Blackberry time is here. The canes in the garden have started to produce, and should all go well, continue to produce for another 4 weeks. Which is good, because blackberries (and eggplants) are one of the consolations of a typical Virginia summer, especially the kinds …
The secret is in the dressing.
Well, not really. The secret is a just-picked mix of lettuce and other greens such oak leaf-lettuce, Reine des Glaces, baby arugula, baby spinach, frisee, a few pea shoots, an asparagus or two (thinly sliced), sorrel, escarole, a smattering a baby mustard, flowering tips of kale and cabbage, a wee bit of anise hyssop & mint, and the very very last of the mache. To tell the truth, the baby arugula, baby spinach and baby mustard, are – truly! – thinnings: I sow the seeds too close, on purpose, knowing that I will harvest every other plant (several times) until the correct spacing is left for final crop to mature nicely. Meanwhile, the thinnings are big enough to make a real salad, and make a better use of preciopus real estate: no need to wait for that bed space to fill. Sow thickly & harvest with scissors.
But a good dressing matters: at the bottom of the salad bowl, whisk one part balsamic vinegar of Modena & 3 parts extra virgin olive oil. Add the salad. Toss. Scatter a handful of Johnny-Jump-up flowers (Viola tricolor) on top so they can make faces at you. Needless to say the flowers have not received a drop of pesticide or herbicide…. only use edible organic flowers (and greens too of course) – in other words don’t expect to pick up a flat of pansies at the garden center and pluck the flowers for your salad. They are likely to have ben sprayed with stuff you do not want next to you plate – let alone swallow. Or grow some: they are some accommodating, so cheery and so daintily robust!
Take your prettiest chipped plate. Add a dollop of pork rillettes (French-style potted meat from pastured pork), a chunk of crusty homemade baguette and a large serving of salad. Sit down. Tuck in. That’s lunch!
Note for locavore log: homemade bread, rillettes made with Rappahannock pork + garden herbs, all the greens and flowers from the garden.
I think I love my kitchen garden more in the fall then in the spring: cooler temperatures are accompanied by a lot less bugs and the beds are brimming with salad greens (sorrel, lettuce, frisée, endive, mache, arugula), cooking greens (tatsoi, pakchoi and other mustard, …