Did you know August is ideal for planting lettuces, spinach & other greens along with beets, broccoli, kale, and peas?
These crops are cold-weather hardy and even love a light frost- it makes them sweeter!
Most of you know I am a die-hard for heirloom varieties. The flavors, textures, and overall hardiness is incomparable.
I thought I’d share some of my favorite seed companies along with varieties to get you excited to plant your fall garden!
As the scent of autumn begins to fill the air, most gardeners are dreading the season’s end to their garden. But don’t despair! If you’re a newbie gardener or a die-hard, I’m sure there’s a few tips I can share here to help you get your fall garden going!
My favorite seed catalog is Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. They have seeds from all over the world, and varieties that will tickle any gardener’s fancy! To see their catalog click this link https://www.rareseeds.com/
Kale Variety- Russian Red- 1885 Russian red is very tender & mild with a wonderful nutty flavor. This variety is delicious at all stages, but makes a great addition to a salad as a baby green. 60 Days.
This is an extraordinary early and sweet pea with edible pods. The compact plants require very little garden space and don’t need to be staked. 3” pods are tender and crisp! 50 days.
This beautiful & unique French Heirloom is good for both eating fresh or canning. 50 Days
Pro tip: If you decide to can these, be warned as they don’t stay striped!
An old Austrian heirloom; the name means “speckled like a trout.” This is a remarkably beautiful romaine type lettuce with speckles in deep red on large leaves! My personal favorite! 60 Days.
A cold hardy, winter warrior with huge semi-savoyed leaves. Giant Winter is a flavor packed cool climate favorite. Unfazed by nasty weather, this hardy heirloom is perfect for overwintering. 50 days.
This Italian Heirloom will produce a nice center head & several off shoots. You will need to start these seeds indoors & transplant. 48-60 days from transplant.
This beautiful arugula is tender with a lovely spice flavor & will be a delicious addition to fall salads. Direct sow into your garden. 50 days.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Please LIKE, comment, and Follow so you don’t miss out on future blogs! P.S. It’s almost time to plant your garlic. Keep posted for that upcoming blog!
Several years ago my good friend Kate Lawson, former food writer for The Detroit News shared her Italian Wedding soup recipe with my daughter. It quickly became one my families favorites. I have of course altered it to be my own & to suit our taste buds over the years. Hers was of course dynamite, but I love to be creative in the kitchen.
Pro Tip: I always use fresh veggies from the garden or the farmers market if in season & if not I purchase them. Fresh veggies always give a much fresher flavor to this delicious soup!
1 pound lean ground beef 1 small red onion minced- about ½ cup 1 egg (farm fresh are best) ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese 1 fresh clove of garlic, minced 1 TBSP Italian Seasoning- see my recipe here: https://bit.ly/3dRCzIW ½ tsp Himalayan sea salt ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
In a large bowl mix all ingredients until evenly blended.
Form into walnut size or 1” balls.
Place on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm. Makes approximately 24-28 meatballs.
While the meatballs are setting, start soup.
1 TBSP butter 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 cup sliced baby carrots- cut into ¼ inch coins ½ cup minced red onion, packed 1 fresh clove of garlic, minced 1- 48oz container of beef broth 4-6 tomatoes pureed to make 2 cups OR 1- 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes or sauce (I like to use either a variety of Heirloom tomatoes or Roma’s) ½ cup grated parmesan cheese ½ tsp Himalayan sea salt ½ tsp fresh ground pepper 1- 16 ounce bag of 5 cheese tortellini 1 cup baby spinach, packed
In a large pot put oil, butter, onions, carrots, and minced garlic in. Cook on medium heat for approximately 7-10 minutes or until veggies are fork tender.
Add meatballs into veggie mixture, mix thoroughly, and sauté meatballs until golden brown on outside- approximately 10 minutes.
Add broth, tomato puree, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper; stir until thoroughly blended, cover and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally bringing to a low boil.
Add tortellini and spinach, stir in and cook for 7 minutes.
This is a hearty soup and is delicious served with fresh Italian bread. Sprinkle a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top & enjoy!
What’s your favorite soup? Tell me in the comments!
If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE it & Follow me for weekly posts! Happy day friends, Jean
One of my favorite things to do is attend area farmers markets. Whenever I travel I immediately look up any surrounding farmers markets, and you better believe if we can attend, we do!
Here are my Top 5 reasons to support our local farmers markets.
1. Support your local economy by supporting your local farmers & entrepreneurs!
As educated consumers we want to know where our food is coming from. We’re tired of food being mass produced on assembly lines with labels sporting names of ingredients that can’t even be pronounced. We want clean & healthy food locally sourced & grown. Where do you get this great stuff you ask? You get it at your local farmers market!
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Released August 17, 2020, “On an average market day, 916 households shopped across markets in the U.S. and spent $14,547 per farmers market. Farmers Market Managers served as paid employees in 4,321 markets, while in 3,162 they served as volunteers. On average, the paid Farmers Market Managers earned $18.40 per hour. Managers worked an average of 19.4 hours per week. “ Taken from https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/pz50hd694/gx41n598k/jd473j98z/nfar0820.pdf
2. Support your local farmers & entrepreneurs!
Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Small businesses can get their product out to a fresh target market at a very reasonable cost. Markets can eliminate the need for a brick and mortar facility and all the expenses associated with it. Most importantly, it allows customers to build relationships with producers. You can see the positive impact of supporting local from this infographic for the Kalamazoo Michigan Farmers Market.
3. Explore new varieties of fresh fruits & veggies, & other healthy foods!
I’ve often been asked, “What’s an Heirloom?” or told “I’ve never seen a purple carrot!!!” Well, you’ll find a plethora of Heirloom varieties including purple carrots at most farmers markets!
Tomatoes are by far the hottest item in the Heirloom market, but there are several varieties of eggplant, squash, carrots, beans, and so much more.
Besides providing a wide range of fresh fruit and veggies, you’ll be dazzled by a slew of delicious baked goods, dairy, egg and meat products, honey and maple syrup, body care products, both fresh and dried herbs, along with all types of artisan products. Some of these include handcrafted baskets, wooden bowls and cutting boards, as well as beautiful pottery, jewelry and several forms of art media. Pricing is typically very reasonable when compared to brick and mortar stores. Everything at the market is fresh from that day or the day before, unlike grocery store produce which has been shipped and transported for days.
Many markets incorporate kid’s programming, cooking demos, health fairs, & live music, to name just a few! The reason is simple: it is every market’s mission to provide healthy, nutritious, reasonably priced food to all people.
The farmers market is an ideal project for every community to incorporate. It promotes healthy eating, and enables community members to build relationships with their local producers.
One incredible program many farmers markets offer is The Power of Produce Club (POP Club). The POP Club provides both an educational & entertaining opportunity for children to engage in their market with the opportunity to discuss produce with the market farmers while exposing them to new & unique fruits and vegetables. ” In addition to participating in educational activities, POP Club kids receive vouchers to spend at the market, allowing them to make their own shopping decisions at the market.”
Ask your farmers market manager if this is available, if not tell them how to participate!
5. Connect with your community!
Farmers markets provide a place where the community can come together, meet and shop locally. The market is a gathering place for friends and family. Markets offer fresh products locally produced, face-to-face interaction with producers and artisans, live entertainment, family activities, all the while supporting the local economy.
“According to the USDA, Farmers Markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enables farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grow the produce.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article. Please like it & leave me a comment! Let me know what your favorite farmers market is, and where it’s located! I’d love to visit if I’m ever in the area! Maybe we can meet up for a coffee!
Please share this blog if you found it informative, and follow me on Facebook for fun & informative content! Happy day, Jean!
It has been awhile since I penned any lines here. This was a place I often meandered to when a reprieve from the daily chaos was needed. This was my happy place… and it will be again!
I’m so excited to return and share the many wonderful things which have happened in my life since my last entry.
Over the last six years a couple of my children have grown & had children of their own (I’m a grandma two times… more boys!), one became a Marine, and my youngest started playing football. My life is filled with so much joy… and still some chaos- but we focus on the joys. Life is too short!
In just a few short weeks I will marry my best friend, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.
But that’s not it friends! I have a few big projects in the works.
I am working on publishing a new cookbook with all my favorite recipes, AND a compilation of For Dragonflies & Me blogs in one concise book both in print & eBook!
Even more exciting is my new Podcast in the making… you’re gonna love it!
Of course these will all take some time, but I promise to keep you updated on the progress.
I might even have a call out for my book cover!
Keep posted for weekly blogs and of course follow me on Facebook for updates, beautiful photos, and fun memes!
Thanks to Moonlight Photography for taking our beautiful engagement photos!