Thursday, August 29, 2013

Heirloom Food and Horticulture Beans from the Produce Auction

Due to some technical difficulties with the camera (i.e. the camera died and will not turn on!), it has been some days before I was able to get the pictures that go with this entry. I had it all ready on Thursday, so I'm publishing it with that date!

About twenty minutes drive from our house, there is an Amish-run produce auction. There are sales every morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the season. Mom and I have been going for three years now, and it is always interesting to see what you can find. Friday auctions are usually filled with "pretty" food and only normal varieties. Vegetables that you can find in Kroger or Publix or whatever chain of grocery stores you visit. This is due to the "Farmer's Market" crowd (as we call it) --- in other words, all the people who are planning on setting up a cart or stall to sell produce over the weekend.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, though, there can usually be found some interesting and varied types of local produce. Yesterday Mom and I had a great time. We were able to get some heirloom tomatoes, which is something that we've always wanted to try. They don't look like the typical "red" tomato. They have a variety of colors on them --- anything from red, green, yellow and purple. They also grow in a shape that is not perfectly round. We cut one for our salad last night, and boy! They taste fabulous. You can certainly tell that taste is being hybridized right out of fruit and vegetables.

A nice thing that is usually available are some peck boxes of "mixed vegetables". This is a nice option for when you don't care to have a whole peck of some kind of vegetable at once. Mom and I bought two of those, which means that we got a nice mix of hot peppers, garlic, sweet peppers, potatoes, red cabbage, red and yellow onions, apples --- and horticulture beans! The apples we got were something called "Mollie's Delicious" which is a cross of something with a golden delicious, I believe. They are quite good, but we'd never seen them before. They are really cute, because they have a sort of heart shape to them.

Horticulture beans! They are an old variety of soup bean, grown in America for so long that they were probably here when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth. They are also known as "Cranberry Beans", "French Horticulture Beans" and a couple other similar titles. The first time that we bid on them, we were able to get a half peck. Well, they were so lovely that we went back two days later and were able to get five pecks. Wow! That was a LOT of shelling. My thumbs were sore all the next day --- but, it was so worth it! They are beautiful pink and white in color (some white, some pink and all kinds of patterns in between) when they are raw. They cook into a light/medium brown color and stay nice and firm and taste great!

The other thing that we've been working on is making and freezing stuffed zucchini. It's marvelous! Wow! We're freezing the zucchinis plain and ready for stuffing, but some of them we've put in stuffed for Dad to have for breakfast or lunch on a work day. This is a picture of some of the breakfast ones being made. Mom put scrambled eggs (with sauteed onions, pepper and garlic) and vegetarian sausage in them and topped that with grated cheddar cheese. Dad tried one this week and really liked it. We've made them with just about every combination of stuffing that we can think of. Beans and bacon (vegetarian bacon, of course!), pepperoni pizza (again, vegetarian), tomatoes with onions and peppers . . . and they are always topped with some kind of cheese. Definitely something that I'd recommend. Well, got to get going, so more later.

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