In the early spring a work relationship drastically changed. A project I fully supported was not to be and I chose to deal with it and make the best of the situation.
There were a few challenges I wanted to accomplish this growing season, no matter what my work situation was, and most of them included sowing, growing, harvesting, preparing, and preserving plenty of plants and flowers. Being connected to the food I wanted to eat and prepare is integral to my career goals but also personal; I want to rely less and less on imported foods during the winter months.
I'm fortunate to have some very supportive people in my life. They understand the needs to experiment, want me to to be healthy, and want to see me be successful in business ventures. I researched, I sourced, I bought seeds. Lots of seeds. And I prepared garden beds. Then another. Then another.
With three gardens to take care of, it's easy to see where the past four months have gone. I just look at all the produce in my fridge and short tan lines for reminders.
One of the gardens I tend to are a set of raised beds. With the homeowner, we weed, seed, smoosh beetles, spray hornets nests, sucker, water, fertilize, and eat wide variety of foods from the gardens. Potatoes x7, turnips x2, tomatoes x 16, beans x4, radish x14, asparagus, herbs x30-40, cauliflower x3, broccoli x3, onions x6, peppers x7, eggplant x2, brussel sprouts, kale, swiss chard, lettuce greens x5, garlic, squash/melon/cukes x16, strawberries, edamame, carrots x6, parsnips, peas, cabbages x4...and edible flowers. 99.9% grown from seed.
Of the two other gardens I tend one is a 40 x 20-foot plot south of the city where I am attempting to grow different squashes/melons and sunflowers. I say attempt because the deer have had their way with my sunflowers. Waited until the tops were lush and full then came along and ate every leaf off the stalks. I sowed the squash/melon seeds twice as the heat took a few of them out in early June. The ones that have taken should make it through to the harvest. The other garden is in my backyard. I didn't plan on preparing a garden in it this year for a couple of reasons. One: it needs to be seriously amended because it's full of clay and two: the yard backs on to a ravine (the prettiest view in the entire city, I tell ya!) which was worked by the conservation authority last year and they may have to come back to 'fix' things. A third reason was because I was housesitting for 6 weeks in the spring wasn't sure I had time. As it turns out, a friend lent me a rototiller, my landlord hooked the outside faucet back up, and I had leftover plants from the other gardens that needed a home. The neighbours graciously gave me a key to their toolshed and I promised to share the harvest. Another garden was born!
Where that leaves me is almost a dream. With the wood-burning oven and Bake Days, a few catering gigs, recipe development, and a vision for a cultural change in our food world, I may not have saw the path that led me here, but I am beginning to see where it is going - tan lines and all.
Summer Corn & New Potato Salad - Recipe
The first potatoes of the year are usually harvested in early summer without any kind of drying or curing so the skins are thin, the flesh sweet. They won't store well so it's best to eat them immediately. For more information on potatoes (and a recipe for Crispy Potato Cakes), check out the 2015 summer edition of Relish Elgin magazine for an article I wrote. Shishito peppers are a Japanese chile pepper that is thin-walled and sweet. The green-yellow peppers are usually tame but every once in a while you find one with a bit of fire. Take your chances - it's part of playing the game. If shishitos cannot be found, check out Asian supermarkets or substitute 1 jalapeno.
4 ears of corn
4 medium sized new potatoes
3 shishito peppers, finely chopped
2 T finely chopped red onion
1 T chopped oregano
1 T chopped chervil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 T pumpkin seed oil
2 T olive oil
2 T pumpkin seeds
kosher salt & pepper
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.