Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn has Arrived: Seasonal Food

I am now 3 and 1/2 months into this adventure to grow my own and eat local. Since June 1st the only produce that has been bought at a store has been bananas and avocados. These things just don't grown in New England. I've learned to expand the range of vegetables I cook and eat. I've also gained an education in where my local farms are, what they grow and how. The CISA website is a good resource to get started.

So what does mid-September look like for eating local and growing your own. Around here is looks like raspberries from River Valley Farm in Whately, MA, strawberries from Warner Farm in Sunderland, apples from Quonquont Farm in Whately. This led to a few more batches of jam and fruit leather.

September also looks like  a large chest freezer full of greens, corn, cherry tomatoes, fruit, jam, peppers and summer squash. The stores of potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions are growing. They sit in the root cellar along with canned fruits, pickles, ketchup, BBQ sauce, tomato sauce and soups. The last of the heirloom tomatoes came our way this week and made beautiful green, yellow, orange and red sundried tomatoes. So far so good.

We were happy to see some broccoli in our CSA share this week along with butternut squash. I am definitely going to have to find a local source for more cauliflower and broccoli to put away for winter.

Out in the garden the season was just to warm and wet for the broccoli I planted in the garden. I had huge plants but not heads of broccoli or cauliflower. The carrots and brussell sprouts are coming along nicely. I still have plenty of kale and collards growing. I picked the last of the beets, cucumbers, beans and radishes. I still have some cherry tomatoes that are ripening on the vine. They can't take much more cold weather though.

Atreyu, age 11, and I have begun indoor gardening. He has been seed saving all summer. We have yummy peppers, bell peppers, tom-tom cherry tomatoes and red cherry tomatoes growing in the window sill. We also have ornamental peppers that are edible and have quite a kick. We will be planting some lettuce and arugula this week.

Meanwhile here is the favorite recipe around here this week:

Berry Cake This can be made with blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. This is a really moist, melt in your mouth kind of cake. you may need to adjust the flour a little depending on how large your eggs are. I've also made it with honey instead of sugar and whole wheat flour and it works just fine.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup berries

beat butter and sugar.
add eggs and mix
in a second bowl mix dry ingredients
add wet ingredients to dry alternating with milk
add berries
bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in 8x8 pan

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