7/05/2010

Red, White & Blue Potatoes

The 4th of July marks my favorite of all holidays. Better'n Christmas (no cards, no guilt about presents, no big commercial hoopla). Better than New Year's because it too cold then. No, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, is just right. Hot weather, good food, fireworks. Oh, did I mention fireworks? What other holiday do you get to make a lot of noise and shoot rockets into the night air? And it's my friend, George's birthday. Plenty of things to celebrate.

As a kid I sold fireworks from the front porch of my parents' grocery store, making enough money to shoot off a few bangers myself, but mostly to squirrel away the profits toward some bit of technology or other.

Yesterday Josh and I dug the potato crop. You may recall the potatoes I planted this year were the Best Blooming Potato collection from Wood Prairie Farm. I planted the potatoes later than I like,  an entire month later, so they had a few potato bugs. But the plants bloomed pretty well and so on the 4th of July, the potato crop was ready to dig. We got some big, pound-sized potatoes but most were medium and small, just what I like. It seemed appropriate to have red, white and blue potatoes on the holiday.
 Here are a few of the potatoes in the gathering basket, along with the first picking of red-seeded Chinese long beans, which I pick anywhere from 8 inches long to 16 inches. There is a handful of purple royalty green beans, too, but like every year, those have a worm in the bean every now and then. And those beans have to be stringed. I'm going to pull those up and plant something else. But the 6 ft long row of Chinese long beans put out about 3 pounds of beans every 3-4 days, way more than we can use, so I'll start leaving them on the neighbor's doorsteps. Out of the 7 bean varieties I'm growing this year, Chinese long beans are far and away the best green bean variety. I cooked the beans, potatoes, shallots and onions together with some bacon and ham, just like my Mom used to do.

Josh took off today on a 2 day book tour across Missouri. He's visiting some of the characters in his book and delivering copies to the ones who made it on the cover. In Missouri Curiosities, Third Edition (Globe Pequot, 2010) he has once again divided the state into regions, then ferreted out all of the quirky roadside attractions, out of the way weird sculptures (and sculptors), unusual diners, strange water towers, bizarre museums, and a whole lot more. Did you know there's a Hair Museum in Independence, MO? How about the World's Largest Pecan, in Brunswick? Or the restaurant in Branson that advertised, "Pie ala mode, $250; Pie ala mode with ice cream, $3." (Really, it's true, I used to eat there).


Josh's book is full of his on the mark humor, and this, his third edition of Missouri Curiosities is the most up to date guide to day trips and car excursions anywhere in the state. Even if you don't live in or visit Missouri, it's a fun read. (Josh has won 3 national awards for his newspaper humor columns and with a name like Josh, you know he's full of good humor). If you are interested in your own copy of the book, contact him and he'll be glad to autograph it for you when you order.

Remember my writing a few weeks ago that Matthew from the Amish Country Store in Branson brought bees to reside on the farm this year some time back? Here's one of them, the happy Italian bee, hard at work gathering nectar from a drum-stick allium flower. And, no, the honey won't taste like onion. The blossoms of this variety are sweet scented and bloom over a several week period. The bee is obviously doing it's job and we certainly are having good pollination on everything this year. Happy 4th, 5th and everyday in July. Garden season is the best of all seasons!

2 comments:

KC Compton said...

Oh, good. I'm so glad to hear about Josh's book and will look forward to reading a copy. (I'll order when I'm at work tomorrow).
Also happy to hear of your happy bees. I was worried because the weather was so cold and rainy at Fieldstone earlier this year when the bees were supposed to be doing their work. We checked the hives several times and didn't see much activity. But the trees are absolutely groaning with apples and itty bitty pears and peaches right now, so I guess the bees must have done a stealth pollinating.
The second year I lived at the farm I grew the red, purple and yukon gold potatoes and had the best-looking potato salads. Someone up this direction is missing a bet by not growing purple potatoes and calling them Wildcat potatoes for all the KSU fans around here. :=]

Jim Long said...

Haha, I love the idea of Wildcat potatoes. Promoted as a tailgate delicacy. Hmm, do you suppose we are both always on the look out for promotions and products? :-)