Friday, July 30, 2010

colorful produce

The other day I harvested a big bucket of vegetables.
Included in the haul are:

yellow squash (Early Straightneck)
sweet red Italian peppers (Jimmy Nardello variety)
green beans (McCaslan)
purple beans (Louisiana purple pod)
Cherry tomatoes (Matt's Wild Cherry)

luna moth

I saw a luna moth at the kitchen door the other night.  This wasn't the hugest one I've ever seen, but it was really cool looking.  It kept banging itself against the door, and the only way I could make it stop was to turn off all the lights inside.

Another visit to Three Sisters Farm

The Cookeville Master Gardener's group made a field trip last week to Three Sisters Farm near Cookeville.  The farm has a booth every Saturday at the Cookeville farmer's market.  There really are three sisters who do the work of growing the vegetables, along with their mother.

Here is Ashley, welcoming the group to the farm:

The first thing I noticed was baby figs growing on a fig tree. I think Wendy said it was a Brown Turkey fig:

Nearby was a companion plant to figs, arugula.  In Italy, figs are often served with arugula.  The arugula had been under a low tunnel or hoop house, which you can see in the background.

The vegetable garden is laid out in neat wide rows with mowed paths.

Although it was pretty hot that evening, everybody enjoyed walking around and looking at all the food.  We saw tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, okra, peppers, gourds, and these interesting long beans.

Long beans are in the same family with black-eyed peas, and they are easier to grow in hot weather than regular beans.  Insects don't seem to bother them. Some of them are almost two feet long!

Another unusual vegetable we saw was this red okra:

The farm also grows and sells flowers. The sunflowers were particularly spectacular when we visited.

Some of us went down to the barn to see some new baby goats.  They were very sweet and tame, and you could pick them up and cuddle them and kiss their lips, and they didn't mind at all, even though both were billies.

These two little billies are twins.

After the tour we had watermelon, and chips and salsa, and we sat in the shade and talked.  Trevor told me about his deer hunting plans for fall, and he climbed up into a deer stand in the backyard.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blueberry Ice Cream

Tom and I picked thirty pounds of blueberries yesterday, at Hidden Springs Orchard, near Cookeville, TN.  That amounted to about 8 gallons or so.  They were very beautiful and sweet.

I made jam this morning of course, using a pretty straightforward recipe:  9 cups of berries to five cups of sugar, cook to gelling point, ladle into jars, process 10 minutes.

Also this evening I made blueberry ice cream. OMG. The best ever.  Just the color alone would be reason to make this, but it is also awesomely good.

I used this recipe from an old Gourmet, but I messed with it a little:  I used creme fraiche for part of the cream.  Creme fraiche is sort of like sour cream.  I make it by warming cream to 86 degrees, then adding a little buttermilk (1/4 cup per quart of cream) and letting it sit on the counter overnight. It thickens and gets tart and is good in everything, savory or sweet.

Also, the recipe instructs you to strain the blueberry/sugar mixture after cooking it, but I didn't, and neither did most of the cooks who reviewed the recipe on the epicurious website.  The ice cream has a little texture of blueberry seeds and skins, but that seems perfectly ok.

So go to Hidden Springs Orchard, pick your blueberries and go to it. You only need two cups of blueberries for this recipe, so you could just buy them at the Cookeville farmer's market on Saturday from Brinna.