20 June 2008

i don't think ants are a vegetable or fruit

The rich bounty of our garden is more than enough to sustain us. We invariably grow more than we can eat and end up giving some away to friends as well as neighbors --isn't that part of the joy of having a garden? Yet, it seems we are always looking for more. Like the bear who crossed the road just to see what was on the other side, I am always looking to see what is being grown locally that I don't have in my garden. I try to pacify this fancy by growing something new or different each year, as well as haunting farmer's markets on occasion. Okra is this year's big experiment in my garden. It's a vegetable I'm not familiar with, but what-the-hay. Hopefully they won't get quite the size of the tomatillo plants I grew a few seasons ago (they grew into small bushes).

There are some vegetables that, no matter the deep-green color of my thumbs, I can't seem to get good results. And as far as fruit goes, I have space in my yard for my lemons, limes, and blackberries (although I am thinking about some other berry canes--but that's another story). Thus enters the CSA, "Farm Fresh to You". I have found an organic, local CSA that is flexible enough for our needs! We can choose to get all fruit one week, a mix of fruit and vegetable the next, weekly delivery or every other week, and have the ability to make requests of small changes within the box. This is flexible enough to be able to make adjustments to match and balance our garden's production over the growing season as well as our personal needs.

Our first box was delivered yesterday, at o'dark-thirty in the morning. It was waiting on our doorstep when we got up at 5:00am. As if the box were a specially wrapped present, I asked W. to quickly bring it inside. He set it on the counter and promptly started pulling items out. Along with the organically grown collard greens (another first for me), romaine lettuce, yellow squash, heirloom tomatoes, baby red potatoes, nantes carrots, yellow nectarines, and lavender, we also had organically grown little tiny ants (as a bonus--oh, yippee). We couldn't get the box outside fast enough. Organic, "free-range" anst are strong, fast, and hungry for new territory. Three hours later I was still smashing those little bugs as they continued to appear like magic on the counter, the floor, and in the sink. All the veggies got rinsed--thoroughly, outside, in a bucket--and are now put away.

With the box came a couple recipes on using lavender in cooking. We aren't sure if that flavor is in our future--maybe a little in some sugar to compliment hot tea come this winter--, but it looks nice as an arrangement on the table outside (again, remember...the ants). Oh, and the intense fragrance of fresh lavender...mmm.

Recipes and cooking techniques are still being bantered about to maximize the best flavor of these garden delights (minus the ants, of course). Any ideas on collard greens?


Diane said...

I have a GREAT collard green recipe -- do you have the Deborah Madison cookbook "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone"? Or something like that? If not, email me and I'll write it down for you. It's really really good.

brooklynx said...

Mmmm...the bbq place just down the street from me has AWESOME collard greens. Rich and flavorful like spinach without as much wilt. SO GOOD.