Sunday, September 12, 2010

Out of the GARDEN and into the KITCHEN

One of the best feelings is when I make a delicious meal using garden fresh ingredients! This summer I have been so fortunate to do that a lot.

Yum. Homemade pizza - fresh tomato sauce, garden squash, fresh basil, and mozzarella

Tanner and I planted a little garden box to the side of our house and used the flower bed in front of our house as a little garden patch as well. As you know, we live in the mountains - about 6,000 plus feet high - so our crop season is about 3 weeks shorter than the average in Utah and also we deal with a lot of wind and not a lot of pollinating bees. These circumstances make it a little more difficult to farm.

Making our garden box
In our garden box we planted beets, carrots, collard greens, swiss chard, peppers, tomatoes and squash. The peppers and squash were a flop. Like I mentioned above, we are lacking on pollinating bees up here, so the squash and zucchinis never make it. Tanner tried to hand pollinate, but to no avail. Our squash must have been taking birth control, because it never did produce - even after artificial insemination. The peppers were lame too. I have decided never to plant peppers again. I have no idea how a little plant can produce such large veggies . Maybe I have never seen a good pepper plant - all the ones I've ever seen only get to be about 1 foot tall, but all the peppers I buy are the size of a baseball. I don't get it.

Just the beginnings - it got a lot bigger!

The carrots, beets and collard greens did quite well, well meaning I got to eat them. They were small. But it's our fault. The soil we put in our garden box is rocky, sandy and hard. Next year I am getting soft, lush, dark soil and will plant veggies for my green smoothies and scratch the peppers and squash. I pulled my last carrots and beets last week. They were so yummy in my smoothie, but I was sad to see the last crop go.

We have had tremendous luck in our front garden bed with Green Beans. Oh, how I love a good green bean!!! Yum. Last year I planted green beans for the first time. Tanner said they would not grow, but I cared and tended for my little seeds and we had a great harvest. The Green Bean Gods blessed us again this year.  The tomatoes did pretty good too, they are Tanner's favorite.
Just the little starts
Reaping the "veggies" of our labors
My herb garden


We also are participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). A CSA is a share from a local farm. Every week we get a little bundle of amazingly fresh produce hand-picked from a local farm. The CSA we joined is called Jacob's Cove. I love it. It is all organic and amazing. I used to hate tomatoes - now that I have tried a REAL tomato I really like them. (The ones at the grocery store are picked green and gassed to turn red...yuck! that is why they taste really bland and sour.)

Fresh greens from our CSA
And then there is our fruit orchard! Before we were married Tanner bought a house in Springville, Utah. Actually, he, his brother, his sister and his mom all bought houses right next to each other - we call it Brown Town. The houses all connect to 2.5 acres of land. So being the self-reliant people the Browns are they planted trees - literally I think there are over 100 trees there now. Tanner has 13 fruit trees (peach, plum, nectarine, apple, pear, cherry). He cares for his trees like I imagine he will for his children. He prunes and thins and waters like crazy. They are lucky trees to have Farmer Brown as their master. They are about 3-4 years old and this year we have been reaping our labors. We have too many peaches to eat! Next year we will be canning them.

Look at all that land! See the chicken coop in the back?
Eating an apple fresh off the tree!


Farmer Brown

Brown Town also has chickens and bees. I love farm fresh eggs and honey. I have never had better honey - honestly. Next year, Tanner and I are going to get 6 hives of our own in our backyard.

Farm fresh eggs!

My honey...in the shirt and in the jar! :)

I love being out in the garden! It makes being in the kitchen so much more pleasant. I love it when I can make a dish and then point to it all and say everything used to make it is fresh and a result of my efforts!

Eating fresh is the best!!!

Homemade ice cream pie using raw milk and almonds for crust.!
Now that fall and winter are approaching I would love a green house or a method of successful indoor gardening. Any ideas?

6 comments:

  1. Your pictures, your food, and your garden look beautifully! You have quite the talent for blogging. What fun and refreshing posts. Wish I were closer to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

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  2. Anne, I LOVE this post! So wonderful. I have yet to plant my own garden but it's something I think about all the time (I really want to grow basil, my favorite herb EVER).

    P.S. I also love that you have a list of books you've read on your blog. I'm always looking for new books to read, so this rocks my world.

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  3. Thanks, Ashley. Out of the books I have read this year the best two are: The Help and The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. LOVED them both!

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  4. Jenny, maybe I will sneak an apple and pear on the plane for you!!!

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  5. Let us commiserate together. I have a beautiful herb garden that was doing wonderfully. My landlord came over while we were gone on Saturday to stain my fence. He stained my ENTIRE herb garden. For the dang love.

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  6. I love your garden Anne. It reminds me of going to my grandparent's house (my Dad's parents) and eating blackberries off of her veins. ~ That pizza looks delicious, by the way. Pizza is one of my most favorite foods. ~ I have been interested in making a garden box. Was it easy to do? Was there a specific plan that y'all followed to construct it? ~ I love the view of the mountains in the background of "Brown Town." The snow capped peaks are just gorgeous. ~ I love that you can get fruit, eggs and honey from their farm. It reminds me of my other grandparent's house (my mom's parents). They lived in the valley of California which is a big agricultural area. There were orange groves for miles and dairy cows everywhere. Every morning, the roosters would wake us up, and we would be off on a new adventure. Thank you for posting this blog. It has brought back so many wonderful childhood memories.

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