Friday, July 26, 2013


There's nothing like the fresh-picked bounty of summer fruits and veggies. Last weekend, we went blueberry picking at Reilly's Summer Seat Farms. 

We each picked a pint of berries. Nibbling on fresh blueberries as you pick them is the best! 

Dave's bounty. 

The next day, Dave made from-scratch blueberry pancakes with the fresh berries. They were so delicious. I also made from-scratch blueberry muffins, and we ate the rest of the berries for snacks or on our morning cereal. Raspberry season will be in full swing at Reilly's in August, and we can't wait to go back to pick those, too! 

Remember the garden we helped my Dad plant in early June when we were here? Look how much it's grown! 

We all laughed about the 7-foot tomato stakes my Dad put in, but now, the grape and cherry tomatoes are right at the top of those 7-foot stakes! 

Onions stretching out for sunlight from underneath the beans. Even though we followed the spacing directions on the seed packets to the inch, everything grew too close together. We suspect each plant in the garden would have gladly taken over the whole plot if given the space. 

We are going to have so many tomatoes soon! I've never seen such productive plants. I think the combination of really good soil, plenty of sunshine, putting crushed eggshells in the holes for calcium, and companion planting with basil made these tomatoes very happy. 

We've already gotten several tomatoes, and they are so tasty. This garden demonstrates to us the contrast between vegetables that are local or home grown and the vegetables in the grocery store. Because local or home grown fruits and veggies can ripen on the plant, they pick up such fantastic flavor, color, and texture. Grocery store veggies just cant compare! 

Our sweet banana peppers are doing great, as well. We've been enjoying them raw and in salads. 

We thought these were the snap peas that are tasty to eat raw, but it turns out the pods are a bit bitter and tough. The actual peas inside the pods are great lightly steamed, with a smooth texture and a very sweet taste. 

The Italian beans are fun to hunt for. They hide under leaves and in plain sight. 

These beans are so delicious! Before cooking, they have this gorgeous purple striping, but as soon as they are cooked, the purple disappears. We've had these several nights for dinner to go along with homemade lasagna. 

Today's harvest---peppers, peas, and tomatoes. 

Shelling the peas. We cook them with dinner whenever we fill up this small mason jar. 

We planted basil in between the tomato plants, and it was almost completely consumed by the tall tomatoes. We had one plant remaining that wasn't looking too great, so we decided to harvest the entire plant at once and make a batch of homemade pesto. 

Basil is incredibly healthy for you. (I'm fond of this site to find all kinds of nutritional and health information.) The flavonoids present in basil protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. Basil is also anti-bacterial, active against bacteria such as E. Coli and staph. Essential oil of basil, obtained from its leaves, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs. Additionally, basil is anti-inflammatory, acting like an NSAID such as Asprin. Basil is also very high in vitamin K. I could go on for pages about Basil's health effects, none of which, of course, would be listed on a Nutrition Facts panel, one of the many reasons it's so key to arm yourself with your own knowledge of foods. 

The pesto was so yummy, we completely forget about taking a picture once it was done, and went straight to eating. We served the pesto tossed with bow-tie noodles, pan friend chicken, fresh-grated Romano cheese, and peas from the garden. Yum yum! 


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