Let’s Get Gardening!

As winters sits behind us (thank goodness!) and spring begins to show its face, it’s time to start thinking about the garden. Each year, as the weather tries to make up its mind, we are given plenty of opportunities to start the planning process for the garden. Here are some tips we consider each year at this time that you can put to use in your own garden:

  1. Start with the basics. Deciding what to grow is always the easiest place to begin. Consider what is most important to your diet and needs. Don’t forget to include your neighbors because each year a garden usually produces more than one family can handle. Gardening allows us to connect to our community through the food we grow.
  2. Prep the soil. As we’ve seen this year, these late winter months usually bring iffy weather, so watch for the dry days and get that soil tilled and ready for those seedlings to be tucked in!
  3. Mulch, mulch, mulch! You’d be surprised how far a little mulch will go to protect your plants, especially in an uncertain temperature fluctuation (we call that Kentucky). This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. As a matter of fact, most resources needed for your garden are usually readily available in your own yard. We use leaf mulch. It adds a blanket to our soil, helping insulate and protect sprouts as they reach up from the dirt toward the sun. Not to mention, it’s free!
  4. Get things in early. Just because we are still shivering, doesn’t mean our plants are. A lot of the things we grow are adapted to these uncertain cold snaps. For instance, peas and carrots should always be planted as soon as the ground can be worked. They can handle more than you’d think.

Cole crops, or brassicas, such as cabbage, kales, broccoli and collards are extremely cold hearty, but why wait for sprouts in the garden when you could have them growing in your window waiting for warmer days? (They have to be coming soon, right?) Seed the restnot all things like to be transplanted. Crops like lettuces, beets, radishes and turnips would all rather be directly seeded into our gardens. And don’t worry, they too are more cold hearty than given credit.

The view of The Trustees’ Table standing in the garden area. Music on the Lawn starts in May!

If gardening isn’t your thing, no worriesit’s ours and we invite you to come visit! Each year, we produce a high diversity of vegetables for The Trustees’ Table, where you’re served a seasonal and sustainable selection of vegetables from our farm to your fork. Visit The Farm any day of the week to see what’s sprouting (and even take a little taste), during our Spring Farm Tasting program where visitors sample seasonal selections from the greenhouse and garden, including our fresh herbs. Glean from the first flavors of spring while uncovering the Shaker practice of spiritual cultivation through preparing the fields for planting. Stop by and talk to us while you’re here. We’d love to hear about your own gardening practices. Then, make a reservation at The Trustees’ Table to see what our chef has created from our bounty.

Happy Plantings!


Mike Moore, Assistant Farm Manager

Shaker Lemon Pie

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Tables are a place for gathering. For sharing stories. And for sharing pie.

Shaker communities were efficient and economical; therefore, they believed in using their energy and resources to the best of their ability. Take Shaker Lemon Pie, for example. Like today, lemons didn’t grow in all regions of the country, so when the Shakers got their hands on fresh lemons, they used their time and resources wisely, utilizing every last ounce—including the seeds and rind—to make this simple yet delicious dessert.

Tomorrow, The Trustees’ Table will be filled with friends and families celebrating a day of thanks together. Around our table. Our dining room typically serves 600 people on Thanksgiving Day. The Village has become a home to those who have made a tradition of staying at The Inn and dining at our table during this autumn holiday. The staff look forward to greeting guests who return to Shaker Village year after year for fellowship (and pie). Our tables have seen so much since we served our first meal in 1968—and that doesn’t count the 100 years the Pleasant Hill Shakers welcomed guests to their table on this very site.

The bakery staff have spent hours preparing Thursday’s feast that includes 36 Shaker Lemon Pies, 30 chocolate chess pies and 20 pumpkin cheesecake pies. And that’s only the sweet stuff…

Whatever table you’ll be gathered around tomorrow, we hope it’s shared with the ones you love and really good pie.


{ S H A K E R  L E M O N  P I E  R E C I P E }

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Ingredients:

2 large lemons
4 eggs, well beaten
2 cups sugar

Directions:

Slice lemons thin as paper, rind and all. Combine with sugar and mix well. Let stand 2 hours or preferably overnight, blending occasionally. Add beaten eggs to lemon mixture, mix well. Turn into a 9-inch pie shell, arranging lemon slices evenly. Cover with top crust. Cut several slits near center.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes or until a knife inserted near the edge of the pie comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Opulent Okra

As fall rapidly approaches, the summer stalwarts of the garden often choose to go out with a bang. Tomatoes ripen at twice the rate of past weeks, as do the peppers. No crop displays this late season grandeur more dramatically than okra. This rarely recognized, often misunderstood plant thrives during summer’s most relentless heat more so than all the rest and likewise is the first to show signs of the cooler nights. This is the time it’s been waiting for—as have we.

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The magnificent flowers that precede the okra pods last longer into the day, thanks to the cooler weather, and are perhaps the most striking flowers to grow in the garden all year. Closely related to hibiscus, they put on quite a show, perched atop 6-ft. plants and producing new flowers at break-neck pace. What comes next are the fruits, which seem to grow at twice the rate the flowers do. Often three harvests per week is not enough to stay on top of the onslaught. By now, we’ve used the pods for nearly everything we can think of, and large pots of gumbo seem increasingly appropriate as we begin to add layers of clothing in the evenings.

Throughout the season, some of the pods just slip past us. Mortal gardeners are rarely able to get them all before they go tough and so they accumulate. These striped and dried oddities—often in excess of 8 inches—will have other novel uses. The seeds rattle more as the pods dry out, making them a fine choice for Halloween garlands. The choicest of these, however, have an even deeper purpose—to ensure the next generation. We’ve been saving our own okra seeds for three years now, and each year our plants grow more accustomed to our soils and our practices—and perhaps, even to us. Soon these plants will be at the mercy of winter, an ordeal they will not survive, but they’ve made it easy for us to ensure we’ll be enjoying them for years to come.


The Trustees’ Table is making okra soup, sautéing it with fresh tomatoes as a side dish and pickling it to serve in relish bowls. The next time you join us for a meal, ask about the okra and tell ’em Dylan sent ya!


Dylan Kennedy is the farm manager. An avid mountain biker and traveler, he has farmed as far and wide as…