Friday, June 25, 2010

Organic Makes Mainstream National News

Last night on the NBC national newscast, under health issues, there was a segment on ORGANIC. And unlike most of what I see on television, much of what was said could have come from my mouth! First, organic usually costs more. Second, organic takes more work. Third, organic does not have harmful pesticides (I would have said petrochemicals; people can use organic pesticides that kill honeybees).

Finally, the part I was most excited about: making choices based on the most sprayed and toxic food that is raised conventionally - and that is what I have been saying to people for years - avoid strawberries, spinach, peppers, potatoes, stone fruit like peaches, cherries, plums unless you KNOW they have not been sprayed.

I was amazed and impressed by this calm, rational segment that gave people sound advice. Hurrah!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bok Choy and Chinese Cabbage

Bok Choy. This is the original chop suey vegetable! Bok choy or pac choi is an early and late season member of the brassica family - cousin to broccoli and cabbage. Bok Choy is high in calcium, vitamins A, B complex, and C. It is great in stir fry like chop suey, nice steamed with an Asian style dressing like sesame oil, a bit of toasted sesame oil, honey, tahini, rice vinegar, tamari, and pepper with a topping of toasted sesame seeds. We often add bok choy to breakfast soups like miso or clear broth and serve with rice. When cooking, separate the rib from the green as the rib needs a minute or two cooking and the greens only need wilting.

Chinese cabbage. Often called Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, like its cousin bok choy does best early and late in the growing season. This is such a versatile vegetable. I often add the outer ribs to soups or stir fry and use the hearts for raw salads. When cooking, I separate the rib from green, and cook as described as above. When using raw, I usually chop thin crosswise rippled ribbons for salad. I tend to use the basic salad dressing described above, but I usually add one or more of the following: grated ginger root, garlic or hot pepper. Chinese cabbage is usually found in egg rolls or spring rolls. Many people use Chinese cabbage in Cole slaw or other European recipes. It is available before most European cabbages, has a very mild flavor, and requires less cooking time than its European cousins.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cucumber Fence

What did we do in the rain this morning? Got the cucumber fence installed. Joe came and helped. My reach is a bit short for flipping the taller sections, and Ken can't quite do it alone.

This was a time we could all get together - no market, no deliveries, etc. Ken and I were done with the bottom panels and Joe arrived just in time for those crucial top ones.

We like to use a fence for cucumbers - more efficient use of valuable garden real estate. It also keeps the fruit off the ground so they don't rot if we get long periods of rain (not a problem the last four years). And we get a higher percentage of straighter fruit. We noticed early on we came home from farmers markets with all the curved cucumbers - even beautiful ones!

After the fence was up, Ken offered a tour. Two farmers always seem to enjoy comparing notes - even in the rain.

And then there was the pesty photographer saying, "Smile, Men."

Thanks, Joe.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pig Update

The pigs arrived Sunday, and they have been busy! This area was sod on Sunday. Today is Thursday. The only portion that hasn't been dug up is the pig toilet area!

When I check on them, they are usually digging

and digging

Happy pigs and not a clean nose in the bunch! To think some pigs are raised on concrete or with rings in their noses so they can't dig. We just decide on the tilling project each season and let them go!

And at the end of the day, they are tired little pigs.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The pigs arrive

Today Josh and Rama and others from Turnip Rock brought the piglets. They caught them and placed them in feed sacks and released them in the enclosure Ken had prepared.

The first thing the piglets did was to set those noses down and DIG! If anyone wonders what true pig nature is, they just need to see these little piglets focus on digging - their tails curl up tight and they go down to their eyes.

We decided any stress from the move had passed - and they were adjusting well to their new home.So we moved to relax and toast the pigs.

To the pigs!