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Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

Recently we inherited a community garden plot at the Hilltop Nature Center in Bloomington, IN. The previous owner had apparently abandoned it. (Though an Asian woman informed us that she saw him just a few weeks ago, and that he is Russian. Combine that with the fact that the plot was weedy, but tomatoes appeared to have been harvested… I just hope the Russian mafia doesn’t come raid our garden in revenge, now that we’ve planted for the fall/winter season…)

We are growing tomatoes, eggplants, mint, catnip, dill, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, radishes, broccoli, kale and cabbage. I’m not confident in the kohlrabi or beets though… neither seem to be doing well. They were planted only a week or so after the ones in planters at our house, which are ten times as big.

Since we just ‘plundered’ our garden, I’m posting a few pics here of the rest of Hilltop, which has a great botanical garden with endless basil, peppers, banana trees, date trees, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, and more. (Also, this is an excuse to post more pics that I took with my new camera, a Canon Digital Rebel XTi !! (Got it for my birthday from my mom and siblings!)

Hilltop Nature Center

Hilltop Nature Center

 

Banana Tree

Banana Tree

 

Banana Tree

Banana Tree

 

Flowers at the gate

Flowers at the gate

 

Green Habanero

Green Habanero

 

Brick Pyramid

Brick Pyramid

 

My lovely BMW Z3

My lovely BMW Z3

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My Question of the Day: Why would a Midwesterner stand in line for 20 minutes for corn?

 

Today I got my first look at the Bloomington, Indiana farmer’s market. A charming collection of farm stands with ample heirloom tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and more, the Saturday Market offers a great opportunity to buy some (surprisingly affordable) locally grown produce, as well as unusually pretty flowers and delicious crusty bread. I was almost immediately faced with a serious oddity though, namely an absurdly long line (see photo) in front of a single stall. The line was in fact much longer than fitted on one photo. When I asked what it was for, a lady kindly informed that it was for corn. “What?!?” I responded. “Corn!” “Are you seriously telling me that a bunch of Midwesterners, in the middle of the Cornbasket of America, would stand in line for twenty minutes for CORN???” She assured me it was true. I did not bother to stand in line to try out the corn. After all, corn is corn, and it’s more common here than anywhere else in the world. I refuse to believe corn could be worth standing in line for, for twenty minutes, in Indiana.

I was fortunate enough to catch the market on a “Tomato Tasting” day where an array of local heirloom tomatoes was displayed for market-goers to try. Excited as I am about any heirloom tomato, I quickly joined the line for samples. The first tomato was okay, a bit sour for my liking, but not too bad. As I continued along the line though, my disappointment grew. Virtually every tomato was watery and bland. They didn’t even approach the blandest heirloom tomato you’d find at our Eugene, Oregon farmer’s market. In fact, the (local) heirloom tomatoes I’d bought at Kroger’s the day before were much sweeter and boldly flavored than any of these. The only exception perhaps was the Japanese Black Trifle variety from Stout’s Melody Acres. I still bought a pound and a half of various heirloom tomatoes at one stand, in the hope that those will be better.

To my great surprise, there were virtually no food stands. Some plain coffee (to which you can add a little syrup) and a bakery with rather expensive muffins ($5), cookies and other foods, that’s all! Someone could make a killing selling food here. The Eugene Frmer’s Market must have at least 20 prepared food stands… asian foods, mexican, BBQ, pastry goods, lemonade, and so on…) I must say though, my home made ice cream cookie sandwich from the bakery stand was absolutely fabulous, and I intend to buy another one, even at $4 or so a piece.

Highlight of the day: The beautiful flowers at the market (Okay, and the ice cream sandwich. And getting to drive my new Atlanta Blue BMW Z3 convertible on a sunny day). I’m not even sure what some of them were, quite unusual. I don’t like to spend money on flowers, because they die so fast, and the cats eat them, but I enjoyed admiring them at the market, and perhaps I will buy some after all next week. (Note: the flowers in the pic look a little like Carnations from a distance, but up close they are like some strange fuzzy flower carpet, bundled together, very odd)

 

 

 

 

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