Marsh Edge Farm Notes

Marsh Edge Farm Notes:
Welcome to my farm blog. I don't have a farm, but I do everything possible to have fresh produce on my table all summer long, as well as can and preserve much of what I grow. I live on the edge of Tolland Marsh and three years ago began calling my home garden Marsh Edge Farm. I created a label to place on all my canned goods, and everything I preserve, from jams to saurkraut end up with one of my simple labels.

I have two gardens, one is a spring garden and the other is my summer garden. From each garden I usually can grow enough to keep me in fresh vegetables for the whole summer, as well as enough to can and freeze to last the winter.

I also grow many of the herbs that go into my dishes. One of my favorite things to do with all these vegetables is create recipes that my family will eat. That is what this blog is mainly about, the recipes I develop or create in my kitchen as I experiment. Hope you enjoy reading my farm blog, and I hope you will try some of my recipes.

Updates for 2014

After a few years of very bad crops, I have left behind the vegetable gardens for awhile. However, I have found that fresh produce is available throughout the summer at the many farmers markets in the area. Here is a list of some of the markets and farms I gather my fresh fruits and vegetables from.

Rockville Farmers Market: Thursdays from 10 to 1 at the courthouse parking lot.

Tolland Farmers Market: Saturdays from 9 to 12 on the green.

Coventry Regional Farmers Market: Sundays from 11 to 2 at the Nathan Hale Homestead on South St.

Wright's Orchard on South River Road in Tolland, CT

Larry Lemeks Berries on Goose Lane in Tolland, CT.

Johnny Appleseeds Peach Orchard on Old Schoolhouse Rd. in Ellington, CT.

Buell Orchards in Eastford, CT.

There are many other farmers markets throughout the state of Connecticut on different days as well as numerous roadside stands. Support your local farmers no matter how small and you will gain in health and well being by eating the freshest of the fresh.

A link to the Connecticut Farmers Markets for 2014

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Diet - Have to go macrobiotic. Recipes begin today

Hi to all my readers.  So sorry it has been so long since my last post, but I have not had lots of time to keep the blog.  The produce from my gardens has been canned or frozen, and now I am diving into summer flavored tomatoes that I froze, and wonderful melons, tropical fruits, and apple slices.  I am poking away at my homemade salsa's, but the jams will have to sit, as white sugar is a no no. 

So what exactly is a macrobiotic diet?  Basically it is a diet that relies heavily on whole, unprocessed grains, lots of vegetables and fruits, and very little meat and dairy.  What has generated this new diet?  My skin.  I am now joining the ranks of millions of others who have been "blessed" with eczema.  The condition leaves your skin itchy, red, patchy, sometimes oozing, and can lead to arthritis, infections and leg ulcers.  I am lucky that my single patch is on my ankle, but it is spreading up my leg, and I am concerned that it may start showing up all over my body. 

The thought process is that eczema occurs due to an imbalance in your biology.  In other words, it is not a surface or skin condition, but is a symptom of internal issues.  So the way to treat eczema is to start on the inside with diet.  I have tried everything else, from prescriptions to creams and so far nothing has worked.  We will go to the inside now and see if I can alleviate the itch and pain on my ankle, and prevent it from spreading further.

Okay, so what do I have to go without?  Firstly, no more refined sugar.  That means white, brown, molasses, corn syrup, anything that has to be processed to reach its shoppable state.  What I can use is B grade pure maple syrup, honey, stevia, and things like agave nectar.  I can also sweeten with pineapple juice, as long as it is not processed.  So I will have to start buying pineapples, then use my juicer to extract the juice. 

Next, I have to go without white flour, or any flour that is processed in any way.  All products made with flour, such as pasta products and breads are also off the diet.  So this is a tough one.  It means that I will have to make my own whole grain breads and go without pasta of any kind.  I can eat things like oatmeal, 100% whole grain products, and brown rice, but not white rice.  So are you squirming yet?  Imagine not being able to use sugar or flour any longer.  Do a quick calculation in your head, right now, and check off how much you eat with sugar and flour in it every day, and you will see the task facing me is nearly impossible.

Okay, now the really hard part.  I have to give up coffee and chocolate, and anything with caffeine.  If you haven't screamed yet and run from the room as you think of that, I give you permission to go do that now.

Are you back?  Technically, I also should not eat my home canned fruits or vegetables, and I also should not eat my frozen vegetables, but I am hoping that since I did it myself, the pitfalls which come with commercially canned or frozen vegetables won't be as bad.   I am not giving up my freezer of frozen produce which I grew organically, or purchased from farmers markets.  There is time for that.  I have been dealing with the eczema for over a year now, and if using my home canned or frozen stuff continues the condition, I will start fresh with the right way to do this diet once my freezer is empty.

Right now I am treating the eczema with a combination of baby oil and vaseline, and Aveeno Eczema Cream.   Most have said that baby oil and vaseline are very bad for the condition, but it alleviates some of the itching and burning I get from just walking.  The patch is right where my shoes hit my ankle, and even walking without shoes and socks the motion is causing irritation and inflammation.  It is a difficult area to treat, because the ankle is constantly being used to walk.  The skin never gets a rest. 

I began reducing my intakes of foods for supper last night.  What I ate was a brown rice dish, some salad and half a hamburger with salsa on it.  I drank water.  For breakfast this morning I had an oatmeal creation, which was incredibly tasty.  Here are the rice and oatmeal recipes.


Savory Brown Rice
2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
1 cup Fresh organic leeks, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup to 1 cup dried fruit mixture (recipe follows)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 tsps celiac salt

Bring water to boil.  Add brown rice and cover.  Simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes, or until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat.

Add remaining ingredients, mix and serve.

Dried Fruit Mixture

Combine dried cranberries, sliced almonds, sliced pistachio nuts, raisins, and currents.  Spritz the mixture with a little agave nectar for a sweet taste, or a little fresh lemon juice if you want it less sweet.   You can do equal amounts of each, or do more nuts than fruit, but it is for your tastes. 


Breakfast Oatmeal
Ingredients for single serving:

1 cup water
1/2 cup whole oats
1/3 cup sliced apples
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsps. maple syurp

Bring water to rolling boil.  Add oats.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, then cover and let stand for about 3 minutes.  Ready to eat.  This oatmeal is more like a soft granola.  It does the heart and body good, so try it even on the kids and I bet they will eat it too.


Well that's it for today.  I hope that I can keep up my blog now that the colder season is here.  More information will be coming regarding my battle with eczema, as well as tips and tricks that are successful for controlling it.  Stay tuned.  Have a good day.

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