Post #364 The Start of the Season

May 4, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #364 The Start of the Season

Our favorite farmer’s store opened for business this weekend.  And we found a new diner in a nearby city that was crazy amazing.  And the weather has started to warm and I planted the first of my herb garden.  So guess what this post is about?

A week ago, with the weather turning fine, we decided to take a drive towards the ocean.  In a few weeks, we won’t be able to do that since the summer tourists will be descending en masse driving to the ocean from nearby states, and the roads will be clogged from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening.  Our little hamlet won’t be affected too badly, and we know all the back roads to where we want to be.  But the main roads to the ocean are going to be heavily traversed on the weekends starting from Memorial Day and lasting through Labor Day.  So we were out looking at the signs of Spring.

We saw fields of grass, soybeans, corn, hay, wheat, etc. with all kinds of birds flying around looking for mice and seeds.  Wildflowers and domestic flower beds were in full bloom everywhere.  Trees that didn’t have a bud on them the week before were suddenly awash in pale green as new leaves and buds woke up.  Cherry blossoms were pink; Bartlett pear blossoms were white; dogwood blossoms looked like white stars deep in the woods.  Small shoots of wild asparagus were showing up and I wanted to stop and harvest, but my arm hurt too much.

When it came time to turn around and go home, we decided to stop for lunch.  We were in a town that was familiar and where we’d had lunch before, but we wanted to find a diner to eat it.  And we did.  It was Sunday at 1pm and we found a diner called The Stargate Diner.  We pulled in, got a seat, and were immediately happy with our selection.  It was crowded, always a good sign, and it was crowded with the after church crowd.  Let me tell you, the older church goers know where the good food at bargain prices is.

After we ordered, I watched the other customers, and the wait staff.  There were two all-you-can-eat bars, one for salad, one for breakfast.  The church ladies were extremely happy with the salad bar.  Everyone who went to the salad bar came back with a plate loaded to overflowing.  And the size of the plates!  They were more like platters.

I ordered a patty melt, a burger with fried onions on toasted rye bread with cheese.  They went one step better and added grilled mushrooms, which is why I ordered it.  Partner/Spouse had a pastrami sandwich just the way he likes it – pastrami and rye.  That’s all.  He got onion rings and I got fries.  On plates the size of platters so there were tons of fries and very large sandwiches.  We had to take the rest home.  And it was good!  We’re certainly going back, now that we know it’s there.

We stopped on the way home and got some gardening stuff.  We planted four rose bushes, and four herb pots.

herbs

Left to right we’ve got pineapple sage, sweet basil, peppermint, and sweet mint.  I think the sweet mint is going to be for mojitos.  With the weather as it is, I expect I’ll be harvesting fresh herbs within a week.  It makes me feel better knowing that I’m doing something to add to our table.

Then this weekend, Emily’s opened.  They opened late because they did some remodeling and doubled the size of their store.  They also doubled the size of their plant store and added a child’s play area.  When we walked in, the owner greeted us with “Hi!  Long time no see!”  We didn’t buy a huge amount, less than $30, but we got a ton of fresh stuff as always.  We got a small head of cabbage, some green beans, some asparagus, some potatoes, and some baked stuff.  And a lemon pound cake.  Haven’t broken into that yet.  It was so nice to go into the place and see friendly faces and wander through the produce and preserves.

We grilled steak and asparagus that night.

Tonight, I’m going to blanche the rest of the asparagus and add it to lemon pasta.  I can’t wait.

So, that was the start of harvest season for us.  We’re back to farm-to-table cooking.  Tomorrow, I’m going to use half the cabbage in a stir fry.  Later in the week, I’ll use the rest of it in tacos.  I’m going to sauté the green beans with toasted nuts.  As the summer progresses, the produce will change.  By fall, we’ll see everything and tasted everything.  Can’t wait.

Enjoy

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