Backyard Bounty

by Laura on August 12, 2009

in Blog

Thanks to the wonderful summer sun and the daily dose of moisture provided by the fog that rolls in from the ocean and blankets Tam Valley, we are set to enjoy the season’s bounty. A relatively new experience for us, as our new home provides us with a yard filled with blackberry bushes, pear and apple trees. Combine that with the ongoing procreation of rosemary and mint bushes, and we’re ready to start a produce/herb stand in our front yard.

We also have a few potted delights such as strawberries – relics from our past home where we lived on a hill and our outside space consisted of two amply sized, but less-than-yard-perfect decks. (Greg did plant pumpkins on the slope last year – a very prolific proposition that quickly turned sour after one night of deer munching. From 20 pumpkins, we saved 3 miniature pumpkins, which were carved in a matter of minutes).

The problem I have with all this bounty is that I haven’t prepared. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all these pears, which continually appear on the kitchen counter. (Although, the pear-in-a-bottle liquor holiday gift idea is a definite possibility for next year. – Thanks Trish for the idea).

As I ponder my next pear-inspired kitchen adventure while making my mid-morning tea, I spot three beautifully ripe strawberries on the counter. I selfishly gobble them up, because I have never – yes never – had a chance to eat a strawberry produced in our potted garden. The kids usually plop them into their mouths right there at the bush, and then announce that the strawberries are ripe. The pot is now selfishly located on the balcony only accessible through the master bedroom.

I also spot the four, crookneck squash sitting in the bowl on the counter. They have been there for some time, having been picked at the preschool garden 2 weeks ago.

I guess that’s what the season’s bounty requires you to do – plan. Know what you’re going to make – for dinner, for gifts, for freezing – and make the time to do it.  Today, I will dedicate some time to searching for recipes – hmm, pear salad with blue cheese and toasted walnuts; caramelized French toast with vanilla pears; canned pear salsa . . .

Delicious – Why did I wait so long?

No doubt, whatever I choose to make with our backyard bounty, we will have extras to share with friends. I might even be able to exchange pears for someone else’s bounty. Last week I saw a post on the mother’s club, someone had apples and was looking to trade for something else. As I quickly eye the pear tree, I see more than 100 ready-to-eat pears awaiting their fate, I think I need to get a bit of that trading action going – perhaps tomatoes, which we didn’t grow this year. This week’s NY Times food section touched on that same trend.  The author was trading peppers for Roma tomatoes, having corresponded with the tomato caretaker on Veggietrader.com.

I’ll keep VeggieTrader in mind next year after our garden is up and running . . . but I bet I won’t need to look far for someone to trade with. And if that doesn’t work, watch out neighbors, friends and anyone who happens by the house, you won’t need to take the “F” train, just bring a basket.

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