Back Forty, butterbeans, buying local, consumerism, Local food, Market report, Slow Food

Back Forty Update and Market Report

It finally got cool enough for my butterbeans (or lima beans) to produce again. They will keep going now until a heavy frost.

My field pea crop is winding down. I prefer to eat them freshly shelled (not dried like this photo) with “snaps” – the immature pods snapped like green beans. This year they have been besieged by big black ants who hang out at the top of each pea and will run up your arm and bite you. You have to be very careful when you pick them. I don’t know what I’ll do about this next year. At least they are not fire ants.

Fig tree shadows

The fig tree has gotten huge again. I’ll have to cut it down by at least half this winter. Again.

The last fig

The last fig of the season is now in my stomach.

Market report:

Back in the early days of this blog, the focus was on Slow Food, especially on local food at a time when Greensboro markets and restaurants were just beginning to get on board and understand the meaning and implications of buying locally. I was a member of the board of the Friends of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market before that volunteer group went through an weirdly political totally insane lie-based attack resulting in its dissolution. Since that time, the management of the market passed to a non-profit group who has brought the market back to a wonderful community again, which I am particularly grateful for since the insanity migrated over to Deep Roots Market. But that will be the subject of another post.

This morning at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, I bought the following:

Water buffalo cheese from Fading D Farm of Salisbury, NC. WHOA! And so good!
Buttercrunch lettuce, hydroponically grown from Tony
Stoneground yellow grits from Old Mill of Guilford
Small sweet peppers
Okra
Soap from Carol at Mimi’s Soaps
From Anna at Zaytoon:
Baba ganoush
Tzatziki
From Rudd Farm:
Sweet bicolor corn, my favorite
Watermelon
Tomatoes
Butternut squash
Eggplant
From Daniel at Nimby Farm:
Onions

Normally I also buy milk, meat and bread there too but I ran out of money this morning! I have a lot in my freezer, though.

I used to go to Deep Roots Market after the market visit to buy what I couldn’t find, but honestly nowadays I find most of what I need at the farmers’ market. I’ll go to Costco or Bestway or Harris Teeter or Earth Fare to find the rest of my needs until Deep Roots changes course, if it survives. I do still go to Deep Roots occasionally to buy things when they have the owner discount month to buy only products that are cruelty and GMO free. Today I’m heading to the other stores.

Back Forty, butterbeans, coffee pot posts, critters, fiber art, Slow cloth, Slow Food

Sunday morning coffee pot post

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This time, from the studio that I rent at a nearby church!

I have this floor to myself these days, at least on the weekends and evenings when I can get here. I guess it is just too hot for most people. Turning on my little AC unit the night before and covering my east-facing windows with fabric panels is the only way to get it bearable. I’d leave it on all the time but this church struggles for money and I want to be good to them. I absolutely love this studio space.

Now I have an old laptop and printer here so that I can blog and print off designs and photos for my artwork. Life is good.

Back Forty update: I haven’t done a lot of gardening this year, due to physical problems this spring, and nowadays the heat and the mosquitoes are too much for this post-menopausal body to deal with.

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The herb garden is full of black-eyed susans. Apparently the woodchuck moved on this year because last year it ate the heads off all of them. However, I did see a raccoon run across the yard yesterday, with birds shrieking behind it. The cat from across the street, Penny, has been hanging out in the Back Forty lately. I am a great admirer of Penny because she just doesn’t give a fuck about anybody but Penny, plus she looks almost exactly like Miss Jazz. I like that in a cat.

The tomatoes are in the whiskey barrel planters and under chicken wire cages, but most of them are dying. Guess I need to change out the soil or plant them elsewhere. In this small area it is hard to rotate crops! My butterbeans are not producing yet. I got a late start planting them and they will not flower when it is this hot. Guess that they will be a fall crop. However, I am beginning to harvest some field peas. A couple of ground cherry volunteers came up and are producing.

Even though I still am not in the mood for cooking these days, there is no excuse not to this time of year. Yesterday I went to the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market and bought milk, eggs, lettuce, soap, Sungold tomatoes, okra, corn and green peppers. The milk from Homeland Creamery was in the cow on Friday morning. How often do you hear that? The eggs were from pasture-raised chickens, the lettuce was hydroponically grown, the soap locally handmade, the tomatoes organic, and the corn, ohhh, that corn. I grew up on a farm where we never ever ate corn out of a can. My father grew enough Silver Queen corn so that July was a time when pickup truckloads of corn were shucked in the shade of the pecan tree in our back yard, then blanched, cut off the cob (Daddy had false teeth) and frozen for eating all year round. So when I tell you that the bicolor corn that Rudd Farm grows is the best corn I ever tasted, I do so with the voice of experience.

I shucked the corn, cooked it up, and it was delicious without any butter or salt. That’s how good it is. I was going to buy enough to freeze some for this winter, but the folks at Rudd Farm said that they will have it until frost, so there’s no rush. I then cut up the corn shucks into pieces about an inch long to freeze for papermaking later.

Physically, other than another annoying cold, I am doing much better since a visit to my chiropractor. I am taking naproxen sodium once a day and doing stretches for my hip, and I’ve been able to get to sleep fairly quickly most nights. Now I am trying Slo-Niacin for my high cholesterol. So far the flushing has been minimal, since I am following the directions to start out with 250 mg, take at bedtime, and to eat a little something and take an aspirin about 30 minutes before. I found out something very interesting when I researched niacin and cholesterol. I have been taking no-flush niacin for quite some time with no real improvement in my cholesterol. HOWEVER, I discovered that no-flush niacin is NOT the kind that helps cholesterol. I wasn’t told this by the salesperson in supplements or the doctor’s office! You need nicotinic acid for that. Here’s an article about niacin and cholesterol.

All in all, I feel happier and freer than I have in a long time, if I don’t pay attention to the news. If I do that, then I crash. I feel helpless.

So, time to sew!

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Back Forty, Local food, Slow Food

Lambsquarters

lambquartersbeansI’ve written about cooking lambsquarters before. They are easily foraged if you can find a place that isn’t sprayed with herbicides or other pollutants. This article from Mother Earth News is informative about other uses for this “weed.” I have some growing among my black-eyed susans right now and I’ll pick them for some nutritious tasty greens and beans tonight.

Here’s a post from back when I was food blogging and participating in an international Eat Local Challenge, back when almost everybody, including the Greensboro restaurateurs, didn’t understand the local food movement: https://slowlysheturned.net/2006/05/08/elc-day-seven-lambs-quarters/. I cooked them with white beans and garlic and a little liquid smoke to get that hamhock flavor. Of course you can cook them with bacon or pork…at the time, I couldn’t get local or humanely raised pork.

Also, I should point out from my article that I no longer support Gann and Faucette Farms, who are no longer at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market after a prolonged public battle about enforcing market rules that required vendors to grow what they sold. It is likely that the beans and mushrooms I referenced in the article were not actually local. And sadly, Deep Roots Market, while still a good source for organic foods and supplements, has changed their business model to the point where I consider it to be a different business using the DRM name. I’m still an owner, but I’m unhappy with the changes. I have some hope that the new board members and owners voting with their buying decisions may bring it back to its former mission.

My, how things have changed after ten years. Pretty amazing.

Local food, Slow Food

Not Campbell Soup

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We Southern cooks love our casseroles with cream of this-or-that soup, but since I moved to eating organically and locally as much as possible several years ago, I’ve adapted some of my favorite casseroles to using a cream sauce with whatever. I make faux condensed cream of mushroom soup by making a thick white sauce with fresh mushrooms cooked in the butter. That is what went into the broccoli casserole this afternoon instead of canned soup. Yes, it looks gross but it is SO much better.

It only took a few minutes to do it, although I’m not perfect and sometimes I keep a can or two of the processed stuff in the cabinet for when I feel super lazy. This one isn’t completely local or completely organic, but it is a combination of the two.

I can’t give you a recipe because I stopped measuring on this casserole years ago. It’s like a crustless quiche, with more cheese and less eggs.

I went to church this morning, the very liberal Presby USA one around the corner that I attended around the same time I began this blog in 2005. They are between ministers and Mark Sandlin, whose writing I adore, is filling in for several Sundays. I’m basically an atheist, but I respect a lot of different spiritual traditions, since I believe that any faith that helps you be a better person and encourages you to be compassionate and kind to others is a good thing. I don’t often admit to being an atheist…maybe a searcher would be a better label, but there isn’t really any label that describes my beliefs. I’ve explored a lot. So be it.

Tonight this broccoli casserole goes to my friend’s Hanukkah dinner where I get to be an honorary Jew again.

Blessings to you all.

art retreats, book arts, dyeing, fiber art, Madeline Island, Minnesota/Wisconsin, Slow cloth, Slow Food

Madeline Island: Chapter 4, Wednesday

Madeline Island

Daisies, mullein, and lupines were everywhere on the island.

Madeline Island

After finding out that the raspberry tea bags made beautiful pink marks that magically turned blue on the cotton paper, raspberry tea suddenly became the most popular beverage in our class!

Madeline Island

Hmmph.

Madeline Island

India shows us what we are to do with our cloth/papers. They will become books.

Madeline Island

Going crazy making more bundles now.

Madeline Island

My treasure book, out of the dyepot, unbundled and unfolded very, very, very carefully so that it has time to dry. Paper is very fragile when wet.

Madeline Island

Madeline Island

That evening, India made bee-yoo-ti-full soup for the class. We became quite silly after imbibing it, so I wonder what secret ingredient she added to it? I wouldn’t dare post the goofy photos, lest I be hunted down and murdered in my sleep, but I think this is a lovely photo of an absolutely fantastic group of women.

Madeline Island