This coming Saturday, August 6 is Community Garden Day in Minnesota. Gardening Matters is sponsoring the event, which showcases the best of what community gardens offer residents. Many gardens are open to the public with special events, refreshments, and presentations. Community gardeners around the state will be out-and-about in their plots gardening and celebrating with other residents. All of Saturday’s events are listed here.
The garden partner and I have had a plot in our neighborhood’s community garden for 2 years. We’ve met some fantastic gardeners, had space to learn more about urban food production, and who could forget the food? We even have a little community garden bet going on right now.
In honor of all the fantastic perks of community gardening, today I made a spicy italian bean soup with ingredients from our garden plot. The tomatoes, carrots, onions, chard, celery and herbs were picked fresh this morning. Nothing better. I threw in some spicy Italian sausage, since we’ve had a request for ‘a little more meat around here,’ but the vegetarian version has the same great taste. Plan to see some photos from our garden visits later this weekend!
Community Garden Soup
1 Lb. spicy Italian sausage Handmade at Mississippi Market, St. Paul, MN with Grass Run Farms meat, Dorchester, IA
1 onion Homegrown
2 stalks celery Homegrown
Â½ C. Carrots Homegrown
3 cloves garlic St. Paul Farmers’ Market
2 fresh bay leaves Homegrown
Â¼ C. fresh basil, chopped Homegrown
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped Homegrown
3 C. tomatoes, roughly chopped Homegrown
1 C. dried kidney beans, rinsed and sorted Whole Grain Milling, Welcome, MN
4 C. chicken broth Homemade–check out this recipe to make your own
3 C. water
3 C. zucchini, sliced in 1/4″ rounds Homegrown
6 oz. chard, washed and chopped Homegrown
1/4 C. freshly grated Parmesan Mullin’s Cheese, Mosinee, WI
1. Remove sausage from casing and place in a large stock pot. Cook until just done, remove from pot and pat away any fat. There should be some drippings left in the bottom of the pot, but no more than a tablespoon.
2. While pot is still hot, add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and herbs. Cook until tender. Add tomatoes, beans and liquid. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Do not overcook.
3. When beans are tender, add zucchini and chard. Cook 3-5 minutes more, or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat. Spoon into bowls and top with parmesan.