They are an industrious, friendly and pleasant couple.They are the visionaries of the four year old dream come true project named Abundant Harvest, which has started to bloom and bear fruits on their leased out farm land. The cute farm house is named after the two towering red wood trees that stand in the background giving DOS SEQUOIS a fairy tale house look.
The subscription made early in the season goes towards purchase of seeds and other initial costs. The months beginning from May to October are peak season when mother earth yields a bountiful harvest, which is shared and enjoyed by all the shareholders.
Every Wednesday we drive past the city of Hillsboro, past the wheat fields and past a few other farms and arrive at a gate, where we encounter a board that says, “The Abundant Harvest Family welcomes you”. We enter the gate and drive along the mud path lined by short and lush trees thronging with peaches, apples and plums, and park in front of the dream house, not missing to take a look at the healthy corn fields on our far right. Mish beams and nods as she cuts her equally beaming bright fresh flowers from the wild, informal garden. Steve emerges out of the herbs and the vegetable patch and waves out to us with a big smile. We enjoy the warm welcome as we reciprocate, and walk into a shed where the abundant harvest of the week awaits us.
We sign in and look at the board, which notifies us about the variety of vegetables, harvested on that day and the amount of the produce that each shareholder is entitled to take. There are an assortment of lettuce, spinach, chard, zucchinis, summer squashes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, Walla Walla onions, garlic and herbs like Italian parsley, Genovese and lemon basils, kohlrabies, cabbages, sweet corn and tomatillas - all of them fresh from the womb of mother earth, washed and wiped, looking bright as new born babies in their baskets. We count or weigh and pick up our share while the flavour of the fresh herbs fills our nostrils.
We walk out with the heavy bags to the gazebo where Mishelle has laid out the fresh cherry tomatoes, plums, wild plums, cherries and blue berries in pint measures and basketsful of big salad tomatoes on long wooden tables. A variety of cut flowers greet us with their myriad colours as they stand tall in a bucket of water. Mishelle’s flowers are “Food for the soul”. That is what the flier says. It also includes the latest farm news, farm requirements if any and two or three recipes.
We eagerly look forward for Wednesdays and a visit to Abundant Harvest to enjoy the scenic beauty and also to pick up the most fresh vegetables grown most naturally without ravaging mother earth with pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
Wish you all the best Mishelle and Steve. You provide food for the body, soul and for the thought as well. Thank you for that, and also for tugging us down close to mother earth at least once a week in the middle of all our other ‘hi- tech’ activities.
CHERRY TOMATO PARUPPU
I love the cherry tomatoes in all their hues – red, orange, yellow, purple! I am really carried away by their colours and taste and hence, every day they sneak into my sambars or float on rasams and peek-a-boo in my salads. A plain paruppu looks and tastes great when the cherry tomatoes lend their charm to it.
Tur Dal – 1 cup
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Cherry tomatoes – 8
Cooking oil – I tsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Green chillies – 2
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Coriander leaves – a few
Salt – 1 tsp
1.Cook dal in 2.5 cups of water and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker.
2. Mash dal well to a gravy consistency and add salt.
3. Heat oil in a small seasoning ladle and add the mustard seeds.
4. When it splutters add asafetida and chopped green chillies.
5. Add the seasoning to the dal.
6. Slide the cherry tomatoes whole (Cut the big ones into halves) into the dal.
7. Stir covered with a lid and simmers it for two minutes.
8. Add chopped coriander leaves.
9. Enjoy with chapaties or rice with a blob of butter and a squeeze of lime for the tang.
Footnotes by Tara:If you are unfamiliar with tur dal, substitute with yellow split peas. Also, if you do not have a pressure cooker you can soak and boil the yellow split peas until they are soft and mashable.
Some delicious Soup and Pasta prepared by my daughter-in-law Tara, with the produce from Abundant Harvest.
Soup Au Pisto