Coconut, Coppertone, saltwater, freshly cut grass and charcoal heating on the grill. These are some of the smells that reminded me of summer while I was growing up. And now as a gardener, tomato leaves make that happy list.
While there’s no shortage of Coppertone and saltwater on a California summer day (or any day in any season here, for that matter), the one smell that truly ushers in summer and closes it out is the heady, earthy, viney, fragrant aroma of fresh tomato leaves as you brush against them — either to stake up the vines in June or to pull up the last lingering plants in September.
Have you ever wondered where, exactly, that distinctive smell comes from? It’s not in the fruit, no matter how richly perfumed that heirloom variety may be. It’s only in the leaves, stems, and sepals (those little green “hats” on the flowers and fruits), and even on tiny seedlings that have barely seen the sun. It’s an unmistakable scent that no other plant shares, and people either love it or they hate it.
Who’s going to the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Resort in Pennsylvania next weekend? Exciting days ahead — not only will it be my first time attending, it will also be my first time speaking at the fair!
I’ll be taking to the UTNE Stage inside the convention center on Friday, September 18, 2015, at 4 pm to present on the topic “From Leaves and Flowers to Stems and Seeds: Exploring All the Delicious Possibilities of Your Vegetables.” Afterward at 5 pm, I’ll be signing copies of The CSA Cookbook at the official fair bookstore.
If you aren’t able to make it to the fair on Friday, you can still look for me all weekend at Quarto Publishing, Booth 2706 inside the exhibit hall, where I’ll be on hand for questions, comments, hugs, and laughs. Quarto will be selling my book (and I’ll be signing it!), so you can pick one up at the fair if you haven’t already. Perhaps some early Christmas presents?!
I am a huge fan of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, so it’s a real honor for me to be speaking at their event this year at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California!
For the last four years, Baker Creek has staged the “World’s Pure Food Fair” as a not-for-profit event that celebrates gardening, homesteading, small-scale farming, sustainable living, and of course, whole, local, pure food. Preserving heritage seed stock is the focus of the fair, and you’ll find food porn for days in the exhibit halls and all over the fairgrounds. The Heirloom Expo is truly a foodie paradise!
I’ll be speaking on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, at 11:30 am in the E.C. Kraft Building with the topic “From Leaves and Flowers to Stems and Seeds: Exploring All the Delicious Possibilities of Your Vegetables.” Tuesday will be my only day at the fair, so I hope you can join me! I’ll be signing copies of my book, The CSA Cookbook, after the presentation.
After being couchbound and under the weather these past few weeks, I finally feel some of my energy returning… and just in time, as the hubby and I are taking off to Oregon this weekend for a rafting trip on the Rogue River. It’s the old man’s birthday (wink), and paddling the Rogue has long been on his list of dream adventures since taking up kayaking a few years ago. While he’ll be tackling the rapids in his kayak, I’ll be sitting on the support raft, soaking up the sun, shooting lots of pictures and getting some much-needed outdoor time!
Because embarrassingly, I’ve been far behind on work but well caught up on TV. In the midst of my tea-sipping, movie-watching, blanket-snuggling, midday-snoozing daze, I somehow (finally) managed to sort through all the pictures from our book tour/road trip and whittled them down to just under 1,700 shots. So let’s make this Five Things Friday a Flashback Friday as I revisit some of my favorites from our trip!
1. Taking the trail less traveled to Delicate Arch in Moab, Utah. (Special thanks to Duluth Trading Company for the duds! Pictured here are the Armachillo Long Sleeve Solid Shirt, DuluthFlex Dry on the Fly Convertible Pants, and Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger. They’re not necessarily made for hiking, but the technical fabrics and generous cuts actually make them perfect for outdoor pursuits.)
Among the most frequent questions that land in my inbox are the type of gear I recommend for gardening… or cooking… or camping. And when I look around my house, those questions are sometimes tough to answer because I’ve used those things for so long, I’ve often forgotten what they’re called and I rarely remember where I bought them.
That’s where my Favorite Things come into play. No more digging up an old receipt or searching for a style number on a tag!
The five little things that made my week…
1. Bringing a spent sunflower head down to the chicken run. The ladies love their little treat! If you have the space, it’s worth growing a crop of sunflowers near your run every summer. As the flowers fade, they naturally drop their seeds. It gives them something to scratch for in the soil and offers a nutritional boost that will keep their feathers soft and shiny.
When I first set out on The CSA Cookbook Road Trip, everyone told me it was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” And while I knew what they meant, in a way it was almost a little sad to think I might never do something bigger or better than this book tour. I certainly hope it won’t be once in my lifetime! I would love to do a cross-country adventure again at some point down the line… perhaps in another country? Perhaps even longer next time?
Neither of us really knew what we were getting into when we took off in May. The last time I’d driven cross-country was in 2001, when my then-boyfriend and I moved from New York to California. Will did a similar trip with his then-girlfriend in reverse, California to New York, but since then and since we’ve been together, our longest drives would only cross two or three states at most.
We had no idea how we’d feel about spending seven weeks on the road and logging tens of thousands of miles behind the wheel. We thought we’d be done with driving for a while once July rolled around… after sitting for so long, in a confined space, going from Point A to B to C to D to E, day after day.
But you know what? We loved every. single. moment. and didn’t want the trip to end. The pace was a little faster than we would’ve liked, but we were able to see and do meaningful things in most of the states we passed through. (Steering clear of the interstates played a big part in that.) Will felt like he could’ve driven back across the country again after we touched the California coast on our fortieth day!