Looking Back at the May Master Gardener Meeting
Planning to feed over 125 Master Gardeners a satisfying lunch fresh from our garden can be quite a daunting task. Preparations must start early. This year was no exception.
In late January Jim set out over sixty 1015 onion slips. By mid March it was time to plant green bean seeds. We weren’t sure of the variety because the seeds were given to us. However, they ended up producing one of those “bumper” crops. Then in April some radish seeds were added to one of our raised beds.
Already in the ground and doing well after three years were four different varieties of blackberries: Natchez, Rosborough, Womack and Brazos. Also, our upright rosemary was so large it was about to overtake the raised bed planted three years prior.
As May rolls around with the thought of providing a healthy and delicious lunch for our Master Gardener friends it’s time to get started with menu ideas. Our speaker for the event was going to be a professional “bee keeper”. How appropriate for our group since we all value and understand the importance of bees in the garden.
Why not offer the group a “honey” based menu? Here’s what we finally decided was doable with limited oven space but volunteers determined to meet the challenge.
Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Satay Sauce
Rustic Onion Tarts
Garden Salad Bowl with Fresh Green Beans and Radishes
Honey Lime Vinaigrette
Old Fashioned Blackberry Cobbler
Here’s how we did it. The onions were fully developed and ready by mid May so the harvesting and drying in bundles of eight began. At the same time, our blackberry bushes were heavy with luscious ripe berries in beautiful shades of purple, black, and burgundy. Picking them over the next few weeks was a treat. Our strategy was: eat one, pick a dozen. And so eventually we dutifully harvested over 15 gallons and sent them to the freezer.
Happily, our “garden to plate” plan produced the following:
- Enough 1015 onions for ten rustic tarts (each tart yielded 12 slices)
- Plenty of “thyme” for flavoring the tarts
- Blackberries to make six 13” x 9” cobblers (each cobbler fed 25)
- 125 10” rosemary strips for the chicken skewers
- Six gallons of green beans for the salad
- One lonely radish (if you have to supplement somewhere, why not with radishes?)
Thanks to Abbe’s husband, Neal, for bringing his grill to cook the chicken skewers on site. What an enticing smell as MG’s were arriving! It was a delightful morning for our event. Lots of full and satisfied gardeners celebrated the joy of locally grown, fresh organic food.
Now it’s time to get our hands dirty again and put that fall crop in the ground. After all, some new menu ideas are buzzing around in our heads!