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From Wellspring Charitable Gardens - October 19, 2023

Fresh Today… Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, Slicing or Armenian Cucumbers, Red & Green Leaf Lettuces, Red Butterhead & Muir Green Head lettuces, Watermelon Radishes, Italian Eggplant, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Green Beans, Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Pomegranate, & Cantaloupe

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno.

The changing seasons lead to changing my cooking methods with less grilling and more roasting and baking. I naturally gravitate to cooking more as the weather cools down. This week’s carrots, beets, eggplant, squash and sweet potatoes can all be roasted. I like to keep the seasoning simple with just salt, pepper, and olive oil. If you want to expand the flavor, add some fresh herbs or dried spices. Bring out the flavor with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar after cooking. This week I included a favorite recipe for sweet potato lovers that want a sweet recipe, but don’t want a sticky desert. With just a touch of sugar, the cinnamon enhances the natural sweetness of the potatoes.

Cinnamon Roasted

Sweet Potatoes

4-5 cups sweet potatoes in 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup

or brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sprinkle of salt and freshly ground

black pepper

* Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl toss the sweet potato cubes with the oil, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Lay the seasoned sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes in oven or until tender. Take sweet potatoes out of the oven and transfer to a serving platter.

Safety First: Pumpkin Pick-up at Cornucopia

We are sending you pumpkins and a warning this week. We’ve made special delivery arrangements with Giovanni at Cornucopia because our Purple Produce Bags cannot handle the extra weight. Abundant and weighty summer produce has severely stretched their capacity. The thin purple straps weren’t engineered to hold heavy, water laden vegetables and fruit. We’ve received far too many 911 calls reporting produce spillage on the Pelandale Expressway and pantry room floors. A bag tore away from my chair and spilled vegetables in a neighbor’s drive. Cindi, on her bike behind, had to perform evasive maneuvers to avoid being taken out by an eggplant. So, to avoid further vegetable mishaps, we will safely transport your pumpkins to Cornucopia in a reinforced cardboard box. You choose, but please transport safely!

Procedure for Avoiding Vegetable Mishaps –

How to Transport a Pumpkin

Fall Salads…

Summer and fall come together in this cucumber radish salad. The cool cucumber combines with the tangy radish brought together by the creamy avocado and salty feta cheese. Use a mandolin or food processor to slice the radishes as thin as possible. If you don’t have the special equipment, I would recommend using a box grater for the radish.

Cucumber Radish Salad

2-3 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced

1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced

1 avocado diced

¼ cup crumbled feta

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove minced

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. chopped dill

½ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the radishes, cucumbers, avocados, feta, scallions, and dill to the dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve right away.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul…

Unexpected Strength

by Cindi J & Keith F Martin

We trellis the cucumbers to support their growth. Their serpentine vines wend up from the soil and through hog panels we’ve Zip-tied to steel T-posts driven deep into firm clay below the fertile topsoil. They thrive suspended and secure above ground, where gravity shapes them out of reach of harmful pest and damp soil. Their leaves are yellowing now; soon they will brown, dry out, and drop to the soil below. Warm autumn weather still encourages their growth, so we have not pulled their aging vines or removed their support. Searching among the vines, I discovered a huge pumpkin hanging with the cucumbers.

The pumpkin - a dark green heirloom with dense orange flesh - is ideal for roasting, pulping for pies, or Halloween carving. I wondered how its seed mixed with the cucumbers; I marveled at the strength of its vine and stem, clinging undaunted to slender steel rods. It has become something beautiful, desirable, substantial. I then learned the secret of its intrepid high-wire act; the pumpkin has grown its body through and around the hog panel trellis.

Sometimes we get planted in places we feel we don’t fit; we stand out like a pumpkin among cucumbers. It’s beyond our strength to fit in, much less grow or flourish, surrounded by such disparately shaped companions. Feeling out of place and alone, we succumb easily to despair or bleak resignation, then withdraw, especially if we grew up hearing we were weak – meaning undesirable and unworthy - when we cried out or reached out for support.

Yet, it’s in reaching out and around in troubled times that we find trellises of support to wend our way through. We muster unexpected strength to do what we never thought possible – fit in, hold fast, and grow. What trellises have you not yet grown into for support? It takes courage to reach out and cling to God and others so that you continue to grow and take shape through adversity. The LORD is your trellis, a steadfast support in all circumstances at all times.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1


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