Pesto is a quick and easy sauce you can use on many things from pasta to green beans. You can make pesto from other greens besides basil (for example, mustard greens) and use a variety of nuts from pine nuts, pecans to walnuts. What is key to a good pesto is to toast the nuts.
1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
In a food processor, blend together all ingredients without oil and then add oil and blend until smooth.
Refrigerate leftover Pesto up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.
If you want parmesan cheese, just sprinkle on each portion you use.
Oilve oil can be cut by 25% and could go 50% when replacing basil with mustard greens.
The two things we have in great abundance in early summer / late spring are sugar snap peas and scallions. This recipe is a great way to enjoy the natural texture and flavor that comes with fresh pea pods and scallions.
2 cups sliced sugar snap peas
3/4 cup julienne red pepper
3 scallions diced
3/4 cup shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup oil (light flavored)
1 Tbs Dolcedi or honey or agave
1 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup citrus champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
Combine sugar snap peas, red peppers, scallions, and green cabbage in a large bowl.
Combine remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Toss with vegetables and serve chilled.
This is a link to the source of the recipe “Sugar Snap Pea Easy Summer Slaw” from Joanie Simon’s website. We have also tried lime infused vinegar for the vinegar in the recipe and have enjoyed that as a substitution.
We have enjoyed our first three weeks at the Canton Farmers Market. We have had some repeat customers ask us for a schedule of the weeks we will be attending. Below is our schedule for the Canton Farmers Market for the Summer 2019 Season. Saturdays where we are not attending are noted and we will update if our schedule changes
This blog post contains very basic instructions on how to care for the typical vegetables we provide at Iron Mountain Organics. We will update this blog as we learn more about what works best. Feel free to add comments to this post for tips that work best for you.
Fresh Greens, Beans, Peppers and Peas
If dirty, wash with water before refrigerating and dry before
storing them in a clean plastic bag with a few paper towels.
Tomatoes and Potatoes
Keep in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. They should be stored at room temperature and
washed just before using.
Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped with
a moist paper towel or you can stand them up in a glass of cold water wrapped
with a damp paper towel.
Plastic bags with tiny vents help keep produce fresh longer
by releasing moisture. They are great for grapes, blueberries, cherries or
Keep whole melons at room temperature.
Freezing fruits at home is a fast and convenient way to
preserve produce at their peak maturity and nutritional quality.
Freezing most vegetables at home is a fast, convenient way to
preserve produce at their peak maturity and nutritional quality. Freezing is
not recommended for artichokes, Belgian endive, eggplant, lettuce greens,
potatoes (other than mashed), radishes, sprouts and sweet potatoes.
When searching for a New Year’s Day recipe that included peas and greens, I came across several very simple recipes. What I was not able to find was a recipe without bacon. Bacon makes a lot of sense for a recipe that needs fat and salt to transform a bland vegetable into a savory vegetable. This is a recipe, I created on New Years Day for 2019, that takes the standard Southern Cream Recipe and turns it into a healthier version of its classic cousin recipe .
1 pound Dried Cream Peas, Shelled and Rehydrated
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 whole Medium Onion, Roughly Chopped
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
3 cups Water Or Enough To Cover The Peas
2 sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Soak enough cream peas to make a pound of peas when rehydrated (you can also use fresh peas). This recipe can be used with a variety of field peas. I have tested this with #8 Texas Cream Peas. Rinse the rehydrated peas and let them drain in a colander for a moment. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic to a large pot. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the peas and enough water to cover the peas. The water should be about 1/2 inch above the peas. Add some salt (1/4 teaspoon) and lots of pepper (1/2 to 1 teaspoon). Bring the peas to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the peas are tender but still just a tiny bit firm. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half. When the peas are done place in a serving bowl and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
What an incredible first six months in the new garden. We moved onto the property June of last year. We were able to get in some late summer plantings and fall crop that I planted in a 20 x 10’ plot until the garden fence was built. That area expanded to a 105’ x 45’ plot after getting the fence built.
This has definitely been a year of building many things that fortunately will be one time investments of time and money. Some of those investments were building out the following:
Garden Fence – A 8’ fence with three gate entrees that surround the 105’ x 45’ garden area. Two gates are 4 foot gates to allow wheel barrows to enter the front and end of the garden. One gate on the side that is a double gate that provides an 8 foot opening in case I need to get large equipment into the garden. Here is a before and after pictures (the one on the left with the cones is laying out the area; the top right is plowed area and initial small garden; and then garden after the fence was built).
Area of Yard Planned for Garden
Full Garden Tilled with an Initial Area Planted
Day the 8′ Fence was Completed
Compost Bins – A sheltered 6 bin compost system that have 5’ x 5’ bins with a 10’ x 5’ shed at the end. Everything is built except the shed at the end.
Plant Beds and Walkways – 52 rows that are 18” X 30” and topped with 2-3 inches of compost including a central 5’ woodchip pathway through the center of the garden with 18” pathways between the rows. This required to move over 250 wheelbarrows each of compost and woodchips.
Top view towards end of summer
7′ Pile of Compost
Arial View of Pathways in early spring while cover crop was still growing.
Drip Irrigation – Throughout the garden for each of the 52 rows there are 1 to 2 drip lines for each of the 30 inch rows. Each line has its own shutoff valve and there are 4 separate half inch leads to provide 4 zones that are needed to support the many feet of drip irrigation.
Wow, just reflecting on this makes me tired. This does not include all the other tasks like seedling trays, planting seed in the garden and all the tasks that follow up until harvesting.
In addition to building out the garden, we had a centerpiece purchased for the garden. This centerpiece is a hightop cement picnic table that has a look of wood along with an umbrella for well needed shade during the heat of the day.
Hightop with umbrella
Staging the veggies on the table
Overall, very pleased with this year’s progress. It has been a year of building things for the first time and investments that I will reap years of reward with vegetables grown in the upcoming years.
What Went Well
Peppers went especially well this year. I think it is partially due to peppers seem to thrive in harsher conditions. In particular, the Georgia Flame hot peppers and the flavorful Shishito peppers were bountiful (see the links for my seed sources). For example, just last week I harvested over 200 of the Shishito peppers in one harvest and I have probably picked close to 400 before that. I definitely over planted these, but I know these will be dependable vegetable as I transition into a Market or CSA Gardener.
As a part of expanding the garden, I got to experience the value of rich organic soil. We had a small area that had darker (and apparently richer) soil compared to the rest of the garden. The cucumber and asparagus showed big differences in health and size based on the quality of the soil. This was not an experiment that I planned, but I was able to observe the difference higher quality soil had on the yield and health of the crop. Below are a few pictures to illustrate this. This has further inspired me to continue to focus on building soil through composting and letting the soil mature through following a no dig approach. My goal is to have high quality organic compost incorporated in several inches of soil throughout the garden in 2 to 3 years of building soil through the no dig approach.
How rich compost has made a difference
What Were the Challenges
The key challenge this year was feeling that I was always one step behind with planting in the garden with all the other setup tasks that I had to intermingle with the planting. I say it was a challenge and it was, but it was a fun challenge that energized me to get out to the garden frequently this year. I looked forward (but at times anxiously) to get out in the garden to get past the next hurdle.
In terms of challenges with growing vegetables, I had a few challenges that are worth noting. First was the massive infestation of Mexican bean beetles. These suckers just would not let up after they entered the garden. They got so bad that they would kill bush bean plants before they could get out the second set of true leaves. Quite frustrating.
I also had some unsolved mysteries this year. I had disappearing ears of corn and seedlings that appeared one day and were gone the next. I am guessing that the ears of corn were victim to raccoons robbing in the cover of the night sky. With the missing seedlings, I am guessing birds. I cannot prove this, but tried my best with a trail camera in the garden. I hope to eventually catch this on film.
What Would I do Different
For the first full year in the garden, I think things have gone better than expected. You can always do better based on what you have learned. That is the beauty of gardening. That is, you can always learn and experience something new each year.
I do think I have a solution for both issues mentioned above (stolen corn and missing seedlings). The issue with the corn might be solved by putting a simple perimeter fence made of deer netting to further protect the corn. I have a second crop of corn growing now with some finished ears that have not been touched (yet). For the disappearing seedlings, I will be putting down spun lace row cover over the seedling beds. I also am growing seedlings in trays to get past the fragile seedling stage before putting into the garden.
One lesson, that I learned the hard way, was not getting my compost and wood chips dumped into the center area of the garden before building the 8 foot perimeter fence. Big mistake that resulted in quite a bit of extra labor. Also, I learned that I should have dump trucks enter my property when the ground is not soft. If the ground is soft, have them dump from the street and have a bobcat move it to where it needs to be.
In summary, it has been quite the year for Iron Mountain Organics. A year of building many foundational elements of the garden and I look forward to the extra time we will have to focus more time on the plantings. I also expect that I will be putting more energy and time into creating a better environment that will invite beneficial insects into the garden. This is the next big hurdle for me. I will be sure to share with you all what I learn.