Notes from the Third Year – Eggplant: The Final Frontier
Late October, 2006
We were finally able to get over the eggplant hump this year! It started when my mother-in-law helped me to make eggplant Parmesan, with my homemade sauce and some excellent Romano cheese. Once we’d crossed the barrier, and realized that eggplant is good, a whole new world opened up – now, I’ve got eggplant stored in the freezer in little breaded rounds, for eggplant parm, and baked and mashed, to add to pizza topping or turn into a wonderful, tangy dip called caponata. Oh, eggplant, eggplant, where have you been all my life?
This is the year that our family hit its’ stride where the farm is concerned. While we liked the farm from that first season, now it’s just plain fun!
To start with, the boys are at great ages this year. Owen, content to eat a snack while Luke and I pick a few pints of beans, or cherry tomatoes, or whatever, then happily plays alongside his brother, getting tremendously dirty and dusty in the good farm earth. At each pickup, we seek out the farmer because both Luke and Owen adore him – he’s gentle and kind, very nice to the kids – and, as Owen will tell any passerby, “Farmer John has big boots!”
Luke enjoys the weekly excursion, watching the animals and birds, and checking out interesting old tractors and stuff, but I think Owen’s got the farm in his blood. At barely two, he’s walking all the trails with us, he’s eating vegetables like they’re going out of style, he just loves the whole farm atmosphere. It’s neat to see, and makes our share worth every penny – as if it wasn’t already.
This year, the shares include sunflowers and zinnias for cutting in addition to the veggies. This has turned out to be one of the best ideas yet. About a year ago, we moved from a house with a lot of flowers, many grown especially for their cuttings, to a house with almost nothing but grass, and a few straggling daylilies planted, unfortunately, in the shade. Until I could bring home flowers that I had selected and cut, I hadn’t realized how much I missed this little bit of nature inside our home.
Also this year, for the first time we had to supplement our farm takings with veggies bought in bulk from local farmers. This was not because our share yielded less, but rather because we’re eating more – I had very few tomatoes to turn into sauce, no carrots after early October, no leeks, pumpkin, or squash to last into winter. I remember feeling swamped with vegetables back when we started in 2004. Now, I find I must supplement the farm share with more produce! I hardly recognize myself anymore – imagine me, an eater of peppers, and eggplant, and many other healthy foods.
And so, it seems, we’ve come full circle – instead of pushing to have us join the farm and not have a garden of our own, my job this year will be to convince Ben that, in fact, we need both.
February 20, 2007
“…And, if we put in a garden, we’ll get a head start on some of our favorite greens, like Mizuna lettuce, and we’ll have lots of our own tomatoes to turn into sauce,” I finished breathlessly.
“We’ll put in our own garden, for the low, low price of…?” queried Ben, that little smile on his lips once more.
“I don’t think it will cost much, just the wood for the raised bed really, and the seeds,” I replied.
“Okay, Karen, on one condition -” What would it be? Did he want to try our own garden for a single year only?
“…I want to build the frame.”
Gosh, I love this man.