Friday, October 8, 2010

Making a Living

I woke up this morning thinking about the new days sun coming up and the life of one of the many farmers I know. Hard work at daybreak that continues until the sun goes down with a couple of meals in between is the life of a chosen few.

If you ever go to an area of the country where organic gardening is the norm, food in the raw or cooked state becomes more sustainable and appreciated. In Northern CA , my sister Chris and I visited a market in the middle of an old town that labeled the produce by the growers name. You could actually "see" the farms and know where your food came from. That was about 3 years ago and it's more prevalent now than then. Hopefully at some point more folks will appreciate their food and the growers who put long hours in everyday to bring good health to those who choose their product. Anyway, I've yet to see that come to this area with the exception of Modocs market bringing in local food and actually acknowledging the grower..kudos to you! My point is that many of us grow organic for ourselves, few of us get the idea of not poisoning our food source, some of us won't whine when we pay more for safe food, and one family in this area is REALLY trying to bring more knowledge, variety, and quality to this community. I truly hope for the success of Nate & Diane Fingerle's RiverRidge Farms outside of Roann. Nathan and his family (including his father) work non-stop to provide local, organic produce at a reasonable price. From a small plot and a dinky greenhouse to the expansion of most of their yard and the additions of multiple greenhouses, he's able to supply North Manchester school systems (as one example) with fresh greens and salad ingredients. I find this amazing! It takes calculations, determination, time and money to generate enough food for this project, but they make it work. Not to mention they are supporting an ever growing family of their own. I guess I feel proud to know them, proud of their work, proud to know they want to share food for others that is SAFE to eat, and are carrying on a humble way of life that anyone can appreciate. Most of us know where live and the gardens are accessible most of the time with a little area for on site market. You can find more information about RiverRidge Farms on a great site that can also steer you towards other products in our area as well by looking up . Happy Eating!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Foodies Critique!

Call it mean, call it fussy, call it snobby, call it educated but I live the life of a foodie. I shoot food of what I grow, prepare, eat and experience during travel and growers farms. Rarely do I really "like"much of the local prepared food but tolerate it to have an occasional meal out. You have to admit, there's not many choices in Wabash, Indiana that are not fast food. So, when the newly revamped downtown hotel became Charlie Creek Inn opened "Twenty", it was my duty to check it out. It is impressive to look at from the outside and having been through it in different phases of reconstruction it is just as beautiful on the inside. Having helped open two restaurants myself, I know there are always bugs to work out in the first several months of business. The staff was plenty, the room decorated stylish, our seating was window, it was clean, inviting, and friendly . What could go wrong? The answer-nothing. From the get-go even tho I drilled our waitress on the freshness of fish and the sides she handled it well and was glad to get answers. Here's what gives me a clue on freshness---the salad was NOT brown! Laugh if you will, but in Wabash I've gotten several brown salads, returned them and got the same quality BACK! Greens looked great, the veggies were fresh and my husbands Caesar looked wonderful with the Parmesan crisps that were right on! I ordered Panko scallops with wasabi and a horseradish mashed potato that came with a quick sauteed veggie mix. Steve ordered the Cioppino which I hadn't seen on a menu since living in the N.CA Bay area. Does one really get a good fish stew in the Midwest? YES! Haven eaten Cioppino in SF it's hard to compare since the fish is different. There it's a mixed variety of fresh crab, mussels, clams, shrimp, and whatever white fish is seasonal during that time (usually Nov.-April). Here, the chef creates a decent job for what is available. So, I tasted it several times--I like a fishy stock taste and thought it weak, but the seasoning was good, the fish fresh and cooked properly and the presentation tasteful. As for my dish-well, it was outstanding! Since I am a wasabi fan, I requested more but to tell the truth, I wouldn't have changed a thing...amazing. We ordered a creme brulee to split for dessert . It was portioned fine for sharing and came with fresh fruit. The exterior had it's usual crunch and the custard part was creamy and showed off the vanilla taste as the seeds from scraping the bean were not strained away. Yum. All in all, our dining experience was a good and we look forward to another visit-I hope you are able to take advantage of what Twenty has to offer .
Please keep up the good work! You can check it out on thier web site too!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Wasn't there a Pure Prarie League song like that? This little flower was the first on our property to bloom..what a struggle poking thru a dried leaf! Musta really wanted to make its way to the sunshine! Nice seeing the first signs of spring even though it's not warm enough to plant much. I even saw some garlic popping thru from Octobers planting. Woo hoo!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Here in Indiana it's harvest time or just after for some. I'm still pulling out peppers by the bushel and no one seems to want them-a couple of weeks ago I was selling heirloom tomatoes at market and in Wabash you almost can't give them away. Pity, pity. Whole foods in Indy was PAYING more than I charged at market. Guess I'll target them next year! Anyway, it's kind of a relief to have this garden done as the season was so overwhelmed with parent issues. Did, however, manage to squeeze out a few pumpkins but only one of the "Full Moon" pumpkin was on the plant. Steve thought it is over 50 pounds -loading and unloading it to the front of the house was a pain! I think pumpkins are sooooo beautiful!!! Perhaps that soybean field would look really good in shades of orange, pinks, grays, and blue!
So, I'm back to the peppers-roasting, peeling, chopping and freezing. Several trays in the oven with New Mex Sandia drying for winter. Happy Harvest!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

lazy day pickles

Greetings all! Before I get started, the last blog was a big vent and I feel better having said it all. Life is a little more settled today and I wanted to take the time to share a taste of summer that I hope you continue to use every summer. In the height of the season, so much produce comes on at once and those that garden/cook know that it's hard to get to it all without it becoming overwhelming. So, while you can, please give these Lazy Day Pickles a try. A new batch every week keeps us going and it's a "keeper". The caterer said so....(me).

Lazy Day Refrigerator Pickles

6 C. sliced cucumbers
1 C. sliced onions
1 C. white vinegar
1/2 C. water
1 1/4 C.sugar
1 t. pickling or coarse sea salt
1 t. celery seed
1/2 t. mustard seed
1/2 t. tumeric

In a tupperware or crock you can cover, combine cucumbers and onions. In a large saucepan, combine all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir to make sure sugar gets dissolved. Pour hot mixture over cucumbers and onions. Refrigerate 24 hours for flavor to develop. I usually can't wait that long ! yumm yumm!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

oh pea!

I need to vent! The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of crap, heartbreak, worry, and loss on a daily basis and I've had enough! We had to cancel our July vacation plans as mom was admitted to Parkview 3 weeks ago. I don't mean to sound mean, but each time we've planned to go away, someone ends up in the hospital. The last 5 years we have been here. Anyone knows what that can do to a soul! Anyway, dad & I have been driving up and back every other day to visit her. Supposedly she'll be coming home on Monday and we've arranged for adult day care at a nursing home down the street so dad isn't so overloaded. His own health was deteriorating prior to her admission and anxiety about did him in. Losing a friend to a freak accident was very disturbing and the Wabash gossip that accompanied it was even more appalling. Shame,shame, shame on those that call themselves Christians and can't stop gossiping! I'd rather be spiritual and know I'm not to judge others. So I guess I'm pretty mad about that part of living here. Forest came down with sharp pains yesterday and ended up at the hospital for a CAT for appendicitis which turned out to be negative(hurray!) but still not feeling well and in the same day, Drew dumped his motorcycle to avoid a deer late last night and is banged up but shaken up by it all. I'm fried. \ The peas---well, my garden has really been neglected, I barely look at it, missed picking black raspberries (booooo!)except for a handful to make a pie, and pray that all will change soon. I know it's my purpose to take care of everyone else, but dang! Calgon take me away!!!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mornin' Glory Muffins

I thought that since it was a beautiful day in rural Indiana, I'd share this recipe with you. Even though the history of Morning Glory Muffins have been around forever they seemed to be on the back burner for a long time in my house. To me, they are breakfast all on their own and a good snack for some long days of activity as well. I've "healthied" them up a little since the old 70's days. This may have to appear more frequently on my breakfast menu since it's grab and run to get to the garden days!

2 C.unbleached flour 1/2 C.Chopped nuts
1 1/4 C. sugar 1/2 C. unsweetened flaked coconut
2 t. baking soda 1 apple, peeled, cored,grated
2 t. cinnamon 3 eggs
1/4 t salt 1/2 C. oil
2 C. shredded organic carrots 1/2 C. applesauce
1/2 C. white raisins (or currants, or black) 2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Stir in the carrot,raisins, nuts, coconut and apple.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into carrot/flour mixture, just until moistened. Scoop into prepared muffin cups (I had them really full!).
Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan to continue cooling. Yum!