Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why I Put Up My Own Salsa

This week I took my kids to the you pick place and bought 2 five gallon buckets of tomatoes, and a bucket of hot and bell peppers. We bought a few onions, but most were spoiled, so we didn't buy many.

I went to the local grocery to supply the rest of the onions and the fresh cilantro.

And I have been chopping, slicing, dicing, peeling and processing ever since.

tomatoes I have left after canning 12 quarts of salsa.
So, after standing on my feet for three days, chopping and canning, I was beginning to wonder....
Quarts of salsa

Why am I doing all this?

Here are my answers.

  1. I have control over the ingredients.
  2. I can use local ingredients in season.
  3. My salsa requires less packaging than store bought.
  4. I have less waste than stores would, because I dry the tomato skins.
  5. Dried tomato skins equal free tomato paste, so there is even less packaging/shipping waste.
  6. I don't have to worry about the BPA found in store bought packages.
  7. My packaging (canning jars) are mostly re-usable. 
  8. There is less transportation and therefore less gas is used to gather and process them. I did drive an hour to the you pick place, but in a regular processing situation for the stores, the farmer would have had to drive the produce to the processing plant, the processing plant would have to deal with it, then it would be taken to a regional store, then a local store and then I would have to drive to get it.
  9. I am sure there are no fake ingredients in my salsa.
And the last on the list, but probably the most important reason:

    10. It tastes better!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Potatoes in Grow Bags

The potatoes in grow bags, looking  great and healthy.
I was really hopeful about the potatoes. I bought the best seed potatoes I could afford.

I added 4 bags of soil into the grow bags.

I read up on growing potatoes in grow bags through the Kenosha Potato Project.

So, all signs pointed to a nice potato harvest.

I harvested them June 10, 2014, and well....

We harvested 36 potatoes, including the ones smaller
than Dum Dum lollipops.
Yeah, um, 36 potatoes. Not 36 pounds. Fail.

I guess I don't know how to grow potatoes. Sigh.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Scrap of a Poem

by Wendell Berry

The mind still hungers
for its earth, its bounded
and open space, the term
of its final assent. It keeps
the vision of an independent
modest abundance. It dreams
of cellar and pantry filled,
the source well husbanded.
And yet it learns care
reluctantly, and late.
It suffers plaintively from
its obligations. Long 
attention to detail
is a cross it bears only 
by congratulating itself.
It would like to hurry up 
and get more than it needs
of several pleasant things.
It dreads all the labors
of common decency.
It recalls, with disquieting
sympathy, the motto
of a locally renowned
and long dead kinsman: "Never
set up when you can lay down."

You can read most of the rest of the poem here.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Blueberry Picking -- Some Numbers

Temperature: 93 degrees F.  (34 degrees C)

37 minute drive to the u-pick farm.

One picker. (me)

Three hours picking.

Price paid: $41.

Total picked: 14 gallons.