From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - July 27, 2023
From the Garden this Week… Eggplant, Heirloom Tomatoes, Peppers, Swiss Chard, Armenian Striped & Lemon Cucumbers, Summer Squash & Zucchini, Lettuce, Peppers, Onions, Carrots, Garlic, Italian & Thai & Lemon & Purple Basil, Zinnias, Santa Rosa Plums & Peaches
Using Your Produce… by Julie Moreno
When tomatoes are in season, I always have a fresh salsa on hand to enjoy with tortilla chips or tacos, but it also makes a topping for a simple chicken breast or grilled summer squash. This recipe today is for Pico de Gallo, which is fresh tomatoes, onion and peppers with garlic, cilantro, and lime. Use any color tomato for an array of color and added flavor. Your best tool to make this is a sharp knife. It will make slicing the vegetables easier. Try using a serrated knife to cut the tomatoes. The serrations keep the knife sharper naturally because all the blade isn’t coming into contact with your cutting board (which is how your knives get dull).
Pico de Gallo
3-4 large tomatoes, diced small
½ cup red or white onion, finely diced
1-2 hot peppers, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
* Combine all ingredients and let sit for
15-20 minutes before serving, if possible.
Stringy String Beans - Our chickens feasted on string beans. We try to send out the best our garden grows, but I was disappointed that the string beans were tough and stringy, even after a good sauté, so the chickens feasted. We had abundant green and purple beans because of the cool June weather. When the plants were young, the beans tasted just like I like them…tender and sweet with a slight crunch, but as the plants aged, the beans got tough. Since I had 2 lbs. of those stringy string beans left from the chicken toss, I decided to make a recipe with green beans, bacon, onions, and tomatoes that Keith’s grandmother made. I haven’t had it in years, and it must cook for an hour and a half. It was delicious! I share her recipe in case you are tempted, as I was, to throw out any stringy string beans.
Slow Cooked Green Beans by All Recipes & Grandma Powers:Cut 6 pieces of bacon crosswise into small pieces and sauté until browned but not crispy. Cut a red onion in half and then lengthwise and add to the bacon on medium until brown but not burned. Add three cloves of minced garlic, one or two large, skinned, chopped tomatoes, 4 cups of chicken broth, salt, pepper to taste and a dash of cayenne pepper. Add about 2 lbs. of fresh green beans, bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, and slow cook for 1 and ½ hours. Be sure to add water if it boils down too far before finishing. Serve and enjoy!
Fruit Crumble Bars
I will usually eat fruit fresh out of hand, and if I have too much, I freeze it to use in smoothies or sorbet. This year I have had so many of my own nectarines and peaches I was looking for something new. This dessert checked all my boxes: easy, looks good, tastes great, and it’s easy.
Fruit Crumble Bars
3 cups all-purpose flour
4-5 cups fresh peaches (or other fruit) peeled
and cut into cubes (8-10 small fruits)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan or line with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In a small bowl beat the egg lightly and add the vanilla. Mix the egg/vanilla mixture with the flour mix until evenly moistened. Press a little more than half of the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a separate bowl, combine the peaches/fruit with the ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Pour the peaches/fruit on top of the base layer and then evenly distribute the remaining portion of the flour mix over the top of the peaches/fruit. Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
The Uncomfortable Path to Comfort
by Cindi J & Keith F Martin
My mom was one of nine children born to sharecroppers working a Santa Rosa, California, farm during the 1920’s and 30’s. Those Depression years were inexpressibly hard for her, so our venture into farming calls forth sore and unspeakable memories related to their poverty and deprivation. Still casting dark shadows are terribly painful memories of helping her dad slaughter and butcher beloved animals to feed the family.
It is rare in our modern urban and suburban landscapes to grow vegetables or raise livestock, let alone engage in slaughtering and butchering animals for food. Ironically, children often watch television dramas portraying wanton violence and death, but they are shielded from viewing the dead body of a loved one or beloved family pet. In truth, we withhold from our children a natural opportunity to learn an essential emotional and interpersonal skill: healthy grieving of a painful loss. Agriculture and animal husbandry can acquaint children and adults with not only the joys but also the sorrows that are a natural part of life. Through farming, we learn to incorporate and process deferred hope, unmet expectations, loss, death, grief, healing, and restored hope during the life cycle of our garden plants and livestock. Children, and even adults, need support to embrace, rather than avoid, the intense and uncomfortable feelings processed in grieving.
A few years back, I faced a painful and savage reality of country life. Raccoons ravaged our Wellspring flock of chickens one night, wantonly slaughtering 21 of our 25 laying hens. Going to gather eggs from “my ladies” the morning after, I came upon blood-stained feathers, torn wings, twisted legs, and headless bodies scattered throughout the coop and nearby fields. Horrified, I plowed headlong into the grieving process - shock, denial, anger, sadness, and bargaining (aka “what if’s”). Looking back, I am grateful for friends who allowed me – uncensored - to express my raw feelings and describe graphic images of carnage seared into my mind and breaking my heart. They didn’t try to talk me out of my sorrow or cheer me up prematurely. They embraced me, joined me in my pain, by letting me talk through the horror of my discovery and the sorrow of my loss. That is the grieving process.
Adults may think children morbid for wanting to know or talk about the death of a loved one, but that is precisely what they need to make a way through their grief. That is what my mom needed for her pain years ago and still needs today. It may sound counterintuitive, but acknowledging, expressing, and incorporating the pain of a broken heart helps it heal. Mourning is the path to comfort.