Yard Fresh

June 23rd, 2009

I buy plenty of farm fresh local food year round but my favorite time of the year for eating in Portland is the summer and early fall because so much of what’s on the plate is yard fresh — straight from our garden. Last year I expanded the vegetable garden to the front yard — before I just had beds and mounds in the back. The front yard up until then was mainly fruit trees, berries, herbs and perennial vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes and cardoons. This year I have tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, chiles, celery, pickling cucumbers and more in the front in addition to a whole bunch of veggies in the back.

In the last several weeks the garden has been very giving. Here’s a bit of what it’s offered and what I’ve made of the offerings…

I harvested this year's hard and softneck garlic last weekend and now it's curing in the utility room. Rubin eats just about anything -- in this case dirt.

I harvested this year's hard and softneck garlic last weekend and now it's curing in the utility room. Rubin eats just about anything -- in this case dirt.

These are some of the softnecks. I mulched them with straw this year and it really seemed to help with weeds and warmth. These are the biggest softnecks I've ever harvested.

These are some of the softnecks. I mulched them with straw this year and it really seemed to help with weeds and warmth. These are the biggest softnecks I've ever harvested.

A couple weeks ago I took this...

A couple weeks ago I took this...

And made this -- garlic scape pesto from the hardnecks finishing off  in the backyard.

And made this -- garlic scape pesto from the hardnecks finishing off in the backyard.

Gooseberries look like marbles.

Gooseberries look like marbles.

I made them into gooseberry chutney with mustard seeds and all kinds of curry spices.

I made them into gooseberry chutney with mustard seeds and all kinds of curry spices.

Dandelion salad with hot bacon vinaigrette and a side of canned tomato chile puree from last summer.

Dandelion salad with hot bacon vinaigrette and a side of canned tomato chile puree from last summer.

Vine to mouth sugar snap peas

Vine to mouth sugar snap peas

Butter lettuce, sorrel, mint, chive and chive flower salad with red wine vinaigrette and crumbled feta

Butter lettuce, sorrel, mint, chive and chive flower salad with red wine vinaigrette and crumbled feta

Caramelized onion spahetti with roasted hazelnuts, arugula and feta

Caramelized onion spaghetti with roasted hazelnuts, arugula and feta

Sorrel pesto with hazelnuts, parmesan and lots of olive oil

Sorrel pesto with hazelnuts, parmesan and lots of olive oil

Yes, I do eat meat and seafood too but other than what the cat drags in and we drag back out — every spring a couple unlucky starlings and usually a mouse or two — we aren’t producing any animal protein on our urban lot. I have half wondered about the slugs but will leave that culinary experiment for someone else to try.

Eat, drink and be hairy!

You can also check out:
Yard Fresh Pt. 2
Yard Fresh Pt. 3

8 Responses to “Yard Fresh”

  1. Cheyenne Says:

    Looks delicious! I just pulled up one of our ‘volunteer’ garlics (apparently I harvested poorly and inefficently last year as a good 1/2 dozen popped up this spring) Other than that we’re mostly harvesting berries and herbs- can’t wait for the blueberries to finish ripening!

  2. Liz Crain Says:

    Thanks Cheyenne. I usually harvest garlic early-to-mid July here (when do you harvest?) but they filled out a lot quicker this year. Maybe all the early spring heat. I didn’t have any surprise garlic like you but I did have a fair few hardnecks that either didn’t come up or were scavenged. I also had several that rotted in the ground which I’ve never had happen before. I always seem to have a more difficult time with hardneck so I think this year may be the first that I plant all soft. I like how well the soft keeps too. But then I won’t get any scapes…

  3. Yard Fresh Pt. 2 | Food Lover's Guide to Portland Says:

    […] of my life because of the book I still managed to make time to cook. Earlier in the summer I posted Yard Fresh — with photos of all different foods I made when the garden was just starting to get […]

  4. Garlic Growing 101 — for the lazy winter gardener | Food Lover's Guide to Portland Says:

    […] trick — it’s more of a given for most gardeners but I wised up to it late. I mulched my epic garlic crop last year with a couple inches of straw and those garlic heads were bigger than any I’ve ever […]

  5. Yard Fresh Pt. 3 | Food Lover's Guide to Portland Says:

    […] Comments Yard Fresh | Food Lover’s Guide to Portland on Yard Fresh Pt. 2Yard Fresh Pt. 2 | Food Lover’s Guide to Portland on Yard Fresh Pt. 3Yard Fresh […]

  6. Jo-Anne Says:

    had to laugh at your comment about Rubin eating anything, including dirt. My peas never make it into the house because my dog and I stand out in the garden and eat them all fresh off the vine. If she sees me picking peas she makes a beeline for the garden.

    And yes, she eats dirt too and bugs….

  7. Liz Crain Says:

    Jo-Anne –I’m glad Rubin doesn’t like the snap peas because they always trail up onto his turf/the front porch. If he liked them they’d be gone. From the yard his favorites are tomatoes and berries. Yesterday I found out he likes mango too. We got a super ripe one from the store and had it for breakfast. I gave him a little bite. Lucky dog. Happy eating Jo-Anne!

  8. Yard Fresh Pt. 6 | Food Lover's Guide to Portland Says:

    […] Yard Fresh Pt. 5 Yard Fresh Pt. 4 Yard Fresh Pt. 3 Yard Fresh Pt. 2 Yard Fresh Pt. 1 […]

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