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Drum roll….Success!

Drum roll….Success!

Okay, parents – put the Dora song in your head, “We did it, we did it, we did it, yay!” Per my previous post and many others before it, I have dreamed of a garden that could actually feed me (and others) for many years. It’s not much yet, as I only recently planted my new raised beds and still have seedlings to put into pots, but I present my first meal of the season, using vegetables from my garden! Phew! Sorry for the run-on, but I’m very excited!


Angel hair pasta with radish micro greens, peas and Parmesan.  And the best food on earth….Garlic Bread! Sounds fancy, huh?

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This is what we started out with. We needed to thin the radishes. So I pulled out the ones that were too close together…and found a way to eat them!

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There was so much dirt I didn’t even know if I could get it all off!

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But I did! Radish greens, like the tops of other roots that Americans don’t normally eat, are full of vitamins. And they even tasted good!

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You can’t see them so much in this picture, but trust me, they’re there and we ate them!

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“We did it, we did it, we did it, yay!”

I hope this is only the beginning of our suburban garden food.


Pick your own salad in my backyard! I hope…

Pick your own salad in my backyard! I hope…

Two years ago I finally planted my suburban garden – or three pots of tomatoes and a few herbs anyway. That year’s “bumper crop” consisted of a few tomatoes that never tasted good and what felt like maybe 25 cherry tomatoes. Okay, some basil and mint too. Readers of my column know I’d been trying to get myself into gardening forever. Once I had my own backyard (and not a dark balcony), I really had no excuse. Except a total lack of knowledge and confidence…

Last year I just never got around to it. Probably because my mom wasn’t here at planting time. This year…not only was she here, she bought us raised beds, set them up and put the dirt in. Oh and bought seeds and planted lettuce, baby watermelon, baby pumpkin, french radishes (whatever that means…), pea pods, and something else. So much I’ve already lost track…

Then I went to a neighbor’s plant sale and bought more plants! A kid in the neighborhood grew a bunch of items from seed and then sold them. 10% going to tzedekah of course. So cute! Anyway, for $12 I bought 2 cucumber, 2 bell pepper, 1 basil, 1 oregano, 2 cherry tomatoes, and that’s all I can remember. The only thing I’m missing is mint. And maybe some Kale? I think I”m going to need some more pots…

Now I’m trying to remember to water everything every day, take the pots in every night since it isn’t so warm out at night yet. I’ll have to buy more soil to plant the seedlings (is that what they are?) in the pots. And now I find out I’m already supposed to “thin the radishes.” Oy. Good thing my neighbor’s dad is a proper English gardener and he’s in for two months. My mom planted, stapled the seed packets to graph paper and wrote all the instructions. But then she left!

I’m so relieved to have a couple neighborhood sources of support. My problem is that I always forget to even look at the plants. Fortunately, the garden really belongs to Avital. She helped pick the plants and is very invested. So we know to check things every day after school and that helps keep me in line. She’s really developing a sense of responsibility from this experience. In my dreams she’ll also develop the same love of fruits and vegetables that I got eating fresh food from my grandma’s big garden.

Also, in my dreams, I’ll grow enough some day to can and preserve the foods to enjoy all year round. Just like my grandma and my mother’s neighbor I interviewed for my Annual Dispatch from the Country in 2011.




 (Written for a specific publication that didn’t have room for it at the last minute. So, dear readers…here you go!)

You wouldn’t know it from the increasing number of Jewish farmers, CSA’s and humanely-raised kosher meat sources, but matzah is actually the only mitzvah that we eat today. Naga Bakehouse in Middletown, VT hand-shapes and bakes matzah made from local organic grains.

Vermatzah blends Doug Freilich and Julie Sperling’s interests in farming, sustainable agriculture and baking, while celebrating their Jewish heritage. They have baked their artisan matzah in small batches for five years. Doug and Julie are proud of their family-run wood-fired bakery, “Our kids are an integral part of everything we do: planting, harvesting, gathering wood, baking and selling…”

“[Although not under Rabbinic Supervision] Vermatzah is ‘eco-kosher,’ a term coined by Rabbi Arthur Waskow…capturing the holistic elements of sustainable agriculture and responsible stewardship of our planet.” A portion of proceeds are donated to the Vermont Food Bank. Order online or find NY, VT and MA retail locations at