Posted on November 21 2010
My kids and I had a great day visiting a friend’s farm in North Stamford, Connecticut. So many vegetables were ready to be picked and it's mid November - this farm was full of organic carrots, parsley, radishes, broccoli and cabbage. Rush and Seka, now 3 ½ and 2, had the best time pulling out the carrots and radishes and putting them in their basket. My son’s favorite story is Peter Rabbit, so he wanted us to pretend that we were replaying the story.
We also visited our old beehives. My father and I used to keep bees in Connecticut (I started beekeeping at age 10), but when my dad sold his house, the bees went with it. Now the hives are on this farm property. The bees are still incredibly productive (Doug, the beekeeper, told me he requeens the hives every year to keep them thriving ). The bees in the US are Italian Honey bees which are generally very docile – quite the opposite of the Africanized honey bees that I worked with in Paraguay. We are standing right next to the bees while they conduct their daily business - collecting nectar, pollen and propolis from the surrounding flowers and trees. They are gearing up for the winter, ensuring enough food to get them through the long New England winter.
We had a wonderful day. Came back to NYC with a bag full of yummy vegetables.
I made an unusal borcht with the collection of vegetables (the kids love eating red soup).
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 celery stalks, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, sliced
3 beets, sliced
1 leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or as needed
Bring the broth to a simmer while you peel and prepare the vegetables. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat with the oil. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the marjoram. Add an inch of broth and steam the celery, carrot, leeks and beets. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 8 minutes. Add all the broth and the bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Simmer, partially covered, until the soup is flavorful and the vegetables are completely tender, about 15 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Blend the entire soup but leave some chuncky vegetables.