Saturday, August 29, 2009

Market Day, or the barter system is alive and well

Saturday morning I get up at 4:45, make some coffee, finish up baking brownie mix and pancake mix samples, milk the cow, finish loading up market stuff, get Maggie to milk goats, get everybody out the door to our respective markets by 7:30. Philip takes part of the gang to Daleville to Ikenberry's Orchard to set up. I go to Grandin Village Community Market in Roanoke, sending telepathic messages to the lights to please turn green, I really need the extra 4 minutes!

Market is a hopping time. We offer samples of our freshly milled whole grain breads and pizza crusts, brownie mix and pancakes. We educate people on the benefits of grinding your own grain, offer recipe ideas, chat and distribute milk to our herd shareholders. At packing up time we vendors cruise around and see what everyone has to barter. A couple of weeks ago the trout/berry guys came and offered blackberries for bread. Of course I said yes. Occasionally we barter bread or milk for veggies. Jon Smallwood of Star City Coffee always has delicious free-trade organic coffee beans for us and we give him milk, bread and meats. Today the Big Pine Trout Farm folks traded us 2 beautiful, fresh trout for milk and bread. Cole gave us tomatoes and peppers for a little loaf of spelt bread.

So much fun.

After a visit with a friend (that included a stop at Wine Gourmet for their Saturday afternoon wine and cheese tasting), I headed home. The garden was calling.

Green beans needed picking again. The tomatillos are going crazy. More spaghetti squash. Peppers are ripe. Tomatoes are getting ripe. The star performer in the garden right now is the yellow squash.

They are out of control.

We didn't even plant yellow squash.

These are volunteers from last year. Three plants came up in the side of the garden we didn't cultivate. They are growing along the fence, spreading over vast territory. I have to climb over weeds and a ditch to reach the plants. I had to get the wheelbarrow to haul all the pickings back to the house.

What do you do with almost a bushel of yellow squash?

Well, we have potluck tomorrow after church. Guess what I am preparing? I think I will saute the squash in butter along with some onions and garlic. Add some chopped up chiles from the garden. Place it in a casserole. Mix up some of Coco's cream and eggs and garlic. Beat in some chevre or fromage blanc. Pour over the squash and bake til bubbly and golden. Maybe put some butter on top.

At least that is my plan.

I am thinking that there must be some spiritual lesson connected to this harvest of yellow squash, something about life never turns out exactly the way you think it will and sometimes the most fruitful things are things that came by grace, not by our effort. Or maybe if you aren't careful, things you throw out, like old overgrown squash, may someday take root, spread wildly and fill the world with yellow squash, a vegetable that many people, especially kids, don't even like.

Yellow squash. Can't barter it because every other farmer, neighbor, friend and enemy has their own yellow squash plant producing wildly. I could use it as a new form of child discipline. Bad attitudes, sassy mouths will be fed a ration of yellow squash. Breakfast, lunch and supper. If the offense is terribly horrible it could be boiled squash, no salt.

The other day we made fritters with grated yellow squash, ethiopian lentil powder (called shurro) and beaten eggs. That was yummy.

I like yellow squash. Really.

But tonight the girls and I had trout. Fresh trout from Big Pine Trout Farm in New Castle, just down the road from us. Trout fried up in a pan with butter. New potatoes from the garden, boiled in salt water, coated with butter. Green beans from the garden, sauteed in butter.

Not a piece of squash anywhere in sight. We gave thanks for our meal, savoring the cool evening breeze out on the deck. We prayed for our farmer friends, especially the trout farmer family, asking God to give them prosperous bounty. We are so thankful to be able to enjoy the amazing food produced by these other new friends. Thankful for all the hard work they put into their craft.

I think that the barter system makes us much more appreciative of our community and our food.

Surely there is someone out there who wants some yellow squash. I have some GREAT recipes! Wanna barter?


Jeff said...

I hear similar stories about zucchini in Floyd! Boxes of zucchini left on porches in the middle of the night and so on. So funny!! When I was in Floyd in June, a friend invited me to dinner, where a faux apple pie was served, made from (you guessed it) zucchini. Delicious! If I hadn't been told, I wouldn't have known.

Kimberley said...

Loved seeing you reading your blog, too. We had our trout tonight also. Was wonderful...I made the Almondine that they handed out with the fish. Will see you tomorrow.
Just realized I've not even thought of what to bring!! Will see what I can come up with...yellow squash, maybe? :) said...

Jeff, I love the idea of zucchini apple pie! Will have to try it!

Kimberly, great to see you too! Please don't bring yellow squash! Unless it is in the form of an apple pie!

Anonymous said...

Ginger, your sister Terri has made curly fries out of the yellow squash and was it ever good. Now where you get the contraption to make curly fries, you have to ask her. Love Mom

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Oh man, now I am hungry! I was just going to throw some processed frozen junk in the oven tonight because we've been busy and I'm tired but how can I after reading what you cook? I must find something healthy and tasty... said...

Hi Mom! Yes, I need to get the contraption Terri uses for those yellow squash curly fries!

Hi Debi! When all else fails, make an omelet. Healthy, fast, satisfying! Even if you don't have many ingredients, there usually is something out there that will work in an omelet. Of course, lest you get the wrong idea, there are times when I am too worn out to make an omelet and we occasionally eat processed junk food. After baking freshly milled whole wheat everything on Friday and the oven still in use for market, we happily munched on Domino's extra think crust pepperoni for our supper. I must have eaten 5 pieces (they were so thin and small and crispy). To everything there is a season!

Beth said...

We have some very happy squash plants, too, that are trying to creep across our driveway. We eat squash in some form every single night and still have squash left over that Tom takes to work and leaves on a table there and runs. Hee, hee. Actually, there are people there who don't own their own squash plants at home and are happy to have our squash, so it all works out nicely. We like squash with garlic, salt,and black pepper dipped in olive oil and roasted in aluminum foil on our old Weber grill. We put a bit of wood in the charcoal fire and it gives the squash a delightful smokey flavor.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I can't make omelets! It's the only thing Kurt cooks. I just told him what you said and he said, "It's easy! I'll teach you!" Okay, so that's it. I'm going to make omelets soon. As soon as I get some cheese. said...

Hi Beth! Grilled squash is awesome! Can you believe we have not fired up the grill once this summer???

Debi, get some cheese! Learn to make an omelet! Yeay for your husband's willingness to teach you. You don't have to have cheese, but of course it makes it better in my opinion. I have a couple of kids who prefer their omelets plain jane.