Archive | August, 2014

Suzie’s Farm and The Blog Is Back!

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“Hi and howdy!” says Farmer Gil. “Welcome back to the blog!”

Well, more like… welcome back, blog, and thanks to any and all of you who are still reading!

I fully expected that after two weeks of living in San Diego, I’d be back to blogging now and then. I miss this space and sharing life with you all! But we’ve been slammed with some family sickness (broken collarbone for Gil, rash for Lena, fevers for both of them) and have had visitors since we arrived. IΒ think we’re turning the corner into a more settled routine. At last!

To start us off, here are photos from this past Saturday when we visited a local farm. We haven’t been to any kind of organic, family-friendly farm event in years — or maybe ever? — but I know they are pretty common in the States. Anyway, pretty much everything surpassed our expectations.

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Suzie’s Farm, you had me at your artfully-designed flyer.

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Watermelon gherkins! (aka teeny tiny cucumbers)

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Hottest, hotter, hot, sweet, sweeter, sweetest.

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Choosing peppers for salsa and cucumbers for pickling.

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I’ve always wanted to make my own pickles, but the art of fermentation totally intimidates me. After Saturday, though, I have my own jar of pickles fermenting in the cupboard. What’s next… kombucha? (Sort of kidding since I’ve never even tasted it. #welcometoamerica)

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If you want to learn to pickle, Southern California’s farmers are about the chillest and coolest folks to teach you. “Girl, you’re doing great, just peel some garlic here and toss that in too….”

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While I was chopping cucumbers, Elliott was roasting our peppers. After they had roasted, we combined them with tomatoes, cilantro, and onions in a Vitamix…

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… and Lena and Elliott pedaled to power the blender to turn them into salsa! Totally cool. Also the salsa is amazing and we’ve basically inhaled it. Fire-roasted 100% organic pepper-and-tomato salsa? Get in my mouth.

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We ordered lunch from this fantabulous food truck on the premises, but they told us our meal would take 20 minutes to prepare, so we wandered off around the farm to pick some herbs and flowers and meet some…

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No caption required.

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And then… our lunch! That’s eggplant tacos, sweet potato fries, and beet dip (so pink!). Also it was all Elliott ordered for our whole family (“Man, I thought there would be a lot more food”). We all kind of looked at each other hungrily when we were done.

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We ended the day by filling our take-away box to the brim with tomatoes and peppers.

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Be choosy, Gil.

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The tomatoes or Gala apples? Love the variegation.

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Silly smile from another little helper.

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And finally home, where we put the kids down for naps and then I rapidly bagged herbs and refrigerated peppers and cucumbers. An amazing haul of organic produce for just $20!

It cheers my heart (and warms my blood….) to see this because just yesterday I almost teared up at the grocery store while shopping for fruit. I’m not a die-hard organic or farm-fresh person — I eat commercially-grown veggies and fruits without fuss, like most people — but when I saw a huge bin of apricots under the florescent grocery store lights, my heart sank.

“Apricots” in Sicily are golden balls of sweetness, warm from the sun in the back of the farmer’s truck, kissed rosy pink on one cheek, dripping with juice and bursting with flavor. Memories rushed back: simple chit-chat in Italian with farmers while buying kilo after kilo of apricots under the Sicilian sun. Lena and Gil eating apricots in the stroller as we walked home. Apricots on the counter, apricots with our dinner, apricots for every snack, apricots turned into jam.

These apricots in the grocery store yesterday, though, were out of season and a sickly green, over-sized, a poor imitation of the thing I’d come to love. I picked one up and felt it sadly; it was cold and hard.

So maybe we won’t buy fresh apricots from farmers’ trucks in California. We’ve said goodbye to many things. But this — this glorious summer afternoon, this cache of memories, this jar of to-be-pickles, this quart of fresh salsa, this box of herbs and peppers, this bouquet of glowing sunflowers…

… we’ve said hello to all of this. And it’s so good.

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