By Peggy Ryden, Becketwood Member
The spring of 2019 marked my second year of gardening at Becketwood. Adjusting from our previous home’s garden to a tiny garden plot was as challenging for me as downsizing our home itself: a 5' x 7' garden plot fills up pretty quickly! With last year’s experiences in mind, I decided to be more intentional about what I’d grow and that I’d photograph foods I’d make throughout the growing season.
Truth be told, I’d rather cook food than grow or eat it; the visual, tactile, and aroma of food inspires me. Tomatoes ripen and I see salsa, rhubarb flourishes and I smell a bundt cake. And, hold me back at the sight of feathery dill fronds: sriracha dill dip, cucumber dill salad, egg salad with dill. The options seem endless.
My first opportunity to capture Becketwood’s bounty arose with the early arrival of chives shared from Lorene Liddle’s garden. The buttermilk biscuits were bursting with chives tucked between flakey layers of butter--delicious!
The next harvest offered rhubarb and raspberries. With large ruffled green leaves held high above juicy red stalks, the rhubarb cried out “rhubarb pecan coffee cake, please.” So, with rhubarb from Terry Vrabel Sonier's garden, dessert was on the table. And, although Becketwood's raspberry patch didn’t flourish this year, I gathered enough to make another personal favorite--oatmeal raspberry bars.
Next, our gardens welcomed the arrival of an early summer that provided enough dill to gather for a sriracha dill dip. With pea pods shared from Loren Flicker’s garden, the first cherry tomatoes and parsley from our garden, an evening appetizer was assembled--a visual feast!
Then, there’s always a few gardening experiments. I had a beautiful row of lush carrot greens (with mutant carrots hidden below). I couldn't resist a laugh with the grater out as I sized up the bowl of carrots for a carrot cake (abandoned project, carrots composted).
Getting into the full swing of summer: TOMATOES! Roma, Beefsteak, and Sweet 100s were all to be transformed. Many tomatoes from my garden were roasted in olive oil with garlic, prepped for salsa and sauces, then bagged and frozen.
With fall approaching, and our gardens waning, a simple caprese salad was on the menu. Working with tomatoes from my garden, basil from Carol Masters, and a cucumber from Helen Grant, I crafted a simple salad. This salad, dressed with a light touch of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt flakes reminds me of Italy.
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that the bounty of Becketwood's gardens also provide food for the wildlife outside our front doors. Taking time to observe the flurry of critters dining al fresco is fascinating and relaxing.
My thanks to all Becketwood gardeners for a grand year of friendship, sharing, and rewarding cooking adventures. Until next year: bon appetit!