Friday, November 22, 2013

Got My First Bean!

The tall pole beans in the Oakland County Greenhouse garden are starting to produce! This is the first bean I picked. Not quite straight but narrow and with a good 'beany' flavor. I hope to pick enough of these to add to a cold quinoa salad I'm making for a Thanksgiving feast.

The garden is producing like crazy. Lots of lettuces, but the Black-seeded Simpson lettuce has 'stretched' - like bolting, with a long stem, but the flavor of the leaves is still good. Still sweet and slightly crispy. The spinach is bearing small, dark green leaves really well and is a favorite of Vicki's. Feeding about 6-7 people off this bed, so feeling good that it is producing so well.

The next step will be to clear out several areas - like where the Broccoli Raab is and a spot where I'm harvesting lettuce, and to resow. Going to start another crop of radishes which will be about two weeks behind bed two, to keep a succession of veggies coming. I will probably sow more arugula and spinach for harvest when young and tender. They both make great braising greens or are a wonderful addition to soup, but for salads the sweet, young leaves are best.

The later we get into the year, the harder it is to time the growth of the crops. When we go below 10 hours of daylight - which we are just about at - the crops just sit there and stare at you. They don't have enough light to really do their thing so growth slows to a minimum. Once we get into February, light levels come back up and there is quite a surge in growth in the winter garden.

Also have to keep busy sowing in Vicki's greenhouse. Need to clear out all the mums and perennials, clean up the place and get some containers filled for growing greens. I realize it is late in the year, but just last week harvested the rest of the blooms on the mums for market.

We have just started the winter market at the Old Winery Farmers Market in Farmington, Michigan. We've got two booths in the choice, first position. I am blessed to be bartering web-work and publicity help for the booth rental so that frees up the budget for me to get AJ to help me. I've got about 32 feet of tables to fill and it is kind of an involved set-up with sawhorses and plywood, tables and then chairs for us. I am grateful for AJ's help in loading and unloading the van, and he's doing great selling too.

We had a good first day with a lighter crowd and a bit of everything was selling. Parsnips were the big seller and the jams did well too. Was able to talk with a few people about sprouting their own seeds, as well. Education is a big component of marketing and I am always happy to share with customers recipes, tips on growing and other useful information.

Am really pleased that with the help and contact of market manager, Jean Smith, I am able to offer Michigan-grown, certified organic produce this week. I haven't seen the quality of the product but farmer, Eric has been really straight with me about size and has told me about flavor. I'll have brussels sprouts - outdoor grown, where the colder temps make the sprouts sweeter, onions, radish, garlic, leeks and baby Chioggia beets. Chioggia is an heirloom variety with concentric rings of deep red and white throughout the root. Another bonus is that they don't bleed when you are processing them or cutting them. I am really pleased that Eric's prices are so reasonable that I'll be able to offer this quality product at the same kind of price that I do the conventional produce. So often the complaint about buying organic produce is that the prices are so sky-high but I am so thrilled I can provide it at a great price point.

That's part of the mission this winter. I feel so strongly that folks really need to pay attention to their food and nutrition and that it is so important to create scratch-made, 'real' food. I came to cooking quite late - not until my thirties - and if it wasn't for the food network and cooking demos on TV I don't know if I ever would have learned how to cook. Before that I lived out of convenient, microwave boxed meals, that, while easy, have got no heart and soul, much less nutrition and a high sodium content. It takes planning, forethought and time to cook from scratch but I am of the opinion that food is basically medicine that we take in to nourish our bodies, and cooking one's own home-grown or local farmer-produced food is the best thing we can do for our health.

I have the great privilege this weekend to be on the Fox 2 Saturday morning news. I've been selected as one of the vendors to be interviewed and I am excited to be able to show off this week's offerings. If you are in the area, please come stop by and say 'hi' and check out the wares of the 30 vendors who will be there. We also have a mini food truck rally going on and a free cooking class on Kale pesto. So come get a recipe and take home lunch.

If you can't stop by, thanks for dropping in here to keep up on what Sage Advice Nursery is doing. I am linking this week with friend Tootsie's blog - Tootsie Time  who has a gardener's roundup each week of blogs from around the world. Stop by and see what people on the other side of the world are doing!


  1. That first taste of something coming into harvest is always so satisfying. I am awed by the scale on which you garden.

  2. congrats on the bean! The first of anything is always the greatest one....I wish I could garden right now! lol
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

  3. Your market display looks very inviting!

  4. Nice to find another Michigan blogger. Also another farmers market!
    Im down in Holland Michigan. I usually link into Tootsies fertilizer friday but somewhere I lost a few days this week and totally forgot about blogging until an hour ago!...


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