by in Garden.

SP-garden-bouncy-zooSP-garden-bouncy-duckIf you’ve walked through our garden the last couple years you have no doubt seen the playground bouncy animals located at the top of the garden nearest the restaurant. Those are on loan from Old Town Salvage, a terrific local business that dismantles old buildings and salvages the materials for reuse. One of the largest local projects Old Town Salvage took on was dismantling the old buildings on the soon-to-open New Belgium Brewing site. The New Belgium tasting room will include many of the materials salvaged from the old stockyard site. The bouncy animals didn’t come from there, but during that deconstruction process we became aware of Old Town Salvage and when we saw a posting about the bouncy animals on their Facebook page contacted them to see if they’d be interested in a loan arrangement.

We’ve had a few different animals make appearances in the garden”zoo” since Bradley, owner of Old Town Salvage, has quite a collection and comes by to rotate them out now and again. We think they add personality to our garden and definitely have made the wait for a table much more fun. Currently we have a duck, a horse and a caterpillar on site.

 
by in Garden.

July is when harvesting time really starts to take off in our on-site garden. We are so excited to see tomatoes ripening, pole beans covering our archways, cucumber vines loaded down and squash blossoms buzzing with bees.

As many of you wander through the garden you’ve noticed that we often grown unusual varieties of common vegetables. That is one of the great joys of having our own garden, we can experiment. Our harvest basket from yesterday showcases some of these unusual vegetables – just look at all the amazing colors!

SP-Garden-JulyHarvest-basket

Top row, left to right: Grey Griller Squash (partially in photo), Zucchini, Islander Lilac Bell Peppers
Center row, left to right: Dragon’s Egg Cucumber, Pencil Pod Bush Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Bennings Green Tint Scallop Squash
Front town, left to right: Trionfo Violetto Pole Beans, Rattlesnake Pole Beans, Parisian Pickling Cucumbers, Mexican Sour Gherkins, Dragon’s Egg Cucumber

 
by in Garden.

As promised, here is the recipe for the Shortbread to accompany the Strawberry Rhubarb Salad from the most recent post, or it could go with another salad of your choice, or just have it as a snack!

Salted Lavender Honey Shortbread
Ingredients:
7 1/2 oz All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Lavender flowers
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Honey
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Flake Sea Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour and cornstarch into a large bowl.
2. Place sugar in a small bowl, add the lavender and rub the blossoms into the sugar with your fingers to release the oils.
3. Add salt, butter, honey, vanilla, and sugar mixture to the flour. Using a pastry cutter or finger tips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal and will just hold together.
4. Gather dough into a ball then roll into a 2 inch diameter cylinder. Wrap in clear plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Cut the cylinder into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle top with flake sea salt and place in preheated oven and bake until just begging to brown on the edges.

Enjoy!

 
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…