Thursday, October 17, 2013

Celebrating the Harvest 2013

As a gardener, the most important outcome of the garden season is the harvest.  That is what all the digging, weeding, planting, sowing and weeding is about; the harvest.  I'm always amazed when I begin to fill bowl after bowl of vegetables from a picking - it's really gardening "nirvana."

So I decided to put together a post featuring some Instagram snapshots that captured this years harvest.  It's a quick look at why we do what we do in the garden.

This past 2013 season was certainly no disappointment either.  Besides the fact that we had so much rain and cool temps, we still managed to bring in haul after haul of garden produce.

Sure our peppers languished for the early part of the season, but September proved to be a great month with nice mild temperatures; more sun and less rain.  All of a sudden our peppers really began putting on lots of fruit. 

We have scores of them and mostly hot peppers at that.  I'm not sure when I'm going to learn how to not plant SO many hot varieties.  Yes, we love them hot, but we do have our limits.  

By the way...if you ever want to learn how to eat hot peppers - start growing them and you'll soon find ways to use them.  I never ate a hot pepper 20 years ago, now we have a slight addiction to them.

Sadly, our tomatoes didn't fare as well.  They always suffer from Septoria Leaf Spot (a fungal disease which affects the plant) in our garden at home, but I usually still get a decent crop.

We did manage to get enough tomatoes to can this year, but many were under-ripe and very small.  All the rain and cool temperatures wreaked havoc on those temperamental Mediterranean plants.  It may not make the best sauce this year but at least it's our tomatoes with no added pesticides; thank you very much!  

Despite a bleak outlook in the beginning, most everything did well and we had more than enough to eat, preserve and share.  Which, I think, is really what it's all about.  I really love the harvest, it makes me feel so wealthy and successful.  I guess that's what it's supposed to do. :)

How was your harvest this year?  Blessings! 

Shared on these blog parties...Waste Not, Want Not Wednesdays
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways  Natural Living Link Up
Monday's Homestead Barn Hop 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Eating Well in the City: West Side Market

One thing is for sure; the city offers some amazing spaces, great architecture and interesting places.  We live only 40 miles away from Cleveland and manage to go downtown every once in a while.  When we do, discovering the food it has to offer has to be top on our list. 

The food doesn't have to just come from a restaurant either.  As a matter of fact, visiting its city market is one of my favorite places to go.  With roots going back to the 1840's - this market boasts of not only great food, but is full of history as well.  I end up feasting with my eyes as well as my appetite.

It is home to over a hundred vendors and believe me, they sell everything.  It's an eater's paradise.  The variety is endless and begs of repeat visits to at least get a glimpse of all that is for sell.

This leads me to my next thought...Eating well in the city is actually easier than I would have thought.  Sure, you have to walk past all the racks and displays of cookies, pastries, cakes, and candy (it's really ok to nibble along the way) to find some vendors that offer artisan breads, cheeses, and produce.   

A city market does so much for the local economy.  It provides small businesses great opportunities to thrive and grow.  It provides an outlet for small farmers and gardeners who need to sell produce.  It encourages artisanal foods and recaptures old world methods of growing, baking, cooking and eating. 

 It also is a vast artistic display that encourages creativity not only in food but in the way we think about food.  There's no way I'm thinking about french fries and pizza here...too many other great foods to discover and explore.

It really is a center and a gathering place for young and old alike to celebrate ethnic heritages, great food and learn new traditions.

With this constant traffic flow of produce and food from the burbs and countryside, it ensures the quality of food for many urban dwellers.  I am almost thinking that it's a bit easier for them to eat well at least when it comes to having more healthful choices.  

I know we ate really well that day and came home with some prizes too.  With new vendors selling Black Tuscan Kale and other organic produce, I felt as if I was walking through a garden. Looks like city pavement owners have their own bit of livin' in the green as well.

What's your favorite town or city market space?  Blessings!

For more info on the West Side Market, click here.

Linked to these amazing blog parties... Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways ,
Homestead Barn Hop
Waste Not, Want Not Wednesdays