Sharing Summer’s Abundance and Summer’s Work

You never know what might result from posting a request on Facebook. The other day I asked our neighborhood Facebook gardeners’ group if anyone would take my zucchini in exchange for peppers. Because really, how many zukes does one household need? This led to the idea of a veggie swap ‘n share. So I invited any interested gardeners to bring their surplus over yesterday for some trading.

Only a couple folks showed up, but it was just right, and no doubt more will come in the future.

Summer's abundance shared at the veggie swap.

Summer’s abundance shared at the veggie swap. (The eggs are a side deal.)

Julie brought heirloom tomatoes, the only thing she grows. I was thrilled to take some off her hands, since mine are ripening ever so slowly after initially falling prey to blossom end rot. Her cherry tomato variety is called Doctor and rivals my beloved Sungold for sweetness.

As the most ambitious gardener among us, Laura brought a slightly squirrel-chewed pumpkin that needed to be harvested because of an issue with the vine. She had also just picked yellow squash, collards, basil, and more lovely heirloom tomatoes, including a variety called Principe Borghese, reputed to be great for drying. (I’m happy to say these are in my dehydrator as we speak.)

Collards and basil straight from the garden.

Collards and basil straight from the garden.

I offered the aforementioned Zucchini Explosion, specifically a variety called Cordello, as well as some jalapenos and various herbs. Laura went home with catnip for her kitties (sorry Kitley and Maggie!), sage, and rosemary.

Funny how these things all work out and people go away happy to try something new. I think swapping could be habit-forming.

Clowning with Cabbage

Clowning with cabbage at last year’s kraut party

On a related note, last summer our kitchen was home base for group preserving efforts, loosely connected to our community garden. With polka music on Pandora, we shredded up several heads of cabbage and packed them in crocks at the Kraut Party.

Kraut Party Action

Kraut Party Action

Later in the season we switched the sound track to the Three Tenors and Andrea Bocelli at the Pesto Party.

And a couple of us got together to make a gazillion varieties of salsa as well, to share with the community at a Salsa Party.

When you try to cook and preserve seasonal produce, summer can be a crazy time, especially if some of the produce comes from your own garden. Most of us don’t live in the kind of multigenerational households that were the rule back in the day. So we don’t have the built-in helpers that our foremothers did. It can get lonesome, toiling away in your kitchen on your own.

So it’s been great fun to turn some of that work into social events.

There’s talk of another Pesto Party, and maybe even a group effort to “put up sweet corn,” as my people say. We can get a boatload of sweet corn from one of our many local growers and just go to town.

Hm. What musical genre would work for a Corn Party?

5 thoughts on “Sharing Summer’s Abundance and Summer’s Work

  1. What a great idea. I wish that our vegetables were that far along. We live pretty far north and this summer it has rained almost every day, so everything is growing very slowly. We have had a bumper crop of kale (good thing since my partner is addicted to kale chips), but the tomatoes, green beans, squash and eggplants are just starting to come in. I hope that the root vegetables and fall squash varieties mature before the first frost.

    I wish you much success with future swaps.

    • I love kale too, but have never mastered the chips. I wish for some of your rain as we’re a bit dry here though not nearly as bad as the last two years. Thanks for popping by and best of luck with your veggies!

  2. Pingback: Meg’s Community Garden Harvest Time! | peaceandhonestlife

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