakery Mini-Pies

Gaining Ground Farm Stand. I made red, white, & blue potato salad with those fresh-dug potatoes.

Gaining Ground Farm Stand. I made red, white, & blue potato salad with those fresh-dug potatoes.

Ivy Creek Family Farm. Can't remember the name of these striking, almost black, flowers.

Ivy Creek Family Farm. Can’t remember the name of these striking, almost black, flowers.

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