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From the Garden this Week, July 22, 2021...

From the Garden this Week…

Summer Squash, Green Beans, Peppers, Beets, Armenian and Lemon Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Cooking Carrots, Salad Greens, Garlic, Basil, Stone Fruit and Grapes

Coming Soon… Melons and Okra

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

This week we have Armenian cucumbers for the first time. These are technically melons that don’t become as sweet as cantaloupe and honey dew. They grow better than true cucumbers in the heat of the Central Valley. The thin skins don’t need to be peeled away. Our lemon cucumbers are called that because they turn yellow and grow to the shape of a lemon, not because they taste like lemons. I like to peel these as they have a thick prickly skin. They have lots of seeds, but I now find this appealing the more that I have eat, they are sweet and juicy. Either one will make a nice cucumber water, just add a few slices to a pitcher of water and let it sit overnight. In the heat of the summer don’t forget the easy recipes, like making a BLT with a perfectly ripe tomato. Or try making a cherry tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and basil. For vegetables that you do have to cook, like green beans, I love sauteed green beans with garlic. I cook these ahead and enjoy cold on salad, if you do this use oil instead of butter so that the fat won’t solidify when cold.

Jajik (Cucumber Yogurt Dip)

1 Armenian cucumber, washed and peeled

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons crushed mint

Salt to taste

Cut the cucumber in quarters, lengthwise. Slice each section into thin pieces. Mine were not sliced thin but I will do this next time I make this dish. I have also seen some recipes where the cucumber is grated. Stir the cucumbers into the yogurt and mix in the garlic, salt and mint. Garnish with fresh sprigs of mint.

A Psalm to go with Ronda’s Metaphor!

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. --Psalm 23 of David

Basil Pesto…

Our basil is growing at full speed and this herb benefits from frequent cutting. Pesto is a great way to use a lot of basil at once and it is great to have on hand to use for a base for dressing a salad or as sauce on grilled chicken or grilled summer squash. Or my favorite, as a spread on toasted sourdough bread.


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1-2 cloves garlic

juice of one lemon, about 1 tablespoon

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Blend all together in a blender, taste and add extra salt or lemon juice as desired. Enjoy with beans, rice, over seafood or chicken.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul… By Ronda May Melendez

Walking through the backdoor, I enter veritable green landscape, full of scampering squirrels, birds I have lost count of and deer who meander through the backyard to snack on the dewy, sweet grass that seems to grow daily by inches in the moisture and heat.

They all seem to go about their business in finding morsels hidden in the grass without anxiety or concern. There is an immense peace about their search. They are not frantic. Indeed, the deer are so comfortable coming into the yards here to eat, that I can freely walk out among them without frightening them in the least. They saw me as a mere bystander... a looker on...intruding into their boundaried world, rather than the other way around.

I consider that perhaps, this is the type of peace that the Lord would like us to have. To understand that everything comes from His hand, in its due time. And in the presence of those people or circumstances who would, typically, be considered a threat or enemy to us, we can freely, peaceably walk in the midst of the trial, partaking of the table that the Lord sets for us. And in doing so, we can be nourished physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The events stripped of the power to defraud of us what the Lord, Himself, has provided for us.

I watch the deer and marvel at the depth of peace they have in front of someone who could cause great harm. Yet, they joyfully with full awareness of their surroundings graze.

I am challenged to do the same. Realizing that this will require a new way of thinking and living...both working in tandem, recognizing the gift of God’s presence in the midst of it all.


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