Archive for ‘Gardening’

November 1, 2012

Our Slow Slide Into Eating Local

When did the local eating – which now seems entirely normal –  begin? Was it our time in Bolivia, when local was mostly the only  food we had? Was it with that first North Carolina peach eagerly awaited and lovingly described by my then fiance (and now husband) as we drove from Chicago to Ocracoke, and then consumed in one delicious minute? Was it when we lived in Southern California and bags of oranges awaited us at the weekly market? Who knows? All of these experiences, and many others, feed our now routine local habit.

Since we have returned to Northern Virginia, we have slowly but surely replaced much of what we eat with locally sourced food.

We started out with the farmer’s market. Produce and bread were our main purchases. Berries, apples, asparagus, and peaches were eagerly anticipated and rapidly consumed.

This initial entre was accompanied by a vegetable and herb garden of our own. Tomatoes were the primary focus here.

We began to purchase bacon at the market and slowly purchased more and more of our meat from the market.

Next up was the CSA. Weekly produce deliveries of what was most bountiful. After an underwhelming start, we now rely on the CSA from June through November. The CSA has expanded our produce comsumption and we now look forward to garlic scapes, butternut squash, and bok choy!

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October 20, 2012

Just Another Saturday

When the morning begins with sunshine and a trip to the Falls Church Farmers’ Market, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be a good day. There were lots of wonderful things at the market today. We still have some summer produce (tomatoes and watermelon were seen today!), but lots of fall produce too.

Our two favorite finds are in the picture below: chanterelle mushrooms and fresh ginger! Must use the ginger and the Napa cabbage in a dish this week.

The chanterelle mushrooms were featured in our breakfast today – with lemon thyme from our garden. They have a wonderful flavor and texture and were quickly consumed! Eggs, cider, and bacon from our dairy delivery (South Mountain Creamery). The avocados, of course, are not. On a side note, when we lived in Bolivia, we had an avocado tree in our front yard. There is nothing like being able to wake up and walk outside and grab an avocado off the tree for breakfast….not something we can do here in Northern Virginia.

And we just had to spend some time in the back yard because it was so darn beautiful out!


Now to bring the day to a close with some beautiful singing.  Here’s hoping you had a wonderful Saturday too!

September 9, 2012

Ugly Tomato Contest Finalists – Please Vote!

Ugly Tomato Contest Finalists – Please Vote!.

One of my favorite farm blogs. Take a moment and vote for your favorite ugly tomato. Now, if only we could taste them too!

June 18, 2012

SSFC Week 3: Garden Greens Vichyssiose

or, what to do with all that lettuce in your fridge.

It is week 3 of the Southern SOLE Food Challenge. To see what everyone is up to, just click on the picture.

In our house, we have had a bit of an unstructured week – with a mom not running on a 100%, a family getting the Eldest ready for Spain, all three kids trying to get  through the end-of-school exams and shenanigans, and the Man of the House engaged in two conferences over the last 5 days, there’s not been a lot of time for cooking.

So when I opened the fridge tonight after piano, and realized that our CSA pick up is tomorrow, I know that whatever I made tonight needed to feature lots and lots of produce.

Fortunately, my go-to recipe guru, Mark Bittman, had written an article in the NY Times magazine on June 3rd, that was stuck up on my cork board, just waiting for me. As those of you who read our blog know, we like vichyssiose – even the Picky Eater. So, the “garden greens vichyssiose” recipe caught my eye. Especially when I saw that it featured substituting “other greens” and “peeled and cubed zucchini” for the leeks.  These I had in my fridge…ready to be put into the soup….!

To make it, here’s what you do:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot.

Add 3 peeled and cubed potatoes, 2 cups “other greens”, and 1 or 2 peeled and cubed zucchini (we actually double the recipe given what we had in the fridge/pantry).

Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, until softened.

Add 4 cups stock (we used the stock we made from the veggie ends that was just hangin’ out in our freezer waiting for its’ turn). And we probably used about 6-7 cups, given that we were just about doubling the recipe.

Boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree, he says. An excuse for using the immersion blender!

Then he recommends cooling. We were hungry, so we just stirred in some milk (as opposed to cream), and put out a variety of garnishes — lemons, parmesan, and hot sauce.  Accompanied by Atwater’s bread, a lovely end to a busy day.

And that, my friends, is one of the local meals that we have enjoyed this week! Bon appetit!


June 3, 2012

Our Garden in June

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May 24, 2012

Getting Ready for the Southern SOLE Food Challenge

So, a group of us, led by Sincerely Emily, participated in the southern group of the Dark Days Challenge.  We had so much fun eating, reading, and writing together, that we have decided to continue to read and write about all that we eat and cook that is S.O.L.E.  For those of you not immersed in alphabet soup (in my other life, I’m a Fed, so it’s normal for me :)!), that is Sustainable, Organic, Local, and/or Ethical.  We’re not going to jump into the definitions here – for me, it’s about eating what is good for our family, what is delicious, and preparing as much as I can from food within the 100-150 mile range of our “homestead.”

This is our badge:

Pretty cool, huh?!

Who is playing along?

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April 22, 2012

Signs of Spring – Happy Earth Day All!

Earth Day is cool and wet, but the day before Earth Day dawned sunny and warm. Signs of spring were everywhere.

1. The farmer’s market is filling out – no crepes yet, but our favorite produce vendors are back.

2. The colors of the market are changing. Now we see brilliant red,

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January 1, 2012

Be It Resolved Version 2012

The Family Foodie is looking forward to an awesome 2012 with lots of delicious growing, cooking, baking, and eating in our year.

This year, we resolve to:

1. Eat one all local meal once per week all year long;

2. Give local and/or organic milk a try;

3. Learn more about local resources in the No Va area;

4. Stockpile summer produce for winter — beyond the pesto which we are still adoring.;

5. And blog about it all!


Here’s looking forward to the best year ever…hope you’ll come along with us on our adventures.

December 14, 2011

A Taste of Summer in Winter

While our neighborhood is flush with Christmas lights,

our freezer is filled with pesto.

This past summer, we were blessed with gargantuan basil plants, and found ourselves spending several Sundays making pesto to freeze just for a night like tonight. We were going to make Tom Ka Kai with some frozen chicken. But the chicken didn’t quite make it out of the freezer this morning, and so that plan was foiled.

But I had purchased lots of pasta (not SOLE, but quite cost effective: from an awesome Buy 2, Get 3 Free sale at our local Harris Teeter). And there was a hunk of parmesan in the fridge. And 8-9 cups of pesto in the freezer.

So a quick minute defrost, 10 minutes to boil the pasta, and 2 minutes to put the salad made from the last of the farmer’s market salad in the bowl, and dinner was served.

And the pesto tasted as wonderful as it did the day we made it.

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December 4, 2011

A Salad for the Dark Days

Our first Dark Days Challenge dinner is a salad.  I know, a salad is not perhaps the first meal that one thinks of as a dark days meal. But it was in the mid-60s today, and we had a big lunch buffet for the football game, so salad sounded awesome.

We started with lettuce, cilantro, and dill from the veggie stand next to the crepe stand at the Falls Church Farmer’s Market, supplemented with arugula, and mizuna, and bitter watercress from our garden.

Boiled some eggs from Smith Meadows Farm (in Berryville, VA, 61.5 miles from home).

Sauteed some red onions and green beans from the market in butter from Blue Ridge Dairy Farm (cheese is produced in Leesburg, VA, about 33 miles away, cows produce the milk in Carroll County, MD, about 58 miles away).

Topped it with some thinly sliced beef from the aforementioned Smith Meadows Farm, and some feta cheese from Fields of Grace Farm (in Remington, VA about 56 miles away).

Voila. Steak Salad a la Nicoise!

Our dressing was Annie’s Woodstock – not SOLE – but I’m considering this to be in our spices exception.

It was delicious!

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