Sunday, September 16, 2007

Summertime Blues

"Well I'm gonna raise a fuss, and I'm gonna raise a holler. About workin' all summer, just tryin' to earn a dollar. Well, I went to my boss who governs me. He said, "No dice bud, you gotta work late" Sometime I wonder, what I'm gonna do, there ain't no cure for the summertime blues."

Since David is essentially his own boss, he has no one to complain to but himself about his hours. As the season has progressed long hours in hot and humid weather has been the norm. As summer fades into fall the temperature might be getting better but the hours available to work are getting shorter. While working shorter hours might seem like a good thing, the amount of work that needs to get done does not decrease along with the shorter days. In particular, Saturday harvests have been ending past sundown. There is no let up in the amount of work that needs to get done despite the decrease in the available hours in which to complete the work. And so it goes.

Despite the travails, David continues to push through and continues to grow good things to eat at the farm. With the changing of seasons some veggies are going and some are coming. Cucumbers are gone. Summer squash are close to going. And most sadly of all, tomato season is rapidly drawing to a close. Beets are back. Spinach is coming back. Winter squash, including pumpkins are here. Being involved with farming allows for a deeper appreciation for the natural flow of the seasons and the changing availability of locally grown crops. As a society we have grown accustomed to all produce at all times of the year. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does lead to a disconnect from how people lived in the not too distant past. The small, local farmer is part of our national heritage. Regardless of where you live, support your local farmer, whether they grow organic or in a conventional manner.

It's a dog's world- David's dog, Hule, has had herself a busy summer and most recently some adventures. Over the summer she has kept the ground hog population in check by catching 8 ground hogs. Considering the potential damage to crops that ground hogs can cause, this is an important contribution to the farm. A few weeks ago as David was going down to the field he noticed that a deer had somehow gotten into the fields overnight despite the fence surrounding the field and the closed gates. Hule went after the deer and in the process of chasing the deer suffered a cut paw that required stitches. The worst part of the experience was that Hule was confined to the apartment for close to two weeks. And just last week Hule had an unfortunate encounter with a skunk. No, it was not a dead skunk in the middle of the road. It was a very much alive skunk that was not happy to be confronted by a dog. If you have never had the 'privilege' of smelling a skunked dog there is one word of advice, DON'T.

In brief organic farming is an approach to agriculture that aims to create a system of farming that "uses our understanding of nature as a guide for gardening and living, and caring for the plants without using synthetic chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers." (Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening) While this sounds simple enough, nothing is ever as simple, or easy, as it could or should be. There is debate and discussion about the value, validity, and importance of the organic label on foods. There are some larger agribusinesses that are trying to stretch the definition of what constitutes organic. And there are some who question whether there is any real value to growing things in an organic manner. Each individual needs to do their own research into the issues and make their own decision about how to shop and eat. An article in the New York Times (August 19, 2007 addresses some issues about the whole notion of organic labeling. If you interested you can read the article through the following link:

As summer heads to fall winter squash have arrived. Pictured above is a spaghetti squash. When cooked you cut it in half, length wise and using a fork scrape out the insides. In doing so you get strands similar to spaghetti.

This is a butternut squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin or sweet potato.

This is another winter squash called delicata. One of the tastier winter squashes. Creamy pulp that tastes a bit like sweet potatoes.

This is a buttercup squash. Sweet and creamy orange flesh. One of the more highly regarded winter squashes.

This is only a portion of the winter squashes that were harvested. In addition to those pictured and described above David has acorn squash, Long Island cheese pumpkins, and various sizes of pumpkins. Unlike various other sellers, all the pumpkins and summer squash that David sells he grows.

The following pictures are intended to show the various colors that mother nature offers in her bounty of vegetables.

The current growing season will be coming to an end within the next 4-6 weeks. You are encouraged, once again, to enjoy the freshness and flavor that is available to you through a local farmers' market. You can find David and Gravity Hill Farm at either the Lawrenceville Market on Sunday mornings (9-1) or New Hope, Pa on Thursday afternoons (3-7). If you are reading this, please make it a point to stop by and say hello. Get to know your local farmer. Know where your food is coming from.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Turn, Turn, Turn

"To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn) And a time for every purpose, under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep."

The farm season started in April and will continue through the end of October/early November; depending on the cooperation of the weather. It has been a long season and there is still plenty to do in the next couple of months. Each day, each week, each market, brings its own set of challenges, successes, and disappointments. The market at Lawrenceville has been consistent and David is very appreciative of his 'regulars' and those new friends who are discovering the market and Gravity Hill. David has also been enjoying his other new friends at the New Hope farmers' market. Market days is the payoff for all the hard work the rest of the week. Plants get planted, nutritious produce is harvested. There is a time for everything.

One of summers great treats is in full swing- tomatoes!! As mentioned David grows a variety of heirloom tomatoes and, given the relative shortness of the season, it is vital that he have good weather to enhance the quality of taste and the proper ripeness of the tomato. Last weeks rain had a significant negative impact on David's tomatoes. There are many things that a farmer can control, the weather isn't one of them. It is merely a part of the ngoing process of farming and one of the significant challenges that all farmers face. However, given the difference between the type of tomato that is commonly available in your local grocery, and the wondrous delight of what is available through your local farmer, the effort is worthwhile. The tomatoes you buy at a store are bred to travel and to last a fair amount of time on the shelves of your store. Heirlooms are grown to preserve part of our cultural heritage and for their taste. Some are beautiful. Some are so ugly only a mother could love them. They are not intended to travel long distances and once picked don't last a long time. In this context you are encouraged to read the article, So Many Tomatoes to Stuff in a Week by Melissa Clark. To read the full article go to:
To give you an idea about what the article is about the following quote is offered: "Meaty and succulent, their velvety flesh enclosing a fragrant jelly of golden seeds and dripping with sweet pink juice, summer tomatoes are everything their cold-weather counterparts aren’t, including cheap and abundant."

Run, don't walk, to your nearest farmers' market and get your fresh, locally grown tomatoes. Remember, there are a multitude of tomatoes; the beauty of a farmers' market is that you can ask the farmer all about them. What follows are some pictures of a representative sample of the tomatoes that Farmer Dave has available at market. Peak tomato season has only a few short weeks remaining. If you like fresh tomatoes, now is the time to get them.

"Medium sized tomato ripening to a green color, with cream/yellow spots and stripes. The flavor is generally considered excellent and this variety often makes top ten lists for its taste. The Green Zebra is used heavily in salads and salsa for its mild sweet-acidic flavor blend."
( Yes, it is a tomato. Ripe and delicious. As with many heirlooms, you can add a unique color to your salad.

"This tomato truly resembles a peach. The 2-oz. fruits have a peach like fuzz and are yellow, often with a hint of pink blush when fully ripe. The flavor is outstanding." Yes, it does have a peach like fuzz!! Yes, it tastes like a tomato! (

"We’re forever shaking our heads at Cosmonaut Volkov, this strangely-named Ukrainian tomato that wins taste test after taste test. Simply put, for rich, deep, true tomato taste, Cosomonaut Volkov is the best-tasting tomato in our own and other trials. Has that perfect blend of sweet and tart, with a rich complexity that has you savoring the flavor long after you’ve swallowed it. Does have some cracking and yellow shoulders, but not nearly as badly as Brandywine or Pruden’s Purple. Consider Cosmonaut as a commercial tomato for markets that appreciate superior taste." (

"The Cherokee Purple was rediscovered by tomato grower Craig LeHoullier. LeHoullier claimed that it was more than 100 years old, originated with the Cherokee people. The Cherokee Purple tomato has a unique dusty rose color. The flavor of the tomato is extremely sweet with a rich smoky taste. The Cherokee Purple has a refreshing acid, is watery, thick-skinned and earthy with a lingering flavor. The Cherokee Purple plants are very prolific making this plant a good heirloom for gardeners and farmers."

"Dr. Wyche used to own Cole Brothers Circus which overwintered in Hugo, Oklahoma. He fertilized his terraced mountain-top gardens with elephant manure and scattered lion and tiger waste to keep out deer and rabbits. Heavy yields of 1 pound tomatoes with nice smooth shoulders on healthy plants. Meaty and rich tasting for a yellow-orange tomato."

"The marbled interior looks beautiful sliced. Complex, fruity flavor and smooth texture."

"(Sudduth's Strain) Brandywine first appeared in the 1889 catalog of Johnson & Stokes of Philadelphia and by 1902 was also offered by four additional seed companies, but soon disappeared from all commercial catalogs. Our best selling tomato and one of the best tasting tomatoes available to gardeners today. The seed of this strain was obtained by tomato collector Ben Quisenberry of Big Tomato Gardens in 1980 from Dorris Sudduth Hill whose family grew them for 80 years. Large pink beefsteak fruits to 2 pounds. Incredibly rich, delightfully intense tomato flavor."

"Mild flavor and low acidity make this one of the best varieties for tomato juice. Bright, golden-orange fruits, 2-1/2 to 3" in diameter average 6 to 7 oz. apiece and have meaty, thick walls. Fruits are solid, with few seeds."

"This heirloom tomato was discovered in Wisconsin although its origins are in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is the heart of the Amish Country. The tomatoes are teardrop or heart-shaped with a brilliant red orange color. The Amish Paste tomato has a balance of acid and sweetness. When it is sliced fresh the juicy flesh sparkles and has a solid texture. The Amish Paste is eaten fresh or in sauces."

"Gorgeous 2½" fruits are fire-engine red overlaid with golden yellow stripes. Top quality, extremely uniform strain, very productive. Great sweet flavor. Sure to be a best seller at farmers’ markets."

"The excellent flavor, rich tomatoey sweetness and good texture make this ideal for creating sauces."

Happy and healthy eating to all. Remember, Gravity Hill- good things grow here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Give Me The Good Earth

"Give me the good earth to rest my mind on, Give me the rainfall that fills empty stream, Give me the life in the hills and the meadows, Give me the seasons all the changes they bring."

Good things continue to grow at Gravity Hill and David is as busy as ever. In addition to the market in Lawrenceville, NJ on Sunday mornings, David is now doing a second market Thursdays from 3-7PM in New Hope, Pa. This is a first year market, and though David wasn't able to participate at the markets inception, he is excited to now be a participant. So, now there are two opportunities to purchase the great produce of Gravity Hill Farm. If you are able to come to either of the markets, make it a point to say hello. David loves to extol the virtues of his produce.

In general, lettuce and salad mix do not do well as a hot weather crop. Despite this, David has managed to have some lettuce and salad mix throughout the summer. As the weather begins to cool he will again have an increasing amount of both. Spinach and arugula will be making a reappearance after an absence of the past few weeks. The cucumber and summer squash plants have produced in great abundance. They are, however, reaching the end of their season. One of the upsides of a local, sustainable farmers' market is that you get produce that is fresh and delicious. One of the downsides is that the availability of stuff is limited to the lifespan of the specific variety of plant. However, that's why coming to a farmers' market is such an adventure, you never know what you are going to find.

At market on Sunday, August 19 the available items included: onions, carrots, fingerling potatoes, Swiss chard, beets (golden and bulls blood), Asian eggplant, Hungarian hot peppers, cilantro, basil, beans, summer squash (patty pans, zephyrs, zucchini, yellow zucchini, and magda), some lettuce and salad mix, and purple peppers (like a green pepper only purple in color). {Pictures of most of these will follow.} And TOMATOES. Not just any old tomato, but many varieties of what are known as heirloom tomatoes as well as red cherry tomatoes and a specialty cherry tomato named sun gold.

At Gravity Hill David is growing some 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. [In the next blog I will list some of the varieties. Their names are as unique as their appearance and taste. For those not familiar the following info about heirlooms is offered. The term is used for a variety of vegetables and is not limited to tomatoes. The description comes from Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening- Heirloom plants are those whose seeds come from plants grown in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Heirloom plants are not suited to large-scale production because they cannot be harvested mechanically or transported long distances to market. Many heirloom crops taste better or are more tender than hybrid replacements. (FYI- hybrids are what are most commonly sold in supermarkets. They are developed to be mass marketed. You are encouraged to do a taste comparison between what you get at a store and what you can get at a local farmers' market. There is very little comparison. Store bought tomatoes do not compare to heirloom tomatoes.) Apart from taste, heirloom plants represent a vast and diverse pool of genetic characteristics, one that will be lost forever if these plants are allowed to become extinct.

When you eat an heirloom you are connected to the past and the present. When you eat local you are connected to your community and helping to preserve the culture and heritage that is part of the history of your community. Support your local farmer. Get to know your local farmer. Get to know and better appreciate where your food is coming from.

One last thing before pictures. There was an article in todays' New York Times about farmers' markets. If interested in reading the article go to:

Happy and healthy eating to all.

Yes, these are all tomatoes; heirloom tomatoes- even the yellow and orange ones. A future post will describe some of the multitude of heirloom tomatoes that David has. He is growing upwards of 20 varieties. Oh, what you can't tell from the picture is that the yellow ones have a peach like fuzz.

Sun gold cherry tomatoes (on the left) are one of the great treats of summer. To give you an idea- last year a young child, about 5, was eating a donut and came to the table with his mom. He sampled a sun gold and then stood there eating the tomatoes, the donut in his hand all but forgotten. Last week at the New Hope market someone who had bought three pints of the sun golds the previous week bought seven pints! Wow! The bright red cherry tomatoes were the equal of the sun golds. This isn't heaven, it's Gravity Hill Farm.

Asian eggplants. They tend to be sweeter than regular eggplant. If you buy them you should use them as soon as possible.

A variety of bell pepper named 'islander'. Taste is very similar to that of the regular green pepper. However, sometimes one of the fun things about eating is the appearance of your food. Add a little color to your salad, saute, or casserole.

These are a variety of beet known as 'bulls blood'. According to information at Seedsavers Exchange the juice from the beets is used to make the only red food coloring allowed by Swedish law. It is a sweet tasting beet.

Does not bleed like the traditional Red Ace beets that are what people most often think of when they think beets. Tends to be sweet and tender. Another change of pace when it comes to appearance.

If you like potatoes, you'll love these fingerling potatoes. While it might be hard to tell from the picture, they are smaller in size, and in fact many look like fingers. What makes them special, apart from their size, is their taste and texture. They tend to be more tender and creamy than the typical potato. You can roast, grill, boil, or roast them.

This is a basket of spring salad mix. David has six different types of lettuce in his mix. The greens are cut when they are younger/smaller. This allows them to be more tender and sweeter to the taste.

Remember, get to know your local farmers. Support local agriculture. When you go to a farmers' market, talk to the farmer. Ask questions. Get to know the food you eat.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Road Goes on Forever

"Born a poor young country boy--mother nature's son. All day long I'm working the farm for everyone. Sit beside a mountain stream--see her waters rise. Listen to the pretty sound of music as she flies."

There really is no rest for the small, sustainable farmer, let alone an organic farmer whose challenge is greater due to limiting their use of fertilizer and bug spray that is natural. With market day being on Sunday, most of the harvesting is done on Saturday. A couple of crops are harvested earlier. Cucumber, squash, and beans need to be harvested on a regular basis in order to encourage the plant to continue producing more cukes, squash, and beans. (Please note, David brings the recently harvested of these crops to market.) Just about everything else is picked and cleaned on Saturday. This means David is in the field at sunrise and doesn't finish until it is dark. This past week, even with a little help from his friends, David didn't get finished in the fields until past 9 o'clock and finished cleaning that last batch at 11. Then he got up Sunday morning to pick basil at 6AM, packed up his van and got to market by 8. Cleaning entails putting the freshly picked produce in a cold water bath and then rinsing the soil off of the crops. Thus, when they get to market they are fresh and clean. Unless you have your own garden, you won't get fresher produce.

There is a book entitled Fatal Harvest that is the basis of the Organic and Beyond Campaign. The book takes a look at issues pertaining to making our food safer for ourselves and for the planet. The Organic and Beyond Mission Statement states that it "seeks to maintain strong organic standards and to promote agriculture that is":
  • Local
  • Small-scale and family operated
  • Biologically diverse
  • Humane
  • Socially just
The ultimate goal of this campaign is to replace the industrial agriculture model with a new vision of farming and the natural world.
For more information you can go to the Fatal Harvest website.

At Gravity Hill; good food grows there.

You might not need a weatherman in order to know which way the wind is blowing, but this weather vane shows the symbol of Gravity Hill.

David in action. Here he is harvesting some beans. To maximize production, beans need to be picked on a regular basis. David's position in the above picture only minimally conveys how much bending David does. Whether it is to harvest or weed or plant, a farmer spends a lot of their time bending over. It is not an overstatement to say that farming is a back breaking endeavor.

After the produce is harvested it is put into a cold bath to both clean it and to freshen it up after being cut. Above is some head lettuce enjoying a nice, refreshing dip. Below is an indication of the soil that is on some of the produce.

After being washed, the lettuce (in this case) is put in crates. The lettuce is not packed tightly to avoid, as best as possible, any damage to the produce. Once in the crates, the produce will then be covered with a wet piece of burlap. This is intended to help keep the produce moist and fresh.

After the produce is harvested and washed, it is put into the cooler to keep it fresh and happy. Prior to getting his own cooler, Farmer Matt at Cherry Grove Organic Farm (where David apprenticed the past three years) shared some space in his cooler. Matt's graciousness and generosity is much appreciated.

What follows are some more pictures of the vegetables at market waiting to be taken home by some discerning gastronome - not a glutton, but someone who appreciates food that is good and good for you; someone who takes pleasure in the enjoying of a good meal; someone who values biological diversity and the hard work of the small farmer. (Ideas and quote from Slow Food Nation, Carlo Petrini)

Picture above: Left bottom - cipollini onions (sweet); top left - fennel; top right - basil; bottom right - parsley.

Picture below: top (left to right) - scallions (yes, the deep purple ones), swiss chard, broccoli rabb (peppery in taste), beets (red ace and chioggia); bottom (left to right) - summer squashes (zucchini, magda, zephyr), and kale (eat more kale).

Top row - tropea onions (long believed by men in Italy to enhance lovemaking, research now shows that the chemical compound of the onion is similar to that of Viagra. Never mind, eat more kale, eat more tropea onions) and carrots.
Bottom row - summer squash, cippolini onions, kohlrabi (in the cabbage family), and cabbage.

Holy! Moly! What a great day for market! What a great day to be a farmer! All the hard work and it pays off at market. Gravity Hill - Great Food Grows There. Stop by the Lawrenceville Farmers' Market and get to know your farmer and learn more about the food you eat.

In addition to the Lawrenceville Farmers' Market, Sunday mornings from 9-1, Farmer David is now going to be setting up his stand at the New Hope, Pa. farmers' market on Thursday afternoons, from 3-7. Hope to see you at market.

Happy and healthy eating to all.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


"Oh, Mother Earth, with your fields of green, Once more laid down by the hungry hand. How long can you give and not receive, and feed this world ruled by greed. And feed this world ruled by greed." "Respect Mother Earth and her giving ways. Or trade away our children's days."

The following is from Slow Food Nation, by Carlo Petrini- 10 Things Every American Can Do To Strengthen Our Food Communities:
1. Join a local Slow Food convivium.
2. Trace your food sources.
3. Shop at a local farmers' market
4. Join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture).
5. Invite a friend over to share a meal.
6. Visit a farm in your area.
7. Create a new food memory for a child! Let them plant seeds or harvest greens for a meal.
8. Start a kitchen garden.
9. Learn your local food history!
10. Find a food that is celebrated as being originally from or best grown/produced in your part of the country.

You've seen the seeding. You've seen the planting and the growing. Now it's time to harvest and go to market. It may not be the farmer in the dell, but it is the farmer at Gravity Hill. By the way, if you click on the name, Gravity Hill, at the top of the blog, you will be taken to a web site that will give you the background story about where the name Gravity Hill comes from. And remember, food grows here.

Welcome to the Gravity Hill Farm food stand at the Lawrenceville, NJ Farmers' Market.

Getting set up involves putting up two 'tents' to provide some shelter from the storm and protection from the sun, setting up three tables with tablecloths, putting out the baskets and the produce, and putting up a couple of tarps to provide some extra protection from the sun. This is important not just for David's comfort, but for the comfort of the veggies. They too can suffer from too much direct sun.

Farmer David extolling the virtues of fresh grown, organically grown, local produce. Also, wearing his Bent Spoon t-shirt. If you want the best ice cream in the Princeton area, go to the Bent Spoon. Check out the link to their web site in the Friends section of the blog.

In the foreground is basil. To insure its freshness, David harvests it the day of market. Most of the other produce is harvested on Saturday. In the left background is some head lettuce. In center background is Swiss Chard.

On the left is a big fan favorite, salad mix. On the right is arugula. The salad mix is made up of a blend of six types of baby lettuce, giving the mix a tasty blend of flavors. The arugula has a peppery taste to it. According to information found online, arugula goes back to Roman times and was, at that time, viewed as an aphrodisiac. Seconds anyone?

Broccoli on the left, zucchini on the right, and two varieties of scallions on top. The white are your traditional type. The ones on the right are called Deep Purple. And while smoke is on the water, these scallions taste the same; they simply provide a colorful addition to your favorite salad. Not only should your food be good for you, it can be aesthetically pleasing as well.

Front left is kale, one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. As David is quite fond of saying, "eat more kale." Top right are two varieties of beets. On the left are your traditional red ace beets. On the right is a variety called chioggia. They are an Italian heirloom variety. When you cut one in half you will see a series of candy stripe rings amidst a white background. It has a slightly milder flavor than the traditional beet.

That's it for now. Thanks to all who have supported Gravity Hill Farm and its mission of bringing to market healthy, grown to organic standards, local produce in the first weeks of market. Your support is greatly appreciated. To your health.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

See How They Grow

"Good day sunshine, Good day sunshine, Good day sunshine. I need to laugh, and when the sun is out, I've got something I can laugh about. I feel good, in a special way. I'm in love and it's a sunny day."

It's always a great day at Gravity Hill Farm because great stuff is growing there. While there is an ongoing battle between David and a variety of bugs and beetles (we won't print what David calls the little beasties) David is producing lots of high quality veggies. In this spirit what follows are some thoughts from the book, Slow Food Nation, by Carlo Petrini, founder of the international Slow Food Movement (Slow Food International or Slow Food USA)

"I like to know the history of a food and of the place that it comes from; I like to imagine the hands of the people who grew it, transported it, processed it, and cooked it before it was served to me."

"I like traditional farmers, the relationship they have with the earth and the way they appreciate what is good."

"Few people know about the food they eat and derive enjoyment from that knowledge, a source of pleasure which unites all the people who share it."

Come to the Lawrenceville Farmers Market on Sunday mornings from 9AM-1PM and meet David and learn about the food he grows.

The previous blog displayed pictures showing the process of going from a seed to a ready-to-plant baby vegetable. The following pictures will show planting, and the plants in the field. While it may not be strawberry fields forever, it is vegetable fields at Gravity Hill.

Though some seeds are directly seeded into the ground, most plants are planted the old fashioned way, by hand. The spacing and density of the plantings will be determined by the specific variety being planted. Here you can see that David has laid out some of the plants where he is going to put them. He'll make a hole with his hand, place the plant where it belongs, and then covers up the roots. As you can see in the row behind David, after he is done planting he will place irrigation drip tape along the plant bed.

Multi-tasking. Probably talking with Gab.

The black ground cover, black plastic mulch, was placed over the plant bed by a specialized type of tractor. The purpose of this mulch is to heat the soil for heat-loving plants and to suppress weeds, as does the landscape fabric you might use at home. (Good news - a company in Lancaster, Pa has recently started accepting used mulch for recycling.)

This white covering is referred to as row cover and is suspended over wire hoops that straddle the bed creating a mini-tunnel. This acts as a barrier to protect against beastie bugs and to create a mini greenhouse affect. As you can see on the left side of the picture, the irrigation drip tape runs beneath the covering for the entire length of the plant bed.

Tomato plants as far as the eye can see. All in all, David will have 20 varieties. The stakes are put into the ground with a metal tool that is open on the bottom with the top being closed. There are handles on the side and the stakes are pounded into the ground. As the plants grow David goes down each row adding twine to provide support and stability for the plants. Very time consuming and not fun for your fingers. This will go on as long as the plants are bearing fruit. Some tomatoes have started to ripen and are available at market. Large masses of tomatoes will be shortly forthcoming.

LOOK, a fresh New Jersey tomato, waiting to ripen for your enjoyment!

Swiss Chard. Cut it up, put the stems in first, with some garlic and olive oil, pine nuts if you like, then add the chopped up leaves and sauté.

Cabbage patch kids.

Lettuce eat fresh, locally grown produce.

Hidden among all the green is squash. It really is amazing at how huge squash plants are. Slice them lengthwise, place on a baking sheet, pour on some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, let sit for a few minutes, then cook on your grill on low. Yummy!

Broccoli. Again, if you are only familiar with what you buy at the store, seeing the plant in the field is an amazing sight. Find a farm to visit and get to know your food.

Potato. Starter potatoes come in bags filled with potatoes. You take each potato, cut it into pieces so that each piece has three 'eyes'. If you have ever bought a potato, you have seen the little bumps on them; those are their eyes.

As the potato is growing below the ground, these wonderful greens are growing above ground. Again, if you are only familiar with what you buy at market or at the store, you are missing the true wonderment of how food grows and gets to your table. If you look closely at the picture on the right you will see a bee enjoying the nectar of the flowers that are part of the potato plant.

As Carlo Petrini said, get to know your farmer. Get to know your produce. Get to know where your food comes from. You can better enjoy what you better appreciate.

Good eating and good health.