My hands hurt. This morning I was determined to revamp the ol’ herb bed. It had been neglected and the crab grass, real name escaping me from sun/ wind whipped brain. Anywho, the grass, grew great, and was choking out my herbs, so Grace and I used compost forks and dug the whole thing up and weeded it. We removed all of the plants and replaced them when we were done. I split her away from the other work that was being done in the hoop and beyond by the brothers Jones. I told her, “This will only take us an hour or so.” No one should listen to a word I say…ever. It took forever. And the bed isn’t even that large, twenty feet or less. While we were keeping it real up front, the bros. were in the back planting carrots and kale and laying drip tape. Busy day, I felt so accomplished and to top it off (by midday), Paul made cilantro pesto for lunch! He took it to another level folks by blending it with avocado and adding lime…HEAVEN IN THE MOUTH!!!! Scroll down and get the recipe! I posted it a few days ago. The photo of Grace and I in all our glory is currently being held hostage on her cell phone, but here’s a pic of the bros. working their magic.
Today! Today, today, TODAY!!!! Today is the final day of our first CSA season. It is quite exciting around here, and yet doesn’t seem real. It feels like only yesterday that we delivered for the first time and said, “Twenty-three more weeks to go.” At that time, the end was not in sight. As the countdown drew closer to the finish line, the sentiment was more like “Pump the brakes.” Now, here we are, at the end. This isn’t the end however. We have committed to ten more weeks, for those who want to sign up for a fall/winter share. The bulk of the work for the season is coming to a close though. A thank you is in order for all of our customers this first go round. Just know that there was a lot of work and effort from both farmers involved, to bring you the best local food experience. Thank you for believing in the value of having fresh, local vegetables delivered. Thank you for understanding the working relationship with your local farmer and how important that is. And lastly, thank you for giving it a shot! We hope to see many of your faces again next year! To Mother Earth, let’s have a more mild summer next year, I missed having copious amounts of tomatoes.
It was in the 50’s today in Northwest Arkansas. It forced me to stay in my pajamas and drink coffee staring out at the grey sky. It also made me wish I had some coffee cake to enjoy with my coffee, along with the baked good smell that would fill the house. So I thought I’d pass this recipe on to you to make your own coffee cake to enjoy on one of your lazy days!
Pecan Coffee Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9×13 inch pan with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sour cream, then beat in sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. By hand, fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter into prepared pan.
- To make the Pecan Topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and remove foil.
Once the tomato tasting and the farmer’s market was a distant memory, meaning later that afternoon I took a look at my “Bronze Leaf” fennel plants and noticed that they were nothing but stems. The culprit(s) were little caterpillars who eventually turn into the blue swallow-tail butterfly. At the time there was only one of these critters on the plant, but there must have been more that escaped my radar. These types of caterpillars attack dill, fennel and parsley. When you touch them these orange feelers pop out of their head. It must be their defense. That and a sour stink that they produce. It doesn’t wash off easily, so if you see these beings and you don’t want them to destroy your plant(s), I suggest wearing gloves to remove them and fling across the yard.
The culprit…atleast the one who I caught. These jerks stripped this plant clean.
This is me touching it to get it to show its defenses. Also, I should note that my glasses fell off my head here and landed near my feet. I decided to leave them there since I was going to take more pictures and they weren’t hurting anyone there on the ground. Make a mental note Amanda, I thought to myself, your glasses are right there. Don’t step on them. Check.
Here is this creature showing its orange defenses, before I flung it far, far away. CRACK! What! Oh NOOOOOOO! I just stepped on my glasses and broke them. Now I dislike that critter even more, and my fingers stink from touching it. So consider this a loss on all fronts. My fennel is toast, my glasses are toast AND my fingers stink. Serendipity.
These are Paul’s shots form when he snuck into the tomato tasting event. He wanted a behind the scenes look at people trying our tomatoes.
A delicious tomato any way you slice it. All day at the farmer’s market people asked, “How do you know it’s ripe?” Because if you notice, there’s a lot of green on it.
These are one of my favorites. TASTY! They’re all tasty, but this Peron variety is really sweet.
This is the variety that a total stranger came up to me at our table and told me they were delicious. That felt nice to get some props from the event.
Another shot of the Chocolate Stripe.
Thanks to all of those who came out to support the Ozarks Slow Food movement and the local farmers who produced all of the lovely tomatoes present.
Here are the pictures of the table from the day we sold out of our wares at the farmer’s market. It was very hot this day and also the tomato tasting event held at the Botanical Gardens, by the Ozarks Slow Foods movement. Remember they bought several varieties of our tomatoes for the event.
The sign that mentions “Certified Naturally Grow” caught one woman’s eye who had a few bags full of produce. She came over and asked a few questions about what it meant. She said to me “Thanks for the information, I think I just bought produce littered with chemicals!” I didn’t want to tell her she was right, but we are “certified” to tell you that we DON’T!
Blackberries, Okra, Chocolate Stripes, Peron’s and beautiful flowers.
That’s pretty much all she wrote. Everything flew off the table and it was a great feeling, I’m not going to lie.
Throughout this year I have been a canning instructor to many a WWOOF pupil. This last time I was able to fly solo and therefore speed up the process. I like canning all alone. No offense to any of those I’ve shown the process to, it’s just a nice thing to do in peace and quiet. I brought my computer along and watched the movie Bruno with the commentary on. It’s amazing what that guy was able to get away with. In the end, it was me and 27 jars of blackberry jam.
Thanks Bayard for letting me get your kitchen hot and steamy while you were out of town.
I read this article in the New York Times today. It’s worth spending the two or three minutes reading.
The Ozark Slow Foods movement held a potluck here, as part of their effort to support local foods and local farmers. Paul and our neighbor Pauline, the produce manager at Ozark Natural Foods, were interviewed before the event by Kyle Kellams, for Ozarks at Large, promoting the event. Please click on the link if you wish to hear the interview. It’s funny in the write-up how they butchered Paul’s last name, Chapracki. It was a nice turn out, where good food was shared, which had to have one local ingredient present. So, needless to say, there were a lot of potato dishes. The event also gave us time to promote our CSA to a new crowd of people who were ripe to listen. Most of the people who came, came because they heard the story on the radio and were intrigued. Thank you to all of you who attended.