Days Twenty-One and Twenty-Two ~ It's OK to be Social & Way Too Much Produce

I've missed another two days. Time has a way of getting away from me.... There's been a lot going on, however, and I have a few pictures to share.

All of a sudden and very quickly it is autumn. Last week I was wearing tank tops and shorts, drinking iced tea and still feeling hot, this week my sweaters have come out, I've started making hot peppermint tea, and it is autumn. The coming of Autumn usually makes me a little sad, but after the hot, mosquito filled summer we had, it is welcome. Bring on the apples and the broccoli and winter squash!

So backing up to Saturday. Breakfast was the very last of the fresh peaches, a pear, yogurt, flax, hickory nuts, and maple syrup. Lunch was a quick Wisconsin Caprese salad from the Co-op deli. Sometime in-between I enjoyed a whole milk maple steamer.

And then......

No, this cake is not 100% local, and yes, I had a small piece. The young man you see in the picture turned three on Saturday, and we hosted a party at our house. The menu had to be kid friendly and easy for us.

Watermelon and chips and salsa before dinner, Burgers and hotdogs on the grill, potatoes cooked in a pan on the grill, garden tomatoes, onion, cheese, pickles, and dilly beans for garnish. Simple. The only non-local thing I indulged in was the dilly beans and pickles. I made them from garden veggies, but the vinegar was a cheat.

Along with this cake we made another batch of hickory maple ice cream. It was good, but not quite as good as it was at the eat local challenge potluck. Part of that was because we didn't use buttermilk along with half & half, and part was because the cake overshadowed it. The cake was from Pan y Pan (a local Mexican baker), and it was incredible. Layers of moist cake with coconut, pineapple, whipped cream, and chocolate. The bottom layer was soaked in evaporated condensed milk or something like that. You can't go to a three year old's birthday party and not eat some cake, so I thoroughly enjoyed a small piece.

I had a similar cheat last night in the name of being social. Dave and Meg invited me to dinner at their house. They made eggplant Parmesan with everything local except for some breadcrumbs (locally made bread, but not sourced), and mushrooms in the tomato sauce. I brought a platter of apples and pears with some nice cheeses. Ben and Erica brought a (local) tomato and cucumber salad in a vinegar and oil dressing, and Meg made apple pie for dessert with local apples but not flour. A 90% locally grown meal, but not 100%.

Though I take this challenge seriously, I don't feel at all bad at small cheats like birthday cake and apple pie shared with friends. It would be no fun to become a hermit just because I have some crazy high food ideals. That's not the person I want to be.

Breakfast yesterday was eggs and pancakes made with maple syrup. I used buttermilk in the pancakes, and they had a more fluffy texture than the last batch of unleavened pancakes. Lunch was reheated pizza from Thursday.

I spent the morning yesterday in the garden. It's been a while since I posted garden pics, so I took some to share....

Ben and Erica's plot on Main Street. We're still harvesting a few beans and summer squash. Dave and Meg cleared out where the cucumbers were and planted spinach. The onions have been replaced by a few rows of beets. There are carrots ready to pull, and the tomatoes are still producing heavily. Not as pretty as it was in the early summer, but there's still a lot of food coming out of this plot!

My tomatoes look a little worse for wear, but there are still plenty of fruit on them. I thought they would be slowing down a little with the cool weather so I hadn't checked them for a few days. Boy was I wrong! There were tons of ripe Ox Hearts and black cherry tomatoes. More sauce for the freezer!

Except for the last row of potatoes that has been covered by collapsing tomatoes, we've dug all of the potatoes now. Mom planted two rows of beets and a row of carrots a few weeks back, and yesterday we planted the rest of the x-potato bed in spinach for a fall harvest. We're hoping to have enough spinach to freeze a little for the winter.

Yesterday afternoon Dave and Meg and I took a trip to The Tree Farm looking for a late summer harvest. I was after broccoli, sweet peppers, poblanos, and tomatillos to freeze. I picked quite a bit of beautiful broccoli (hence the picture at the beginning of the post). As you can see, I also got plenty of poblanos and tomatillos. We were a bit disappointed in the sweet peppers. The wet year has meant a lot of rotting peppers on the plants, and what wasn't rotting had been picked earlier in the day, but we managed to find a few that are usable. The broccoli was blanched and frozen yesterday. The peppers, tomatillos, and the tomatoes I picked at the garden are my to do list for today.

I'm just about out of room in my freezer. This will probably be the last of the summer produce that I put away!

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