Sunday, July 25, 2010

The apple doesn't fall far...

This is a family shout-out to my parents, who are not only my biggest blog fans, but sometime, a long time ago, planted the "green" seed in me that would someday turn into this blog, by ALWAYS keeping a garden (pun intended).  I remember being little (I mean, littler than now) and excited to pull the carrots out of the ground... carrots came out of the ground!!  And were covered in roots and dirt!! So cool!!  I still think it's pretty cool to see your food as a living thing, growing from a seed or tiny plant into what ends up on your plate...

Anyway, here's what's happenin' in Dad's garden these days:

The asparagus is getting tall!  Just a few months ago, Dad wouldn't even touch an asparagus-- now he's growing it! Only 2 more years to harvest...

The first ripe hot cherry pepper of the season!

Tomatoes still need some time though...

Cucumbers, on the other hand, are doing just fine.  Here's Dad holding some of his cuke bounty.

MMMM garlic. My favorite.  These are the hard-stemmed ones, which I swear are spicier (meaning I can use only 1 or 2 cloves instead of my usual 3 or 4...) Store-bought garlic doesn't stand a chance against my dad's garlic.  Vampires beware..

And Mom isn't just mooching off of Dad's garden.  Her herb garden adds the spice to his veggies.

Spearmint, basil, parsley, and oregano-- this is her donation to her herb-free daughter (btw, she did enter my apartment, holding this bag of herbs, saying she "had some herbs for her daughter!") are my roots.  (tee hee!)  My excitement over home-grown veggies isn't new, it's been cultivated over many years by my semi-locavore parents.  OK, I'm done with the gardening jokes.

Tomato-Cucumber Salad (a summer favorite in my home)

and spearmint (Mom likes it full-leaf style)

onion (optional)
grated cheese (garnish- optional)

vinegar (red-wine or apple cider, whichever is your taste)
salad oil
salt and pepper to taste

Slice everything (except spearmint) and put in a bowl.
Add vinegar, salad oil, salt and pepper (basically all to your taste).
Stir up, and add your spearmint, and grated cheese, if you choose it.

Let sit for a bit (15ish minutes) for the flavors to marinate before serving.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mohawk Village Farmer's Market

This one is for my Mohawk Valley followers!  Last week while visiting my parents, my mom and I made a stop at the Mohawk Valley Farmer's Market.  This market takes place on Wednesdays in front of the Weller Library on West Main Street in Mohawk.

As you might expect from a tiny town like Mohawk, this was a tiny market, but props to them for making the effort!  And although there weren't a large number of stands like markets I've visited in the Capitol Region, there were a couple of great vendors that make the Mohawk market a valuable place to visit.

The first stand to catch our eye was stacked with breads, cookies, and fudge baked by Colinda's Sweets and Treats from Holland Patent.  Here we purchased cinnamon buns.  At $4, I thought they were a little pricey, but they were AMAZING.  These are not your Pillsbury cinnamon buns.  The cinnamon and sugar formed a candy coating around the bottom, and they came with a tub of cream cheese frosting. OMG.

My mom is spreading on the cream cheese frosting... yummm!

Next, we were on the hunt for yellow beans, which are apparently hard to find in the Mohawk Valley this year, according to my grandfather.  Seeking out farmstand beans during the summer has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember-- at least during the summers when my grandfather didn't just plant them himself.

We struck gold here in Mohawk.  One stand stood out from all the rest: Miller's Country Kitchen from Richfield Springs.  Stacked on the tables were piles of some of the most beautiful produce to be found... including yellow beans, which my mom bought for $2.50.  It's funny that she thought this was expensive, because then I saw them this weekend in Saratoga for $4/box.  So stock up while you're in Mohawk!

Check out the delicious produce from Miller's:

Here's our yellow beans! (And some green ones, too!)

It's zucchini season.... brace yourself! (Also notice the picture perfect cherries to the right.)

Miller's apparently makes their own jam.. we didn't buy any, but it looked good.

It's worth it to stop in Mohawk just for Miller's veggies and Colinda's dessert.  And it's pretty convenient that it's during the week, so you can stop by to pick something up for dinner.  I also hear that Herkimer has a market on Thursdays, and it would be my guess that many of these same vendors would be there, too.  I'm excited that the Mohawk Valley has gotten involved in the farmer's market concept, especially considering we are surrounded by so much beautiful farmland.  I remember as a kid having to drive out on the highways looking for the farmstands... it's convenient that they're now collecting in one place!  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grow NYC

Since Upstate and Downstate are pal-ing around now, I thought I'd post this website I stumbled upon for my downstate/ Jersey friends who might be interested in a day-trip to pick their own fruit, as well as information about other green options in their counties.  It's called Grow NYC, and it not only lists farms per county, but also general information about the Greenmarket (I think it's their website), education, jobs, volunteering, and newsletters.  Check it out! (And let me know if you do!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Saratoga Farmer's Market

Hi Greenies!  It's been awhile... I took my first week of summer vacation to heart!  Though mostly I've been trying to keep cool during this heat wave, we did have some fun in the sun this weekend at the Saratoga Farmer's Market.  Here's some pics of what we experienced:

Most of the market is covered, which is helpful during this intense weather!

Apparently you can get multi-colored carrots! I didn't buy any, but I came close.  I don't even like carrots, but these are super fun.

There were a LOT of plants for sale here... flowers, veggies, etc.-- more here in Saratoga than at any other market I've been to yet.  I'm soooo jealous for a garden...

Here's Erin gazing down at her favorite purchase--- some fresh red raspberries.  We're now in the peak of raspberry season, so these should be popping up everywhere, and at reasonable prices (you can also go out and pick some if you can stand the heat!).

This was a very large market, possibly bigger than the Troy Farmer's Market, and I bought quite a bit here... some small red potatoes and yellow squash, which we grilled up on Sunday for our 4th of July BBQ, a huge head of green leaf lettuce for $2.50 (not bad at all), and some rainbow swiss chard, my new favorite leafy green.  I get a Fail for taking pictures of my food before I ate it this time! (I was too excited to eat it!) but I promise, all was delicious.  However, don't make the mistake we made: we totally forgot a cooler.  This meant we were unable to buy the fresh eggs, yogurt, cheese, free-range chicken, or grass-fed beef that was also for sale here.  (I was especially disappointed because I saw my fave yogurt from Argyle Farms, also available in Troy, but couldn't bring any home with me this time.) Something I haven't yet seen anywhere else were fresh mushrooms for sale.  I didn't buy any: at $10 for the small box, they were a bit over my price range, but it was still great that they are available.  Also, there was a stand of some local wines for sale, as well as a pie-tasting contest (free pie??), and honey iced tea for 25 cents.  

Finally, the best part of heading up to Saratoga for the Farmer's Market is that you're then in Saratoga, and can walk around town to shop and have lunch, which we did, of course.  My opinion is that it's totally worth the drive this summer if you have a Saturday free.  This was an awesome market, but what else would you expect from Saratoga?