THE U-Pick GARDEN will be closing August 20th. This will be the last year the garden will be open to the public. Next year I'll be operating as a CSA, supplying about 20 regular customers with weekly boxes. Thank you for your support over the last 8 years, but it's time to try something new.
To get a copy of my book, "How To Grow Vegetables In Sitka, Alaska" just give me a call....The books are $20 plus tax. If you live out of town and want me to mail you a copy, you can mail a check for $25.60 to:
P O Box 6021
Down To Earth U-Pick Garden is located at 2103 Sawmill Creek Road in Sitka, Alaska. It is open usually from mid-June through late August. Hours are Monday-Saturday 12:00 to 6:30. On Farmer's Market Saturdays I am not open until 2:00. Children are welcome but may not run through the garden or chase the ducks. If you have any questions you can contact me, Lori Adams, at 907-747-6108 or 907-738-2241. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently I made some caribou stew in the crockpot. There was some left over, so I just pulled the ceramic insert out of the cooker and stuck it in the fridge. Two days ago I came home and found that someone (who shall remain nameless), was eating hot stew and the ceramic insert was sitting on the stovetop burner. I said, "Did you heat that up on the burner?" Nameless said, "Yes, is that a problem?" I said, "Yes, it's not made to be heated up like that, I'm surprised it didn't shatter....you got lucky this time I guess." There was some left over, so after it cooled I stuck it back in the fridge.
Today I had a bunch of misc. leftovers, so I pulled the ceramic insert out of the fridge and added the leftovers to the stew. Wow, I thought, that is going to be amazing stew! Then, I opened the fridge door, picked up the ceramic insert from the counter and something terrible happened .....
The bottom fell out of it. Obviously the direct heat from the stovetop HAD affected the ceramic insert. It was a terrible mess.....a lot of it even went under the fridge.
The ceramic insert was in two pieces with a clean break...no chips missing.
In a situation like this there is only one thing to do....
Yesterday I picked Red Huckleberries in our back yard.
I used a "berry-picker", so in addition to the ripe berries the bucket was full of leaves and immature berries......a bucket full of Huckleberries takes hours to clean. When you're washing them in the sink the leaves just suction cup to your hands which makes everything awkward.
But, a couple of years ago a friend taught me how to clean Huckleberries quickly and easily. Check it out....
You set up a piece of plywood outside at an angle with 2x4's clamped to the side.
Okay...now you can see where the "Red Green Show" reference came from.....and if you still don't get it you can youtube it - and then you'll get it.
How redneck can you get?
Drape a sheet over the trough....
Then smooth out the sheet, soak it with water, and set a tote at the foot of the trough.
Set the bucket of Huckleberries at the top of the trough....
Tip it over....
And let the berries roll down the trough.
The leaves stick to the sheet....
And the berries roll down the trough and into the tote.
Once in a while it's good to move away the tote and wash the leaves off the trough with the hose.
Once the bucket is empty it's a good idea to run all of the berries down the trough a second time. On the second pass I try to pick out all of the immature berries. It was hard this time because my trough was set up at too steep of an angle which caused the berries to roll down really fast.
MUCH more manageable!
I mix Red Huckleberries with my Raspberries 50/50 when I make jam.....SO YUMMY!!
And remember, if they don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy! Keep your stick on the ice, I'm rooting for you.
I never have a lot of Broccoli, so I rarely put the sign out at the bottom of the driveway, but if you are at the U-pick garden and stars are aligned properly that day....you just might get to pick Broccoli.
Joyce and Rita stopped by the other day and Rita kindly "volunteered" to pose for photos to show you all how to pick Broccoli.
NOTE: There are photos with Rita's hands and photos with my hands...you can easily tell the difference:
Rita's hands are beautifully manicured complete with fingernail polish and she's wearing "hip" jewelry on her arm. My hands on the other hand.....Whoa! sorry about the dirty fingernails!
HOW TO PICK BROCCOLI
1. Select a mature Broccoli head. Broccoli heads range from 3-9 inches across depending on the variety, so it's very important that you know how to tell if a head is mature or not.
A Broccoli head is made up of many, many, tiny green flower buds, and each bud will eventually open up into a yellow flower. A Broccoli head starts out very small with TIGHT buds. The head is hard and the buds can not be squeezed together....
....or pulled apart.
Although this Broccoli head is perfectly edible it is not mature and it would be a crying shame to pick it. If it's left on the plant it will continue to grow and get significantly larger.
A mature Broccoli head has buds that are plump and loose. You should be able to see a few buds that look like they could open up into flowers at any time.
The buds are loose enough so that you can squeeze them together....
....and pull them apart.
NOTE: Broccoli heads that have bloomed are perfectly edible and really quite pretty, but the longer they bloom the tougher they get.
2. To harvest a Broccoli head it is best to use a serrated knife. Cut the stem at a fairly sharp angle just below the head to allow the rain to run off the stump easily to try to prevent the stem from splitting and rotting.
3. Many people do not realize that after a Broccoli head is harvested the plant will continue to produce numerous side-shoots called "sprouts".
You can harvest sprouts with a serrated knife....
Or by carefully snapping them off with your fingers....
4. Broccoli is $5.00 for a large head or a green plastic strawberry crate full of sprouts.
NOTE: Broccoli leaves are also edible and can be used just like Kale!