by in Garden.

This season the Mountain Xpress, our local paper, has added a new series to the Farm/Garden section in which they ask a local grower five questions pertaining to their work. The series covers many types of projects such as: community gardens, herb gardens, and… us!

Sunny Point Café garden was featured in this new series. Here is the link to the article:

http://mountainx.com/living/farm-garden/five-questions-with-a-local-grower-sunny-point-cafe/

One of the questions in the article asked what one of our favorite recipes is from the garden. The kitchen submitted a delicious Strawberry Salad with local goat cheese and a Rhubarb vinaigrette.

Strawberry-Rhubarb-Salad

Strawberry Salad with Local Goat Cheese and a Rhubarb Vinaigrette:

For the salad:

6 cups fresh spring greens (baby spinach, arugula, deer tongue lettuce)

3 cups sliced ripe strawberries

6 ounces fresh local goat cheese

For the vinaigrette:

1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb stalk

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

1/2 cup rice bran oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

 

1. To make the vinaigrette, place shallot, rhubarb, honey and water in a small sauce pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook until rhubarb just begins to break down. Remove from heat and cool.

2. Add raspberry vinegar, mustard, oil, salt, and pepper to the rhubarb mixture and puree until smooth using a stick blender.

3. Wash greens and pile in a large bowl.

4. Place sliced strawberries in a small bowl and toss with 1/2 cup vinaigrette.

5. Top with crumbled goat cheese and serve with Salted Lavender Shortbread.

 

In our next post we will provide the recipe for the Salted Lavender Honey Shortbread to accompany this salad… Yum!

 
by in Garden.

Artichokes-startsOne of the absolute joys of the quiet down-time of winter is to pore over seed catalogues and dream and scheme about the season ahead. Here at the Sunny Point Café garden we start nearly all of our own vegetable and flower plants from seed.

A tiny packet of seeds is full of so much potential…it is truly magic. To make the magic happen requires a certain number of variables, but mostly utilizing common sense and some research can get you through and lead to successful seed starting.

Most seeds, such as tomatoes and basil, need warm soil temperatures in which to germinate well, so we start them under an indoor lighting system before transitioning them outside when temperatures rise. Other seeds, like peas and beets, can be direct sown in the garden in early spring.

Each plant has different needs, so just read the seed packet. (Or you can buy plant starts at the garden center, too.) It may seem a bit daunting, but remember that seeds are designed to survive and thrive and go it alone. In other words, seeds are pretty tough, we just help them along with some tender, loving care…

 
by in Garden.

Ah, dirt. It is lovely stuff. Especially in a freshly turned over garden. Soil structure is an important component for a happy garden, and springtime is an excellent opportunity to amend your soil.

It is okay if soil quality is poor, that’s why there are amendments! Soil is something that is worked at, maintained, and given a certain amount of love. These nutritious additions come in many forms: manure, compost, leaf mulch, etc.

The important aspect in soil is organic matter, for healthy soil is home to worms and other organisms that keep the cycle of soil and plant life going. This week we’ve been hard at work adding compost to our raised beds to get them all set for the seedlings we have started. More on seedlings soon.

 
by in Garden.

Spring has sprung! Well, almost… Although there was a layer of snow on the ground just days ago, the signs of the arrival of spring are all around. After this long winter, seeing the bulbs emerge from the ground is a site for sore eyes! We, here at Sunny Point Café, are thrilled to gear up for the growing season. The tiny baby seedlings are emerging and garden plans are being set into motion… Look forward to sharing this season with you.

 
by in Garden.

SP-Garden-FirecrackerOne of my favorite flowering vines in the garden this Fall is the Firecracker Vine (Scientific Name: Mina Lobata). The blooms  transition from white-yellow-orange-red along the stem and are especially beautiful when the sun hits them and they seem to glow. As we head into October the vines are dense with flowers and quite spectacular. Look for them growing up our fences around the garden.

 

 

 
by in Garden.

Cucumber-watermelon-saladCucumber Watermelon Salad

  • 1/2 seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 4 lbs cucumbers, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne

Mix all ingredients together. Chill for a cool refreshing summer salad. Garnish with mint.

Note: We’ve added some of our garden grown Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers to this salad. They look like miniature watermelons and have a more tangy/lemony flavor then regular cucumbers.