Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Myths that have taken REAL food off our tables.

I listened to " The People's Pharmacy" on NPR today. They had a GREAT show about foods that have been demonized in our culture by the processed food industry. Like RAW milk. That's right. How many people reading this blog think of raw milk and shudder in fear?! 
I grew up on this stuff. We drank it with breakfast, lunch and dinner. We made our own butter and something we call "kohupiim" - a type of cottage/ricotta cheese. My mom usually had a 3 liter jar of milk on the cool end of the wood stove sitting out, on room temperature, until it curdled and turned sour. Oh boy, there is nothing better than "hapupiim" ("sour milk") on a hot summer's day... 
We also cooked with lard, and believe me, LOTS of meals were fried. Fried potatoes, fried eggs, fried bread, fried fat back, fried macaroni... pancakes... yet very few people in Estonia were overweight or had heart problems, until we started importing lots of processed, prepackaged foods from outside of the country. Same with allergies. Disease followed the change in diet from traditional to "politically correct".
You can listen to the proadcast on "The People's Pharmacy" website, and HERE. (I hope it works - let me know if it doesn't!)
I am not going to repeat all that they discussed today, I strongly suggest you listen to this broadcast. It is crucial that we start thinking for ourselves and making some better decisions for our families. 
I have preached RAW MILK for years, and am glad to see science (and media) starting to come around and back up this common sense knowledge that people lived with for thousands of years... before the processed food industry started brainwashing us and controlling the lives of our farmers.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What's up in the garden.

Lots of weeds first of all!!! I spent a few hours going over the garden with a weed eater. Got most of the mess, but The eater ran out of string and I was overheated, so I gave up for today. I saw at least 3 toads while weedeating, so that's cool! 
CSA has gotten off to a good start I would say. The time of the greens is almost over, so we may hit a low point in a week... unless Chard carries us over. I have some red russian kale growing at home too, which looks pretty healthy. We'll see. 
I've planted most of the tomato, pepper and basil plants. Lots of Marygolds, some sweet alyssum, some squashes, parsley, cilantro... radishes... Radicchio looks good - it's been cool enough this spring, and we may tease a few carrots out of this weather too! Andreas insisted in planting carrots, and I'm not gonna stand in the way of a kid wanting to plant anything!
Still waiting to fill the Wonky Doo #2. I have a plan to plant eggplants under a row cover in that bed, along with more basil and second batch of cucumbers or something... We have lots of flea beetles in the garden. They have even sneaked in to the greenhouse, so I'm hoping that by using the row cover the plants will get chance to get established better before the beetles feast on them. I found a few jalapeno peppers on the 3 plants we have in the garden... the pepper and tomato time! Can't wait!
I also started potting some herbs for our planter fundraiser which is coming up June 6'th. There's this tiny basil that grows into a neat, pretty round bush called "Pistou" that I started this spring... Perfect for a pot.
I hope you will find the "Vegetable of the Week" to be an informative new addition to our blog. I'm still working out the format... It may end up in the right side bar, along with other info on this blog, although I don't think there is a way to archive entries in the Gadget Text block.?
 Also, I may not get to post a NEW vegetable EVERY week, but most weeks... I hope...
Adam and I are going to check out the Tour D'Coop this weekend in Raleigh also - there'll be plenty to relate! And we really need inspiration to build the coop for our girls at home - they are getting too big!

Wegetable of the week. Pak Choi.

Bok Choy (Pak Choi)
This graceful vegetable with Chinese origins has spread throughout Asia and beyond, developing a wide range of varieties. The most typical Pak Choi features dark green leaves atop white spoon-shaped upright stems. Stems vary considerably in thickness and shape, and in some varieties they are green. One variety produces a rosette of dark green leaves close to the ground. There are specialty pak chois that have frilly leaves to light yellow-green color. The slight mustardy flavor of Pak Choi makes it a delightful addition to stir-fries, soups, noodle and meat dishes, and salads, if the young leaves are used. In China, the coarser leaves are often pickled. Some Chinese cooks also dip the leaves in boiling water and hang them out to dry in the sun for several days. Drying enables this highly perishable vegetable to be stored for winter months. Asian cooks use the entire plant at many stages of development.

Information from

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vegetable of the Week. MIZUNA.


Elegant, deep green and saw-toothed leaves have a mild yet tangy flavor. This tender green leaf lettuce makes an excellent mix for salads, stir fries and soups.

Serving Ideas

Mizuna is generally mixed with other lettuces to enhance the appearance, flavor, and nutritional value of salad. The leaves can be added to soups at the end of cooking; the heat of the broth will cook them sufficiently.

This information came from EVERGREENHERBS.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

First week of CSA

Yesterday was our first veggie day of STARworks Garden CSA. 
There was a LOT to give out - lettuce, mizuna, collards, bak choi, some spinach,  arugula and cilantro. The first batch of radishes was already too big last week... carrots are still too small...
and lettuce is on it's last leg. 
I have learned something this year - we could have started our distribution about 2-3 weeks earlier with young lettuce, considering when I started the seeds. Growing vegetables is not rocket science, but it does take a few years of building up the experience. I have grown vegetables for my family for quite some years now, and I grew up on a farm... but growing food for other people is a little bit different. Planning the dates for starting seeds to transplanting to harvesting has to be a little more accurate. When I grow for myself I don't really care if I'm a few weeks early or late, and I can pick whenever I fancy, instead of set deadlines - so there is considerably less stress involved. 
Anyway, aside from being stressed about overgrown lettuce and my lack of planning experience
the garden looks great, stuff is growing, I'm planting peppers, tomatoes and basil in every space that becomes available from leafy greens... there is Swiss Chard ready to be picked at next week, yellow wax beans are starting to bloom, peas are forming a few pods...
All is good!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wonky Doo # 2 and other stories

This Sunday Adam, the kids and I came to work - as the week days are not usually enough to get everything done... Adam graded the ground with Bobby (Bobcat). We think this site used to be a dump at some point - we're always unearthing  various pieces of metal, glass, bricks and whatnot. There also seems to be a layer of concrete poured on top , under a thin layer of gravel and dirt... when we grade the concrete breaks into chunks. I am using all those chunks to edge
flower beds...  
So anyway. Back to sunday. We built Wonky Doo # 2 right next to the original Wonky Doo. The grading work for our front yard walking trail will start next week, and we will use any topsoil from that project to dump it in the new bed, mix it with composted cow manure - and it will be ready to go!!! I have plenty of tomato, eggplant and pepper plants that are practically jumping out of their pots to get out of the greenhouse and into some open air.

This morning I built a lasagna bed on the north end of Wonky Doo # 2 to mach the one on the end of Wonky Doo # 1. I planted some Hollihocks, German Chamomile, Bee Balm in there.
I'm sort of experimenting with this lasagna method - using whatever we have available. I start with a layer of cardboard which is an abundant waste product in our building. I use it mainly to block the weeds. Today I laid a thick layer of spoiled hay on top of the cardboard and topped the lasagna off with about 4 -5 inches of composted cow manure. Eventually the hay will compost and add plenty of organic matter to the bed.
These pansies are in the flowerbed at the end of Wonky Doo #1. I gathered the seed from my grandmothers garden in Estonia few years ago and started the seeds in a flat last fall, not sure if anything would come up - as I am bad about freezing the seeds... about 8 plants made it through winter, and now they will be an abundant source of seed for next year! They are especially vigorous plants, in deep shade of purple - and fragrant.
So here is a little sampler of what you can expect in your next weeks share! I may flood you with lettuce...  I still have a lot of learning to do about planning ahead...