Our Modern Garden is almost three weeks old and like most new parents, we are simply over the moon. Our hearts are bursting with pride and our fledgling farm is flourishing.
We arrived last weekend just in time to pick a substantial amount of lettuce, arugula, basil, spinach and parsley.
A bed of Lettuces
The seeds planted are sprouting like mad and we anxiously await picking the radishes as well as the beets, which appear to be making quite a bit of headway while the carrots, cucumbers and sweet basil are still in-utero, so to speak.
The menu reflected our current harvest and included:
Fresh Mozzarella, tomato and arugula sandwiches with olive oil and garlic on a fresh farm store baguette.
Baguette with Fresh garden basil
A wonderful mixed greens and arugula salad with goat cheese, beets ( not from our garden yet) and toasted slivered almonds.
A delicious frittata using garden spinach and basil along with feta cheese, tomatoes, peppers, mushroom and just a bit of mozzarella.
And finally, with our garden greens all but picked we combined the remaining spinach, arugula and basil to make a fantastic pasta with pesto and sun dried tomatoes.
With the weekend almost here and the plants replenished, some new "farm to table" dishes are sure to be on the menu.
And, have we mentioned our latest guests?
I awoke this morning to find this family of five woodchucks. The parent was foraging on our lawn as the four babies lounged on the porch steps, posed for family photos and went exploring in our flower beds. I'm hoping they graze on the lawn like their parent and not on out plants.
This past Saturday night we hosted our first “Road Party” in the country and it was spectacular!It was attended by nine families including ours and was so successful, we have decided to make it an annual event.
Unlike suburban neighborhoods with streetlights and sidewalks, our road in the country is light-less and dirt. While our home is situated close to the road, most of the other homes that dot our road are nestled in the mountainside at the end of dirt driveways, many of which are a half mile long or more.
That being the case, it should come as no surprise that after ten summers in the country, we knew little, if anything about our neighbors.But all that changed last summer, when we met our new neighbor Jeanne and her dog Zippy.
Zippy and Charlie became fast friends and Charlie (as well as Irwin & myself) eagerly anticipated Zippy & Jeanne’s impromptu visits before or after their afternoon walk.Jeanne, living here full time for half the year had managed to meet more local people in her first month here, than we had met in the ten years previous and it was through her that we finally met some of our neighbors last Labor Day.
Zippy & Charlie: Best Buddies
This year Jeanne had a brilliant idea.She suggested we collaborate and host a “Road Party” to get to know more of our “hidden” neighbors. Because there is nothing we enjoy more than hosting a party, we immediately offered our home for the event.Jeanne dropped mailers in every mailbox and under every front door she could find on our half of the road (the road is over three miles long) asking people to RSVP and bring an appetizer, side or dessert.We had no idea who or what to expect and the result was more wonderful than we could have ever anticipated.
Our neighbors regardless of whether they were able to attend or not, called and emailed telling us how much they loved the idea of a road party. Despite never having any discussion about specifically what anyone was bringing, the collaboration was astounding and the resulting menu blended together seamlessly and needless to say, the buffet was plentiful.
In keeping with our slow home philosophy, we re-purposed cloth napkins and dishes that we had originally purchased and/or made for our children's B’nai-Mitzvah years ago and made a tablecloth from an upholstery fabric remnant.Using our own silverware, the only disposable items used at the gathering were about thirty plastic cups, which were recyclable.
Tableware set up: Nothing Disposable Here
Irwin took two colors of napkins from the assortment and in lieu of napkin rings, he used a roll of twine we had and rolled and tied each napkin with a simple twine bow; an easy and inexpensive touch that made tremendous visual impact.
Re-purposed napkins tied with everyday twine
Irwin then strategically placed cut flowers from our garden in vintage silver plated champagne glasses as well as a collection of vintage vases we have accumulated over the years.He supplemented our garden’s bounty with flowers Jeanne had purchased at a local farm to complete the arrangements.
Vintage silver plated champagne glass with farm flowers
More home grown flowers
Farm Flowers in our vintage vase
More local flowers in a vintage silver plated bowl
And...More local & farm flowers
our miniature roses
And the food, have I mentioned the food? Well, all of the food we prepared as well as the food that our guests brought was made with locally grown or purchased ingredients and was amazingly fresh and tasty.
My home made pasta w/arugula pesto sun dried tomatoes goat cheese and local grilled corn
Our neighbor Gloria's garden salad made form vegetables she grew in her garden (sorry for the leftovers photo)
Drinks including water, Iced tea and my special vodka cocktail
Jeanne's home made peach & plum pie made with locally grown fruit
my home made cupcakes
Charlie: Ready for guests
Although I stopped taking pictures when the guests arrived, I must list the delicious additions they contributed to the event:
A home made Ceasar salad
A home made Goat Cheese & Pesto Torta
A home made grilled summer squash salad ( squash grown in neighbor's garden)
Home made crab filled finger sandwiches
A fruit salad that included sever types of locally grown plums as well as peaches
An assortment of local artisanal cheeses
A rustic peach pie made by a local farm as well as a mixed berry pie from our local Biodynamic farm
But more than the wonderful food, the time spent getting to know our neighbors was priceless.We met new neighbors to the road as well as long standing residents; weekenders like ourselves as well as full-timers. We shared a meal as well as our love for this special place on our planet and as the evening came to a close and we cleaned up, we all agreed to do this again next year.
Glasses that we frosted for oldest son's bar mitzvah in 2001 now staples in the country