Zucchini Carpaccio and my vegetable patch

by Michelle

Now that Ralph and I have decided to grow our own vegetables, we are constantly seeking the advise of experienced farmers. To date, we have not received the same advise twice. Farmers are unique. They have their own way of doing things that often resembles the way their fathers did things. Whenever we question why things are done a certain way, the response is often, ‘well, that’s the way my Dad did it”.

My Dad is a natural farmer but, because he is my Dad, I argue with most of his suggestions. I don’t argue in an aggressive way. It’s more of a gentle life long banter. It makes the journey lively!

Our vegetable garden is limping along. The spot that we chose to use had not been farmed in fifty years leaving the soil under nourished. It’s a little like trying to grow food in cement! We would have been better off to plant nothing but potatoes and let the potatoes work their magic on our less than fertile soil.

My buttercup squash plants have turned out to be zucchini. I assume the practical joke of an employee from my favorite nursery. I am the proud grower of twelve zucchini plants…grrr. I thought that the crows had eaten all of my beans so I replanted. The newly planted beans are up as well as the original planting. Apparently patience is not one of my virtues. Everything looks puny to me in comparison with the gorgeous vegetables that I saw at the Kingston Farmers Market, this past weekend.

I love the idea of supporting people who provide us with the opportunity to eat locally. The prices are a little higher than what you would pay in a supermarket but come spend a couple of hours with me weeding my little garden – you will happily cough up a few extra pennies for superb, just picked food.

I found fresh eggs, pork, leaf lettuce, spring onions, new potatoes, two field grown lilies and a big ‘dark prince’ delphinium. Ralph bought a sign post for the end of our driveway made by a local woodworker.

Every farmer that we spoke to invited us to come to their farms where they would have more time to chat with us. It was their day to be selling not trying to teach a couple of novice vegetable growers how to put in a vegetable patch.

None the less, I am loving my vegetable garden. I know with the guidance of my Dad, Ralph’s willingness to do the heavy lifting and my faith and perseverance, some day, I too will be turning out happy veggies.

To date I have produced five zucchini.

The last time that Ralph and I were in Tuscany, we had the most amazing salad of nothing more than perfectly dressed zucchini topped with shaved pecorino. Give this simple salad a go – it is delicious! Make sure your zucchini are young so no longer than six inches.

Zucchini Carpaccio

serves 4

8 small zucchini, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

Pecorino cheese

Whisk oil, lemon, salt and pepper in a medium bowl

Add sliced zucchini, toss and allow to marinate for three minutes

Divide between 4 plates and top with shaved pecorino to taste.

If you can’t find small zucchini, call me because I will have a ton!

Thanks for reading