Saturday, September 17, 2011

The House Smells of Vegetables!

Slowing down, still slowing down..........I'm cooking today instead of cleaning garlic, braiding garlic, making up garlic gift boxes, getting a head start on writing our weekly garlic newsletter, or planning ahead about how to organize and actually use ~30 volunteer dietetic students from Michigan State University on Oct 8th who are driving down to help us with garlic planting (thank you!!). is worth the trip outside to do something quickly in the barn in order to come back into the house and smell everything we are in the process of cooking. :-)

I can still vividly remember the startled look on a young woman's face a few years ago when I asked her (she was the young owner of a small organic apple orchard near Yakima, WA) which was her favorite apple variety to make applesauce. With little tears in her eyes and keeping one eye on her young children playing in view at her small understated fruit stand along side the road, she simply told me she no longer knew because she had no time to make applesauce anymore............I remember responding with tears of my own. I wanted to stay to help her. Instead we helped her finish getting her apples out of her truck and onto the tables at her stand and then filled the back seat of our rental car with bushels of several varieties of her organic apples to take back to our son in Seattle, telling him to always make the trip over the mountain range to buy directly from her and to give away what he would not be able to eat to his neighbors and his students.

I listened and integrated her sadness at that moment in response to my question, vowing two things: 1) that would not happen to me (eating and cooking were both simply too important!) and 2) I would always do whatever I could to help young farmers 'make it'. Flash forward to the past two summers after starting our farm in the spring of 2009. I am now completely in synch with her feelings, as we quickly become overwhelmed with the thousands of details involved to successfully grow and sell organic produce on a large commercial scale. Cooking and eating well started to slide to the bottom of our priorities, without even realizing it that first summer..........

A year ago, our first summer to sell our garlic at farmers' markets, we found we were asking our customers how they intended to use our garlic. Quite often we heard ourselves asking 'what time is dinner?', and after a while we began to realize our question was only a 'half-joke', as again we found ourselves too overwhelmed to actually take much time to cook, enjoy cooking, and enjoy eating. This summer we vowed to 'eat better' - seriously! And for the most part we have done much better. It has helped that we began trading our garlic for other great food from our very young new farmer friends.

Thus, I feel I am accomplishing my two vows in one 'slick move'.  However, I still have to 'slow down' from all we need to do for our own crop to make sure our beautiful and delicious bounty grown by our friends gets cooked, eaten, and/or preserved and does not end up in our compost pile, which I would consider a 'crime'. (we have no time to integrate chickens or other animals into our life yet, which would readily convert any 'left-overs' and/or limp vegetables into more food for us).

So today, here is what we are doing, even though it has finally become a beautiful day outside. Dick is making and canning a year's supply of Zesty Tomato Sauce (VERY zesty - a little overload on the hot peppers! - we are debating the name for this sauce - 'Dyer's Double-Dare' anyone?), I am making roasted carrot hummus to take to a potluck with our farmer friends tomorrow, roasting and then freezing red peppers (recipes readily available on the web), making ratatouille in the crock-pot that I will freeze in 2-serving containers for winter enjoyment, putting together a very large pot of broccoli/kale soup to freeze in quarts so we have some quick lunches over the next several months as we wind up selling our garlic and get started with planting, and then I am going to launch into making pickled garlic cloves with the left-over peeled garlic cloves from the garlic tasting last Saturday night. I have not done that before, so I will post the recipe later if it is a great one!

Can you imagine what our home smells like??!! :-) We did 48 pints of salsa two weeks ago (yes, we eat a lot of salsa) and will be doing applesauce, too, at a later date. I will always tip my hat to thank and honor that young woman growing both her beautiful organic apples and her beautiful organic family outside of of Yakima, WA, hoping that today finds her life a little less frazzled and she has found time to make applesauce again. If I lived there, I would still be buying her apples by the bushel, helping her to keep her hope and dream alive for her organic orchard in other ways, too. She represents her community's and our country's best hope for our collective future of both peace and good food for all.

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

PS - In addition to the great smells of our home, I forgot to add the best part of today, that again, while cooking I am listening to the last 3 radio shows of Thistle & Shamrock from my laptop while also open to a recipe in the kitchen, over and over again. I have all that music memorized now. Actually I immediately recognize many of the tunes (even the same artists and recordings) that have been played on this show during the past 25+ years that I have been a faithful listener. I love the dance tunes - roll back the rugs! :-)

1 comment:

Alice Henneman said...

Diana, It is so fascinating to follow you on your journey as an organic garlic farmer. Definitely food for thought!