September 2008 Archives

As a first-time gardener, it's been fun watching our yard transform over the year. In the spirit of one of those trashy but oh-so-addictive makeover shows, I thought I'd share some before, during, and after photos.

I took this photo right after one of our big snowstorms, pre-garden. To make room for the raised bed, we pulled up the nearly-dead rhododendron, moved the holly bush (lower right corner, next to the tree) to another location in the yard, and then moved the other bushy bush where the holly was previously.

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I took this photo right after Haven and our neighbor John constructed the raised bed, right around Memorial Day weekend:

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And I took this one just a few minutes ago. Up at the top of the bed you can see the sprawling leaves of a cucumber plant. Sadly, this one didn't generate any edible cukes, though a couple of plants located in another spot gave us plenty. Right next to it is a potted mini eggplant, but our resident squirrels got to the eggplants before they were ready for human consumption. The mass of green at the top of the bed is a bunch of different chilis: jalapenos, habaneros, hungarian wax, and cherry. Below that we've got some carrots and swiss chard, and earlier in the summer we also had arugula and several different types of lettuce. The yellow flowers around the perimeter are marigolds, a natural pest repellent we were told, but we didn't realize when we planted them that they were GIANT marigolds -- about 2 feet tall! -- and they've kind of taken over the garden at this point!

We also have a couple of other planters with tomatoes, and these plants have produced some of the most delicious tomato specimens I've ever had. Check out these gorgeous yellow and purple heirlooms -- yum! And the juicy, sweet cherry toms have become a staple in my morning eggs. From on-the-plant to in-my-stomach in less than 15 minutes! This is eating locally at its best.


Way back in March, we signed up for Outstanding in the Field's Boston dinner.  The purpose of this event?  To "celebrate food at the source." Last night, all the waiting was finally over!

The event was hosted by Allandale Farm, which is wedged between suburban Brookline homes, a golf course, a cemetery, and a school.  It's Boston's last working farm and has been family owned since the French and Indian wars.  (In addition to regular farming operations, Allandale farm has a seasonal retail store and a kid's summer program. Check 'em out.)

Arriving at the farm was a strange experience. One minute we were stressed out by Boston rush hour traffic, and the next minute we were standing here:

Immediately, we could see that the Outstanding in the Field (OITF) program is aptly named: All of the guests were out standing in one of Allandale's many fields.

Fortunately, there was plenty of food and wine to keep us entertained as we stood in the field.  The folks from Island Creek Oysters shucked some freshly caught bivalves, while folks from Harvest restaurant in Harvard Square served goat cheese, herb, and tomato canapes... 

and a bevy of pickled fruit and vegetables.  (The jalapenos were crazy hot and the peaches were savory -- not sweet!)

After the appetizers, OITF's founder Jim Denevan (pictured) gave us a brief history of the program and then Jim and John, two of Allandale's farmers, gave us a tour of the farm.  (You'll notice a couple of people holding plates in the photo below -- apparently this called The Tradition of the Plates. From an OITF email: "We find that this is a wonderful way for each guest to contribute something of their own to the community meal and to create a unique setting for the dining experience.")

After the tour, it was off to a long dining table, set of course in the middle of a field, where we discovered the evening's menu.

The watercress, fig, goat cheese, and pine nut salad was fabulous!

The blur below is Mary Dumont, chef at Harvest, working furiously to finish plating wild striped bass (the last of the season), grilled romaine, braised radish, zucchini, leeks, and orange saffron beurre blanc.

Unfortunately, Haven was feeling a bit under the weather, so we had to leave before the dessert: twig farm tomme with marinated olives and membrillo (quince paste) plus sweet corn creme brulee with gingersnap cookies.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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