Pictured above: johnnyseeds.com (Johnny’s Selected Seeds), territorialseed.com (Territorial Seed Company), highcountrygardens.com (High Country Gardens), kitazawaseed.com (Kitazawa Seed Company), Edible magazine (Shasta-Butte & East Bay), rareseeds.com (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)
I sowed my first seeds of the season a few weeks ago – mainly arugula, radish and carrots. The weather here in Northern California has been hot and dry and not the norm, so I did have to resort to using my drip system. But I just could no longer hold myself back. My small greenhouse is at the ready if I was too hasty in planting seeds outside.
The influx of all the luscious seed catalogues made me throw caution to the wind. I prefer to buy organic non-GMO varieties, and the catalogues shown are all organic. I recommend all of the growers shown, my particular favourite is Kitazawa. They are located in Oakland, California, and have been operating since 1917. *They had to abandon the business from 1942 to 1945 due to WWII and internment with all other Japanese-Americans. Their catalogue is not flashy, or filled with colour. It is plain, well written and contains an extraordinary amount of unique seeds. They even include recipes on the back.
I rarely buy new pots, in fact I usually return the plastic ones to the growers if I am purchasing from them. I tend to buy from Sawmill Creek Farm here in Paradise. I also make newspaper pots and reuse egg-cartons for planting – this has worked rather well for me. And of course, it’s good to re-use instead of adding to the landfill.
I recommend keeping these little gems by your special chair and on those horrid cold and damp days when you’re house bound, dream and plan about the arrival of spring.
Edible Communities Publications is a company that creates editorially rich, community-based, local-foods publications in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada. The regional and city publications, supporting websites, and events, that connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds. These regional magazines can be found at local businesses in your area, and nearly always are lurking at your local Farmer’s Market (well, they are in Paradise, CA, at least). The regional magazines can also be found online if you are not fortunate enough to be near a Farmer’s Market. http://www.ediblecommunities.com
My Elderberry tree is in bloom – and I mean FULL-ON bloom. Usually, I miss the blossoms but this year I have been keeping my eyes on the tree. My tree is a Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) with dark purple leaves and blossoms. It also has varying shades of pink to red that stand out against the fresh greenness of Spring.
*This Elderflower Liqueur Recipe, was originally inspired by Well Hung Food, ..thanks boyz!
RECIPE (note – this concoction needs to sit for 6 weeks before imbibing).
Pick full open, new flower heads (no brown bits). *It is best to pick most flowers before high noon.
After you pick the flowers you need to start moving quickly, they start to lose their perfume incredibly fast.
Fill up a bottle or jar just past 3/4 with the flowers.
Remove as much stalk as possible. If you compress the flowers they should take up about half the jar. (It took me 2 hours to deflower all my blossoms)
Once the jar is filled up to half way you need to add some sugar. The sugar not only sweetens, but brings out much of the flavor. An 80:20 ratio of Elderflower to sugar. So if your Elderflower is 4 inches high (when slightly compressed) add about an inch of sugar.
Fill almost to the brim with vodka. Now add thin slices of lemon to the top. You should try and cover the entire top layer with these thin slices as it will stop the flowers from rising to the top. If you can’t do this use a saucer and a weight to stop the elderflower from reaching the surface, as they will turn brown and taint the whole drink.
Leave a month before straining into a bottle and then another two weeks before drinking.
And remember the two most important things are: good clean, bright elderflower heads (without stalks) and not letting the flowers reach the surface. Enjoy! -Esther
This is my go-to nibble (no more potato-chips for me). These nuts far surpass the flavor of store-bought nuts.
Thyme & Rosemary – Roasted Marcona Almonds
1 pound roasted, salted Marcona almonds
3 teaspoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Serves 6 – 8
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the almonds, 2 teaspoons olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and kosher salt on a sheet pan and toss them together.
Roast the almonds for 10 to 15 minutes (5 extra minutes if you are located in a higher altitude like me 2000′), turning them every 5 minutes with a metal spatula, until they’re lightly browned.
*Watch carefully – they go from under baked to burnt very quickly.
Sprinkle with sea salt and the last teaspoon olive oil, toss, and set aside to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store extra nuts in a glass jar with tight lid. These will keep well for about a week on the counter.
Kinfolk, Haru_mi, The Simple Things, Gather, Sunset, The Gentle Woman, Cereal, Sweet Paul
I have always loved magazines. I remember when my mum signed me up for a subscription to W Magazine when I was in high school (it was in a large, newspaper format back then). I would cover the walls in my room with beautiful images every month. I still tear pages and post them to the wall if they are inspiring. I have a small library of my favorite-can’t-live-without magazines that I’ve lugged around for a couple of years now. And yes, I still have every print publication of Domino in my line-up.
I also read a fair share of standard publications like: Vanity Fair, Fortune, House Beautiful, The New Yorker (my husband’s subscription – otherwise I’d feel terrible for never finishing a copy), Red (UK), Wallpaper, and design related; Communication Arts, How, I.D, and Print.
What I’ve noticed recently is that there are more ‘thoughtful’ publications like Kinfolk, Gather, and The Simple Things. These magazines aren’t cluttered with crazy ads on every other page along with product placements – instead they feature stories about slowing down and being ‘present’ in life. I love that they are embracing the everydayness of life. My mum sent me a subscription to “The Simple Things” after their third publication, and I am like a kid when the package arrives in the mail every month. These publications helped inspire me (us) to finally get JUST A TITCH up and running. I hope that you find inspiration in them too. If you have any other magazines that we should know about, please feel free to add them to the comments section below. We’d love to know what else is out there!