We made it through a tough week with record-breaking heat and some minor problems with the pond pump and irrigation system. With the help of David George, we are thankful to have it back up and functioning properly. David has been the perennial hero for Gaia Gardens since the time of the first gardener. We are incredibly grateful to him for his dedication, hard work, and vision.
We finished mulching the cherry tomatoes, eggplant and sweet pepper plants last week. Among other benefits, mulching conserves water, first by absorbing and retaining water received (through rain or irrigation), and second by preventing evaporation from the soil. This is a highly beneficial practice for a sustainable agricultural system in both wet and dry times.
We are very excited to see the tomato plants producing beautiful and tasty fruits in abundance. We are thrilled to see our second harvest of green beans for the season taking off. The eggplants are very healthy and the fruits are almost flawless, while the okra is coming along beautifully. And our sweet peppers are ripening and tasting super-sweet!
Sweet Pepper Origin: Sweet peppers are members of the nightshade family of plants, along with tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant (also grown at Love is Love Farm). They are native to Mexico, Central America and South America and were brought to Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Eventually the plant travelled to other European, African and Asian countries. In fact, today China is the largest producer of bell peppers, followed by Mexico.
Health and Nutrition: The more ripened the pepper (from green to red), the greater the nutritional benefits and antioxidant capacity. Peppers have a high content of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. In fact, a nice sized red pepper contains almost three times the amount of Vitamin C found in an orange! Peppers also contain carotenoid nutrients (like tomatoes), which have antioxidant properties.
SAUTEED PEPPERS WITH CAPERS (adapted from Alice Waters’ recipe featured in her book, “The Art of Simple Food”)
- 3 sweet peppers, preferably different colors/types
- 1 onion
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped coarse
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs. Slice thin the peppers and onion. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add peppers, season with salt to taste and stir for another 4 – 6 minutes, until peppers begin to soften. Stir in garlic and capers and cook for another few minutes. Toss with basil and serve drizzled with olive oil.