Well, we made it through the first frost of the year.
And if you think about it, it's not such a bad thing. I mean, the calendar just turned to October, so we actually almost made it through September frost-free. That's pretty amazing in this neck of the woods. And that little nip of frost is ushering in a whole new season of re-charging and introspection after a crazy season of non-stop work and play. The kids are settling in to the new school year with only a small amount of kicking and screaming. And for the most part, we don't have to worry quite as much about the myriad of bugs that be-devil us during the warmer months. Adios you nasty little bloodsuckers! The big dog won't miss you a bit.
But that little bit of rime this morning also is a great reminder for me. Get off your butt and finish the fire wood chores, you ninny. I'm making respectable progress on that front. Being a Swede, I'm not going out to cut wood in the midst of a hot, August barn-burning day. I'll leave that to my Finnish neighbors, God bless 'em. I wait until the cooler fall weather moves in and carefully select the trees that will check up nicely after splitting and stacking. The teens are involved now, so the onus isn't all on my back, literally. But thank you, Jack Frost, for the little nudge in the right direction.
And the frost is a reminder to diligently cover up the rest of those slightly ripe veggies in our gardens so that we can continue to reap and process the bounty of the year. Which brings me to my main point. It's harvest festival season. Apple fest and pumpkin fest and you name it fest. They are all happening now. Including one that you may not have heard about, yet. The Great and Glorious Turnip Fest! And this one may be the most important and delightful of them all.
You see, all around the Chequamegon bay region, the local school districts have been implementing grants to install high tunnel green houses on district property around the area. Currently, there are five of these high tunnels in use as of this writing. They stand at the South Shore Schools, Washburn, Bayfield, Ashland Middle School and Drummond school. The purpose of these greenhouses is to foster an appreciation of the green-growing process in the next generation of farmers and gardeners by instructing them in the use of this technology to extend the growing season in our Zone 5 climate. The five high tunnels are currently in the process of pumping out a plethora of turnips for use in the Farm to School program where the vegetable gets turned in to tasty menu items for the school lunch program. The schools also get to round out their harvest by choosing other veggies to compliment the blanket planting of turnips. Sounds like a fine idea to me, especially since I get to turn about 10 pounds of these turnips into my own tasty menu item. Come on into the kitchen. Let's get our turnips on, people! Here's what you'll need:
2 pounds of turnips-cleaned and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 a pound of diced bacon
2 cloves of garlic-minced
3 tablespoons of fresh oregano
2 tablespoons of dried marjoram
Black pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons of Maple syrup
In a largish fry pan, set your bacon to cooking over medium heat. Cook until it is about half the way there and add your fresh garlic and turnips. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the turnips begin to brown a slightly soften. Add the herbs, spices and syrup and lower the heat to low. Continue cooking until the turnips reach the perfection that is al dente (cooked but still a bit crisp). That's all, Folks! A delightful side dish for your fall dinner table, utilizing the labors of our next generation. That's what's for dinner!
I've got to get busy now. I've got my own harvest festival to cook for this weekend. Not to mention the aforementioned fire wood onus. That monkey is always on my back! Rest assured, come first snow fall, I'll be merrily sipping on some good red wine as the fire is crackling away in the trusty ole' wood stove. This too shall come to pass. Good luck with your own preparations. And don't forget to ask your neighborhood school children how their next crop is coming. Turnips this year. And next? The sky is the limit. Thanks, kids! Be well.