Cooking is one of my my primary passions, and if you follow my blog you know that I think we should all be trying to eat seasonal, local, and organic as much as possible. Two of my other great loves are gardening and reading, so I am taking a break from the recipe routine to introduce you to a great summer read that combines all of my favorite things. The book is A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die, by Edith Maxwell, and I received a review copy to read and enjoyed it so much I wanted to give you a chance to win a copy (giveaway details are at the end of the post).
Edith is a former organic farmer and an early C.S.A. provider, so I asked her a few questions about the connections between her writing and her interests in local, organic foods. She was drawn to farming because, “I’ve always loved the idea of growing my own food, and had a small garden from college on. I subscribed to Organic Gardening Magazine and learned about compost and the no-till method. When the chance came to grow food on a slightly large scale when my children were young, I embraced it. It’s different from the way my protagonist, Cam Flaherty, got into farming, but it’s a lot of fun remembering the details of my life back then.”
Since I am such a fan of C.S.A.s (Community Supported Agriculture), I was also interested in Edith’s early experiences with that process: “I had an early CSA twenty years ago. It’s a win-win for farmer and customer alike. The farmer gets the money up front for seeds and seedlings and other spring expenses, and then has a guaranteed customer base. The farmer also no longer has to take twenty gorgeous heads of lettuce to the farmers’ market and bring home five unsold and wilted. The customer has a selection of fresh produce each week and also has a vested interest in the farm. In one version of the CSA model, the customer shares in the bounty as well as the failures of the farm. If the early tomatoes are flooded out, there are no early tomatoes in the share. But if the strawberry crop is extra fruitful, customers take home a few extra quarts of berries. Customers tend to think of it as, “my farm.” Cam Flaherty has a CSA and the book opens on the first pick up day. She worries, as I often did in early June in Massachusetts, if she has enough produce for all the shareholders!”
In the book, protagonist Cam starts her first C.S.A. pick-up by providing shareholders with a salad made with edible flowers, and after reading that section I made my own, floral salad. Many varieties of flowers are edible, just make sure you use flowers that you have grown yourself or are from a known source–do not use florist-purchased varieties, as they are probably treated with things you don’t want to eat. For this salad I used rose petals, violas, pansies, and tiny thyme flowers. Nasturtiums are wonderful on salads, but mine are not blooming just yet.
To add flowers to a salad, pick them fresh and gently rinse them off, then add to your favorite greens. Herb flowers especially add flavor, so if your basil starts blooming, snip off the flowers and toss them in your salads. Colorado State has a good list of both edible flowers and those to avoid, if you want more information.
If you would like to enter to win a copy of Edith’s new book, A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die, just follow the directions below to enter.
Giveaway has ended! The winner was Linda–congratulations!
-Giveaway ends July 10th, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. For one required entry, leave a comment below this post. I would especially love to hear comments about your experiences with C.S.A.s and Farmers’ Markets!
-For a second entry, “Like” Edith Maxwell’s Facebook page, and then be sure to leave a separate comment below to have it count as an entry.
-For a third entry, “Like” Seasonal and Savory’s Facebook page, and then be sure to leave a separate comment below to have it count as an entry. If you already “like” the page, post that as your third entry!
-U.S. Mailing addresses, only, please. I will select a winner using random.org, and contact that person via the email provided. If I do not receive a response within 48 hours, I will select an alternative winner using the same method.