Saturday, July 24, 2010

What's Cookin'

Today Melissa, Sarah and I spent the afternoon making Lemon Basil Walnut Pesto with some fresh picked lemon basil from the garden.

Lemon Basil Walnut Pesto

This is not an exact recipe, use as much or as little basil as you have and however much olive oil to get your desired pesto consistency. If you don't have walnuts, use a different nut, it's all delicious. If using a blender I recommend chopping the garlic cloves before blending. 

2 cups of basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the garlic, basil and walnuts in a food processor or blender and blend for 10-15 seconds.

2. Pour in olive oil slowly as you continue to mix the garlic, basil and walnuts.

 3. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix until the pesto has a pasty texture.  

This will taste awesome on pasta, with chicken, thinned out with some more olive oil to dress a salad, as a smear for sandwiches, with eggs... you can basically perk up any dish with pesto. It also freezes nicely, put it in ice cube trays and pop out the little cubes for a single portion or to add flavor to soups, or place in an air tight container for use later in the year.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's in Season NOW- July

Keeping fresh produce in mind while planning summer meals, here's what you can find at the Farmers Market these days:
  • Chard
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Cherries
  • Collards
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Muskmelons
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Peaches
  • Sugar & Snap Pea
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Rapberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Salad Greens
  • Sprounts
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelons
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Currans
  • Gooseberries
  • Okra
  • Shallots

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our honey bees are famous!

Thanks to GW's media relations team, especially Courtney Bowe, three tv new stations came to the Vern Campus Tuesday June 20, to film features about our honey bees! We suited up the reporters and camera men so they could get up close and personal with the bees. Here is the link to the Fox News 5 feature! Also, some photos from the media event. Thank you Leanne Blanchette for the photos!

Swimming in Summer Veggies!

The staple summer veggies are exploding from the garden! Cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, oh my! Thanks to the mass amount of rain in the past 2 weeks and similar amount of sun. Volunteers have been hard at work staking, harvesting, pruning, and overall cultivating. In the eggplant picture, the actual eggplant started like the purple flower above it and grew from the yellow center. Eggplants are actually part of the berry family, with similar maturation behavior as a blackberry.

This tree is a fig tree. Little baby figs have been popping up in this beautiful weather. The leaves on the fig tree are super soft and is growing, growing, growing, since it was planted in April, thanks to our partners, Casey Trees.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fast Times at Sweet Virginia

Dan Price, creator of Sweet Virginia, has welcomed me to his farms several times this summer. Every time I go, I learn more about beekeeping, bee maintenance, hard work, bee stings, and honey! As the mentor of GW bee initiative, he is fulfilling his job priming me for any honeybee curve ball that might come my way. These photos are from his farm near Reston, Virginia. I have been building and painting many a bee box as well as doing the rounds checking on the hives.

First Installment of the Bee Blog!

Another one of FJA's projects is Beekeeping. In March 2010, FJA applied to the Public Service Grant for funds to start an apiary at GW. Lo and behold, the grant came through and in June 2010, the GW Mount Vernon Campus welcomed three bee boxes care of Sweet Virginia Foundation. The Sweet Virginia Honeybee Cooperative of Northern Virginia uses honey as an incentive to donate to local charities. Dan Price, the creator of Sweet Virginia, graciously gave three mature bee colonies to FJA to start us on our journey! Dan is FJA's primary bee mentor as beekeeping is a very particular science.
The season for bees is summer, but the beekeepers work starts in late winter. At the start of 2011, FJA will begin from scratch, building and painting boxes, ordering new bees and queens, and learning all there is to know about the mysteries and miracles of these brilliant little workers.
The reason for the coming of the bees is closely tied to FJA's gardens, but these bees will pollinate flowers and vegetables around the community as well. As with the gardens, FJA wants the bee initiative to be an awareness and education tool for DC. We believe this city has the potential to be a leader in urban sustainability, and we look to achieve that by creating opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to learn and volunteer. Education is the key to change!
*Photos care of Jessica McConnell/GWU

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The garden is happy and flourishing! Spring was warm and sunny peppered with late afternoon showers to quench the thirst of the hungry plants. In the box are sugar snap peas freshly picked off their 5 foot vines that courageously climbed up wooden trellises. The small leafy plants are arugula with a few chard plants dotted in between and the thick curly plants are kale!