Monday, August 20, 2007

Sustainable Living in August - Urban Harvest

Mid August is the time of the year when the harvest season arrives in its full. Fruit, herbs and veggies are streaming from our garden, and gardens of our friends, urban backyards, farms and suburban orchards.

Peaches have been ripening beginning in early July (depending on a tree type) and they will keep going till mid September. We got about 80 pounds from our three trees, and now are browsing neighbors' late ripening orchard. All peaches are put up as jams, compotes and peach chutney. Little native plums came from a wild grove near the irrigation ditch, and became a beautiful amber-colored jelly. Sour cherries were purchased from the northern part of the state - some were frozen, some were canned. Cherry preserves are really good served with home-made Queso Blanco (i.e. goat cheese). New apples from our own farm are good enough for pies, but not yet for eating - however, goats convert those into milk. Tomatoes are turning red, and the first batch has been dried for winter. Red onion rings are pickled for salad garnish. Beets from the farm down the road from us are full sized, pretty, full of color. Beet relish and pickled beets are cherished even by people typically timid about eating beets. Grapes ripened in our friend's yard in Albuquerque and we could not stop harvesting them and left with 80 pounds of fruit. These became grape jam and raisins. The stream of food through our kitchen is unstoppable (or rather, we are unstoppable in our canning fervor). Today, with my neighbor Claudia, we made over 40 quarts of dill and sweet pickles, all from local farms and gardens. Bill Mollison said - You can only feel secure when you look out of your kitchen window and see your friends working in the garden.

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