Month: September 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

photos courtesy of Hallie Gluk

While pruning back the behemoth tomatoes, I discovered some baby cherry tomatoes. I fried some up for the Crafts House, a co-op that serves free vegetarian dinners every night at 6 (You should go!) Since I am gluten intolerant the result was highly experimental. I used an egg, some milk & apple cider vinegar ( a good way to DIY buttermilk), and corn meal. The result was pretty yummy.

Farming around the world

This summer, I spent six weeks working on organic farms in Italy through WWOOF, an organization that allows members to find work on farms around the world. I stayed on 4 different farms, and each provided me with a unique learning experience. I was joined on the first farm by Ian MacLellan, who took some of the pictures below. Some of the work was more strenuous than others, but all the farmstays introduced me to amazing mentors who were full of knowledge about farming. I highly recommend WWOOFing for anyone who wants hands on experience, to learn, and to be challenged. Check it out at:

In Sassoleone, we picked cherries all day, and the youngest, Jora, feasted on them.

After a long day of baking and picking cherries the family all gets together to jar cherries before they start to go bad.

Giorgio was the owner of the first farm, and cultivates most of the fields himself with apricot trees, figs, and honey. He also has a collection of chickens, geese, and rabbit for his bar in town and while we were there he slaughtered 21 cocks and one hen. Here his wife and another friend clean and prepare the animals in his workshop. The smell reminded me of the grinding and burning of teeth at the dentist… Giorgio is essentially a father and grandfather to the family and constantly stops his own work to take care of the kids or guide in gardening technique.

Transplanting seedlings while chatting with one of the farmers, Clara.

A storm approaches.

The teepee in the forest, where I lived with the six other wwoofers on my last farm.

Some Food Made with Garden Goods!

Sooooo I am bit late on blogging but I some examples of what can/ has been made with garden.

The first thing I enjoyed was the spring crop of salad greens we had. We got a spicy spicy mix from High Mowing Seed Company, and spicy it was. A fair amount of mustardy, bitter, and zesty greens were in there. But using some sweet mustard/balsamic dressing and strawberries sweetened them up to make a delicious salad:

spicy mustard greens salad, sweetened up with strawberries

Next, harvested in late August, came the Holy Mole peppers! A new seed strain, these are pretty mild, and not actually used traditionally to make mole ( yum yum) but they can be!

I am leaving the peppers outside right now, trying to ripen them a little bit more. I picked them when they were green/ brown, but I think a little bit more brown would be good

Southern Grits with Holy Mole peppers and cheddar

In order to enjoy the fruits of our labor sooner I fried up some chopped peppers with a lot of sea salt and some olive oil. Then I added these spicy treasures to traditional southern grits with some cheddar. Now that’s a good breakfast.

Next up….MOLE! I’ll be tuning you in with a simple recipe I found later.

Check out the TSC blog for updates on ways to be sutainable!

Check it out:

Club and class… UNITE!

This Saturday, in the beautiful fall weather, the garden club joined forces with the Tufts Ex-College class: Introduction to Sustainable Food Systems. The class is taught by Mari Pierce-Quinonez and Jeff Hake, both of whom have received master’s degrees from Tufts’ Friedman School. The course description reads as follows:

Modern agriculture is the course of a great majority of our food and is a foundation of the American economy. However, it is an economic system that relies on cheap fuel, low labor costs, and ever-increasing consolidation. In recent years these industrialized inputs and processes have been indicted as a root cause of many of modern society’s woes: hunger, obesity, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, economic injustice, and physical and mental estrangement from the land. And yet, alternative systems of agriculture have emerged. Some are the simple revival of “antiquated” practices while others apply agricultural principle to technological innovation. Cities and communities are becoming active players in these new systems, and food is being “slowed down”. This course attempts to outline some of these emerging food systems, providing theoretical background and discussion as well as practical, hands-on tools for becoming a part of these new systems.

Notice the part about hands-on tools; that’s where the garden comes in!

Class and club united to build beds!

If you’ve read the history of how the garden got started, you might recognize this class as the originator of the garden itself (made possible by the efforts of the darling Signe Porteshawver). They turned the beds they made over to the Student Garden at the end of the semester and now that another round of class has started up, the students got to get down and dirty again- starting from scratch and learning through doing. Plus, hammering gets a little of that stress out.

Micaela and Melissa assembling a raised bed with wood salvaged from an old Ikea bed frame.

Because resources were limited (no saw, few nails) we had to get creative with wood salvaged from my neighbor’s trash, leftover scraps from shed construction, and splintered pieces wrangled from an old box spring left in Micaela’s apartment. I kinda felt like that was half the fun- it was like a puzzle! Fortunately, we have a lot of creative minds in the club and the class so things didn’t take too long to start up.

What follows may be boring but might prove useful to future bed-builders!

Building a bed by the compost bins

The plan was to build 3 raised beds, but we had a collection of 2×4’s (which are about 8ft long), some scraps that varied between 1 foot to 2 feet long, and a bunch of pieces from an Ikea bed frame that all measured about 2 feet long… and no saw. We finally decided to use all the 2x4s to make two 8ft-long, narrow raised beds with 3 2x4s stacked on top of each other on each side (to make each bed about 12″ tall). The width is formed with pieces about 1.5 feet long, also stacked on top of each other. (A picture would probably explain this best… I’ll post one later.)

Two of the four beds (made with the Ikea bed frame pieces), you can see a third being worked on in the background

We also used the Ikea bed frame to create 2 square raised beds since all the pieces were of identical lengths. For these, we nailed 4 pieces together in a square, did this 3 times for each bed, and stacked the 3 squares on top of each other, securing them in place with stakes in each of the four corners, nailed to the squares. (This I DO have a picture of.)

Unfortunately I had to leave early (anyone else got this nasty cold?) so I have yet to see the finished product, but when I left it all looked great. I’ll be sure to go down tomorrow morning to check it out. I’ll post some pictures when I’ve got them!

Weekly Meetings!

Weekly meetings to be held on Wednesdays at 9pm in Eaton 203 starting September 21!

Workday this Saturday, Sept 17 at 10 am-12pm. Help the Sustainable Food Systems class build raised beds!