Turkey Tracks: Yarn Road Trip

Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2012

Yarn Road Trip

Giovanna McCarthy and I hit the road one day last week.  Our destination:  Romney Ridge Farm Yarn Company in Woolwich, Maine, which is about an hour south of Camden.

There is a history to this story.

Last summer I met Kelly L. Corbett, the owner of Romney Ridge Farm Yarn Company, at MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair in September.  (MOFGA is the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, and they have a spectacular fair each year.)  Kelly had asked Aloisia Pollock, a master knitter, to make a sweater showcasing Kelly’s yarns.  Here’s the sweater–which uses a method of carrying two colors to make the little diamonds.

When I got home from MOFGA I went into our new knitting store here in Camden:  The Cashmere Goat.  They LOVED the idea of carrying Kelly’s yarns and hosting a class taught by Aloisia Pollock to make her sweater–and they have a wonderful space to take such a class.  The three groups came together, and that class will be taught in early April 2012.  The sweater is now hanging in the store, alongside some of Kelly’s yarns.

But, Giovanna and I wanted a larger yarn selection than The Cashmere Goat presently has, so we called Kelly and went down on a cold, wintry to pick out the 7 skeins we needed for this project.  We were blown away by all the colors, the possibilities.  Both of us were paralyzed for long moments.  Giovanna summed up what we were both thinking.  “How can I pick seven colors when I want every single one here!”

Here’s what I came home with–the yarn on the far right is the “natural” undyed color of the sheep’s wool.  And, the dark purple yarn above the mauve color isn’t showing up well in this picture:

I also came home with a turquoise yarn I thought would make a great scarf for my black winter coat–AND that will go with my Noro sweater and hat:

Kelly’s farm shop is easy to get to from Route 1.  She’s just below Wiscasset.  Her web site is www.romneyridgefarm.com.  She has a blog as well on that site.

Aloisia Pollock lives in Jefferson and runs the Sunset Cabins on Damariscotta Lake–www.sunsetcabinsmaine.com.

The Cashmere Goat is at 20 Bayview Street in Camden–www.thecashmeregoatknit.com.

Giovanna and I are going down to see Aloisia next Wednesday, and we can hardly wait!

Turkey Tracks: Preserving Garlic

Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2012

Preserving Garlic

Some of our garlic is starting to go soft and to mold–especially the really big bulbs.  It’s that time of year.

Last year, I jollied the bulbs along by putting them into the refrigerator.  I swore then that I’d take the time to clean them and do SOMETHING with them next year.  For those of you who don’t grow things, one plants garlic in the fall, it winters over in the ground, sprouts in the spring, grows all summer–giving you fresh garlic scapes just when you’re hungry for fresh garlic taste–and one harvests in the early fall when the plants start to turn brown.  After pulling up the bulbs, one dries them in a warm dry place, which makes the true, strong garlic taste develop.  After that, one cuts off the stalks and stores the bulbs.  They need cool, dry storage.

Also, EAT GARLIC!.  It has the most amazing chemical properties which can build up your immune system, drive off colds and infections, and keep you generally healthy.  It didn’t get the reputation for vampire protection for nothing!  If you start coming down with a cold, mash a fresh garlic clove into some butter, spread it over a cracker or something like that, and eat it.  Salt helps.  Three times a day.  You’ll notice that help is occurring almost right away.

So, this year, I brined a jar of garlic, which took care of about half of our crop.  You can see what I have left to do.  You can also see the dusky blue light outside my kitchen window

I used a recipe from NOURISHING TRADITIONS since it uses whey.

Brining Garlic

In a quart Mason jar, place the peeled cloves of about 12 heads of garlic.  (If you roll them under your hands or in a towel, the cloves break free easily–all except for the pesky little ones.)

Add 2 teaspoons of dried oregano (I used a savory herb mixture with a Mediterranean base), 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 Tablespoons of whey.  If you don’t have whey (you drip it out of yogurt), use another 2 teaspoons of sea salt.  Add water to cover, but leave a good inch free at the top.  You’ll notice I have my jar sitting in a saucer to catch drips if the fermentation process gets going in earnest and bubbles start going over the top.

Leave the jar on the counter for about three days, turning it upside down and shaking it a few times a day to distribute the juices.  Then, put it in a cool place.

You can use the garlic like fresh.  The juice is great in salad dressings.  Or, I suspect, a little would jive up soups.

I’m also going to make some GARLIC ELIXIR–from a recipe in WELL BEING JOURNAL, Jan/Feb 2012.  They took it from Doug Oster’s TOMATOES, GARLIC, BASIL:  THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF GROWING AND COOKING YOUR GARDEN’S MOST VERSATILE VEGGIES.  Sounds like a good book.

Garlic Elixir

1 cup of garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup parsley

1 teaspoon salt (sea salt please)

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Olive oil (1/2 to 1 cup)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

optional:  chopped black olives or capers to taste

Process garlic and parsley in a blender until chopped fine– put optional ingredients in first before blending the garlic and parley if using.  Place in a mixing bowl.  Add salt, vinegar, pepper and lemon juice, stir in olive oil.  Place in a glass jar and cover with thin layer of olive oil.  Will store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Wow!  I’m guessing some of that added to salad dressing would make some fabulous salad dressing.  Wonder if one could freeze it…

Push the cloves do


Turkey Tracks: Using Dried Zucchini Slices

Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2012

Using Dried Zucchini Slices

The zucchini slices I dried last summer have been a great success this winter.  Here’s a pic–with the 2012 Moon Maggy in the background I see.

To recap, when the glut of zukes comes in, I’ve tried to shred them and freeze them for winter soups or to put into the dog food.  But, the frozen shredded zukes develop this metallic taste.  And, the bits are positively slimy.  So, this past summer I tried slicing and drying them–having had great success drying halved small tomatoes.

One can just eat the zuke chips or use them in dips.  But, what we’re finding is that they are terrific thrown into soup in about the last five minutes to reconstitute.  They hold their shape and texture, are a delicious addition, and hold up to reheating soup.


We’re down to our last handful of tomatoes.  I dried a TON of them last summer before the late blight hit.  MORE next summer.