BY BEA WESTERBERG
“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and without flavor”. Eleanor Roosevelt I think I just went through a week of no big disasters and no big problems. How could that happen? Sitka is recovering in fine fashion and getting spoiled with ¼ lb burgers to hold his medicine and fresh ice cubes for his water. Between both of our loves for ice, we have that ice maker really MAKING ice. No dry, aged or dusty ice cubes for us! Maybe I could get out all my shaped ice cube trays and spice it up a bit. Maybe having different shaped cubes will help pass the time it takes to keep dealing with all the fire insurance paper and phone work. What would you think of going a few steps further and adding gin, tonic water and a slice of lime? One has to be respectful of fancy ice cubes!
How can it be time to start practicing to spell “August”? Our gardens and flowers are telling us that growing and flowering is indeed happening. The elderberry, Queen Anne’s lace and lily flowers are really showing off. Those of us that have veggie gardens or go to the Farm Market are really beginning to see the produce showing up to be ready for yummy meals.
A two acre veggie garden is in my past history but Neighbors Tony and Rose have been using some of the space. It has been a hot growing year with very little rain so that takes some of the fun out of gardening. Our local Hastings Farm Market was really hopping last Saturday. There was a full house of vendors and it was a very good thing that parking space was available for all the shoppers. The weather did cause an early closing but everyone was able to pack up and be safe.
The dry weather is affecting crop production and there are smaller numbers of some of the produce. The market corn people had only one truck to sell on Saturday. They usually can have another brought in but they harvested all available for the day in the first truck load. I see cherry tomatoes are starting to come in and soon the early tomatoes will be showing up. Cucumbers are coming in but the rain issues again are resulting in a smaller, slower crop. The bigger potatoes are starting to come but some of the little baby potatoes that I love are still available for a short time. The market has a wide variety of other items all made or grown with love of making and doing. From maple syrup to honey, bread, salsa, beauty items, fresh flowers, hot sauces, perennials, a variety of gifts and cheeses. The market may have different vendors on Tuesdays and Saturdays so not everything is available both days. (And I may have missed a few things). There are two different Hmong families that offer great food made on site. The Saturday family does egg rolls and spring rolls. The Tuesday family has both rolls, a sandwich, an amazing soup and even sticky rice with mango and coconut sauce for dessert. There is a lot of love and labor going on at this market!
Once I saw the cherry tomatoes at the market, my grilled cheese fever came on very strong. Of course they were not the big dripping, juicy running down to your elbow tomatoes, but they were very tasty looking. I found that my non-frozen bread supply was down to Texas toast and I decided I could live with that. I spread mayo on the two outer crusts (instead of butter or spray) and packed in the cheese. While the sandwich was cooking I sliced up a number of the cherry tomatoes. UH OH, was not watching closely and I kind of burned one side. Well, one knows how to take care of that. After some removal of unwanted darkness, I added the sliced cherry tomatoes and a good handful of some wonderful fresh basil I had just gotten at the market. (I use basil whenever possible instead of lettuce). This turned out to be one BIG sandwich. For a first of year sandwich it was pretty darn good. It almost made it to perfect but I think even though it had the good fresh tomato taste, it was not those beloved big tomatoes that are yet to come. Pray for nice gentle rains! And big juicy tomatoes!