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From the Garden this Week, September 16, 2021...

From the Garden this Week…

Corn, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Hot Peppers, Okra, Mixed Greens, Lemon Balm, Basil, Dried Bay Leaf Sprigs, Pluots and Peaches

Coming Soon…Winter Squash

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

This week we continue in our shoulder season, where the summer vegetables slow down, but we are not quite ready for fall. We are bringing in a fan favorite to sweeten these shortening days: Lemon Balm cookies! PBS’ Aube Giroux has a lot to say about the perks of this underused herb: “Lemon balm is a perennial in the mint family. Its scent is quite intoxicating and lemony, hence the name. It is known for its numerous medicinal properties including its calming effect on the nervous and digestive systems, and its high antioxidant content. Preliminary studies have even shown it could promote brain health and memory!” Lemon balm is a mild flavored herb that is perfect for seasoning chicken or fish, or of course, cookies. Try to use it as soon as possible, the flavor doesn’t last in the fridge.

Lemon Balm Cookies

2 tablespoon minced lemon balm leaves

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup butter, softened

⅔ cup sugar

1 egg

2⅓ cup all-purpose flour

In small dish, combine the lemon balm and lemon juice, press mixture with back of spoon to blend. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in egg & lemon mixture. Gradually beat in flour & salt. Roll the dough into a log and the wrap with parchment or waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm about 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough and cut into slices about ¼ inch thick. Bake 8-10 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Remove from the oven when slightly golden brown around the edge. Let cool and enjoy.

Southern Fried Okra

1-1/2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra, thawed 3 tablespoons buttermilk 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornmeal 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic herb seasoning blend 1/8 teaspoon pepper Oil for deep-fat frying Additional salt and pepper, optional

Pat okra dry with paper towels. Place buttermilk in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, seasoning blend and pepper. Dip okra in buttermilk, then roll in cornmeal mixture.

In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry okra, a few pieces at a time, for 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Too Many Cherry Tomatoes…

This time of year, the large tomatoes slow but the cherry tomatoes keep producing. This recipe will use all the cherry tomatoes in our baskets and make a flavorful oil to use as well. If you want extra tomato-herb-garlic oil, feel free to use extra, nearly submerging the tomatoes.

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (adapted from

1 pound cherry tomatoes

1 head garlic, cloves peeled and separated


1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, or thyme or basil or oregano

Preheat the oven to 225°F. Remove the stems and arrange the tomatoes in a 9x13 pan. Scatter the garlic cloves among them. Pour the olive oil over everything and sprinkle everything with salt. Place in the oven for about 2 hours. When the tomatoes have collapsed sprinkle the herbs over everything and turn off the heat and leave the pan in the oven. Once everything has returned to room temperature, pack into containers. Save any extra oil to season salad, other vegetables, rice or beans.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul… By Cindi J. Martin

Your produce bag just may (or because of pumpkins, may not) be a bit lighter over the next few weeks. That is because, as a community supported agriculture project, we are heading into the “shoulder season” of our garden. Some call this transition time the shoulder season because it is still too cold to go without a coat but not warm enough to go without a shawl or “something on your shoulders.” Going from summer to autumn means that many of our vegetable plants are slowing down production and succumbing to “aphid pressure.” Once bright green leaves are now turning yellow brown. These are sure signs that changes in temperature and sunlight are urging us to prepare for the new season. We are busy digging up the old spent vegetation, shaping new beds for planting, and moving seedlings from trays under shade cloth to beds in open fields. Seeds for autumn went into the Greenhouse in June! Year-round gardening requires simultaneous backward and forward thinking together with diligent care and harvesting in the present.

This made me think of how important it is in life to understand how our past has shaped us, influenced our understanding, prepared us to plan reasonably for future growth, and enabled us to live fully in and enjoy the present. A tall order! Many people want to completely forget the past. Others spend so much energy planning for their future that they forget to enjoy what they already have right in front of them. When we become familiar with the rhythms of life and nature recorded in the Old and New Testaments, we see God’s multifaceted “past, present, future” perspective that spans millennia. We need this three-pronged approach to life for balanced health and well-being that enables our bodies and souls to flourish throughout all the seasons of life.


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