Sunday, December 12, 2010

September 19, 2009 - Round in the Garden

September 19th, 2009 – Round In the Garden
Nine months have gone since I moved back to the farm. The short winter has gone and spring is just around the corner bringing back cool breeze, burning sun, sporadic rain, blooming fields and bounty.
A few days ago, walking around the house, I was hit by the perfume of white blossom: coffee, cow’s feet, pitanga, acerola, orange, lemon, and still other that I don’t know the names.
My father and I partially fixed the leaking roof. We laid an extra layer of ciment before we painted it with waterproof material. It was a relief to hear the rain falling without getting wet inside the house.
I have given away basketfull of lettuce, collard greens, parsley, scallions, and even broccoli. I was very proud of having gotten a harvest of this brassica as I had never seen anyone planting it.
This morning, I went around the house gathering some edibles. Under the raindrops, wearing a straw hat dripping water, I came back happy. A little bit of cherry tomatoes hidden under the hibiscus tree, scallions, parsley, first time harvested bell peppers, a cob of corn, very strong tasting celery. All to make a salsa called “vinagrette”, which is made of chopped tomato onion based salad seasoned with vinegar and olive oil. I love to add lemon and garlic. And sometimes red hot pepper.
I harvest every day. But I don’t gather everything available. I leave there until I want to eat it. I collect young green squash to sautee. I have been picking green beans, with only one really yielding bush, I get about ten pods per day. I leave this job to my daughter, so she can learn the pleasure of harvesting her own food.
In my daily round, I found several chayottes hanging on rotten bamboo tutors. I rushed my father to build a new canopy type to support all the heavy bearing fruit which vine has an avid climbing habit. This, along with okra, is one of my very favorite vegetable. I can pick as young as I want without having to comform with hardened old commercial size ones for sale.
Most vegetables, I either eat it raw in salads or lightly sauteed with garlic keeping its crunchyness. Sometimes, I also steam it to I can taste its sweet natural flavor. Julienne chayottes can be eaten sauteed. But I like to dice it and cook it with garlic, partially steamming it in few drops of water so not to burn. Right before taking out of the flame, I sprinkle on generously with chopped cilantro. Chayottes is also very appreciated as cooked salad and dressed with vinegar and oil.
Once I gave a kick start by preparing the soil and sowing, and sometimes watering, nature does the rest. Even when I am not expecting, it shows its fruit. Abiu, a persimmonlike fruit got fertilized and later pruned. Without noticing, it beared a heavy crop of yellow fruit, with delicate flavor and aroma.

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