Welcome to A Tranquil Nook Blog

We welcome you to follow along on our crafty adventures. Frank is a farmer by day, jewelry and hand braided cord-maker by night. Jane simply fiddles with fabric and fiber any time she can. We share things about what we make, how we make it, where you can get it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

No Time to Do it All Yourself? Find a local Farmer, Gardener, Baker, Maker

Working a full time job, managing family, keeping a home, enjoying a little social life takes lots of time and attention. Like the idea of sustainable, natural, fresh from the garden produce, home made, home canned, yet, overwhelmed with the time required, the energy needed, even if you have the know how to garden, make and bake.  Finding a local source for all or one of the "would likes" may be a way to have it all, and stay sane.
It does take upfront investigation to find  a local source  that matches your desires and fits your specific belief of what is sustainable, fresh, home made.  Just because a local gardener, baker, maker creates at home, does not mean it fits your needs/wants/expectations.  Decide what you want; find sources, research, meet, ask, try. 
Look for compatibility of definitions.  What does organic, natural, sustainable mean to you.  How does the provider define those.  If you are looking for jelly, pickles, breads, cookies just like your mom made, look at ingredients and compare if you know what mom used. Then buy it and try it.  Most of us are looking more for the taste than the ingredients.  Still, vetting the ingredients and methods may help you reach your goal faster.

Thanks to technology lots of people offer information online.  For those of us in Minnesota. MNGrown is a great place to start.  Find a farm or farmers market in your area, read up, select options, then make a live visit.
View online or Request a printed copy at MN Grown
Frank and I welcome you to find more details about us on our website and our A Tranquil Nook page on facebook. 

Thanks for stopping by,
  Enjoy your day,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

CCV aka Collection of Complimentary Vegetables

Collection of Complimentary Vegetables #1 July 13, 2013
This week marks the start of something new for A Tranquil Nook.  We are putting together a $5 Collection of Complimentary Vegetables to offer direct from the garden and at farmers market.  Along with a nice grouping of vegetables will be a personally vetted recipe and often a sprig or two of herb.  Sometimes a supporting photo slide show with details such as use, cleaning, storage, preparation will be available online.

The kick off CCV is perfect for creating a raw veggie tray.  The vegetables: European Cucumber, American Slicing Cucumber, Green Pepper, Zucchini.  Herbs: Dill Weed, Parsley.  Recipe: Creamy Dill’n’Parlsey Dip.  Plus a supporting slide show.

Why are we offering a CCV?
Several reasons: 

  • Because some of “our people” have asked for something simple, something quick, help in choosing from the wide range of possibilities.  Yes, similar to many other farmers market vendors, we think of people who routinely buy direct from our farm or come to our market stall as “our people,”  we feel a connection and responsibility plus affection and respect.  So we listen and respond.
  • More young people, wishing to eat healthier have been showing up at market.  Some very knowledgeable, some not familiar with using produce fresh from a garden.  We hope the collection of complimentary vegetables will be a good value and way to explore new fresh produce.  With the recipe card and sometimes slide show tips to support entry into farm to fork culture.
  • Setting the collection price at $5 makes a good fit with WIC vouchers.  Because the herbs are  a “value added” component with the cost of the CCV coming from the vegetables alone, the CCV allows a way to legally use the voucher, get some great veggies plus a sample of herbs.  The CCV is also a great value for anyone wanting a selection of fresh vegetables and a sampling of herbs.  
  • We have enjoyed our farm garden since 1972.  Farm to Fork was new for us then.  "Retired from outside work," we now focus more on the garden.  We hope to share the joy of farm to fork, or as I more basely put it from garden to gullet, with others.  A cost effective ready to go selection, seems a neat way to accomplish this.
Thanks for stopping by today,


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What Happens after market?

Sometimes people ask what do you do with the produce not sold at farmers market?
While some may think "selling out" and having no produce left is a good goal, I want to have some left. Some left means we had enough for everyone who wanted it that day, the late comers as well as the early risers.  Plus, I like to eat the things we grow too.

It can add some spice and re-energize one at the end of a long day to come up with a way to combine the produce available for a meal or to get it put up for future enjoyment.

Last Saturday we had a few baby gourmet zucchinis, basil stems, a bit of dill weed and green peppers left. 

The green peppers were no challenge, those are awesome roasted for later use in salads or omelets or soups or salsa. 
 OH yes lots of ways to use those.

Next, what to do with zucchini and basil.  Google to the rescue!  Found a great recipe for zucchini-basil pesto.  Here is the result:
Added a grating of Parmigiana Reggiano on top, omitted the pasta. Served with the one slice of GF herb focaccia that did not sell at market. (Yay on that too.) Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping bread.  Tasty!

Dill weed is a summer standard in my kitchen, any left over from market simply goes into the vase on the kitchen counter.  This week added the vase of daisies from market to the counter-top. 
Not eating the dasies, simply enjoying their beauty in the kitchen.

Dill keeps nicely with the stems in water, looks pretty, smells good, and handy to pull a stem for munching, to add to salads or other dishes as desired.

Life is good indeed.  I always hope that people who bought produce from us at market enjoy it as much as we do.  

What produce do you like to buy at farmers market?

Thanks again for stopping by, wishing you a happy and healthy summer.