Happy Thursday! For my first Thankful Thursday, I want to express my gratitude for the food growers of the country. They’re passionate about what they do, they don’t get nearly enough love and they work harder than most of us could ever imagine. Please, go to your farmers market or your local farm, and thank a grower.
I’m completely spoiled. I live just outside California’s Central Valley, so I have the opportunity to eat local and have a relationship with growers in the area. I try to hit the farmer’s markets as often as I can, I try to visit local farms in the area, and, lucky for us, Fresno State has an amazing farm on campus with a fantastic farm store.
During the long, fruitless winter months, I long for summer produce. It doesn’t matter what the calendar says, summer starts when cherries are in season. From there, I look forward to tomatoes and corn (Fresno State grows the best. It’s not organic, but it is GMO-free). Then summer squash and peppers. I know the end of summer is near with the Fay Elberta peach crop. They signal the beginning of peach season, and my favourite time of year. Around the beginning of August, the Fay Elbertas are available. They’re only around for about a week, and they can be hard to find, but, they are the best peaches on the planet. If you can find some, it’s worth the hunt. Once peach season begins, I have about 6 weeks to gorge myself on locally grown peaches. So far this season, I’ve had 6 different varieties (and still, there are more to be had!). I eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. One of my favourite desserts is pandowdy. Mostly because halfway through baking, I get to smash the crust into the pie.
Tonight, instead of the traditional pie-shaped pandowdy, I made a 9×11 massive pandowdy.
Summer Peach Pandowdy (adapted from my peach pie filling recipe)
4 lbs peaches
3Tbl tapioca starch
1/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a shake of nutmeg
Your favourite pie crust (I can’t lie, I was too lazy to make my own tonight. I used a frozen one)
Mix filling ingredients and add to pan. Lay your crust over the filling and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes. Pull the pan out of the oven and turn the oven down to 350. Slice the crust into 1 inch diamonds (like baklava!). Take a spoon and smash (gently) the diamonds into the filling.
Return it to the oven and bake at 350 for 28 minutes.
Wooooo! I’m doing a happy spring dance as I type.
I mostly started my plants from seed. Most of the seeds I got from Cubits on Etsy. She’s great. I’ve ordered seeds from her for two years now. Check her out if you’re even remotely interested in starting plants from seed.
So far, I’ve planted:
Patti Pan Squash
Black Beauty Zucchini
Amish Paste Tomatoes
Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Italian Noir Tomatoes
Bush Delicata Squash
Early Tall Top Beets
Mini Red Bell Peppers
Random Colored Bell Peppers (yellow, white, purple, red, and orange)
From Prior Years, I have:
Mystery Lettuce (It didn’t germinate last year, but it came up full-force this spring)
Strawberries (My dad keeps threatening to pull his mess of strawberries out, so I stole some for myself – they produce *amazing* berries)
Oregano (it’s out of control, personally, I think we should just pull it)
Next to plant:
Little Finger Eggplant
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
I’m not growing any really big squash or melons this year, as we had a pretty dry winter, and I’m not honestly sure if we’ll have enough water for what I’ve planted.
The real fun began after I bought little 2″ terracotta pots and made some adorable plant markers:
These were super easy. I just used tiny terracotta pots (super cheap at craft stores), used tiny alphabet stamps to stamp the type of plant onto it (I used Patio Paint), and Modge-Podged ladybugs and butterflies onto a couple of pots. Recycle your old wire coat-hangers – straighten them out, cut them in half, then curl them into shepherd’s hooks, and hang the pots off them.
Do you garden? What do you use to label your plants?
No, I’m not hosting the giveaway. Vegan Machine is giving away a really great handmade recipe album on her blog.
Each recipe card will have the winner’s name printed at the top, and on the cover of the album.
The giveaway starts now, and closes Sunday, March 8th, at 11:59pm, winner will be selected Monday, March 9th.
For more details, and photos of a great example of the recipe book, check out Vegan Machine’s giveaway post.