Please RSVP

As one of my favorite human beings said to me yesterday, “Winter, when you’re this late to the party, don’t show up at all.”  And as she, slightly north of us, expected SNOW last night she has reason to revoke her RSVP.

The fickle change in weather patterns is putting a serious damper on our One Square Foot project.  Our windowsill is either too cold to promote growing – with chills radiating through the glass – or the heater is blasting nearby enough to dry our poor baby buds right out.

Spring, why do you tease me so?

We’ve been diligently watering and trying to fend off both the stifling heat and the bitter cold, adjusting temperatures, fitfully moving plants off the radiator, onto the radiator, off the radiator… but we haven’t given up hope.  I’m going to love these damn plants ’til they bud, whether they ask to or not.  Winter unwelcome.

Advertisements

Hints of Spring

Winter?After what was an undeniably soft winter, “spring” has arrived.  Can it be spring without winter?

California has spring.  Doesn’t it?

Here in the Northeast, we don’t take kindly to the lack of seasons.  We use them to map out our emotions – truly.  Summer is a sticky, lethargic time for movies in Bryant Park.  We feel restful, relieved, rejuvenated, with a looming sense of doom that the cold is approaching.  Fall is crisp, sarcastic, a bit of a tease.  Winter, we are grumpy.  Leave us alone in winter; we hibernate and don’t appreciate interruptions.  And then spring comes.  And the city lights up.  Everyone crowds to the streets, people greet you, invite you into their homes, stay out all night (or so I’m told).  It is a magical time of hope and greenery.  If we don’t get the crabby winter, there’s no joy in spring.

But here we are, March 10th, and after temperatures that barely dipped below 45 this winter, we are now entering 60°-70° weather – already.  Which, despite the skepticism about the past few months, means that we can secretly begin fantasizing about the next growing season.

It’s been a long hibernation, but there good things to come.  We recently attended the Just Food Conference and will share stories and news about the movements in urban agriculture.  We’re signing up for this year’s CSA (today!), and we will be bringing seasonal stories, pictures, recipes, and a little farm to your (and our) city.

Appletopia

This is what my better half said to me this evening when sorting through our share: “We’ve gotten enough apples this season to make Steve Jobs blush.”

And then: “…Too soon?”

Challah French Toast

But truly, even our fair missed friend would agree that we have suffered the inundation of apple season.  With our influx of apples, we’ve made applesauce, apple butter, appley meals, and apple deserts.  We have been, for all intents and purposes, applified.

Apple Radish Salad

For some decadent examples, last weekend we indulged in heavenly apple challah french toast.  (I also admit we went leafing… please don’t hate us.)

Healthy Apple Crisp

CSA share apples and radish salad with an apple cider vinaigrette.  It had a very fall-like bite and a sweet crispy finish.

And the healthiest apple crisp you can imagine made with (obscene quantities of) apple, oatmeal, pecans, cinnamon, honey, salt, and butter.

Next up apple-butternut squash soup. Appley yourself.

Chili Days Ahead

Vegetarian Chili

The transition to fall brings a colorful set of decadent, soupy, warm dishes in place of crispy, fruity, cooler ones. Out with fresh tomatoes, in with canned. Out with apples off the tree, in with crab apple jelly. This may seem like a sad state of affairs, but I’ve been assured that it’s actually quite wonderful.

Advice to overcome fall blues:

  • Break out the cozy wool socks.
  • Don’t go leafing. Someone will run you over with a tractor.
  • Drink fall beer.
  • I don’t care how old you are, carve a pumpkin.
  • Eat at least one thing with cinnamon a day.
  • Come up with 10 things to do with apples, because you’ll get at least that many a week in your share.
  • Scarves are very in.
  • Don’t be afraid of getting chubby.  Winter bellies are a fabulous side effect of fall food (and an important precursor to hibernation).

Keeping all this in mind, it is a ripe and delectable time for making and eating chili!
We use a scrumptious vegetarian recipe from The Healthy Hedonist, which combines tomato, pepper, onions, garlic (all things we got in our share this week) with a variety of beans and mmm beer. I won’t give her recipe away entirely, as it seems unethical and illegal, but I strongly recommend giving it a try.
If you’re feeling particularly corrupt, I suggest your chili with some cheddar, a dollop of sour cream, and clearly a side of corn bread. It is, after all, still corn season.

Watered Melon

Quite the belation!  In case there was concern over the writer’s survival of Hurricane Irene – no need – crisis averted.  Alive and well.

Even our farm managed to endure!

Watermelon

(Although many didn’t, but we can help by eating – ((oh, must I?)) at Dine Out Irene.)

Since the monstrous tropical storm we all got walloped by, we had our concerns that most of our vegetables would be, well, soup.  But they managed to survive beautifully, with few complications.

When this week we accumulated heirloom shell beans, salad mix, edamame, corn, carrots, peppers, watermelon, apples, and grapes, dinner tonight was a very easy and delightful hodgepodge.

Like for instance, a mesclun salad withWatermelon Salad sliced watermelon and some local cheese?

… I admit the seeds caused problems of the choking variety. Perhaps a plate of edamame and some corn on the cob?  Or grapes and apples for dessert?  Yes, I think so please.

Meanwhile, although our farm might have endured righteously, look what Irene did to our park!

Drowning the Harvest

With the impending apocalypse – dubbed Irene – it seems a day to celebrate the harvest… as it drowns slowly to oblivion.  And so, a little whimsy.

PearspicacityA little pearspicacity?
A head’s a mighty good place for strings beans, carrots, and arugula too, if they made it to your share… which they just might in August!

Prepare to get peppered. (Also gar-licked, zucchini-slapped, cuc-ed, and tomato-faced, if say, they also landed in your CSA box.)

I ‘ear you also got an eggplant? Hope it doesn’t get babaghasmooshed in the hurricane.

Fingers crossed, Irene won’t drown the fields of New York and squander our share for the rest of the season. Such is the risk (and reward) in relying on the harvest.