A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

And so the harvest begins

We’ve waited for this all year – well, since last year this time, anyway! After all the cultivating, sowing, weeding and watering, our vegetable garden is finally starting to come good.

Yes, we’ve had our cucumber glut already. But quite honestly, I can’t get too excited about cucumbers! We’ve had a huge number of the blighters this year, and I’ve made soup, pickles, tzatziki and so on til it’s coming out of my ears! Luckily, not everyone we know has a vegetable garden, so friends and family have reaped the rewards from our abundance.

Now, it’s time for the big guns of the garden. Watermelon – sweet and ripe, a lovely dessert. Sweet corn – what can I say? If you’ve never had sweet corn fresh from the garden, you don’t know what you’re missing. Supermarket stuff just doesn’t make it. Peppers – bell, Italian and hot. A huge number, as long as we’re down early enough to beat the mice to them!

Vegetables gathered this morning

And tomatoes. How we yearn for a fresh tomato all winter. We try them from the supermarket when we get desperate enough, but it’s just not worth buying them. They are red, they have the same shape, but they taste like cardboard – and the scary thing is, they never go off! That can’t be a good thing.

We’ve just picked our first decent number of tomatoes today. Raf, plum, Italian beefsteak. And Black Russians, too – an heirloom variety with incredible taste, but it suffers so badly from blossom end rot that (sadly) I will not be planting it again.

Today, I made our first batch of gazpacho, and what a taste of summer that is.

Tomorrow, I’ll take the remaining tomatoes picked this morning, and start my first batch of tomato puree. When we open a jar in the dark depths of winter, the incredible smell will remind us of this summer day…

Gazpacho for 2

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 green peppers, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 kilo tomatoes, mixed varieties, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 mild chili pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Add the above to a blender and puree. Chill and serve.

Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

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