The Daily Bug

Happy Independence Day!

By: palmettobug53, 12:34 AM GMT on June 23, 2009


Here's wishing everyone a very enjoyable Fourth of July!

Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

June 25, 2009

Boy, what a difference 24 -48 hours makes! If you had told me a few days ago, that Sanford was tom-cattin' and honky-tonkin' around, I would have thought you'd been smoking some of that funny green stuff. He just did not seem the type.

I am highly disappointed in him. And sad for his wife and boys. Sad for him, too, as he appeared to be poised for higher things in politics.

What happens now and where he goes from here, only time will tell.
Many thanks to all of you who commented on the prior thread. And for all the birthday wishes!

Now that the summer harvests are coming in and everyone is checking out their local U-Pic-It farms and farmer's markets, it's time to find out how everybody prepares all of that summer bounty.

Though I can eat those fresh tomatoes out of hand, like an apple or simply sliced, the main way I eat them is in fresh salads. I love to chop them up, along with some fresh cucumber, Vidalia onions and add a little white vinegar for an easy summer salad.

Silver Queen sweet corn needs nothing more than a little bit of butter, salt and pepper. Folks in my family have been known to just boil up a pot full, as soon as they're ready to be harvested and just pig out on corn and nothing but corn for supper that first time!

I remember Mama, my Granny and the women on my Dad's side of the family fixing cobblers in the summer, using whatever fruit was ripe at the time. Blackberries and peaches were the most common.

I'm just going to start this off without any recipes of my own and let ya'll jump in with your own favorites. You can post a recipe, post remembrances of summer meals when you were a child or growing up or even just post your favorite summer dinner/supper menus.

I will add in some recipes later; I just wanted to get this new thread up and running.

Have fun!

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Happy Father's Day!

By: palmettobug53, 2:01 AM GMT on June 08, 2009

After hearing about Shore's dive into a local farmers market and coming home loaded down with divine bounty and Sandi's post about the Open Farm Sunday, I knew what my next entry would be: Farmers Markets.

We have several farmers markets in the Charleston area, one of which is held on campus at MUSC, where I work. That is really convenient for me! There is a big one downtown at Marion Square, which has been going on for a number of years and is endorsed by the City of Charleston. As nice as that one is, parking in that area on Saturday mornings can be hard to find.

There are a good number of others, since the move towards healthier eating and purchasing local produce has been on the upswing for the last few years. At one time, the only produce you could get, was local. Seasonal things would appear in the stores, shipped from areas like Florida, Texas or California. Places with warmer climates and longer growing seasons. At one time, the only time I ever saw an orange was around Thanksgiving and Christmas! Apples, too, for that matter.

The Old City Market in downtown Charleston used to be a venue for local farmers, big and small, to sell their produce, up until the late '70s, when the entire place went tourist tacky. The front half was flea market and the back half was local produce. That website says produce is still sold there, and it is, but in very small quantities and high prices. No one I know goes down there for anything, any more, unless they're escorting visiting friends or family from "off".

Some of the offerings early in the season at local farmers markets are, to my eye, bought from wholesale distributors and I seldom purchase it, unless I can tell (or find out) from the seller where it came from or they pass the feel/sniff test. Two examples: The cukes I bought a couple of weeks ago. They were shipped from Florida (they were still in the packing case) but one feel, and I knew they were "real". No wax coating and I could feel the little nubbles that a fresh picked cuke always has. I bought! I've also bought some cantelopes that were from, oh, heck, I don't remember, but they smelled right. I bought. And I wasn't disapointed in either the cukes or the cantelope.

Tomatoes? Unless the seller posts a sign to inform the customers that they are locally grown, I won't touch them. The best indicator around here is a sign that says, "Johns Island tomatoes". When I see that? I go wild! LOL

I've recently bought Silver Queen sweet corn. Divine! The aforementioned cukes and cantelopes. We'll get the local ones in shortly, if they aren't already here. Some Kentucky Wonder pole beans. Fresh okra. Yellow crookneck squash. I bought a small basket (about 7) peaches. One smell, and I knew they weren't those tasteless, cardboard things from a distributor. They were wonderful. Full of flavor and so juicy, you really needed to eat them outside! I'm waiting on the butter beans!

I don't buy grapes, plums, blackberries, strawberries, stuff like that, even though they're offered for sale. I can usually find better deals at the grocer, when they have their weekly specials. I'm looking mostly for local fruits (mainly peaches) and veggies.

Though not strictly a farmers market, we do have a discount produce purveyor, The Vegetable Bin. Review/Vegetable Bin When we lived downtown, this place was only a couple of blocks from our apartment. I went all the time. Once we moved out of town, I stopped going. They closed for a while but re-opened some years back. I've been meaning to go back and check them out but just haven't gotten around to it. I have no idea if they sell local produce or not.

Another thing to watch for are small, roadside stands. We've had several around here, operating from time to time. They can ebb and flow, depending on who is running them and how well their garden is doing. It might be a single person or maybe a group of friends or family chipping in. I see quite a few, when I get out on the road going up to Dad's. Someone with an extra large kitchen garden might set up a table by the roadside to sell some of their overabundance. These are probably not listed on websites. You just have to keep your eyes open.

Anyhoo, here are a couple of links to get you started looking for farmers markets near you. You can find more, just by Googling "Farmers Market". Some of these sites don't list markets that I know are active in my area. It just depends on whether or not they've signed up to be listed or if someone has submitted the info. Frequently, your local paper will list markets in the community events section.

So, grab your eco-friendly shopping bags and head out. You will be in for a treat!

I was trying to find a listing of produce stands but I guess the majority are too ephemeral for permanent lists. I did think about farms where you can pick your own. Frequently local farms have a stand on site. Found, which might give you a lead on those.

Use these links to find farmers markets near you:

These are a couple of the remaining locally owned farms that offer produce to the public:

Rosebank Farms Owned by Sidi Limehouse.

Joseph Fields Farms, 3129 River Rd, Johns Island, SC. Does not have a website but they are open to the public, and I presume, have a stand on site. They are one of the ones who are at the MUSC and the Marion Square Farmers Markets.

This is an article from the Charleston City Paper about some of the remaining family farms on Johns Island, including Rosebank and the Fields family: Link

A bit of personal trivia:

My Dad sold tractor equipment from the early '50s until 1970. He knew all the farmers on Johns Island, James Island, Wadmalaw, Yonges Island, Edisto, all up and down coastal SC. He even had one customer down in Homestead, FL! That fellow always shipped us a big crate of grapefruit, oranges, kumquats and lemons every Christmas!

I also recall that, until I was grown and moved out on my own, I don't think I hardly ever ate canned veggies. Not from the store, anyway. We'd get home canned, from time to time, when someone in the family would give us some. We put stuff up in the freezer.

All summer long, as Dad was out and about on the islands, the farmers load him up, as he was leaving: "Here, Jeff, have some tomatoes." Or corn, or cukes, cantelopes, etc.
"Jeff, you come on out and pick yourself some beans" or peas, butter beans. Dad would wait until after the 2nd or 3rd picking, then he'd load us up in the car after supper and we'd ride out to someone's farm and pick for a couple of hours.** Mama and I would snap, shell, blanch, ice and load up the freezer. Mama didn't do much canning. I recall later on, she and Dad together would put up some pickles or perserves. It was never very much. But our freezer was always stocked.

After 18 years of living like that, the first time I tasted store bought, canned butter beans? YECH!!!!! And I still say YECH!!!!! If I can't have "real" ones, I'll use frozen or dried. Still not quite the same as home frozen but I don't have much choice!

** Which reminds me... if you can get to know a couple of local farmers, you might be able to get permission to glean their fields before they get plowed back under! You've got nothing to lose by asking, except to be told "No." Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

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