Category: Patsy Harman

Preserving Your Excess Veggies – Aug 28, 2014

Preserving Your Excess Veggies

by Patsy Harman

Once upon a time, Tom and I and our fellow hippies on the commune, had a root cellar full of hundreds of canning jars filled with tomatoes, green beans, beets, corn and winter squash and apples. Their colors gleamed like jewels in the dim cellar light. We grew and preserved all the produce that we ate, but those days are long gone. Now, we donÂ’t have the time.

The thing is you donÂ’t have to be the king and queen of mason jars to enjoy summer and fall produce, long after snow has covered the ground.
If your veggies are mounting up in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter, donÂ’t abandon them to the compost pile. HereÂ’s some easy ways to preserve your produce that wonÂ’t take all day.

Easy ways to Freeze (and if your fridge doesnÂ’t have a big enough freezer you can buy an energy efficient new chest freezer for around $200. Used ones on craigslist are more like $100)

1. Tomatoes. Simplest way. Wash tomatoes, cut off the bad spots, pop a few in a freezer bag and chuck them in the freezer. Really!? Come on!
(I have a friend who always does this.) In the winter, you thaw them out, slip off the skins if you wish, cut them up and throw them in with your lentil beans, beef stew or casserole. Is that cool or what?

2. Multi veggie soup stock This is what I do, and itÂ’s not very hard. If I have a little of this and a little of that, one summer squash, four soft tomatoes, a handful of green beans and an onion, I get some V-8 juice or maybe some organic chicken broth and after cleaning and cutting up the produce cook it up until just barely tender, add salt to taste, let cool, pour it into quart freezer bags and put them in the freezer. In the winter, you can add meat or rice or pour over noodles. Yum! Summer veggies in February! Makes you feel rich.

3. Corn on the Cob Peel off the husks, rinse and blanch for three minutes, let cool enough so the cobs wonÂ’t melt the plastic and then put 5-6 ears in a gallon freezer bag. (You can save room by cutting the kernels off and put them in the bag without the cobs, only itÂ’s not as much fun.)

And thereÂ’s an even easier way. Take very fresh corn, peel off most of the husk, leaving only a thin layer of green and without blanching put the corn cobs in bags and freeze. No kidding. You donÂ’t even cook them. I havenÂ’t tried this method yet, I just found it on-line, but IÂ’m going to experiment. The blogger said she has kept the corncobs, with good results, for 6-9 months and they still tasted great. It works best if you get the fresh local produce in the freezer the day it is picked.

Drying IÂ’ll admit in the old days, back on the hippie farm, we dried both veggies and fruit on window screens out on the yard, but thereÂ’s a newer better way and IÂ’m thinking of trying it. Online or at Target or Sears you can buy a dehydrator for between $40 and $100. WouldnÂ’t that be great in the winter? To have dried tomatoes with basil and oregano? Dried green beans with a little salt or hot sauce? Dried apples? Dried slices of squash?

Whatever your method of preserving, donÂ’t kill all the vitamins. You are saving a bit of sunlight for the cold and stormy days ahead.

Farmer SkyÂ’s Mom, Patsy Harman

pick list this week:
sweet corn- the first of many!
salad mix
cherry tomatoes



Kohlrabi – Volume 2 | Number 6 July 18th, 2014

Volume 2 | Number 6 July 18th, 2014


By Patsy Harman
For the past two Tuesdays, IÂ’ve greeted the Cheat Lake Harmony Farm CSA members as theyÂ’ve come to get their shares. IÂ’m not great with names, but IÂ’m gradually getting to know the people and sometimes even their dogs.

IÂ’m not a farmer, just Farmer SkyÂ’s Mom, but he orients me about the produce, how many heads of lettuce each participant gets, how many zucchini and how many cucumbers. By the time the cars and trucks start to roll in, youÂ’d think I know what IÂ’m doing.

PatsyÂ’s granddaughter, Alice, with a giant zucchini.

PatsyÂ’s granddaughter, Alice, with a giant zucchini.

What I love the most is peopleÂ’s appreciation for the wonderful locally grown chemical-free produce they are getting. The quality of the veggies is really apparent in the color and of course the taste, but they donÂ’t know that until they get home.

“I love Tuesday dinner,” one man told me. “We never know until we pick up our veggies what we’ll be having for dinner and it’s always good.”

“Tuesday is experimental night at our house,” another woman told me. “There’s always something to try that we haven’t had before. Often we have to do some research to figure out how to cook it.”

This week hardly anyone had tried Kohlrabi. It’s easy to see how kohlrabi would throw you off the first time you see it. It looks a little like a vegetable grown on Mars, but really it’s a relative in the cabbage and kale family. .

The way I like to eat Kolrabi is raw. You cut the little pointy things, peel it, slice it, sprinkle it with salt and bite down. ItÂ’s kind of like a sweet over grown radish. You can also slice and dice it and put it in salads. If the Kolrabi is especially small and tender you donÂ’t even have to peel it, though most people do.

Five Great Ways to use Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi can get lost if mixed with too many other vegetables or flavors, so try simple preparations where the kohlrabi can take center stage. (No matter how you prepare your kohlrabi, itÂ’s best to peel off the outermost layer with a vegetable peeler.

Freshly harvested garlic curing.

Freshly harvested garlic curing.

1. Sliced thin and eaten raw. Toss them in a salad or eat them on their own with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.

2. Made into fritters. This is a great way to get kids to eat their kohlrabi! Shred the vegetable and mix with an egg and a few tablespoons of flour. Heat oil or butter in a flat skillet, drop on small mounds, and flatten slightly with the back of your spatula. Turn after a few minutes, and serve when both sides are crispy.

3. In soup. Try kohlrabi pureed in a soup with mild spices so that sweet kohlrabi flavor can really shine through. I like it with curry.

4. Roasted. When roasted in the oven, the outside of the kohlrabi caramelizes, and the flavor sweetens and mellows. You can slice the kohlrabi thin for toasted “chips” or cube it.

5. Steamed. Throw steamed kohlrabi into frittatas, stir-fries, and pasta dishes.

CSA pick-list

Carrots! – Enjoy!
Cabbage- Enjoy! A great time for slaw! Lettuce- Enjoy!
Green Beans- Enjoy!
Scallions- Enjoy!
Zucchini- Enjoy!
Cucumber- Enjoy!
Kohlrabi- I love them sliced thinly with a dash of salt.
Parsley- A great addition of many dishes, parsley has more vitamin C than Oranges.

A young indigo apple tomato in the field

A young indigo apple tomato in the field


We Are What We Eat – Field Notes Volume 1 | Number 19 October 10, 2013

Field Notes
Volume 1 | Number 19 October 10, 2013


By Patsy Harman

As a GYN provider, I see patients everyday that have a variety of health problems. Not just the garden variety(no pun intended) yeast infections, painful monthlies and breast lumps youÂ’d expect a womenÂ’s nurse practitioner might see, but more serious conditions like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Most of these women have primary care providers who are prescribing the appropriate medication, but the women are discouraged. They donÂ’t want to be on so many pills; they still feel lousy and they arenÂ’t getting any better. The problem is that while they decry the need for the capsules and tablets, they have no other approach to their aliments.
Certainly there are genetic factors occasionally involved. Some people, no matter how much they exercise or how perfectly they eat have dangerously high cholesterol. Their father died of a heart attack at 45 and they need the pills if they want to make it to old age, but thatÂ’s not the case with the rest of us.

Baby Purple Carrot!

Baby Purple Carrot!

Though I talk to every patient who is over or underweight (not many of those) about diet and exercise and what they can do better, I only recently started talking to people about the quality of their food or where it comes from.
?As a way into the conversation, I tell them that IÂ’ve been eating more veggies this year and loving them. I tell them that the colors of the food often indicate something about the health benefits and that by buying local chemical free fruits and veggies you can enjoy your food more.
So you and my patients wonÂ’t think IÂ’m too pure, IÂ’ll admit that I, like the rest of America, canÂ’t resist a sweet, creamy, starchy treat. If thereÂ’s chocolate or caramel in it, thatÂ’s even better, but the question is, do we need everything that is available to us on the grocery shelves? Rows and rows and rows of processed foods, breakfast cereals, pasta dishes out of the box, puddings, cakes, and 20 variations on the Pop-Tarts? No.
Interestingly, as part of this conversation about diet and exercise, when I ask my patients what they think they could do better, this is what I hear over and over. “Eat more fruits and vegetables and cut out the fast food.” It’s almost universal. People know what to do, but they don’t do it. So why not?

Pea Shoots reaching for the Sky

Pea Shoots reaching for the Sky

Maybe it’s because as a kid, “Eat your vegetables,” was our mother’s mantra, but the veggies just weren’t that good. “When I was a girl,” I tell my patients. “I don’t remember loving carrots or greens or even tomatoes. I ate them because I was told too. Now it’s different, to eat a carrot that’s just been picked is a treat. To eat fresh greens grown in healthy soil is better than dessert!” Some of the women might roll their eyes, but when I encourage them to treat themselves by making a trip to the Farmers Market or investing in a subscription to a CSA, I hope they will think about it.

Everyone wants to live well and be happy and healthy, right? To get off the medicines and feel strong? But as Americans we have to think differently. We are what we eat, thatÂ’s the old mantra, and no matter what ails you, friend, good food can help.
Be Well- Patsy Harman

CSA pick-list
Peppers- Green, Red, or Orange Bell plus a few hot peppers.
Baby Spinach – Enjoy!
Baby Arugula – Mild. Great as a salad green.
Sugar Snap Peas – Enjoy!
Kale- Red Russian Variety
Eggplant- Th e plast eggplant of the season! Some of you all love it, so I am giving it another week. If you still want more please ask.
Parsley- Did you know it has more vit C
than oranges? ItÂ’s super food, I love to simply eat it as a snack.
Enjoy- Farmer Sky

Mustards and arugula ready for harvest

Mustards and arugula ready for harvest