Sunday, October 30, 2011

Harvesting in our backyard and in our community

October is almost over and I am still harvesting from my garden. We harvested eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers.

Thomas and I are are very resourceful in finding free food and we often turn to our community to get what we cannot or don't grow ourselves. People also know I am happy taking free food and will can or preserve what I cannot eat right away. As a result we often get free food from friends and neighbors.

Our neighbors Ron & Lucy cleaned out two of their five raised beds this weekend and shared their harvest. We got yummy bok choy, two butternut squash, zucchini and some tomatoes.

In July and August I harvested lavender from the corner shopping center behind our house. I called the owner and asked permission and he was more than happy to share his lavender with me. The shopping center parking lot has over 20 plants. He loves the lavender and I could help myself as long as I took a little from each plant and left some behind. I hope to make lavender stuffed hearts for the mom's and babies at Sutter Hospital.

These delicious golden delicious apples came from a nurse friend from Memorial Hospital. She has 8 trees--maybe more. We took three 5 gallon buckets full and we are welcomed back anytime. These mild apples will make delicious apple juice--which we will freeze for later and dried apple snacks.

These are pineapple guavas. There is a row of about 7 trees in the back parking lot at Coddingtown. The fruit just falls to the ground and rots. It is a shame! We found the trees and picked to our delight. We did take turns looking out for the security guards from the mall. I am sure it would have been alright, but we did hop on the fence to get to the top of the trees. I hope to make some jam following this recipe.

The figs were from a tree near an industrial park in Santa Rosa. This tree is huge and no one picks the fruit. Sadly we got to it towards the end of its season. The ground was full of dried figs just lost to neglect. Next year I'll hit it earlier in the season. We might eat all of the figs we harvested if not, I'll make jam.

The walnuts came from the neighborhood behind RR Square. There are a number of English walnuts in this area and most of the fruit is left for the birds and squirrels. Thomas did some tree shaking while I picked the fruit off the ground. We dried these in the oven and they are supper tasty. I am sure to be cruising the area every other day since the season for walnuts has just begun.

We attended the last Occidental farmers' market of the year on Friday night. A kind and tall farmer gave us this beautiful pumpkin for free. He had grown so many pumpkins he didn't want to load them all back in the truck, so he was giving some away. I am telling you at times I do feel like a free food magnet.

Last week our friend Michael dropped off a huge bag of hot peppers from his garden. What do you do with too many peppers? You preserved them for a later day. I pickled these following this recipe. It was easy to think about what to do because I followed Tigress in a Pickle while she hosted tigress' can jam. She started a canvolution and I am a devoted follower!

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather used to walk all over greater Boston, knowing just where and when to go to get ripe fruit and other goodies. When I went to college in Boston, we would make a date to meet somewhere. I would bring paper bags, and he had a gym bag. As we gathered our loot, he would tell me how to cook it up for use within a week or two.

    You and Papa are gleaners, except in earlier centuries, the poor would go out to the harvested fields and pick up the leavings. Now no one has harvested except you and the critters. It's a shame that some of this food goes to waste with so many hungry people in our county. Good for you for not letting so much go to waste.