The 6am class enthusiastically farmer carries 2 dumbbells:-)
Homegrown Paleo - Harvesting Veggies
When I first started growing vegetables, I was confused at harvest time because I didn’t know just when to pick my veggies. I discovered I’m not alone. For many novice gardeners, our only knowledge of what ripe fruits and vegetables look like comes from the grocery store. Yet, when we begin to grow our own produce, it rarely looks like the blemish-free, polished and waxed fruit and vegetables at the store.
Here are some tips on how to harvest three popular homegrown goodies at the peak of their ripeness and flavor.
Nothing can compare with a homegrown tomato. After one season of growing your own, you may never want to buy a tomato in the store again. Store-bought tomatoes can often be almost tasteless because they are often picked while they’re still green, and then sprayed with ethylene gas to force artificial ripening. The picking, transporting and storage process prevents natural ripening and sugar accumulation.
Tomatoes undergo a very interesting physiological change when they are about half pinkish-red and half green. At this “breaker” stage, they form a thin layer of cells that seals the fruit from the stem. This layer of cells prevents any nutrient flow from the plant to the fruit. Tomatoes can be harvested at or after the breaker stage and they will ripen normally, but they need to ripen in the sun, such as on a windowsill, for the sugars to fully develop. Tomatoes that are left on the vine continue to ripen and develop sugars because they are exposed to sunlight, not because they are gaining anything from the plant. Store freshly harvested tomatoes on the counter or in a basket, as refrigeration kills their flavor.
Some tomatoes, such as green zebra, German grapefruit, and lemon boy, never turn red. So, be sure to save your seed packets or plant tags, as these will often have pictures of the ripe fruit that you can refer to when deciding if it’s time to harvest.
Generally, eggplant should be harvested when the flesh is springy, and the skin is shiny purple and tight. Test for springiness by pressing into the side with your finger. If the flesh springs back, the eggplant is ready for picking. Eggplants that are past their prime are dull and soft with wrinkled skin. When ripe, white-skinned eggplant, such as Rosa Bianca, will have skin that is glossy white with pink stripes.
When trying to determine a melon’s ripeness, look at the condition of the stem and skin color. Cantaloupes “slip” from the vine, leaving a scar where the stem was attached. The bottom, or end opposite the stem, will be soft and fragrant. Their straw-colored skin should be bright. A ripe honeydew may remain attached to the vine, but should also be soft on the bottom side, opposite the stem. While on the vine, watermelons will have a small, curled tendril extending from the vine opposite from where the stem is attached to the vine. This tendril will turn brown and dry out when the melon is ripe. The stem should still be green and difficult to remove from the vine. The skin touching the ground should be buttery yellow. All melons continue to ripen after they have been removed from the vine, and should be stored in the refrigerator or a cool place.
This is a reprint of an article I wrote when I was the commercial horticulture program coordinator for the western area of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. For more specific gardening and horticulture advice be sure to visit your local Cooperative Extension office.
Today is that start of our 31 day Bozeman Locavore Challenge. This is our second year doing the Locavore Challenge. Locavore was the Oxford Word of the Year in 2007. A Locavore is someone whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.
The idea for the challenge was born from the need for a summer nutrition challenge and through comments that all of our other nutrition challenges focus on what we can't eat as opposed to what we can eat. If it grows or was produced within 100 miles of the Gallatin Valley you can put it on your plate.
The rules of the Bozeman Locavore Challenge are simple:
Husband and wife, Jim and Sarah, do pull-ups together.
Homegrown Paleo - Be a Locavore
In 2007 my life changed when I read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. I realized, after reading the book, that most of our environmental issues were caused by our huge, bloated and totally inefficient industrial food system. Did you know it takes an average of 10 fossil-fuel calories to produce one calorie of food energy on an industrial farm? About a quarter of Americaâs greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to how we grow, process and transport food. On average, our food travels 1,500 miles before it reaches our plate. After learning these things, and realizing I could have an immediate and direct impact on my personal health and the health of the planet, I made a personal commitment to eat locally. At the time I was living in Reno, Nevada, elevation 4500 ft, where we get an average of 8 inches of rain a year. No easy task.
Not long after I made this decision one of my favorite American Public Media radio programs, The Splendid Table, put out a call for volunteers for their Locavore Nation program. They wanted to follow people from all over the US as they tried to eat 80% of their food from within 500 miles of their home city. I applied.
The Splendid Table received 15,000 applications! They were totally overwhelmed. From those 15,000 they invited 150 people to write an essay as to why they should be selected for the Locavore Nation challenge. From those 150 applicants, 15 were selected and I was among them.
The Locavore Nation start January 1! Seriously, in the middle of winter, we started a local eating challenge. The best I could do was to make my own bread (ironically using Wheat Montana flour), yogurt from a friend who had a 4H dairy cow, goat cheese from the same friend with 4H goats, beer that James brewed and pickles I have made the previous summer. It was a pretty dismal start.
By the time the challenge ended, 365 days later, I was sourcing about 80% of my food from with 100 miles of Reno, much of it homegrown. My passion for growing my own and buying from local producers has not diminished. I am super excited to finally have a venue where I can, once again, encourage and support people who want to make growing, cooking, and eating a deliberate act of independence and self-sufficiency.
I hope you take on our 31-day Locavore Challenge this August. I think we're going to have lots of fun eating and sharing. Here's how to participate:
Two of our CrossFit Teens do dumbbell plank rows.
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