Small Farms are Fantastic!

We are blessed to have 12 Farmers’ Markets in Silicon Valley. We normally frequent Sunnyvale’s on Saturdays and have come to know many of the vendors. (Several received loaves of my famous Christmas Cake last December.)

This year I have heard many stories of empty supermarket shelves. I’m not sure if it’s our location or the fact that we don’t shop at big name chains (Safeway, Lucky, Walmart, etc.) but we’ve not seen that problem. (Exceptions: Cat food and litter, and distilled water.) We also don’t consume processed food – unless it’s labeled “organic”, and then it’s a treat.

I’m always telling people that if they are lucky enough to have a Farmers’ Market near them to purchase food from the local, small and family-owned farms (many of which grow organic produce). It keeps these wonderful folks in business AND the food is so much better, and better for you. It’s a win-win for everyone.

I apologize for not getting these photos up sooner but time gets away from me sometimes; however, they’ll give you an idea of how bountiful and FUN these markets are! I hope you enjoy and are inspired to seek one out (or get one going in your community).

The synthetic fertilizers that plump up our crops
churn out more nitrogen than all of the plants and microbes do naturally.

– Diane Ackerman (The Human Age)

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Celebrating Lughnasadh

August 1st marks the beginning of the harvest where we begin to harvest what we have sown. Lughnasadh (or Lammas) is the first of three Wiccan harvest festivals observed – the other two are Mabon and Samhain. (It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the Summer Solstice…)

Today at the Sunnyvale Farmers Market, we overheard C-Farms saying that it was the “end of tomato” season. They grow the most amazing varieties of tomatoes. Huge tables filled with regular and cherry-sized tomatoes dominate their stand every Summer. Today there was only two tables. Every year I look forward to the corn and melons at Pinnacle and the tomatoes at C-Farms. The end of Summer is upon us and I’M NOT READY!!!! Dammit.

Still, there was plenty of Summer’s Bounty and we took advantage of it.

The melons and squash will get eaten straight away, while the Heirloom tomatoes will become “The Mothership“. The organic (Did I mention everything here is organically grown? Well, now I have.) corn will be roasted and frozen for use during the “off-season”. Same goes for the tomatillos, although I may reserve some for salsa.

It is this time of year, late Summer, when the Earth is overflowing with abundance, warm sunshine, and Magick. Express your gratitude for those who labor to grow the food you eat; and if you have a backyard bounty of your own, share your food with others. This year, lughnasadh falls on a Sunday which is ruled by the Sun. Make a point to go outside and lift your face to its healing rays and smile. It’s a day for healing and miracles.

The planet does nothing but support us and we are constantly committing crimes against nature.
– Daphne Zuniga

As you thank Mother Earth say a healing prayer, as well, for her health affects all life here. You may want to invoke Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest who presided over the fertility of the earth.

Let us take nothing for granted.


Blessed Berry Lemonade

½ cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
3 lemon chamomile tea bags (I don’t care for chamomile so I will be substituting green tea)
2 cups blueberries
6 cups water

In a small saucepan, dissolve the honey in lemon juice over low heat. Place tea bags in a blender and pour lemon juice over them. Allow to steep for 9 minutes. Remove tea bags and puree with blueberries and water. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve over ice.

Serves 8

Recipe courtesy of llewellyn.com

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Indian Summer…

An Indian summer is typically caused by a sharp shift in the jet stream from the south to the north – the warm temperatures are usually accompanied by dry, hazy conditions. The warm weather may last anywhere from a few days to over a week and may happen multiple times before winter arrives for good.

We are so lucky here in California. Farmer’s Markets are plentiful, offering seasonal organic food and artisanal items. Food is picked that morning or the day before (depending on when you go) so you know you’re getting it super-fresh! Plus, people are selling handmade soaps, lotions, jewelry, clothes, and there’s always a stall or two with plants for sale (you can’t beat the prices) – not to mention homemade ice cream*. Throw in music and fresh air and you have a mini-festival every week!

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