Friday, December 31, 2010

End of this year's Locavore Challenge

Today is the last day of the 2010 Locavore challenge, and we have already eaten the last meal. I feel it is going out with a whimper. I wasn't able to convince all that many of my friends to join me in the locavore way. Sure, there are plenty of gardeners at the community garden who are local-friendly, but not as much as the folks closer to Ojai. This has been a tough year for many of my friends and others in my community, and I think that has alot to do with why more people didn't sign up.
I'll continue to be a locavore, at least where fruits and veggies are concerned. Every season, my own fruit crops and trading network grow. I am still having trouble getting local meat.
Tonight's plans were cancelled last-minute, and I didn't have much else besides the wonderful veggies from the garden. I stopped in at the garden earlier in the day and enjoyed the sunny weather and the company of other hardy friends, and harvested a huge basket of greens and sunchokes. We decided to stop by Fresh and Easy for some fish. There, we ran into the evening sale, and picked up some non-local salmon. I baked the salmon and served it topped with sauteed leeks, celery, fennel and serrano peppers I had harvested earlier. I served it with Osaka purple mustard cooked in kumquat marmalade with mandarin oranges. We enjoyed a huge sweet potato from the garden, and chunks of Belgian dark chocolate for dessert.
So it was mostly local.
What's for next year? I'll continue with my veggie gardening and increase the variety of fruits. Our two Manzanita olive trees are growing well and the Mission olive tree is producing nicely. This may be the year I figure out how to cure the olives, or at least press them. This year, I have nurtured two grape vines, a Eureka lemon tree, a blackberry vine and two blueberry bushes. I would like to propagate more this year. I would also like to acquire a banana tree and transplant the fig tree into a more desirable location.
It will be a good year I am sure.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Salty Beets

The is about the strangest thing to happen since I have been growing my own local food. Last winter, I planted some beets in an area with poor soil and low water. I harvested a few small beets, but others were eaten by animals and forgotten. There was one beet that survived, and I watered it here and there over the summer and otherwise left it alone.
I had some other beets (Bull's Blood) that were grown in a similar harsh manner and they were the sweetest beets I had ever grown, so I didn't think that this new beet would be any different.
Wow! Was I surprised! The beet (a Detroggia that turned out mostly orange) was small and hard, and there was hardly any sugar in it at all. It was so salty that it tasted like I had already made pickles with it. It was almost too salty to eat, except for small slivers.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Veggies and More

I have been eating more meat and less carb this fall and winter, and doing well with it. Well, this former vegan is a little bit surprised, with all that steak and eggs for breakfast. It's in small quantities, and I still enjoy my greens for winter breakfast, just not over a potato.
The greens are especially nice this season, and I have many colors of chard popping up everywhere in the garden.
We had at least 3 good rains on the community garden so far, and each episode sends out more volunteer favorites. I have a carpet of fennel, wide swaths of baby celery, several types of parsley popping out from underneath the flowers (they seem to enjoy the initial protection), and a nice variety of chards and kales ranging in color from magenta to red to orange to pale lemon yellow to white to green.