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Oct 8 2014

Will Sukkot Be the Same If We Leave the Farm?

By at 11:17 am


On Sunday afternoon, our family walked around the farm looking for a place to build our sukkah. I like to have a new location each year so we can have distinct memories of each Sukkot.

We chose a sandy spot near the barn on the top of a hill that we called the beach when we first moved in because it is the sandiest soil on the farm. It is a spot where you can grow Mediterranean herbs and not much else, where you can imagine a desert, imagine the land of Israel. Imagine a new home.

Sukkot is always one of our favorite Jewish holidays. We love building our sukkah right on the edge of our fields in the midst of the fall harvest. Sukkot is the perfect holiday for Jewish farmers like us, connecting us directly with farmers from long ago, celebrating the bounty and enjoying the first cool days. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 18 2014

Planting a Vegetable Garden is a Lot Like Raising Children

By at 12:08 pm


I knew I wanted the house.

It needed work, but I could see the potential hidden under the atrocious paint colors and dog hair. But the threat of homebuyer’s remorse struck my husband and I simultaneously. We looked at each other panicked, suddenly looking for a reason to bail. Standing side-by-side in the yard, we glanced at the row of dying azaleas baking in mid-July sun. “Those bushes need to go,” I murmured.

The real estate agent paused and then gestured at the weed-choked rectangle. “It’s probably too sunny for this kind of plant. But this would be a great space for a garden!”

My cold feet warmed and once again I saw what the house, and the grounds, could be. By autumn, it was ours. At some point, we pulled out the bushes, but never got around to doing anything more. The timing was never right. The wedding, summer jobs, home renovations, two pregnancies, sleepless nights with a baby and a toddler, a sick relative, a new boss… for the past seven years, there was always something. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 8 2013

My Kid Won’t Eat Veggies, But I’m Not to Blame

By at 9:49 am


When my daughter started eating solid foods, we did exactly as the pediatrician said. Start with rice cereal, then move to fruits and vegetables that are yellow & orange, then to fruits and vegetables that are green, purple, and red. My daughter liked to eat and I never really thought more about it. As she grew older, she grew pickier. She moved from eating most things to only eating some things to only eating a few things: macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, bagels (with butter, no cream cheese), grilled cheese, and a pretty good variety of fruit. But NO VEGETABLES.

No vegetables. Not one, not ever. When she was 2 1/2, we went to a friend’s house, who just happens to be a professional chef, and she served purple and orange carrots, roasted vegetables, and meatloaf with veggies hidden inside. My daughter picked at the meatloaf, but that was it. At 3 years old, I hosted a dinner play date for a bunch of friends. We made ravioli, edamame, and steamed carrots. My daughter refused the carrots, only tried the edamame because we called them magic beans while singing a song from Yo Gabba Gabba about trying new foods, and she even hated the ravioli, which is cheese and pasta–the same as macaroni and cheese–but I guess it’s not, to her. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 10 2013

Mixed Marriages–Vegetarian & Carnivore Edition

By at 12:09 pm

We all know studies have shown that married couples who share religious beliefs, practices, and values have an easier time maintaining a successful relationship. What about food values? This also matters.

First it’s just about the two of you. Then you have kids. That united front every child development expert will tell you to present, should probably include food. That has proven easier said than done in my house. I think we’ve become experts at the art of compromise. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 11 2012

Kale Chips: A Surprising Hit with Preschoolers

By at 9:33 am
kale chips

A preschooler snagging thirds!

Last week, my sweet boy turned 5 and we celebrated by hosting his preschool class at our farm for a treasure hunt, pony rides with a neighbor, and lunch. He originally requested a party at one of those indoor bouncy centers, so I was very happy that we were able to coax, sell, and redirect him toward a homespun farm party.

The day before the party, my husband brought in a large bag of tender baby kale from the farm–the first of the spring new growth. When I asked my son what we should serve as a snack for the party, he completely surprised me by suggesting kale chips. I laughed and wondered how they would go over with his class that is used to much more standard preschool fare. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2012

On the Farm: Adventures in Pickling

By at 12:30 pm

I love the taste of naturally fermented sour dill pickles. Since I don’t live anywhere near a Jewish deli and I have lots of fresh vegetables on hand from the farm, I really want to learn to make my own. But my initial attempts at pickling have not been a success.

Natural fermentation is the traditional way of making pickles taste like they are fresh from the barrel at a Jewish deli rather than fished out of a jar from the supermarket. They are not packed with any vinegar and not refrigerated, giving them the amazing taste and some say great health benefits. I put off trying my own naturally fermented pickles for years, using the excuse of being pregnant and nursing young children. It seemed to me that if you can’t eat feta, you should think twice about eating food left soaking on your counter for a week or more. Read the rest of this entry →

May 10 2011

Eating Like You’re in Israel

By at 9:12 am

The fruit and vegetables are so fresh in Israel that I even like eating things like fennel and beets.

I’m no world traveler, but I have spent a fair amount of time in Israel. And it’s a pretty amazing country. From the history beneath your feet to the vistas of the desert to the food. Oh, the food. I spent a summer in Israel and went to the shuk (outdoor market) almost daily–buying fresh vegetables and fruits to eat for dinner that night, eating just-baked pita bread as I wandered through. I don’t think I’ve ever loved vegetables the way I do in Israel–they’re just so fresh, and once you’ve bargained with the guys at the shuk to get them down a shekel, you feel like a million bucks.

Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day. It’s like our Fourth of July, but supposedly with a lot more Silly String involved. I’m not going to make it to Israel this year for the celebration, but in honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, I’m going to make Israeli food like it’s going out of style. You can too–just check out these excellent recipes. Enjoy!

Baba Ganoush (a creamy, eggplant-based dip that goes great with pita bread or fresh vegetables)

Falafel You may want to break out the deep-fryer for this one, but oh man, these chickpea balls are delicious!

Hummus Kids love to eat it, and it’s easy to make too. Spread it on bread with some sprouts, tomato, and cucumber for a delicious and nutritious sandwich.

Israeli Breakfast Recipes In Israel, breakfast is filled with salads, vegetables, and dips–not at all like the carb-loaded breakfast here in the States. These healthier recipes will give your breakfast a whole new flavor.

Pita The flatbread of choice in Israel. You haven’t really tried it until you’ve tasted it hot from the oven. mmmmm.

Sabich Admittedly, I’ve never tried this sandwich. But with hummus, fried eggplant, Israeli salad, and hard-boiled eggs, how could you go wrong?

Schnitzel Basically a fried chicken cutlet. I like to eat them with ketchup.

Shakshuka consists of eggs poached in a thick tomato sauce. You’ve got to sop this one up with pita bread. (And if you don’t feel like cooking yourself, and if you’re lucky enough to live in Brooklyn, NY, like I am, you can have this made for you at this local restaurant.)


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