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Visions of Sugar Plums

December 1, 2006


There are stacks of garden catalogs by my chair, and I feel a bit like a kid with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.  Last summer one of our local organic farmers had ground cherries at his stand, they look a lot like tomatillos, if you haven’t seen them.  Ground cherries have a husk like a Chinese lantern.  They are ‘oh so sweet’ and I noticed in one of the catalogs they called them pineapple tomatillos and that probably is a better description than cherry, but the size and shape is like a yellow cherry.  Then there is green radish from China, trombone zucchini from Italy, sweet potato from somewhere, edamame soybeans from Japan…and off I go to dream land!


But I am not dreaming when I think about soil-sprouts. I am harvesting ‘crops’ from my organic indoor gardens.  And I do mean gardens, plural, because if you look around the house now, there are trays tucked in anywhere I can find a spot.  I have a couple of ‘green spaces’ that are devoted to greening up the sprouts for a few days before harvest.  I like having nice ceramic pots that I rotate in to and out of with trays of new sprouts and trays of finished greens.  It has a nice appearance and always changing variety of green shapes and sizes.  The fact that we get a pound of fresh greens for wonderful salads, is real reward for a little work.  Not to mention a lot of pleasure from seeing things grow!  I read somewhere, about a green space being good for you over the winter months. With long, dark winters here in Vermont, there is a steady stream of articles about how to deal with ‘cabin fever’ all winter long,   And so a sunny window with lots of green things is good for you even before you eat fresh organic greens!


Last night I made a salad with about five Romaine leaves, a tray of purple radish, buckwheat lettuce, and sunflower greens.  So I have the purple and pink of the radish and buckwheat on the green of the lettuce, then I chop the sunflower green in ¼â€ lengths and sprinkle on top.  The sunflower stems have sort of a luminous appearance and look like pieces of mother-of-pearl sprinkled around the salad.  It all makes a wonderful presentation and my hungry boys made quick work of the salad.  Well they vaporized the pizza too! 


Happy Holiday to you,

Peter Burke


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