Salad week, invisible caterpillars and rain

We are heading to Tennessee next Thursday to visit friends, my sister is here visiting now, it’s in the mid-90’s all week…  I declared this “Salad week”. Unfortunately there’s not much at the farmer’s market right now except eggplants, chili peppers (which we’re also growing), and watermelons, which we’re all heartily tired of already. So I skipped the farmer’s market this week and did all of my shopping at Wards. I don’t usually see the ratio of our groceries all laid out on the conveyor belt at once. Our shopping is usually done between three or four stops with the majority of the produce being bought a little at a time and put in the basket. I filled half the cart with produce alone, much of it grown in Florida. Then came the meat, bread, milk, eggs, and a few extra things like sea salt, goat cheese and hand lotion. It was a good ratio and made me proud that we’ve come so far.

Ripe ancho pepper, hiding from me

Then of course we had to stop at Publix on the way home and buy dinner because it was too late to cook what we had planned. So we bought frozen cheese ravioli and jarred marinara, store-bought Cuban bread which we made into garlic bread with local garlic chives and my homegrown oregano, and I sauteed some local shiitakes and added them to the sauce. But that’s okay. It was a healthy vegetarian meal. I added locally grown ingredients to processed foods. Most importantly, it was delicious and way less expensive than going to a restaurant.

Tonight- Seared steak salad, breaded artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, leftover garlic bread and chimichurri
Monday- Florida Crunch Salad (yes, again!)
Tuesday- broiled trout, roasted beets and purple Japanese sweet potatoes, macaroni & cheese
Wednesday- crockpot mojo pork taco salad with leftover grilled corn, homemade refried black beans, and Florida avocado
Lunches- Tahini curried carrot salad, cold cha soba noodle salad with leftover chicken
Baking- butternut squash brioche, and I must do something with all these pears, maybe this, but probably pear butter and then this with pear butter instead of applesauce and bananas.

It has been raining off and on for the last three days. I think the rainy season has finally arrived! The pond is full and the plants are all happy… and so are the bugs. I didn’t check my garden for a full two days and in a mere 48 hours something stripped every leaf off the top half of four out of five of my tomato plants. The carnage is unbelievable.

Damn caterpillars.

The strangest part is that I could not find the culprit anywhere. That much damage in that short time, leaves as well as green tomatoes eaten, was probably the work of a tomato hornworm, but the fat caterpillar must’ve either pupated or been eaten by a hungry bird because there’s no sign anywhere.

A riot of cantaloupe vines, but no fruit

The rain has also made the field peas and cantaloupes grow like these fast-motion films, but no flowers on the beans and no fruit on the cantaloupe. I think I just planted them too late, I think I’m just going to pull everything and start over in late August.

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