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Thursday, July 17, 2008

S U M M E R T I M E...........R E C I P E S

Wow!!! There is so much yummy fresh produce everywhere right now - welcome to summertime!! Eat as much as you can before the season ends!

Share your favorite recipes using in-season fruits and veggies, and we'll post them.

Here are a few:

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Mint or Basil:

Tomato Bread Salad with Olives and Mint:

Tomato Bread Salad with Olives and Mint


2 medium tomatoes, cored and each cut into 10 wedges
1 small ciabatta, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, bread, olives, lemon juice, oil, and mint. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Let stand at least 5 minutes (or up to 30 minutes) before serving.

Courtesy: Everyday Food

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Mint or Basil

This recipe is out of this world! The garnish/dressing are such wonderful compliments to a ripe summertime heirloom tomato. We use mint, and bottled the dressing to keep in the fridge. We don't cut-up 8-12 tomatoes at a time, just one at a time and pull out the already made dressing. Please try it, you won't be dissapointed.


8-12 very ripe firm tomatoes
1-2 tbsp torn fresh basil leaves or chopped fresh mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprinkle of sugar

Ballymaloe French Dressing:
2 fl oz wine vinegar
6 fl oz extra virgin olive oil or a mixture of olive and other oils

1 level tsp mustard (Dijon or English)
1 large clove garlic
1 scallion or small spring onion
sprig of parsley
sprig of watercress
1 level tsp salt (do not omit)
freshly ground black pepper


1. Remove the core from each tomato and slice into three or four rounds (around the equator) or into quarters. Arrange in a single layer on a flat plate.
2. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and several grinds of black pepper.
3. Sprinkle with chopped mint or torn basil.
4. Put all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix.
5. Toss immediately in just enough dressing to coat the tomatoes and taste for seasoning.
5. Tomatoes must be dressed as soon as they are cut to seal in the flavour.

Courtesy: Darina Allen

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Harvest Exchange and Seed Bank

As of late, David and I can be found combing our neighborhood asking neighbors if we can pick a modest amount of fruit from their trees. You see, there are soooo many fruit trees around town. Sadly, virtually all of them are treated simply as ornamental additions to a landscape, or perhaps as nuisances as their fruit falls to the ground to rot.

But that is food, and it is often beyond delicious!
These trees are usually not treated with any harmful chemicals, and they are not genetically modified.
There is no corporate middleman

It hasn't been shipped from thousands of miles away
And the food is, dare I say, FREE!?!

Anyway…that is what got me thinking.

What if we created a harvest exchange network in our community? Basically, a network of folks to share the wealth of produce that is flourishing, including backyard gardens. And what if it was done through simple exchange, no money involved anywhere. Not a cent. If neighbor ‘A’ has too many oranges, they can trade with neighbor ‘B’ who has too many avocados, both of whom can trade with neighbor ‘C’ who has too many tomatoes. We love the idea. This has also led to our considering the creation of a local seed bank. What do you think?

Monday, July 7, 2008

A reason to grow your own.....

A couple of easy to watch, easy to absorb documentaries on our country's food supply......




This month we have several flours available for purchase, two of them being flours produced through the Unifine process.

In this process the grain enters a high speed rotor and is instantly shattered into fine flour - even the bran and germ are burst! Air goes through the rotor with the grain and blows the flour out, thus keeping it cool throughout the process, retaining many nutrients. With the Unifine Process the natural oils in the grain are kept intact and do not get hot like in regular grain milling and stoneground milling.

We have both Unifine Kamut and Spelt flours. What is Kamut? What is Spelt, you might ask?

Kamut: Believed to be an ancient relative of Wheat, Kamut is a high protein grain, generally containing 30% more protein than wheat. Its amino acid ratio is about the same as wheat so if you should happen to be eating nothing but Kamut, you may wish to add some peanut butter, legumes or some other food high in lysine to give you a little better amino acid blend. It takes a while to cook, but has a wonderful buttery flavor and chewy texture. One of the interesting things about this strain of wheat is that many with wheat allergies do not seem to be bothered by this grain (those with Celiac disease should, however avoid Kamut).

  • Since we also have the whole Kamut grain available, here are Cooking Instructions: 1 cup Kamut to 3 cups of water, cover and simmer on low heat.

Spelt: Another type of wheat that has been around for thousands of years. Also tolerated by wheat sensitive individuals. It can be easily substituted for wheat in many recipes. Has 30% more protein that wheat, and contains considerable B vitamins, magnesium, and fiber.

We have BioKleen Laundry Liquid available as a bulk purchase. Here's a little about it:

Biokleen Laundry Liquid is Phosphate & chlorine free! Laundry Liquid from Biokleen gets fabrics cleaner, brighter, even in cold or hard water (like we have here in Whittier). Very concentrated, a little goes a long way. Great for hand-washables and delicates, and can be used to pre-treat stains before washing. Naturally safe and controls musty mildew odors on towels, and clothes left longer in the washer. Rinses clean leaving no skin-irritating residue. Great for people with sensitive skin or allergies. Biodegrades rapidly without harm to the environment. No animal testing.....No animal ingredients.

  • Directions for Use:Add soap, start water, add laundry. Always wash whites and colors separately and follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Top-Load Washers: Use 2 Tbs. (1 oz.) per full load.
  • Gentle & Delicate Cycles: Use 1 Tbs. (1/2 oz.) per full load.
  • Hand Washables: Use 1 or 2 tsp. in sink with cold water.
  • Stains: Pre-treat stains by applying directly to stain, gently rub in and launder as directed.
  • Ingredients: Surfactants & water conditioners from coconut, linear ethoxilate from coconut, grapefruit seed and pulp extract, orange peel extract, antiredeposit agents from corn, filtered spring water.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Natural Pest Repellant

Here is a recipe for non-chemical pest sprays for use in your garden. This is not my recipe, though I don't recall where I originally got it.

It will keep for up to a week in your refrigerator, so small batches are best.

1 small peeled onion
2 peeled garlic cloves
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups of water

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Let the mix sit overnight in the fridge, then strain the liquid into a spray bottle. Use liberally on plants.

More Bulk Bags

*** As a fun option, if you give me one of your old favorite t-shirts, I will assemble it into reusable bags for you at no cost (donations would be gratefully accepted)***

$13.75 - 4 piece set

This time made from a recycled t-shirt. I will be adding more sets from time to time if you do not like the designs currently available.

Multi-piece set of Produce/Bulk bags made from an old t-shirt.

Yup, thats right - no new cotton used!

Did you know that a cotton t-shirt can take decades to decompose in a landfill?

Each bag has a drawstring closure, with a small glass bead to cinch each bag closed, until you want it open. I've also individually weighed each bag and included the tare weights.

Quantity of bags and bag sizes vary per set.....but all sets easily pack up inside of their smallest counterpart...which usually measures about 5" x 5". Please see the 2nd pic below. Once all bags are tucked away, you easily tuck them inside your purse, or just slip the drawstring over your wrist for a trip to the market. Smallest bags are great for herbs, teas, or small produce items like jalapenos.

Shirts/bags have been washed and dried.

Please remember these sets are made from used t-shirts, and may have a few blemishes. All bags have been washed well with friendly cleaning products.

My goal in making these bags available is to offer folks an easy, fun way to STOP using disposable produce bags. If you are a participating member of our buying group - you are welcome to pick up a set of bags free of charge (though a donation would be gratefully accepted). Please just let us know which design / color you would like.

$14.75 - 5 piece set (above)

$13.25 - 5 piece set (above)