Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Which of Our Whites Pair with Dandelion Burgers?

left, the townie raised bed garden sprouts dinner

Its early spring and everyone without allergies are happy, happy and i am no exception. i love green. i crave green. being originally from the mighty MO (zone 5 is NOTHING to laugh about, gents. its bitter cold, there) i am used to changes in the season and i welcome the signals of seasonal onsets. but as i grow older, how difficult late winter becomes and how i welcome spring!

after a year of eating dangerously and exhibiting the waistline to show for it, i find i want to eat spring. i want to eat fresh, green, slightly tangy—slightly bitter—above all, lean. banish stews, split pea soup in a dutch oven, pot roast with root vegetables! give me fish, asparagus, field greens....GIVE ME DANDELION BURGERS!

at this pronouncement, the swelling music should give way to a screeching of a record needle skipping across an LP (if you are younger, your ipod is just sitting there, silent)

but there is a wealth of foraging one may due in early spring and yours truly sits on the tip of the foraging iceberg, waxing eloquently about the virtues of dandelions. offers a multitude of articles about this weed, check it out: or this great article:

truth be told, it was the edible chesapeake online recipe that caught my imagination: dandelion burgers? why not? at the most i've wasted some crackers and sunflower seeds. at best, i've taken care of the weeds in my townie garden.

boy2 was my companion throughout the dandelion adventure—being at that age where anything is possible and nothing is to be missed. all along, he kept a running monologue of WWMD? What Would Ming Do? comes from ming tsai's pvodcast: which i catch on itunes and boy2 watches religiously. WWMD and boy2 corrected my onion fine chop skillz, so thanks, ming!

here, boy2 crushes the crackers for the dandelion burgers. and mixes the dry ingredients with the wet ones. the online recipe is pretty simple to follow. and since it was successful, i suggest using white beans or field peas as a binder. these burgers call out for indian spices or asian flavorings. carefully review your dandelions for little critters—we found two discombobulated ants and a tiny inch worm in our collected blossoms.

after you carefully review the blossoms and mix up the ingredients, its just a matter of shaping them into patties and giving them a fry in a heart-healthy oil of your choice. tonight i served the dandelion burgers on a bed of baby dandelion greens with grilled scallops and a condiment of thai chili sauce. oh. wow. so. tasty!

ger broke out a bottle of our 07 viognier—which was really perfectly floral perfumy and decadently round, but needs a little acid. so then he broke out our marsanne—which i am currently sipping and am contrasting against the viognier. both are not oaked, but the marsanne is spare when comparing to the viognier, has a bit more acidity and less perfume. both of our whites went perfect with our spring clean and lean meal. how content are we!

blessings upon you all—may you cultivate early spring dandelions and eat them while sipping the perfect wine pairing. may you have young babies or young at heart to go off on culinary adventures and may you always wind up at the dinner table with those you love, eating food you love and sipping wine you love.

bon appetit.

Friday, April 17, 2009

inflection point

these people came.
In pairs and groups.
Singly and together.
Some brought equipment:
tractors and augers, a post pounder.

Some came a short distance, others from very far.

We assembled in a place simply named, as if without emotion or sentiment, lot 12.

Lot 12 was plain field the morning of April 3. A gauze of winter rye beginning its spring run lent the ground some faint color. By the end of April 4 it appeared much the same way.

In the mean time these people came and dug and planted and shared and laughed.

They left behind in that field 2400 plants.
I do not know what they took with them, but there is a lifetime to find out.

In Days Past

since rootstock, we've been concentrating on getting the posts pounded into the ground in lot12. i'll try to get ger to post a pic of how beautiful and tall they are.

last weekend, ger sent me into the proofing vineyard to finish up the touriga pruning before it became too late in the season.

i looked unhappily at my previous indecision—i had left some long lateral shoots intact so ger could decide if he wanted to keep those instead of the established cordon. but there is just too much work for him to be everywhere, so he sent me back to the touriga with his confidence. and support. i wasn't any more ready to make a decision, but i went about it as best i could. when i snipped off a lateral cane, deciding to forgo a larger cordon cut, i immediately regretted my decision to wait for gerald. the snipped cane weeped copious amounts of sap—the vine was already coming out of dormancy. curiousity got the better of me and i decided to taste the clear liquid. what would it taste like? would it be sweet, like maple sap? wait, is it posionous? hee. i was able to shake several large drops into my mouth.

nothing. tasted remarkably like nothing. evidently the vines put all their sweetness into the grapeberry!

i did my best with the rest of the lateral canes and tidied up the pruned vines on the vineyard floor. then it was time to quit the farm.

this weekend, ger left early to go to the southern maryland wine growers coop meeting. i'm staying at home with boy1&2 and working hard on my final projects in: 1) macroeconomics—propose a plan to help spain's unemployment!—and 2) negotiations—a multiparty negotiation paper and a finished workbook!

while i welcome having a break with the boys, i'm sad to be without both husband and vineyard during this beautiful weekend.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rootstock Coverage

if you would like to see the official rootstock09 website, please visit:
[thanks, lyrel, for the putting that together!]

for those that would like to read more, please visit:

thanks to everyone for sending in your images, posting them on facebook and giving us your feedback!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thank you, all, for your Rootstock 2009 support!

wow! its really been difficult to put into writing how we've felt about our friends and family giving so much of their time, support, and good spirits in making sure rootstock09 was a success. ger and i've been talking about it all week—breaking out in grins and spontaneous hugs as we relive april 4th. there was a ton of prep work that the family supported these past few weeks and we'd like to express a special thanks to uncle pete, dad and uncle charlie for their support and hard work throughout the week that allows ger and his brother pete to concentrate on the vineyard and keep moving forward.

as for our friends—thanks to all of your efforts, over 2,400 vines went into 2 acres in
one beautiful day. thank you, thank you!

the weather was gorgeous but windy. 'round 6am we had 5 auger crews out digging holes—3 on trackers and 2 hand augers in order to prepare for the planting crews. thanks to our tractor crews: uncle charlie conrad, tom spooner, roger lavoie, and WCpete—our tractor drivers and our auger guiders: sam, kayleigh, and raven. special thanks to our hand auger crews: randy and mike on the two man and john fox on the single auger. hand augering requires quite a bit of upper body strength!

lot12 was soon dotted with holes ready for the planting crews. ger and pat isles [volunteer educator, maryland grape growers association/head of the facilities committee, southern maryland wine growers cooperative/vineyard manager at summerseat and all around great guy!] prepped the roots and gave the volunteers instructions as to how to plant the vines properly.

had been running back and forth all morning—coordinating the food prep and delivery with lyrel, coordinating shirts, nametags and welcoming attendees with kathleen—so when i ran up and over the hill the planting was well underway. and what a sight it was! all our good friends from college, work and the wine growing community were scrambling about the field, united in fellowship and vines. it was too much to take in, so i plunged into the planting melee and started snapping pics of everyone and thanking, thanking them. we estimate around 50 people were able to participate in the days event. it was awesome to be able to share with our friends what occupies a good portion of our lives and dreams.

special thanks goes out to bruce perrygo (maryland grape growers assoc. coordinator) and caroline baldwin (vp for maryland grape growers/southern maryland winegrowers coop) for their expertise and row management. towards the end of the petit verdot, several friends, bruce and caroline noticed we were in danger of having a few partial rows of the two different petit verdot rootstocks and the potential mixing of the barbera. i remember bruce standing in the field like a sentinel, coordinating with our planters and maintaining field order like a true general. we'd also like to thank rich fuller and his wife grace, for volunteering their time and energy to the task.

after we had a lunch, rich fuller, president of the southern maryland wine growers association gave an update to the crowd about the port of leonardtown winery and offered an investment opportunity in the winery. if you are interested in investing in the winery, please contact rich @

after lunch, we headed back into the field to finish planting the barbera. this is where i want to thank everyone again—i know its hard to work after lunch! but the bet part was the little ones, now that the tractors and heavy machinery had left the fields, were able to participate. ger and i settled into planting with our friends and later remarked how cool it was to hear the different conversations people were having as they planted. fathers and grandfathers talked with their children and grandchildren. co-workers learned a little more about each other. complete strangers laughed and shared their lives and how they were connected to this crazy enterprise. what an awesome day!

read all about our exploits in the post!


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Happy Rootstock 2009!

The day is here! We're in the wee hours right at the start of Rootstock 2009. Today over 75 people are expected at the vineyard to plant 2,400 vines in lot12. We'll plant 1,200 each of petit verdot and barbera vines. There will be t-shirts, a hot lunch, and a day of gorgeous weather for the attendees—plus those that complete the rigorous training will receive the Official Rootstock 2009 Certificate of Completion!

Thank you, friends of the vineyard for your support! Looking forward to seeing you there!