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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 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

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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.

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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

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A Few Goodies for A Cold Weather Supper

A Few Goodies for A Cold Weather Supper

The YMCA WINTER MARKET has moved. It is now located at the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church at 789 Merrimon Avenue from 10 to 12:30 every Saturday morning until April. That is the church with the giant community garden in the front yard facing Merrimon Avenue – most of the harvest goes toward feeding the hungry.

With only a few minutes to shop, I stocked up on grits and eggs from East Fork Farm, two kinds of potatoes from Meadow Cove Farm plus some beautifully dried shiitake mushrooms, AND a beautiful apple turnover decorated with a heart (smile) from Aimee Mostwill of Sweetheart Bakery plus a yummy coconut shortbread cookie.

On this blustery day, doesn’t a cozy soup (based on potatoes and shiitakes) with an warm apple turnover for dessert sound marvelous and comforting?

NOTE: All the greens were gone quickly…I missed them by a long shot. Meanwhile over at CITY MARKET, Missy of Jake’s Farm said she sold out of her veggies within ten minutes. Wow. Asheville City Market’s winter location is indoors at the Public Works Building on Charlotte and Eagle Streets from 10 to noon.

Hint, hint…Don’t lollygag like I did. Get to these Saturday markets at 10 o’clock if you are serious about winter greens!

 

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Super-fresh Green Chard from Full Sun Farm

Super-fresh Green Chard from Full Sun Farm

 

By the time I got to the Tailgate Market last Saturday, Vanessa was out of spinach. She suggested green chard as a substitute, and even gave me a bunch of Full Sun Farm green chard to try out. This chard embodies vitality. You can SEE it – even in the photo.

We sautéed Gaining Ground Farm onions and once they were clear, added this super-fresh green chard. Once the chard cooked down a bit, we added the East Fork Farm eggs and scrambled until the eggs were just tender. What a great way to start a Sunday morning!

Scrambled Eggs with Full Sun Farm Green Chard

East Fork Farm Scrambled EGGS with Full Sun Farm GREEN CHARD

 

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Tailgate Market This saturday - Even Though I Arrived Late

Tailgate Market This Saturday – Even Though I Arrived Late

Fall excelled this Saturday with a perfect market day. Because I was late I missed out on some goodies, but look at this luscious bag-full I gathered before the farmers started packing up.

Spinning Spider Garlic Dill Chevre, and a buttery harder cheese from Three Graces Dairy called Castenets

-My favorite Roots & Branches crackers – Olive Oil and Rosemary – to go with the cheese

McConnell Farms Granny Smith Apples for a rustic galette inspired by Mark Bittman

Cathy Osada’s Pound Cake for a tea party to celebrate my friends’ new home and promote good mojo for the upcoming paper signing

-Ultra-fresh green chard gifted by Vanessa of Full Sun Farm to experiment with in lieu of spinach (gardener alert – she says it is VERY cold hardy)

-One dozen eggs from East Fork Farm (not pictured)

-And…the most essential of ingredients – onions from Gaining Ground Farm, one was irresistible  because of its soft red color

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