Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Friday October 29, 2010

Carole’s Concoctions:
Nana’s Recipe to Soothe a Sore Throat

I don't know what it is about old wives' tales and concoctions but many of them are truly useful and actually work.  I, for one, will always go for a natural remedy as I think we are an over-prescribed, over-medicated society. I'll stick to aspirin, chicken soup and hot lemon and honey any day over nyquil.

Oh and yes, you guessed, I've been sick for a couple of days - fever, dry cough, aches - not fun.  But, I swear that when I sip hot lemon with honey, my throat feels better!!  This is what my grandmother and Mom gave us and now I am self-administering for my sore throat.

Try it:
Start with a lemon, place on counter and roll it under the palm of your hand for 30 seconds to loosen the juice, cut it into quarters, place in small saucepan with a cup or two of water, bring to a boil. 

Put a Tbsp or any amount of honey you like (to taste) in a mug, pour hot lemon juice through a strainer into mug, stir and let the soothing begin!!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!  Feeling better already!!

Thursday October 28, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
The First Hundred Pounds of Garlic

Hello Farm Girl Farmers.

Inch by inch and row by row! As I mentioned in an email to all of you earlier today, we have had a steady garlic effort going—over the weekend Robin Perry, Emily Paskus, Beth Domaney, Melissa Brown, Andrei Vankov and Jamie Goldenberg took to the field and got the first hundred pounds of garlic in the ground. Today we had more help from Cindy Elitzer and later this week we have Liz Hogan on deck. Go team!

I should not neglect to mention that the garlic seed we are planting was prepared for planting (broken from heads down into cloves, a daunting job in itself) by a cheerful group of birthday revelers last week at Allium Restaurant. FGFers Brian Thayer, Sara Parrilli, Sarah Volkman, Greenagers Director Will Conklin (who brought us the help of the teenaged greenagers this summer) and various and sundry friends gathered around Vivian to celebrate her special day and made quick work of the garlic break-down, in addition to making a beautiful mess of garlic skin and soil all over the floor of Allium. Very special thanks to Troy Kinser, manager of Allium and Nancy Thomas, owner, for putting their money where their Farm to Table mission is.

We’ll keep planting garlic over the next couple of weeks, a great time to put in a few row feet is during regular pick-up hours on Tuesday or Saturday. We can also arrange for you to come and plant at other points in the week, so be in touch! Its easy and satisfying.

In my latest last year-this year-next year musings, I am noticing that it has been steadily colder this year than it was last year at this time. Last year at this time we still had a trickle of the summer crops like peppers and summer squash and this year those crops are long gone with the frost. But we’re hedging our bets…we’ve put protective row cover (that’s the white fabric you see out in the field) on several beds so that if we do get some milder weather, as we did last year towards the end of October, we won’t have given everything up to the tyranny of the cold nights. Under row cover, with the nights being as cold as they have been, things like baby arugula and bok choi aren’t growing, per se, but they are holding steady, not freezing to death either. So if things get more temperate, they’ll still have a chance to size up.

Finally, another reminder that we will distribute veggies through the first week of November: Tuesday November 2 and Saturday November 6. That means two more weeks of vegetables after this week’s pick-up.

Enjoy the veggies and the beautiful light at this time of the year.

--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farmer

Wednesday October 27, 2010

Heirloom Meals Radio:
Alex Elman

Perhaps it is Alex Elman's joie de vivre that impresses me, or is it her poise and strength of character that draws me in? Whatever it is - Alex has inspired me. Spend an hour listening to Alex weave her story - her Brazilian chef- Mom, her oenophile Dad and step dad, her career in the wine business and her loss of sight to juvenile diabetes when she was 27. WOW!
Alex has just launched her very own wine label - Alex Elman Wines. And trust me, Alex resembles her wines as she truly has a sense of place. Her goal is to sell wines that offer terroir, that are organic and sustainably produced and are accessible so you too can sip a lovely glass of wine over a homemade meal with friends and family!!
By the way - Alex will be blogging on some Saturdays for me - Saturday Evening "Toast" as we explore collaborating on our mission to get people back to the dinner table!!

And for those of you who need a quick french lesson, Terroir (according to wikipedia) "was originally a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestowed upon particular varieties. Agricultural sites in the same region share similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, which all contribute to the unique qualities of the crop."

Tuesday October 26, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays:

Halloween has really taken off as an all-out holiday.  You can really out do yourself if you're not careful - so many choices in the stores and between Martha and Country Living Magazine, you have no excuse!!

As for me, I have to confess, I have fallen short in the the homemade table decor category this year.  I have so many things vying for my time.  However, because I always have my eye on things, am an avid catalog reader and shopper, I do have an extensive closet of decorations.  I must say TJ Maxx isn't just for the fashionistas!! And if you wait until after Halloween, I bet you can pick up some great decorations on sale from Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma.

Here's my table:
Table runner from last year's Crate and Barrel catalog; tin pumpkins from TJ Maxx - 4 years ago; and indian corn and mini pumpkins from the farmer's market - this year.

Oh, and my favorite TJ Maxx score - the candy corn dish.  Don't you just love it?

Monday October 25, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Musings on some of our Constitutional Rights

Today I feel like going off-topic.  I want to talk about guns, not butter and freedom of speech.  Both amendments were present-of-mind last week.

Freedom of speech and expression are the rights that we as Americans need to cherish.  As a member and a programmer of the all volunteer, community radio station WBCR-lp, 97.7 fm, Great Barrington, this right becomes more pronounced during the fund drive.  Isn't it amazing that a group of diverse people can come together and volunteer their time and expertise to have access to the airwaves and to exercise our right to free speech.  All music genres and topics can be expressed (of course while abiding by the FCC rules).  How lucky I am to be an American and have this opportunity!!

As a segue into our 2nd amendment rights, I would like to say that despite the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me," harsh words and mean words can and do harm people.  My stepdaughter suffered severely from a bullying situation last year; and I, most recently was called a nasty name by someone with the intent to hurt me.  Despite all the rationalizing I did and others did on my behalf and my stepdaughter's behalf, we still felt pain.  So please think twice before saying things about and to people that are not nice.

And why guns?  Last week I took the firearms licensing class because I would like to go hunting and I also  want to know and understand how guns work. If others own them and understand them, isn't it best that I do too? In the abstract, this seemed like a great idea.  We see images of guns on the TV every night; we see cops brandishing their weapons on TV shows.  How bad could it be to shoot a gun?  After the classroom part of the course, we marched into the firing range.  I was the ONLY woman. We were taught to load and shoot.  Loading, no problem. Shooting, well, truly one of the most terrifying and humbling experiences I have EVER experienced!!

These are our rights - take them seriously!!

What a country.

Sunday October 24, 2010

Life at Boulderwood:
The Girls Love the New Driveway

The girls love that the new driveway goes right by them.  Really.  More opportunities for rub downs, treats and gossip.  They told me that they have never seen as many turkeys as this year.  And, the coyotes are using the new driveway as a super highway.  Glad the girls are so observant!

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