Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring bits: plants, interviews, festivals, and fun!

If you haven't already planted your peas, radishes, beets, carrots, and other cold vegetables, hop to it. This reminds me that I need to pick up some chicken wire, because the bunnies are ubiquitous and they love to mow down pea shoots. Right now I am keeping the rabbits at bay with a rotten egg spray, but I don't like to use that on the plants too much because I don't want too much sulfur in the beds. I don't know if this worry is warranted or not, but my onions are in the same bed, and onions become hot because of sulfur.

I thinned my onion bed (nodding, or Egyptian onions) and was able to give away a bunch. This was exciting. I also planted some new varieties in pots. I still have a bunch of nodding onions sitting in a long planter that will be given away, or be cooked by me. Perhaps it's time to make an onion tart or preserve!

I am so excited to see the shoots coming up in the garden! My friend Jerica and her three year-old Henry helped me thin the radishes the other day by eating the tops of the ones we removed. I had never tried this before, but they were delicious. So many plants have delicious greens. I was reminded of this during our interview with chef Bryan Voltaggio of Volt on April 10, where he talked about his tribulations in New York City when trying to find beets with the greens attached. I am a huge fan of beet greens and am happy to report that the beets are about half an inch high now. Carrots are about the same. As of yesterday the radishes were ahead of everything else at about an inch high, but the peas shot up over night to about 2 and a half inches.

I transcribed the interview with Chef Bryan last night (well, 25 minutes of it, the most relevant part) and have sent it over to my co-bloggers to review and add pictures. It will be up tonight or tomorrow. I decided to use the interview pretty much word-for-word, because I think the whole thing is awesome. I was really impressed by how important it is to Bryan to support the local producers, and the many ways he has tried to make this possible. I enjoyed doing this so much, though it took about 6 hours to transcribe the tape, and am going to do more interviews in the future for sure.

I have my sights set on interviewing Chef James from Isabella's next, because of their weekday breakfasts where they feature local foods. I have organized a breakfast for my Project Manager coworkers for before work tomorrow, so I will try to talk to him while I am there.

I ran into Jeremy Hauck from the Gazette today at lunch and learned that he is going to be writing a story about morel foraging this week. If you are a forager, he is looking for people to interview. You can email him at Jeremy told me that someone in his office reads our blog and loves it. To the reader at the Gazette- thanks!

I was also excited when I heard from Hilda Staples at Volt that Yeon's post about building raised beds inspired them to build their own- in the rain!

Yeon and I are hoping to do a farm visit this week; we'd like to do these on a semiregular basis this year.

We are also hoping to organize a farmer's market festival for the end of May; more on that as we get going. So far we have a band and a cooking demonstration lined up.

I also want to call your attention to the fact that we added a list of local food and ag blogs. These are our friends and I encourage you to check them out. If you know of one, let us know and we'll post it.

If you are a producer or user of local agricultural products and would like to share posts on products and events this year, drop us a line. We love to promote the efforts of our local farmers. We are especially interested in posting emails from farmers to the blog so that our readers will know about your products as they come into season.

Happy Spring!


Chelsea said...

Just curious - how do you use chicken wire for your peas? Around the individual sprouts, or around the entire plot? I've taken to making 'collars' of plastic party cups for each of my pea plants - I snip off the bottom of the cup and then place the hollow tube over the sprout, twisting a bit to stabilize the cup in the surrounding soil. It's a bit of labor, but those bunnies wreak havoc!!!

smoo said...

You know I am not sure. Good question. I figure I'll wrap it around the sides, but apparently I need to protect the top, too, so things don't get in there so now I don't know! I LOVE your plastic collar idea and am going to try to locate some cups.