November 2020

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Glorious Greens of Fall

A riot of autumn greens –chard and kale.

Between the withering heat of summer and the icy winds of winter comes the season we normally associate with warm colors –orange,red and gold –and later the browns of stick season. But for gardeners,these are the seasons to relish and admire [...]

Home-dried tomatoes

Tomatoes drying in the sun,covered by cheesecloth.

Given the options for preserving the bounty of tomatoes –canning,freezing or drying –I prefer the method that combines the most flavor for the least amount of energy and storage space. Tomatoes dried in the sun (with a little help from a dehydrator) [...]

Summer Cilantro

Home grown coriander seeds with its offspring,a clump of cilantro.

A favorite seasoning of tropical cuisines ought to grow happily in summer but Cilantro just doesn’t. It much prefers the cold. How can an herb featured in Mexican and Southeast Asian dishes have such an aversion to heat? I ponder this mystery each [...]

Evergreen Pesto

Fresh basil with bags of frozen pesto

Basil,that indispensible warm-weather herb and best friend of tomatoes has been a gardener’s favorite for years. Yet during my first 25 years,basil was no more than a jar of gray,flavorless flakes in the spice cabinet –a far cry from the verdant and evocatively [...]

Wet walks and warming food

Wet woods in May at a patch of wild leeks.

Record-breaking flood levels on Lake Champlain,saturated soils,galloping streams,and days of rain. Depression and complaints about the weather abound. But rain can be beautiful too.

Tromping through dripping,soggy forests can be miserable but with a water proof cap,a rain jacket [...]

Salad in a closet

Belgian endive grown as a root crop.

Imagine a care free-crop you can grow all summer,pick in the fall and store in a closet for winter harvests of fresh,crunchy salads. It’s not a dream but a Belgian endive!

I’ve just started harvesting my 2010 crop this month. It all started back in [...]

Beans –the magical fruit

Beans at various stages of maturity from scarlet runner and other pole bean varieties.

Beans have me entranced. Each year I plant ever more varieties for drying and shelling. The colors,patterns and sizes,the smooth coolness clicking through my fingers,the ease with which they grow,and the tasty and nutritious meals they [...]

Giving thanks for the 2010 harvestGiving thanks for the 2010 harvest

Green tomatoes picked before frost,ripening on trays

We’ll be staying close to home for Thanksgiving so can source the majority of ingredients for the feast from our 2010 harvests. As with every growing season,there were notable ups and downs but thanks to unusually good weather for plants,the successes far exceeded [...]

Mushroom hunting conditionsMushroom hunting conditions

Enough chicken of the woods to feed an army. Found near my house today,but too far gone to pick for good eating.

Two weeks ago heavy rains penetrated even the dense canopies of evergreen trees,soaking the ground. Then came a heat wave. A week later our woodsy world erupted in mushrooms. [...]

Raspberry jam dazeRaspberry jam daze

Boiling juice first and adding fruit at the end to preserve color,taste and texture of raspberries.

Hot,sticky,sweet Jam in July.

Raspberries ripen fast in a heat wave,at a rate of 2 quarts a day from my 40′row. With no chest freezer at our house,making jam has proven [...]