Our First Cucumber!

Our first cucumber! ‘Jackson Classic’ is a pickling-type cucumber and is perfect for growing in a container! We plant six cucumber plants into two large containers and harvest 60 to 80 cucumbers annually. ‘Jackson Classic’ is the perfect choice for fermented and refrigerator pickles. All of this home-grown goodness harvested from a very small space! Do you want to learn how to make your own fermented and probiotic-filled pickles? Register for our our June 23 ‘Lacto-Fermenting 101’ Class. Click on the link to register!

 http://www.tlcinthekitchen.com/classes/

 

 

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This Salad!

This salad! Kale, Egyptian Walking onions,cherry tomatoes and chives harvested from our gardens and containers, tossed with homemade probiotic-filled Blue Cheese Dressing and sprinkled with a few walnuts. It was as good as it looks! The secret to a good kale salad is to sprinkle the leaves with a little sea salt then massage it with your fingers. This practice breaks down the tough fibers and tenderizes the kale. 

 http://www.tlcinthekitchen.com/blue-cheese-dressing

 

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Whew!

Whew! The vegetable garden is planted, mulched and bunny-proofed! This garden measures 50’ by 35’ and will keep us in fresh veggies throughout the growing season. Extra produce will be fermented, frozen and pressure-canned for use during the winter months. As we harvest...we’ll replant with new seeds and plants for a second crop.Still need plants for your garden? We’re open tomorrow from 9 to 4. We still have a great selection of unusual annuals and hard to find veggie plants! 20% off annuals, hanging baskets and succulents! Four-pack veggies only $1.00. Looking forward to seeing you!

 

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Our First Tomatoes!

Our first tomatoes! We planted these ‘Mini Belle’ cherry tomato seeds on December 21. What a treat! We’ll be open this Saturday from 9 to 4. We have a great selection of hard to find veggie plants for your garden! Looking forward to seeing you!

 

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Spring Open House!

Spring Open House this weekend! Stop by and get your veggie plants! Heirloom tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and Pac Choi! KK Cross cabbage for sauerkraut and Napa Cabbage for Kimchi! Malibar Spinach...a heat-loving and vining variety for summer greens. Pickling cucumber plants and Mexican Sour Gerkins that look like tiny watermelons and pack a burst of cucumber flavor! Lots of fun things for the veggie garden! Friday and Saturday 9 to 5 and Sunday 10 to 4!

 

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Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! We are grateful to all of you who support us and other businesses who choose to raise their products in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. It matters! Looking forward to our Spring Open House! May 4, 5 and 6th! We have lots of garden veggie plants and we’re  here to help you grow and create delicious recipes with them! Succulents, unusual plants, our freeze dried florals and lots of new treasures! You won’t want to miss this one! Hungry for that first Tomato? We have a limited amount of ‘Mini Belles’ cherry tomatoes setting fruit and ready to ripen!

 

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Ladybug Love!

The ladies have arrived! These are true Ladybugs that were harvested by hand in the higher altitudes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. A sea of Ladybugs overwinter in these mountains. In the spring they migrate down to the lower altitudes in search of food and water. 4500 of them are now living happily in our greenhouse! These Ladybugs will lay clusters of their yellow eggs on the underside of plant leaves. The larvae that will hatch resembles more of a small alligator than a ladybug and will consume even more bad bugs than an adult. The larvae will pupate and an adult ladybug will emerge (see photo lower right). We are grateful for Mother Nature’s gifts that help us maintain our gardens in a safe and sustainable manner!

 

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Praying Mantis

Be sure to watch for Praying Mantis egg sacs when doing your spring garden cleanup! Praying Mantis are beneficial insects. They eat the bad guys and help to keep our gardens pesticide free. When the weather warms, 150 to 250 babies will hatch from this sac. Our native Praying Mantis are brown and grow to about 3 inches long. The Chinese Mantis are green and grow much larger. Some grow so large they have been known to eat a hummingbird. We discovered his sac when harvesting our Pussywillow. It is now in our greenhouse where it will soon be joined by several thousand ladybugs. Spring Open House May 4, 5 and 6!

 

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Bay Leaves

Our Bay Laurel tree has finally grown large enough to produce a harvest! We’ll have the Bay leaves available in the shop this spring! You won’t believe the difference when cooking with these! First harvest...so limited quantities!

 

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Container Grown Cucumbers

We’re not the only ones excited for spring! Our cucumber plants are, too! ‘Jackson Classic’ is a pickling-type cucumber that is perfect for containers! Each year we place three plants into large pots and train the vines onto a topiary. This method makes harvesting easy and we haven’t experienced the insect problems we were having when planting them in the garden. Annually, we harvest 60 to 80 cucumbers from these containers. ‘Jackson Classic’ is perfect for making fermented and refrigerator pickles. Remember you can peel, dice and freeze cucumbers for later use in recipes like our probiotic-filled Cucumber Dip! We’ll have plants available in our greenhouse this spring!

 http://www.tlcinthekitchen.com/cucumber-dip

 

 

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Change For The Future

There were many subjects addressed at Monday’s Regenerate Nebraska conference but as someone who researches and ferments food, this one really grabbed my attention. Notice the word ‘Microbiome’ on this presentation! We’ve all learned about our own microbiome and how caring for it by consuming nutritious food is essential for our overall health. The soil in which we grow that food is also alive and it’s microbiome needs to be supported in order for it to stay healthy. What a beautiful connection between us and our planet! Sadly, our current model of food production is killing our soil. A comment was made over and over again that scientists have determined if we continue down this path, we have less than 60 harvests left in our future. Think about the impact this will have for the environment we are leaving for future generations. There was a wonderful line-up of speakers for this event. We learned so much about regenerative beef, poultry, dairy and prairie restoration from people living right here in Nebraska! More on some of them later. For now I am just excited to know there can be positive changes for our future and am grateful to have met some of the people who are making those changes!

 

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RegeNErate Nebraska

Wow! I had the opportunity to attend the RegeNErate Nebraska conference in Fremont today! It was amazing! Subjects discussed today...the health of our soil, the future of food production and the problems which exist in our current industrialized food system. Thanks to all who coordinated and sponsored this event! Lots of information I look forward to sharing soon!

 

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Pfanny’s Farm

Thank you to Pfanny’s Farm and the Randolph Library for co-hosting yesterday’s pressure cooking class! We did lots of pressure cooking, talked about fermented foods and opened up some fantastic conversations about knowing your farmer and where your food comes from! Julie Pfanstiel and her family grow amazing produce for their CSA customers on their farm! They have some great events planned for this summer including some farm to table dinners and I’ll be traveling back to Randolph in June to teach a fermenting workshop. If you have friends or family in the area please have then check out Pfanny’s Farm on Facebook! An extra bonus to the day was spending some quality time with friend Mary Lou before our lives turn totally crazy with spring planting...if spring ever decides to get here!

 

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Instant Pot Bone Broth

Time to get all those bones and veggie scraps out of the freezer! We put the Instant Pots to work yesterday making 14 quarts of delicious and healthy bone broth then cooled it overnight. The Instant Pots are great for bone broth. They do all the work while we accomplish other projects. This morning we skimmed the fat and used our Presto pressure canner to can it into jars. Bone broth can also be frozen in freezer-safe bags. Freeze the bags flat in baking dishes to contain any possible leaks. This method will also help to save precious freezer space! Here’s a link to the recipe!

 

http://www.tlcinthekitchen.com/instant-pot-bone-broth 

 

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