Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Garden Club

Get your gardening gloves and knee pads ready. It's time for another installment of Monday Garden Club.

Last night we finally got some much needed rain here. Only about two tenths of an inch but at least it was something. The whole month of September has been rainless with beautiful sunny days and warm temps. The garden has somehow held on through the dry spell and is still rockin'. The green beans are still growing but I can tell there are getting close to the end. Some are a bit stringy but edible yet still much better than the beans they try to pass off as fresh at the grocery store. Which reminds me of something I've been meaning to complain blog about. The crappy quality and high prices on meat and produce in the grocery store.

None of our local grocery stores (that I've noticed anyway) sell organic meat and eggs. And yes there is a difference. At first I thought all this buy organic hype was complete crap but I have changed my tune. I'm not sure if it's that the food quality in the US has gone down or maybe I'm becoming a food snob. Probably a little of both.

Over the last year or so I have bought only free range eggs from chickens that are raised less than 5 miles from my house. They are about twice as much as the regular store bought but well worth the price for the superb quality. I couldn't believe my eyes when I cracked a store bought (factory) egg this summer. It was so pale looking. I sniffed it twice just to make sure it was still safe to use. I guess I forgot what other eggs look like.

A woman up the road from us has a small farm where she sells eggs, fresh pork, fresh chickens, garden produce, etc. A few months ago I saw she had an ad in the paper selling whole pigs. I stopped over at her house, wrote her a check and two weeks later I picked up 5 boxes filled to the tippy top with smokey pork goodness. Bacon, hams, pork chops, ribs, roasts, even 3 big tubs of lard. Now you would think that buying a home raised well-treated animal and paying for the butchering and smoking would be expensive. Think again. I paid less than $2 a pound for the most delicious pork there is. We already ate all 9 packages of breakfast sausage because it was so darn tasty.

Over Labor Day weekend while we were hosting family, I grilled a big 9 pound happy chicken from the same local farm and I plan to do the same this weekend for Mae's Birthday. The taste is out of this world and because so many people are now turning to this way of buying and eating food, a small business is flourishing. I could go on all day about this but I'll stop before I scare away all of my vegetarian readers.

I have also been freezing and canning almost everything from my garden so that this winter we won't have to rely on the grocery store for our vegetables. I have already frozen 8 quart bags of green beans (I still have to freeze the beans I picked yesterday), 4 bags of peas, 8 bags of broccoli, 3 bags of sliced summer squash and tomatoes all ready to make this.

The girls picked the rest of the melons...

The second crop of raspberries are starting to ripen...The brussel sprouts could be picked any day now but I really don't have the room in the fridge or the time to process them. That's alright, they're doing fine in the garden yet.

My neighbor brought over a big grocery bag full of apples over the weekend and in return I pawned off a few peaches because believe it or not, we still have some and we're kind of getting tired of them.
Then today, I turned half of the apples into applesauce. No fancy recipe here. Just apples and a bit of water to keep the sauce smooth. I also added about 1/4 cup of honey for sweetness.

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments, I'll add you to this post.


Kelly said...

I have been complaining about grocery store produce for months. I keep buying stuff that once cut open turns out to be rotten. Perfect on the outside, mush on the inside. Even the organic stuff isn't very good. It's really infuriating.

Thanks for visiting my new blog!

Sidhe said...

I'm with you. We are so lucky to have our big garden and our own pigs, chickens and cows. I don't like to eat meat if I don't know exactly where it came from. I'm not doing much putting away this year (packing instead).

Out in Them Sticks said...

Wow girl, way to save and not sacrifice one bit of quality!! I'd consider buying a pig but we'd need a bigger freezer!!

Riot Kitty said...

You're right on - local tastes soooooooooo much better. I'm not a foodie, but I think I'm becoming a produce foodie.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

You have got the best garden. I need a freezer and a bigger garden next year. My garden is done for the season. I need to rake it up.