Where it all starts...

Well, that's not totally accurate. It all starts in the greenhouse, where we plant most of the seeds. When they've got a few leaves and a few inches, it's time for them to go into the ground. Here's Cameron getting the hoop house soil ready for the next round of tomatoes. Before those wonderful juliets, sungolds, slicers, and heirlooms make it to market (or CSA, or Buyer's Club), they come of age under the protection of the hoop house.

How do I eat that?: Zucchini Edition

Since I started working at Blenheim last year, many of my conversations now revolve around vegetables. Specifically, what to do with them.

“How do you cook kohlrabi?” “What should I do with escarole?” “You eat that raw?” “Mint in salad? Really?”

The conversations get especially interesting when we have a million of something. Like now, with zucchini in massive abundance, we've exhausted the usual recipes. Here's a sample of the variety of things you can do with zucchini:

  • Grill it. Add some balsamic vinegar & diced elephant garlic, and throw it on the grill. It's a healthy, delicious complement (or alternative) to all the red meat you'll see at summer cook-outs.
  • Saute it. Slice your squash in 1/4-inch slices, then throw it in a stir-fry. Add it after the onions, but before the garlic and leafy greens.
  • Roast it. Cut it into cubes, and roast it with turnips, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or radishes, plus garlic and onions. (I never roast anything without garlic and onions!)
  • Make a casserole. Shallots, tomatoes, bread crumbs, and asiago - can't go wrong here.
  • Spiralize it. If you own a spiralizer, make zucchini noodles and enjoy carb-free "pasta." You can put pretty much anything on top of zucchini noodles - just pretend they're noodles. Great for summer because they're cold and light, as opposed to real noodles.
  • Bake it in bread. Of course, there are a thousand variations of this. Here's one recipe showing that zucchini bread doesn't have to be a guilty pleasure. The coconut oil makes this one extra good!
  • Freeze it. Cut it 1/4-inch slices, then in half. Keep it in a Ziploc in the freezer, and it'll stay good for months. Add frozen zucchini to a stir-fry or saute, and you'll barely notice it's not fresh.
  • Make soup. I haven't tried it yet, but this recipe for spicy summer squash soup is on my to-do list (minus the bacon). If you make it, let me know how it goes!
  • Eat it raw. Grate it over your salad, or dice it and add it to salsa. Or slice it and serve along with carrot sticks with hummus and dip on a veggie tray. Raw zucchini is really tender and mild-tasting.
  • Make a boat. Wegmans has a great recipe collection on their website, including three (3!) different kinds of squash boats: Mediterranean, Lemon dill, and Spicy black bean

    Of course, anything you can do with zucchini, you can do with yellow squash.
[ image credit: Wegmans ]

[ image credit: Wegmans ]

There are also some fancy-yet-simple recipes for squash in Alice Waters' "The Art of Simple Food," which is a wonderful book for anyone who loves vegetables, organic food, and/or seasonal cooking.

And yes, I do put mint in salad. :-)

- Kim

P.S. If you want more zucchini, we'll be at the Fredericksburg Market next week with plenty of it! And you can always email us at blenheimorganicgardens@gmail.com.

Introducing the Fxbg Buyers' Club!

Last week, we tried out something a little different. We weren't doing the Fredericksburg market (we're only doing that every other week this summer), but we didn't want people to lose out on their local organic vegetables for the week. So we emailed our customers, told them what we've got, and took orders that way. Thankfully, those of you who took advantage of this told us how much you liked the new system!

This is great for several reasons. One, market sales have been diminishing steadily over the past few years, not just for us, but for farmers everywhere. Big ag farms are taking over farmers markets, too, which is sad. A lot of what you see at markets these days isn't local, isn't organic, isn't from small family farms. It's the same produce you could get at Aldi or Food Lion, only it looks local or organic, because it's under a tent outside. That kind of competition means that real organic food is becoming a narrower and narrower margin at markets. 

Also, markets are a ton of work. You spend all week harvesting and cleaning the very best produce, then transport it all an hour away, and hope it sells. Sometimes it does, but often we bring a lot back. It's a lot of man (and woman) power for one day of unpredictable sales. Plus, we have to get up either at 4am (for Williamsburg) or 5am (for Fredericksburg), which means our Friday and Saturday nights are severely compromised ;-)

Anyway, this new Buyers' Club is looking like a really attractive option. We know exactly how much we have to harvest, and we know it's not going to waste. We can sleep in on Saturdays, because pick-up hours aren't till 9. We're hoping it's equally beneficial to you, because you don't have to fight market traffic or guess whether we're going to be there. 

Thank you for your patience as we transition and try out new things! If you want to sign up for the Buyers' Club email (no commitment required - just an occasional email), head over to our contact page and send us an email with "Buyers club" in the subject line. And if you ever have feedback, special requests, questions, good stories, pictures, or funny jokes, please feel free to email us at blenheimorganicgardens@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support - we wouldn't be able to do what we do without you. 

We'll be back at Fredericksburg Market on June 10th, and the next Buyers Club email will go out the following week.

Peace, love and vegetables! :-)

- Kim

First weekend back at Fredericksburg Market!

It was a chilly February day, this past Saturday (okay, it was May...but it sure felt like winter). Thanks to everyone who came out to see us! We were collecting email addresses, because we won't be back to the Fredericksburg Market until June 10th - so until then, we want to make sure you get your local organic goodness. On weeks we're not at market, we'll send you an email with what we've got, and take orders for pick-up in downtown Fred-burg. 

If you want to get those emails, contact us at blenheimorganicgardens@gmail.com with "Fxbg Buyers' Club" in the subject line, and we'll keep you in the loop!