Archive for June, 2009

Photo365: June 19, 2009 Farm Share 2

Friday, June 19th, 2009

So today was the day to pick up the second share at the Cook Students Organic Farm. Nobody was there apologizing for the size of the share today, though they probably felt like they should — they were all outside doing some planting. It was the first half-way decent day we’ve had in a dog’s age and it’s supposed to rain again all weekend, so I imagine it was a matter of getting things that need planting now in ASAP while the weather permits.

This week’s share was much like the last with a couple of difference. There was more kale, more pea shoots, more spectrum greens, lemon balm and this week’s other herb was oregano. There were more scallions.

Scallions

Scallions

The root vegetables were turnips again and beets.

Turnips

Turnips


Beets

Beets

But there was no lettuce this week (whine…), and we have seen no spinach at all. Oh, well… I grabbed this shot at the farm on my way out and stopped at the grocery store on the way home for lettuce and that sort of thing (and garbage bags! I ran out!).

Farm cart

Farm cart

So tonight was experiment time. Remember, I promised that I would really try everything they have to offer at the farm, and I had passed up the turnips last week. So I found a recipe for roasted turnips (basically, you peel ‘em, rub ‘em with olive oil, sprinkle ‘em with salt and pepper and bake. Found another recipe for roasted beets. Had a nice marinated pork loin so… all in the same pan, everything done, nicely on a plate, stuck my fork in (more than once, to make sure I could make a considered judgment).

The verdict:

Yes on the beets. They’re nice. Overcooked ‘em a little; I’ll have to remember that next time.

NO on the turnips. They really are nasty. I’m leaving them behind if they try to give us though again. There’s just something about the way they taste that I just plain simply don’t like. Bleah. I’m sure the folks at the soup kitchen the farm is associated with can use mine…

Photo365: June 18, 2009

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

It has been raining for practically ever here in New Jersey. We may get an occasional half-day without rain or even an hour of (gasp) sunshine. But the rule has been rainy overcast skies. It’s gotten to the point where we’re getting all too accustomed to looking at the world through puddles…

Reflections of Newark

Reflections of Newark

Photo365: June 17, 2009

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

So I watched this little vignette being played out in my yard this morning…

“Now, follow along, son, and do just what I tell you to.”

Mother woodpecker

Mother woodpecker

“Coming, Mama… <whispering to self> but I’m a BIG boy now…”

Baby male woodpecker

Baby male woodpecker

“Okay, now just cling there and watch me this time.”

Mother and son woodpeckers

“See? It’s easy! And now I have a lovely batch of suet for you.”

Mother ready to feed son

Mother ready to feed son

“Whadda you mean, you don’t want my suet?”

Mother upset when son ignored her

Mother upset when son ignored her

“What, you want a seed or something? I can get you a seed.”

Mother getting seed to offer

Mother getting seed to offer

“Ma, I can do it myself. I’m a BIG boy now…”

BIG boy now...

BIG boy now...

Photo365: June 16, 2009

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

From what I can tell of the men I know, this has got to be the real thing as Man’s Best Friend…

Remote

Remote

Photo365: June 15, 2009

Monday, June 15th, 2009

This guy looked like he was asking me to make sure I got his good side in the photo…

Blue jay

Blue jay

Photo365: June 14, 2009

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

This afternoon, briefly, a strange thing happened. The skies turned blue, the clouds thinned, and this odd yellow glow that we haven’t seen in practically forever appeared in the sky. I grabbed a quick shot just to be able to prove it happened.

Stone church

Stone church

Photo365: June 13, 2009

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

For once, a cute little tufted titmouse that hangs around the yard stayed put for a minute to let me get a shot.

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Photo365: June 12, 2009-The Farm Share

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Some time ago, I put my name on a waiting list for a share of the crop of an organic farm run by students at Rutgers University’s Cook College. This year, I made it to the top of the waiting list, and today I went to the farm in East Brunswick to pick up my first share.

The farm itself is a beautiful piece of property just off Ryder’s Lane south of the Route 1 corridor.

Cook College farm

Cook College farm

The shed where the shares are picked up is just a small building at the back of the property.

Share shed

Share shed

The students were terribly apologetic that the bad weather we’ve had limited what was available in this share. Me, I’m one person. I have no idea how I’m supposed to eat all of this. Or how to eat it (or fix it or preserve it). Or even if all of it is supposed to be edible!

First share

First share

The first share included:

1. 1 small bucket of pea shoots. Pea shoots. What the heck are pea shoots and why does somebody want me to eat flowers?

Pea shoots

Pea shoots

2. 1 bucket of spectrum greens. I had to look that up on the Internet. Turns out it’s just various greens in different sizes, shapes and colors. I don’t think there’s any standard definition of what constitutes spectrum greens, and I have no idea what the specific greens were.

Spectrum greens

Spectrum greens

3. 1 bunch of scallions. Yummy. (No picture — I’d already chopped ‘em into my lunch salad by the time I remembered I was supposed to be taking pictures…)

4. 1 bunch of kale. I’ve heard of kale. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with it. And there is a LOT of it.

Kale

Kale

5. 1 bucket of lettuce. Now that I understand.

Lettuce

Lettuce

6. Herbs, which were sage and lemon balm this time. Sage, I gather, you dry and use on things like chicken. Lemon balm? What the…???

Sage and lemon balmSage and lemon balm

It also included 1 bunch of turnips. Uh-uh. Not for me. I don’t like ‘em no matter how you fix ‘em. I left my share behind. (The farm has an arrangement with a soup kitchen in New Brunswick so even turnips won’t go to waste.)

Now I promised myself that, if I was going to do this (at several hundred dollars for the 24-week share), I was going to try to be serious about it, and at least try not to waste anything. So I spent some time on the Internet, did a bit of research, and took a few deep breaths.

First, for lunch today I had a salad. That was easy enough. I threw in some of the lettuce, all of the scallions and some of the spectrum greens, along with some grape tomatoes and some green pepper I had at home. Very nice. Very juicy. I may never look at the stuff in those plastic bags the same way again.

Dinner was a little more complex. I had done my research, so I looked carefully at everything I was given, and basically threw caution to the wind. I took some of the spectrum greens, some of the kale, all of the leaves of the lemon balm (which was starting to wilt badly since I hadn’t put it away properly after picking up the share) and some of the pea shoots (blossoms and all), chopped ‘em up, and fried ‘em in olive oil with minced garlic and salt.

Now maybe it’s just that I was hungry. And maybe it was just that you can fry ANYTHING in olive oil with minced garlic and salt and it will taste good. But one thing is for certain… Sigh… frozen veggies aren’t quite going to measure up any more…

All in all, I’d say this season is off to a very nice start.

Photo365: June 11, 2009

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

LOVELY weather we’re having these days, isn’t it? Sigh… they say we may get a nice sunny day again oh in about 10 days or so…

Lovely weather

Lovely weather

Photo365: June 10, 2009

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

The daylilies are blooming…

Daylily

Daylily