Category: Uncategorized

First tomatoes

Today I harvested the first cucumbers, and the first tomatoes from the hoophouse. Tomatoes included , Alicante, Flamme, Aunt Lucy Italian Paste, Coyote, Earl of Edgecombe, Baselbieter Rotelli, Beams Yellow Pear, Sebastopol, Indische fleiche, Slava, Bloody Butcher, Kimberly, Tigerella, Buckbees New 50 day, Amy’s Apricot, Amy’s Sugar Gem, Washington Cherry, Aurora and Debarao.

Fig Baklava Tarts


Fig Baklava Tart

We have a bumper crop of fresh white figs.  They shine in this recipe.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 strip lemon peel
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 6 fresh figs (quartered lengthwise (about 5 ounces))
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
  • 6 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Combine the water, honey, lemon peel, lemon juice and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture begins bubbling, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the figs. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are until tender but still retain their shape. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the figs to a bowl.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel from the saucepan and discard. Increase the heat to medium-high; cook the remaining liquid for about 2 minutes, or until it has reduced to a syrupy 1/2 cup. Let cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Combine the walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves, if using, in a small bowl. Combine the oil and melted butter in a separate bowl.
  5. Set the stack of phyllo dough on a clean work surface and cover with damp paper towels, keeping the stack covered as much as possible as you work. Transfer one sheet of the phyllo to a large cutting board, and brush the top with the oil-butter mixture. Lay another sheet directly on top of that one and brush it with the oil mixture. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo.
  6. Use a sharp knife to cut the phyllo stack into 6 4″ squares. Press one stack of the squares into each well of 2 6-well muffin pans.  Fill each cup with equal amounts of the walnut mixture, then bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until the phyllo is crisped and golden.
  7. While the phyllo is still hot, drizzle the cooled syrup into each of the phyllo-walnut cups (in the muffin pan). Top each with 2 pieces of fig; cool to room temperature before serving.

Modified from Ellie Krieger recipe, published in Washington Post , 8/9/2017

Nectar War

Here is a photo of a Pale Swallowtail.


OK, not really. Pale Swallowtails are quite rare here, so when I saw one feeding on these flowers I raced for my camera. Just as I focused this Anna’a Hummingbird showed up and aggressively drove the swallowtail away.


The weather today doesn’t look the slightest bit Springy. The sky has been spitting rain 24/7 for days, and daytime temperatures for the last week have hovered around 38 degrees F.  F is an abbreviation for F’ing cold. Still, it appears that Spring is around the corner because A) Lucy, my border collie, is shedding fur  in gross handfuls and B) a love-sick pileated woodpecker has begun pounding on the beams in my barn because he loves the way the metal roof amplifies the sound.

So…. ignoring the weather and heeding these clues of impending Spring, I have begun planting flats with seeds. Yesterday I planted onions (Ailsa Craig Exhibition, Ringmaster White globe, Red Globe, and Early Yellow Globe) leeks (Carentan), flat leaf parsley, Broccoli (Waltham 29, Romanesco) and lettuce (Winter Brown, Lavigna).  Today, I am planting fennel (Florence), celery (Utah 52-70), celeriac (Giant Prague), King Richard leeks, and Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage. Seeds are loosely scattered in flats of commercial potting soil, and flats sit on the floor of my “mudroom” covered with plastic film.  One flat sits on a warming pad, but as I only have one small pad, the other flats just depend on the nearby wall heater for warmth.  The flat on the pad will undoubtedly sprout seeds first. As soon as sprouts appear, the flats will be transferred to my greenhouse, where they will sit on a thermostatically heated bed of sand.