Turkey Tracks: Jane’s Gazpacho

Turkey Tracks:  August 25, 2016

Jane’s Gazpacho

Yesterday Jane Liebler made a beautiful day for those Coastal Quilters who could break away for the day to visit her out in Liberty, Maine–which is about 25 minutes from Camden and a beautiful ride that traces the headwaters of the St. George river.

Jane’s farmhouse sits in the midst of blueberry barron-covered hills that rise above the gorgeous, blue St. George’s Lake.  And, John’s Ice Cream (all homemade) is just two miles away.

Jane greeted us with warm doughnuts, hot coffee with REAL cream and good honey, and anything else we wanted to drink.  The farm kitchen was warmed with wonderful wood walls.  A collection of baskets hung from the rafters.  This house is loved!  Jane also had a cantaloupe all cut up for us, which we devoured on the spot.  She made a scrumptious summer lunch for us, which included deviled eggs (yeah!!) and GAZPACHO I COULD EAT.  Most people add some form of red pepper to gazpacho, which would send me straight to the kitchen floor and on to the hospital.  We sat and did handwork, ate, laughed, visited, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Thanks Jane!!  Don’t ask us back unless you really want us because WE WILL COME.

I broke away after lunch to drive about 20 minutes further west to Freedom, Maine, and Villageside Farm, where I picked up six frozen, hefty, free-range, non-Cornish chickens.  And after I returned and gathered up my passengers, we went to John’s Ice Cream for…John’s homemade ice cream.  It’s famous!  I had vanilla custard and rocky road, and it was so, so good.

I asked Jane how she made her delicious gazpacho, and she said scald the fresh tomatoes and skin them, then work the flesh with your hands to break it up, rather than putting everything into a blender.  Use lots of spring onions and some balsamic vinegar.  She added cucumber and green pepper.  Simple and as delicious as the summer-ripe ingredients.

So…I have a lot of tomatoes from the Hope’s Edge CSA pick-up this week.  I prepped the tomatoes as Jane directed, reserving some of the flesh to give the soup a chunky texture.  I also reserved some of the diced cukes and green pepper–as Jane did.  The rest I put into the Vitamix with spring onions (4 large spring onions to 1 large tomato, 1 medium tomato, 1 large cuke and 1 smaller one, and 1 green pepper).  I added about 1/4 cup of good olive oil and 2 or 3 dollaps of white balsamic vinegar, rather a lot of salt (2 teaspoons plus–tomatoes love salt), and some fresh ground black pepper.  I didn’t puree the mixture, just got it cut up into small pieces and poured it back into the bowl with the reserved tomato flesh.

When I tasted it, the white balsamic and the sweet ripe tomatoes made the mixture really sweet.  I added more black pepper and some red wine vinegar.  Yummy.


Gazpacho needs to age a bit I think.  It’s upstairs cooling its heels in the refrigerator.  I’m planning on having some of it–a lot of it–for supper since I fixed a big BLT sandwich about 2 p.m. and am not hungry.  I’ll have some goat cheese and avocado on corn chips (sprouted organic, GMO-free corn) to go with and call it a night.

Maybe I am getting hungry a bit…

It has been a lovely day–even though No No Penny threw up on the bedspread and afghan this morning.  She was left alone for some hours yesterday, and I do not think she is used to being alone for multiple hours yet.  I gave myself some time to sit on my porch and read this morning–accompanied by a bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries with some yogurt and a piece of gluten-free toast with peanut butter.  It was so peaceful and lovely out there.

A storm is moving in, but humidity is really good.  All day the wind has been up, so when I went by the coast on an errand, I could see that sailing on the bay today would have been amazing. I can’t wait to go back on the Riggin again Sept. 20th.  AND, two passenger additions include Rose Lowell and Megan Bruns.  Mary Bishop will room with me.  We are going to have such a good, good time.  Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilt Shop will be on board to teach English Paper Piecing to whomever wants to learn.

When I walked by my garden at some point, I could see bits of orange in the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.  Time to pick again.  For some reason I checked the beans, and my goodness, I have to pick those too.  I had a terrible time getting the beans to germinate and outgrow the slugs–who seem to be gone now???–so I have one Romano bean plant, one bush provider, and about a half-dozen haricot verte bush “filet” beans.

Here’s what came in the house today:


I am drying a flat of cherry tomatoes in the kitchen, so I’ll let these guys ripen in the kitchen and eat the ripe ones.  Rain causes these cherry tomatoes to split open–from the extra water the plant takes up I guess.

Now I’m going to sew for a bit.



Turkey Tracks: MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair 2014

Turkey Tracks:  September 24, 2014



MOFGA stands for the Maine Organic Farmers’ and Growers’ Association, and each year, MOFGA puts on The Common Ground Fair.

This year marked the 38th Fair.

I’ve written about this fair many times, but each year is just so special.

This year I went with Giovanna McCarthy on Friday and with Penny Rogers Camm on Sunday– spending about 10 hours at the fair over the two days.

Here are some picture high lights.  As always, I think of many pictures I should have taken, but didn’t–like a little video of the “horse whisperer” who trained a young, big working gelding to follow him around the ring in about 10 minutes.

I’ve always loved these “post” faces:



Look at this hoop house filled with flowers:



Outside this hoop house was the prettiest hot pepper plant with purple hot peppers:


We had a very cool summer, so the winter squash and pumpkins struggled.  None of mine even made little squash.  But, here’s squash bounty at MOFGA:


What’s amusing about this picture of a compost toilet displayed so one can see all the workings is that one of these boys is INSIDE the toilet, and the rest are very amused, as only boys can be.  What looks like a reflection on the glass is actually a boy’s face.


On the way out of the fair, we passed this family of baby pigs asleep in the sun:



On the way home BOTH days, we stopped for some of John’s Ice Cream–all home made, all so delicious.  John’s ice cream reminds one of what REAL ice cream tastes like when it isn’t full of fake ingredients.  The marshmellow cream in the Rocky Road is the real thing, for instance.

I love MOFGA!





Turkey Tracks: The Georges Valley Land Trust Garden Tour

Turkey Tracks:  July 16, 2013

The Georges Valley Land Trust Garden Tour:

“Gardens in the Watershed”

Sunday was the GVLT annual garden tour.

The gardens are always along the St. George River valley–which covers a big area.

Giovanna McCarthy and I headed out at 10 a.m., dressed for walking, for heat (hats), and with water and our lunches iced down in a cooler.  It was a beautiful day to explore gardens.

We started just up Howe Hill, where two gardens were located:  the gardens of Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse and the gardens of Eilene and Leonard Ames.  I’m going to do the gardens as separate entries, starting with my “up the hill” neighbors Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse.

We had lunch at Fernwood gardens, a nursery specializing in shade plant.  What a treat to see Fernwood in its new location.  i really enjoyed all the whimsical touches in their gardens.  But more on that later.

Giovanna and I ended the day by stopping by John’s ice cream on Route 3, above the St. George Lake state park.  That’s Giovanna, now hot and tired and ready for an ice cream.

John's Ice Cream

I got peach, and Giovanna got coconut–and boy did that coconut ice cream look good.  John’s ice cream is all homemade.  We each took home two quarts in the cooler.   My son Mike is bringing my two grandsons tomorrow, and they will all be delighted to see John’s ice cream in the freezer:  rocky road and butter pecan!

Turkey Tracks: Saturday Road Trip

Turkey Tracks:  July 9, 2012

 Saturday Road Trip

Last Saturday, John and I took a little road trip west of Camden.

Our primary destination was The Village Farm in Freedom, Maine–home of Prentice Grassi and Polly Shyka since about 2001.  See http://www.villagefarmfreedom.com/

For the past two years, we have raised our year’s supply of meat chickens with Pete and Rose Thomas–and slaughtered them all together.  But this year, Arabella, the wood-fired bread oven, is up and running.  Rose is fully occupied with making pizzas and breads of all kinds.  She is baking or getting ready to bake many hours every day, and Pete is buy cutting wood and filling in all over the farm.

So, I took on the job of researching where we could get healthy, non-Cornish chickens, preferably with the feet still in the mix.

That place turned out to be The Village Farm, so John and I headed out to pick up ten meat chickens–with the promise of being able to get more over the winter when the freezer gets depleted.  Best of all, these Red Bros (a cousin to Freedom Rangers) come with their feet in a separate packet.  And, Prentice and Polly raise them on grass in little tractors that are moved three times a day.

Freedom is about an hour west of us–in the vicinity of MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair Ground.  It’s beautiful country and a beautiful ride through rural Maine to get there.   We crossed the St. George River several times–this time of year it’s full of water rushing over stones and filled with pools where trout would live.  Our route is partly on the St. George River scenic by-way.

Along the way, we were amused at all the creativity we were seeing.  Here’s an example:


Gardens were starting to flesh out, and it was really fun to see how many people had vegetable gardens.  There are beautiful fields, glossy-coated animals, interesting houses, glorious barns, beautiful woods.  It’s such a joy!

We had no trouble finding The Village Farm.  Here’s the entrance sign–with some corn (probably sweet corn) planted beyond it:

The main farm buildings and house sit at the end of this longish road, which is bordered by vegetable fields on both sides.  Polly told me they have several commercial customers as well as CSA members.  And she told me that when she and Prentice bought the far in 2001, I think, that it was all commercial corn fields–just corn stubble and dirt.  Now it’s filled with green grass, grazing meat cows, chickens, and vegetables.   That’s a heartwarming story of land recovery, and I am so grateful that there are people in this world like Prentice and Polly who are willing to do this work–and indeed–love this work.  They are the future of America, if we are wise about helping them.

Once down the road we parked, and here’s the first thing we saw.  A lush, fenced enclosure with beautiful little white pet goats:

Here’s Polly bringing us our chickens.  That’s a rabbit hutch to the left.  And you can see three of the chicken tractors way down in the fields to the left–past the fruit trees.

Here’s Polly and Prentice–at the center of this amazing farm they have created:

After we left them, feeling richer because of our chickens and feeling energized by our visit, we traced our steps home–with a small detour.

Mainers who love ice-cream probably know about John’s Ice Cream.  It’s a little store on Route 3, just a few miles beyond Liberty and Lake St. George.  John’s ice cream is all hand-made from whole, rich ingredients.  There isn’t a chemical in it.  And, it tastes like ice cream should taste–a taste long forgotten now by most people who have not had  the real thing with which to compare what they are buying in their local grocery store–or, even, a local ice-cream stand.  Slow down and take a look at the labels, which show the chemical brew that ice cream has become.

Here’s the board of flavors we could chose from Saturday:

I had Rocky Road–chocolate oozing with marshmallow running through it–creamy and dreamy–and replete with big, fat, whole nuts.

John had Chocolate Orange Peel–a dense chocolate with big fat LONG candied orange peels embedded.

The Bay Wrap in Belfast carries a few of John’s Ice Cream flavors–about six I think.  And, you can take home hand-dipped quarts from John’s if you think ahead and bring some ice packs and a cooler.  We brought home peanut something or other.  John loves peanuts.

This ice cream was so rich that we weren’t hungry for lunch.  That’s not a really good thing, but once in a while, it’s a real treat.

I can see a future swim at Lake St. George, an ice cream at John’s, and a slow ride home enjoying the beautiful Maine countryside and the river rushing over stones, big and small and topped up with sunshine and shadows.