We have quite a few new gardeners in 10th and Barton this year and several I have talked with are pleasantly astonished that what they have planted moves with some ease from the garden to their dinner plates. “I’m using this tonight for a dinner party,” one said, grinning with accomplishment (well deserved, I might add; her zucchini are way ahead of mine). Another mentioned how delicious the tomatoes were (no surprise there, except for someone who had never grown his own).
Yes, we grow vegetables because—for some of us at least—it’s a pleasure, almost a form of therapy, but also because there is simply nothing like fresh food you grow yourself. I haven’t bought produce for several weeks, which means I’ve been eating carrots, beets, kale, chard, cucumbers, and onions. I was very pleased when the okra started coming on and am excited about the new zucchini. They’ll pair up quite well with my ripening tomatoes.
This week, I took beets, okra, kale, cucumbers, and peppers from my garden. The beets became a delicious salad (boil the beets until tender, remove their jackets, slice thinly, add thinly sliced red onion, and a tablespoon of capers; whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt together; pour over the beets, onions and capers and stir). I also made a kale, shredded carrot and chopped cucumber salad, throwing in some roasted pumpkin seeds and stirring it all up with a little bit of Caesar dressing. Both these salads will keep for a day or two, the chopped kale standing up well to dressing.
In the Plot Against Hunger garden, I met Jane this morning and we “decimated some weeds” in her words and found a few things to harvest—cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes. 10th and Barton’s Chief Gardener added some kale to the mix. Last week’s take weighed in at 24 pounds at AFAC, but this week’s, which I dropped off at the cooler at the Courthouse farm market, is probably somewhere between 5 and 7. That puts our output at about 75 pounds for the season so far.
Gardening—beauty, pleasing work, and good food are all part of the mix.