We normally try to make the Farmers Markets as a family because my kids like the energy there. Lots of people, live acoustic music, stands with lots of samples and good stuff to eat and drink. But, our kids have contracted whatever’s going around Laredo so they stayed home with dad for this one- As usual, it was a really nice way to spend a Saturday morning!
I guessed the honey was great because the bees were flocking to his booth all morning! Here, he’s giving a taste of wild orange blossom honey and we had to shake the bees off the testing spoon! We bought a large jar of wildflower honey from him- we ate it mixed into some hot organic oatmeal (picked up from the HEB Plus clearance rack today) and it was delicious- Two scores in one day!
This is Dimitri Garcia- he makes and sells birdhouses! We bought one from him a few months ago! We’ve had it outside for awhile but I mentioned that I had bought birdseed from one of the booths to put in it- He informed me that, in fact, one should not put birdseed into a bird house. Apparently, that’s what bird feeders are for. And, they are very different things. Is this intuitive? I found myself surprised. Such is the journey of a newfangled naturist.
This is Danny Gunn- He always has a lot of herbs and greens at the market. He’s a lot of fun to talk to. I love that hat. He sold me three different types of basil today- lemon basil, thai basil and sweet basil. They all have a remarkably distinct flavor. He also gave my first taste of the stevia plant- it is crazy sweet! Shockingly sweet for something so green! He agrees with Dimitri. Bird feeders are for bird seed. Bird houses, not so much.
Three varieties of locally grown basil for under 5 dollars at the Farmers Market- Do you know how much that would cost in the grocery store? A whole lot more and I doubt if it would be as beautiful or flavorful. We made whole-wheat havarti grilled cheese sandwiches and put several leaves of each variety in the sandwiches. Each bite yielded a different basil flavor- lemony followed by sweet followed by peppery or lemony-sweet-peppery bits for those overlapping parts. Yum.
Here’s a reminder about the upcoming agriculture workshops put on by Laredo Main Street! I missed the composting one taught by Danny Gunn, above, so he gave me some great pointers about how to make my own compost pile work for us! He does something called static composting- basically, he piles all the raw veggie scraps and egg shells and other compostable bio-waste into a pile in the sun, scrapes what’s outside off in a year and moves it to the center of the pile, and then takes what’s inside to put in his garden. I can totally do that.
Our gorgeous compost pile. haha! I seem to have more luck accidentally growing things in this pile than in our intentionally planted pot garden.
In May, we were feeling pretty good about our garden’s progress. The crops were vibrant and green. They seemed to be thriving.
But, this is what it looks like now! This is our second gardening attempt in the last 8 months- so we’ve learned a lot- but, there is much more to learn. It is hard to strike the balance of nutrition and sunlight, protection from the elements, natural pest control, the amount of water to use and temperature management….gardening is not simple. But, we’ll crack this nut. One day.
All has not been lost- This is our first harvest. We had to rescue our baby carrots before they died out. We chopped these up and put them into carrot cake muffins. Right now, I estimate that if we were to not produce another vegetable from our garden, each of these babies is worth approximately $50 given our initial investment.
All this talk about growing of whole foods makes me think of a hilarious rap video about Whole Foods- It’ll crack you up! See you at the next Farmer’s Market and Happy Gardening to you-
The Whole Foods rap video is here: http://comedy.video.yahoo.com/?vid=25647490
For more info on the next Farmers Market (third Saturday of each month):
For previous Critters and Crayons posts on the Laredo Farmers Market:
For info on the Sustainable Workshop Series: