Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One Local Summer: Week One

This is the second year that Liz over at Pocket Farm has hosted the One Local Summer challenge. Participants endeavor to create one meal per week comprised of as many local ingredients as they can get their hands on. I watched from the sidelines last year and am looking forward to joining in this year.

Fortunately, we already had a source for local meat. . .

Simply Grazin' Farm raises organic, grass-fed cattle in addition to pigs and chickens.

Our primary veggie source this summer will be our CSA, Upper Meadows Farm. For our first OLS contribution, our farm share provided the salad in addition to many of the herbs used in the preparation. I also supplemented with herbs grown in our own backyard.

Nearby Pennsylvania is known for its mushrooms which our local grocery store carries. So we sautéed some with a handful of amaranth leaves from the farm. This was our first experience with amaranth leaves, and we were quite pleased with this particular preparation.

We rounded out the meal with gnocchi. The gnocchi was made by an Italian specialty shop from the Bronx. I can't really vouch for where they source their ingredients (still beats imported, I guess). I tossed the pasta with brown butter and home-grown sage.

So, all together it made for one tasty, low-mileage meal...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday

Going Native

Often seen "beautifying" highways, yarrow is known for attracting more than just eighteen-wheelers. A native species in my region, butterflies seem to like it, too.

Visit more gardens. . .

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday

Widow's Walk

I picked up this geranium at our town's garden club plant sale. It's known as Mourning Widow or Phaeum, a rather grim moniker indeed. Though when compared to its cheery, window-box cousins, this one does seem a bit more serious.

Visit more gardens. . .

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Roses Make Good Neighbors

When we first moved into our house over 2 years ago we had grand plans for the yard. Mainly we wanted to create an oasis. After years of apartment living, we were ready for our own slice of the great outdoors. Our particular property presented two challenges. One was square footage. The other, privacy. We were lacking for both. After some scheming we came up with a garden plan that allowed for flower beds and veggie gardens, a patio and trellises heavy with roses to shield us from the neighbors. There'd be no grass left to mow. Now as of today, though we haven't achieved everything just yet (there's still grass to mow), we have managed a lot of what was in that initial scheme: there are flowers and vegetables, we've got a patio and yes, we even have roses.

The roses were among our first purchases. Of all the options for creating a "living wall," roses seemed the most appealing. Perhaps this was also testament to how little we knew about gardening and flowers in general. Roses are like the pizza of the botanical world. Ubiquitous in every sense.

Now having gotten my hands dirty with this whole gardening thing, I still can't say that I regret our decision to go with roses. Sure I've since become
acquainted with flowers and vines that are more exotic, less typical. But the roses are working. They keep coming back, stronger and more hearty than before. That's enough for me. And what I really like about our roses is that as they afford us our much needed privacy, they're likewise giving our neighbors something to enjoy as well. That beats a wall or fence any day.