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August is just around the corner, and the craziness of summer harvest is nearly here.  For me, high summer means lots of work, and even more delicious food!

Today, I came home from the farmer's market with a double armload of local, organic, (free!) vegetables.  Some were new this season, like our Japanese eggplant and heirloom tomatoes. 

Inspired by these mid-summer gems, I decided to do a lil' fancy cooking and make gluten-free eggplant pasta!


 
 
A lot of my attention lately has been on a new dream of mine: living at the Gypsy Café, an all-female collective focused on sustainability, permaculture, and active community.  Oh, and they like to have fun, too!  That's very important.  No sanctimonious monasteries for me, no matter how self-sustaining they may be.

The ladies at Gypsy Café also produce the We'Moon calendar, an astrological datebook.  Within its insightful pages, I found the following gem on transforming community, by juliett jade quail. 

No matter where you live, or what your community looks like, let this be an inspiration to you as it is to me:
how to transform a suburb into a community

 
 
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Drizzled over soft cheese = Divine
I love late spring so much.  Strawberries, rhubarb, preserving... oh my!

Okay, that was cheesy, but seriously - I'm a little ecstatic that it's finally time to start preserving.  We had surprise strawberries at the farm (120 pints of 'em), and I harvested rhubarb for the first time!

My first act of fruit-in-jar goodness?  You guessed it:

Strawberry rhubarb preserves.  It's a classic.  And I've never done it before!  It's more chunky than a jam, and positively oozes with delicious sauce.


 
 
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These pickled radishes are good.  I mean, I expected them to be good, but I didn't expect them to be this good!

Thanks to my weekly farm haul, I had a bunch of Easter Egg radishes in dire need of consumption. 
Raw radishes are too much for me to eat in bulk, so I decided to give pickled radishes a shot before they all withered into magenta-colored shrunken heads.

It was a great choice on my part, for sure.  Pickled radishes are the kind of salty snack I'm likely to go for in moments of boredom & salt munchies. 

Plus, they're so darn purty...


 
 
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Last week on Farm Girl Diaries: 
It was my first week on the job at an organic veggie farm here in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. 
I dirtied my boots, iced my knees, practiced Spanish, and found out that if we don't get rain, my job is in serious danger!  Yikes.

This week...


 
 
I got off work early!  Aside from a chance to run errands, this means that I actually made dinner today.  (Usually I just toss together some nachos)
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Today's concoction?  Tangy chicken mizuna.  And yes, it's as delicious and gourmet as it sounds.

Mizuna?  What the heck is mizuna?  I'm glad you asked.  I didn't know either.
Mizuna is an 'Asian' green, similar to bok choy, or mustard greens.  A little crisp, a little bitter, but relatively mild - the taste is growing on me by the minute!


 
 
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Yesterday I brought home an armload of seasonal veggies, fresh from the farm.  I asked for suggestions for what to do with my braising mix and green garlic, but I got hungry waiting on y'all! 

So I went ahead and made a delicious, all-local breakfast!  Incidentally, it's Paleo and gluten-free, for those who are into that.


 
 
Free vegetables are one of farming's biggest perks.  Of course, drought and job insecurity are major drawbacks, but those veggies are damn good.

This week in the Rocky Mountain Foothills, we have arugula, bok choy, braising mix, green garlic, pea shoots, radishes, and spinach.  We have much more than that, really (walking onions, lovage, sorrel, and turnips), but this is what I brought home:

 
 
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It's official - I'm a farmer! 

Well, a farmer's assistant, anyway.  And pretty soon here, I'll have the farmer's tan to prove it (okay... it's a freckle line - who am I trying to kid?)  So here's a run-down of my 'breaking-in' on the organic veggie farm, here on the Rocky Mountain foothills - it's really a 7-day stretch over two work weeks.

Coming up on this week's Farm Girl Diary - new friends, local food politics, Spanish-language learning, major drought drama, and a lot of planting! 


 
 
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I've wanted to make dandelion wine for, oh... six years now.  And guess what?  Today, I made dandelion wine!

Sure, it won't be drinkable for months, but I'm excited!  And since dandelions are blooming everywhere right about now, it's the perfect time to do some wild foraging and harvest your own bottle of wine.


 

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