Thursday, November 28, 2013
On Sunday I returned to the New Amsterdam Market, in part to purchase a few things I had previously bartered for at the last market. My other reason was a meeting with a young woman currently in a semester-long art program here in NYC, has a blog, and is deeply interested in food and photography. For nearly two hours we discussed options for her future and then headed over to the market.
Yishi Xie, copyright 2013
Yishi's photo of my garlic and a wild mushroom pasta dish made in her dormitory room.
Yishi loves NYC, but is not a citizen (she's from Chengdu, China), and has to return to a rural western PA college for her final semester. She's thinking of grad school, but after our conversation I encouraged her to find a job or internship here in NYC with a food mag/website or other food business where she can put her photographic and web-design skills to work and gain a sponsor. She is an excellent photographer, smart, poised, and funny. I wish her the best. See some of her photos and words here.
Each about six or seven for the 23 oz bottle. Doc's is easier to get in NYC, but as of now I think there is only one place offering Black Bird -here.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Eat well, give thanks.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
It all started with the machine. From the rear loading dock at the studio, handles lowered, loading it into the van.
Of course, this beast was intended for 80 foot farm rows, but that got nixed in favor of an ever more local farm. A 1989 Troy-bilt 22-inch wide, rear-tined tiller, 8-inch tilling depth, and 7 HP Kohler Magnum engine. Forward and reverse drive gears, starts on the first pull, but a little fussy about the drive lever. More tiller than a twenty by ten foot plot can handle, turning was an effort, possibly creating more work than hand digging, especially when the tiller dug in. Two plots later; that was Friday's work.
On Saturday I pulled out the trenching shovel and began making rows for walking; squeezing as many beds as possible leaves little room but a foot's width.
My other plot, the new plot, gee-one has subtle differences in soil than the beach farm plot, eff-twelve. It is softer, way softer, richer too, with fewer stones (and wood chips, sucker!). The tiller work was a little easier here without the boundaries of fencing and so was my trenching thanks to the depth of friable soil.
I didn't plant any of my Amagansett cloves here at the beach farm, but for two heads of Spanish Roja. This Rocambole wasn't replaced with new seed as it is notoriously difficult to grow, but I had two heads that appeared exceptionally healthy from the farm. Once peeled, the cloves skins and inner wrappers were a gorgeous mix of rose and terracotta. I hope they do well and although they were smaller than my seed bought at a high price farm, they were in much better shape than much of my Rocambole seed cloves that were beginning to dehydrate.
My orderly rows a contrast to the chaos of wooden and white plastic lattice, coolers, bins, green mesh fencing, umbrellas, and other garden objects. Finished now, but for one bulb of Artichoke I left at home, still waiting to be planted. All in all, 1184 cloves of garlic (and 18 French Grey Shallots) planted in two plots, or just over 400 square feet. That's one sixth the quantity of cloves I planted last season on a fifth acre (or 8700 sq. ft.) in Amagansett on only one hundredth an acre at the beach farm. Kapow.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Not so much saffron this season. Why? Maybe because I moved them from the farm in Amagansett. I also missed a number of the blooms because I couldn't make it to the beach farm. It's ok, next year.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I'm boiling the last of my Amagansett grown potatoes and a handful of sweet potatoes given to me by a farmer out at the barn. They'll be softened by the boil, then tossed in a hot pan with olive oil. Towards the end I'll put some butter on and chopped garlic. I've noticed my Artichoke variety garlic has gotten downright buttery raw, now. So good. The one at the top of the bowl is Artichoke. It's important to know how garlic changes as it sits, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I've nowhere well-lit, particularly on these darker, cloudy mornings to place a vase of flowers for a photograph. The kitchen stove always fares best as a table, and even then on top of a cast iron dutch oven. The light streams in from the window beside, a faint rectangle on the vase.
The leaves of the crimson Salvia elegans blacken at the freezer's edge, so I cut it. But the chrysanthemums, or what are they called these days (when I purchased one it was Chrysanthemum "Sheffield Pink"), are hardly not hardy. They will droop with the sop (that which makes it sopping, no? I will use it anyway), but afterward perk up. I've seen them through several snows.