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From the Garden this Week…

From the Garden this Week…

Snow Peas or Swiss Chard or Lettuce Heads, Cucumber, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet and Hot Peppers, Melons, Arugula, Braising Greens, Eggplant and Pomegranates

Coming Soon… Green Onions, Broccoli and Cauliflower

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

This week we are harvesting our first sweet potatoes, and to warn you now, they are huge. I think they are getting too much nutrition from the soil, but we will have to probably ask some experts to figure out what is really going on. This sweet potato black bean chili will use a good portion of one potato. Combined with our peppers this is a simple seasonal one-pot meal. This fall we started growing a selection of snow, snap and shelling peas, but unfortunately, they were attacked by snails and slugs. The larger seedlings survived and we have a small crop of snow peas to send out today. I also have 5-6 heads of lettuce leftover from our first fall planting and we have a little bit of swiss chard, so, we are going to have to split the three items between everyone this week, you will get one but not the others. We will have more lettuce and Swiss chard coming soon, unfortunately the peas will not survive the cold weather that will be here before we know it.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1-2 sweet peppers diced

1-2 hot peppers, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 cups sweet potatoes, cubed

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven heat the oil, add the onion and peppers. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the chili powder, minced garlic, and cumin. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the diced sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, salt and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning with additional salt if needed and serve with grated cheese if desired.

Fall Eggplant Salad…

This salad recipe combines the vegetables of the season. By roasting the eggplant, you caramelize the natural sugar then combine it with the pomegranates, walnuts and goat cheese. These ingredients balance the bitter greens and make a great salad.

Roasted Eggplant-Pomegranate Salad

1-2 eggplants, cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup walnuts

½ cup pomegranate arils

¼ cup sliced red onion

3-4 cups, arugula, lettuce or braising mix

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar 

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the eggplant cubes with the oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until tender. In the same oven, while cooking the squash, toast the nuts until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine cooked eggplant, nuts, pomegranate arils, red onion and greens, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad gently and transfer to a serving platter or bowl and top with the crumbled goat cheese.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul by Ronda May Melendez…

(reprinted from October 31, 2019)

As we approach the official start of winter, the garden is in transition and the winter garden veggies have or are currently being planted for harvest. With this transition come tasks that seemingly contradict our purpose. One such task is thinning.

The turnips this last week have shown themselves so beautifully prolific. They are healthy, green and CROWDED! On the face of things, we have what we want…green, healthy plants, right? It means that our little veggie friends are thriving and enjoying their environment. And that is all well. However, we need to be mindful of what the end goal is. Do we want really healthy greens that will be sold? Or do we want the root vegetable to be robust for market?

These are the predominant questions to ask when thinning certain vegetables. Do we want the visible growth in the greens, what we see on the exterior? If so, it is perfectly okay to leave them crowded, as the greens will continue to grow in a healthy way. If, however, we want to bring the roots to market, then, we must do what seems contradictory and that is to pull out enough of the seedlings to allow others room to continue to grow. We must be willing to sacrifice some of what we planted; some of what was thriving, so that we can get the growth that we are looking for in areas we cannot yet see.

So it is in life, it seems to me. There is a time to plant and a time to pull up. There is a time to thin those things that are growing, even if the growth seems for all intents and purposes to be what we want, in general. Are we willing to give up what is good for what is better according to the end goal of things that we may not yet be able to see in whole? If we are, we will bear the fruit of sacrifice and patience in due season…just as we will, in due time, harvest those beautiful and healthy turnips.

What is it that we would like to achieve that may be only showing its “greens”? Is there a root harvest that is more important to us? If so, what are we willing to “thin” out of life in order to grow deeper, more robust roots?


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