Food & Farm Update – Fall 2009

28 Nov

Garden:

Oddly enough, the Marvel Stripe tomatoes keep appearing even though I have stopped watering the plant and it is half dead. A couple weeks ago I collected all of the green tomatoes from the plant and have been pickling them – but I will talk about that a bit later. The herbs are still doing just fine in the shady spot that they are in and I have been using my most of our food scraps to start on the compost for next spring. I also discovered that some plants that I originally thought were some sort of beans (not because they had any pods, but because they were growing where I planted a bunch of beans) turned out to be sunchokes! Hurray for unexpected edible things!

Food:

I’ve had some success and some failure over the past few months. first, I had another unexpected find a few weeks ago – but this time it was at the farmers’ market.  As I was stopping by the Massa Organics booth to pick up some rice,  I noticed the farmer was there! I had not met him before and we chatted a bit. I found out that he was there because once or twice a year (litterly, two days a year – once in fall & once in spring) they have Peking duck to sell.  As an organic farmer, ducks have become an important part of his pest and weed control. So, I bought one. I had never cooked duck before and knew full well that I might totally destroy it but it seemed too good to pass up. A couple weeks later I had a small dinner party and cooked it up and it turned out great. Thanks to Australian chefs Corrine Evatt and Mary-Jane Craig!

I also took a class on making kimchee and sauerkraut. The kimchee turned out great and I even managed to trade some for a beer at my favorite local bar! The sauerkraut that I made a few months back turned out well, but this one somehow went all haywire. It may have been because of the juniper berries that were added (a flavor I am not accustomed to in sauerkraut) or there’s some new and special kind of mold or bacteria, but it had a weird, almost detergent-like flavor and left a very dry taste behind – like a really dry red wine. It smelled strange too. Since I was a bit too uncertain, I decided to compost it. It’s a pity as I was really looking forward to eating that kraut as it had a variety of interesting ingredients that I never would have thought to use. The pickled green tomatoes are working out very well! I am not sure what I will use them with yet. with all of this pickling that I am doing, I had better figure something out! I find fermentation interesting and exciting but the reality is that we never ate anything other than dill pickles when I was growing up.  So, I’m not entirely sure what so do with all this pickled food. Suggestions are welcome!

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