For the past year and a half, my friend Heather and I (along with many others) have been putting on this event called The Produce Exchange (now known as Produce in the Park). It is a free community event where neighbors come to give some of their excessive fruit or veggies growing on their property in exchange for someone else's fresh gardened goodies. It was founded by Heather based on the philosophy that a.) so much good produce often goes to waste due to the fact that a family of four cannot eat a tree's worth of grapefruit, and b.) our interactions with our neighbors tend to be too disconnected and sporadic to have the type of relationship where we might freely share such bounties. Thus, the Produce Exchange was born!
These events have been a blessing to me over the past year and a half, as I get to see relationships develop between neighbors, get to establish some relationships of my own, learn about new recipes and gardening tricks, watch the children and dogs play with each other, and simply share in the enthusiasm surrounding this idea of sharing what the ground gives us. Today was the first one that was held in the park, which brought more neighbors and passer-byers, and, subsequently, more citrus than anyone could ask for. I made a delicious Lavender Lemonade with about three dozen lemons this afternoon! This was also the first Produce in the Park where I was able to showcase some of my growin's, which was about a pound of fresh arugula from my first lil' garden. It went fast. I was proud.
If you are in the Monrovia/Pasadena area, please come to Produce in the Park! We now meet every first Saturday in Library Park on Myrtle in Monrovia. Check out our new website: produceinthepark.com ! If you aren't from around these parts and this sounds like a cool idea, then, well START ONE! It's beyond easy to do, trust me. :)
Oh, and if you are interested, here is the Lavender Lemonade recipe. It's super, super easy, and will turn anyone on to craving lavender like chocolate like I do.
#10--Post more recipes: Lavender Lemonade
*Note: These measurements are all estimates, of course--the beauty of lemonade is its totally to taste! I prefer more of a sour-inducing ratio of water: lemon: sugar (3:2:1), but some people prefer it more sweet.
At least 16-18 oz of fresh squeezed lemon juice (preferably from your own or a neighbor's tree!)
30-32 oz water
For Lavender simple syrup:
1 cup water (best if filtered, if possible)
1 cup sugar (organic, raw sugar is the best!)
1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of dried lavender buds, to taste (I buy my buds at Cost Plus World Market for $0.99 cents for a 2 oz. bag, which will last you quite a long time)
In a medium saucepan, heat water and sugar over medium heat until boiling and sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and steep lavender buds in tea ball in sugar water until it cools, about 20-30 minutes.
Combine lemon juice, water, and syrup to taste! If too sour, dissolve more sugar in water before adding to mixture to ensure that it is completely mixed in.
Refrigerate, pour, and enjoy!! (You might want to start a support group for your new addiction.)