Sunday, June 06, 2010

Spring Gardening Respite

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A second wet day here in Marshfield. Yesterday arrived with pouring rains and slightly over half an inch of rain in the gauge. I cannot remember a stretch of May weather that went so long without rain as yesterday and now today offered welcome moisture. Folks remind us how lucky we are to have a nursery on the Winooski River which we can draw from but working hoses and sprinkler systems is more difficult than turning on the river.

The sunny days of the last two weeks of May were quite a contrast to standing in a snow storm on Mothers Day, repeating bad storms of the previous week too. Just the same, gardeners finally tired of bad weather and began to appear to walk our houses and pick out new plants. We have been very pleased with sales and attribute part of this to Gail's Friday @12:40 PM commentary on local radio station WDEV. We think that daily tweets on Twitter and our two Facebook pages, Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and personal page George Africa help too. Last year this blog, The Vermont Gardener, won best gardening blog in Vermont which honored us; already we feel badly that we have not worked on it as much as we should as a thank you to our kind following. Only so much time in a day.

All gardeners get tired and need a little break once in a while. Last night Gail and I had an opportunity to sit still for a couple hours and enjoy a great meal and good conversation. Our friends Tracey and Diana at Marshfield Inn and Motel here in Marshfield held their first ever Localvore Dinner. This was our first localvore and there is absolutely no doubt that we'll be back again and again as more events are presented. The culinary creations of local chef Tony Martinez masterfully combined fresh local food from 15 local farmers and suppliers. Here's a quick summary to make you know you should have been there too!

Basil string beans and mixed cheeses after Gail and I and friend Ron picked through conversation and Vermont stories. Chive blossom accents for color contrast.

There were two choices for each of the courses. Gail picked this Spring Minestrone with Pesto which I really wanted but I was lured to (next picture) Crostini with soft boiled egg, asparagus and bacon. Gail is still talking about the lightness of the minestrone, the pesto accent and the perfection of the vegetables. The flavors of the bacon, egg and asparagus encourage me to go pick some wild asparagus today for a similar treat.

Next course could be Spring Greens with goat cheese and Maple Vinaigrette but Gail and I have an interest in wild mushrooms and we went with Mushroom Ragu with buckwheat crepes. I wish I could send a sample of the flavors (and a better picture) because the group consensus ranked this course option as tops.

The second choice for the main course was Crispy Tofu with rice and gravy served with sauteed arugula. Gail and I went with the Pork Loin with rhubarb chutney, rainbow chard and herbed potatoes. The local greens are so fresh and nice right now.

And finally, Course 4 offered Maple Brulee or Rhubarb Cream Cake. Gail and I had Chef Tony's Maple Brulee at Tracey's birthday party so we opted for the melt-in-your-mouth Rhubarb Cream Cake. A great way to end a great localvore!

Localvores are happening all over the country now. The integration of farm foods and the masterful creations of chefs and organizers requires an incredible amount of work but the result is something you will remember for some time. When I get a minute I'll summarize the local farmers and suppliers as their products are impeccable and the flavors last even now twelve hours later. Wish I could go back but the garden beckons! Try a localvore, support your local growers and producers!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the loons are conversing loudly as large rain drops fall straight down.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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Jeff Branch said...

I have a personal blog where I critique cheeseburgers. I get a little stressed when I photograph the meal since it is usually at lunch time in a busy diner.

I can imagine people saying, "What on earth is that guy taking a photo of his lunch for?" I could use my cell phone and be more discreet, but my digital camera takes much better photos :).

The meal looked great. Thank goodness it is about dinner time because the photos are making me hungry.

George Africa said...

You're right, Jeff, it was great and I need to finish the post with a follow up description of all the 15 contributors to the food. Sure makes a difference!