Seasons Greetings

Now, more than any other time of the year, is the season of giving and receiving.

We love to share and receive knowledge, about everything, and mostly about growing, preparing and all things veggies. We have big goals for the farm this year, we may achieve them, we may not, but we have decided to think big and move forward, whatever our speed. We welcome all of your ideas, thoughts, concerns; anything you want to share is most welcomed, it’s how we grow and expand as well.

For now, we would like to give you some cool tips, share some interesting web sites, plus provide some last minute gift ideas for you and those on your list that enjoy creating, gardening, and food.

Last minute gifts:

We have copies of the All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew on SALE for $15; normally $20. This book is easy to read, has lots of photos that show you how you can have a successful garden and grow your own food.

One of our subscribers, Elida, makes olive oil. This years oil is exceptional according to the miller. It is peppery – a more traditional Tuscan type of oil. It got rave revues from some of their first tasters – the chef’s at Chez Panisse. The price is $18.00 per bottle (limited quantities). If you are interested, please contact Elida at olive.farm@live.com.

Mother Earth News is a great publication and for $10 a year, it’s a bargain. PLUS, you can get on their website and access tons of articles and how-to’s. Check them out. Right now they are offering a Wiser Living Guide; complete 2009 set of 4; Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Guide to Country Skills, Guide to Living on Less and Loving It, and Guide to Home Energy Savings. Offer expires Dec. 31, 2009.

Tips:

And speaking of olive oil and Mother Earth News; check out how to make an olive oil lamp. This would have been super helpful during the storms a couple of weeks ago, when many of us in the hills did not have electricity.

Ok, so here’s the best tip of the year. Unbelievable? Read on. If you have ever hard-boiled fresh eggs, you know what a pain it is to peel them. This process seems long and I had my doubts, I’ve tried everything and resigned myself to buying an extra dozen and keeping them in the fridge for 2 weeks before I boiled them. (Eggs have a shelf live of 30-60 days and are about 7 days old to 14 days old when they arrive at the supermarket.) This method works, give it a try. It just may be the answer to the bad peeled hard-boiled egg. Let me know what you think. Hint: Next time I will cook them for longer than 10 minutes, they were good, but the yolk could have been cooked a little more for us. Plus, I had large, fresh eggs. Maybe 10 minutes is good for medium sized eggs.

Thanks to Seppo Ed Farrey’s comments in his book “3 Bowls Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery Cookbook.”

Place enough water in a saucepan so the eggs will have 1 inch of water above them. Bring the water to a boil without the eggs. Use a spoon to gently lower the eggs into the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes.

Immediately remove the eggs (save the water!) and place them in a bowl of very cold water, under a running faucet for 2 minutes.

Gently lower the eggs back into the boiling water for 10 seconds.

Return the eggs to the cold bath for 2 minutes and gently crack them. Peel the eggs.

The first cold water bath makes the whites shrink from the shells while the second boiling water bath expands the shell. The expanding shell pulls away from the egg.

Websites:

Mother Earth News – the original guide to living wisely.

Organic Consumers Association – an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability.

Dr Earth – Yes, they sell everything organic; soil, fertilizers; and we do purchase their Organic 5™ Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer 5-7-3 and the Fish Bone Meal – 3 – 18 – 0; but the site has a wealth of information and articles. Be sure to sign up for their FREE Gardening Guide magazine, lots of info.

Kidsorganics.org – Natural alternatives to pesticides, toxins and cleaners. Many homemade recipes too.

Terra Firma Farm – CSA with a good page on how to store produce. “Tomatoes: should never be stored in the fridge, unless you plan to make sauce with them. It will make them mealy. Keep your ‘maiders in a cool, well-ventilated spot and eat them as they ripen.”

Harvest Eating – Seasonal cooking made easy; recipes and videos created by Chef Keith Snow. The approach is simple: buy foods that are fresh and in-season; then prepare them using whole, natural ingredients produced by farmers not chemists.

Simply Recipes – Food and cooking with hundreds of recipes.

A Veggie Venture – award-winning home of 675+ vegetable recipes, all organized to find just what you’re looking for.

Have a wonderful holiday season full of joy, love and of course great food!

If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change

Man in the Mirror, sung by Michael Jackson
Written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett

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