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Monday, August 24, 2015

Beacon Bits - The Growing Season

It's been another long hiatus from blogging, but I've been busy having fun this summer, both in and away from Beacon. I've attended a high school reunion with friends traveling to the Hudson Valley and a joy-filled wedding; I've been to a knitting retreat sponsored by The Ethelridge Road Knitting Salon in the Berkshires where I was challenged to learn new woven stitches and finishing techniques; and I've been to NYC to two Mostly Mozart Festival concerts, a throwback to a time when I had more frequent trips to Lincoln Center. Now I just have to remember it is not that far away from home and always such an 'extraordinary' experience; I'm looking forward to next year's 50th anniversary of the festival! Where does the time go??
In between writing puppy reports and attending a graduation ceremony for Puppies Behind Bars, I've also been able to go to the three productions offered by Hudson Valley Shakespeare under the tent at Boscobel and attend two concerts at the Towne Crier Cafe
-- to see a touchstone performance by Peter Yarrow and a bittersweet farewell to the dynamic female trio, Red Molly, who will be taking an indefinite break from performing.

While in Beacon, I've been busy picking up my Obercreek Farm shares every other week, including a new fruit share offered this year. Lately, the growing season has created the need to make lots of ratatouille, and the juicy peaches have offered opportunities for peach crumble and a peach chutney (see recipe below.) It's amazing to have such wonderful local farmers who grow our food when we may not have the time or space to do it ourselves!
My Obercreek Ratatouille=olive oil, garlic, onion, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes,cooking sherry, salt/pepper/basil/oregano
I always make time to stop at Zora Dora, whose season is short, but Steve's 'crops' are always delicious and bountiful. Two favorites in the last week have been 'blueberry pie' and 'watermelon-lemon-basil'. I think I've decided that the Zora Dora Meter starts at 10 on the usual 1 to 10 scale (with 10 being the best), so in my estimation, the milk-based blueberry pie registers '14' and the sorbet-style, watermelon-lemon-basil registers a '19'. Remembering that Steve usually closes up around Halloween is incentive to make more frequent stops at this gourmet hot spot for visitors and townies alike.
Another venture this summer has been helping with establishing Second Saturday events called 'Art in the Sanctuary' held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. The inaugural event in July featured the Tiffany stained glass windows in the church and a retrospective art show featuring T.Hugo Williams, the father of the Vicar, Father John Williams. The August event focused on the posthumous showing of art by local Beaconite, Earl Teachey, and to further honor his life, the African drummer Maxwell Kofi Donkor and his drumming group Sankofa Drum and Dance Ensemble performed west African beats to a large crowd. The September event (9/12/15) will feature a recital by piano and organ student, Sarah Johnson, who studies at Vassar College, followed by a welcoming reception for the community.
So while I've missed Beacon's first Jazz Festival and the annual Corn Festival, I look forward to the Pumpkin Festival (Sunday, 10/18/15) and the Spirit of Beacon Day (Sunday, 9/27.) But I especially am looking forward to seeing more of Mary Fris, proprietor of Flora-Garden & Home, a new venue in town located at 197 Main Street that will be growing all kinds of greenery, pottery, gardening tools, and offering classes about plant care. Mary is not contrary at all, so you can ask her 'how does your garden grow' and get informed responses to questions about ferns, orchids, amaryllis, English and Italian pots and what is in store for this new Beacon gem. Here is to a long and fruitful growing season for Flora, located next to Beacon Bread Company, Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Zora Dora and across the from the fauna of Beacon Barkery---a garden of friendly neighbors to have close by.

Food for Thought: Just when you think you have your routines down pat, surprises can come your way and take you in new directions, which offer unique adventures and satisfying activities. It is good to be reminded to enjoy the 'life that is happening when you are busy making plans'. Summer is a wonderful season to meander and blaze new trails rather than just following old paths. There's still time left before the autumn equinox steers us toward an inner journey of reflection on the harvest that we reap after yet another personal growing season ends and the growing season for Beacon, which is flourishing, continues to move us all forward.
The Holstee Manifesto

Surprise Peach Chutney

10 local peaches, blanched in boiling water
Allow the peaches to cool. Rub off skin, cut in half, remove pit, slice and chop.

1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper,  diced
Saute the above ingredients in a pan that has 1-2 tbs. melted butter.

Place peaches into the pan and saute until peaches totally soften and blend with savories.

Add 1/4 cup organic sugar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and 2 tbs. cognac. 
Add salt and pepper to season.
Continue cooking until liquids begin to thicken.
Cool and spoon into mason jars and place in the refrigerator.
Nadine's Surprise Peach Chutney

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