Passover Countdown

We are only 10 days from the first night of Passover and once again I am realizing that my house will not be cleaned to my images of Passover perfection. I love the idea of a very deep, full house spring cleaning where any trace of chametz – both literal like cracker crumbs under car seats and figurative like the clutter that rises and puffs on surfaces and in closets—is removed.  While it is a wonderful idea that your entire home could be perfectly clean in time for Passover, I never seem to pull it off. In part it is …

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Toto, we are not in Connecticut Anymore

As  a displaced New Englander, this fuchsia Camellia that is flowering outside my kitchen window seems unreal with its abundant display of bright pink flowers.  Once a local master gardener stopped by and remarked that this is as far north as this species could possibly survive and the tree would be much happier south of Richmond.  He pointed out that it was carefully planted many years ago in the warmest and most protected corner of the yard. When I look these blossoms, I feel like I am far away in the tropics or at least the deep south.  It is …

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100 Years Since the Triangle Factory Fire

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City, the infamous workplace fire that killed 146 people and resulted in widespread organizing for safer working conditions.  The majority of the victims were young women and Jewish or Italian immigrants many still in their teens. Their names and some details can be read here. There is great coverage of the event, the aftermath, what we learned and where the labor movement is today in the New York Times, the Jewish Daily Forward, the Nation and elsewhere.  President Obama passed a resolution that said, “The Triangle …

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Sterling Spring

I am happy to share this guest post by Emily Rosenfeld.  Emily is a self-taught jewelry and Judaica artist living in western Massachusettts with her 6 year old son Jasper and partner Keith.  You can see her beautiful work at www.emilyrosenfeld.com. by Emily Rosenfeld The snow is melting.  My little side garden had snow past the windows last month but the white has receded leaving  rosy tipped tulips poking out of the dark wet earth.  Spring is coming.  It snowed big wet March snowflakes yesterday, but the season is turning. In the studio, I am feeling my mind start to …

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Guest Post today on Challah Baking

I am happy to have a guest post today on the Jewish Daily Forward’s Food Blog “The Jew and the Carrot“.  The piece called the Ecology of Challah Baking grew from an earlier post on this blog and a comment from a reader. It is exciting to appear in one of the newest online branches of one of the oldest Jewish newspapers in the US. The Forward was once read primarily in Yiddish by thousands of Jewish immigrants to America including my own great grandparents.   The paper remains a strong force today and in addition to the English and Yiddish print editions now has a website with a lucky seven blogs. If …

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Guest Post on Homeshuling and a Giveaway

My new friend and fellow Jewish mom blogger invited me to post on  her awesome Jewish Parenting Blog Homeshuling today about Israeli Harvest, my family business that aims to support farms in Israel.  We are also offering a giveaway to win a free Purim Basket, which includes organic Israeli dates and olive oil.  Visit the Homeshuling blog this week to read a little more about Israeli Harvest and leave a comment there for a chance to win.  And coming soon on this blog, a sewing post to make my tagline true.

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Can you Say She-hech-ey-a-nu

I first learned the shehecheyanu as a young 20 something, and it quickly became my all time favorite blessing.  My friend and I were strolling through a vineyard on a drive through Napa Valley.  We were giddy New Englanders discovering California and finding great amusement in the paper booties we were required to pull over our shoes during our visit to the vineyard.   The farmers were trying to prevent tourists from tracking in pests as they wandered through. I can’t remember exactly what my friend experienced as “a first” that day, perhaps her first time seeing grapes actually still attached to the …

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On Challah

by Tanya Tolchin Most Fridays, I bake two loaves of challah for Shabbat dinner.  Sometimes I have no other plans for dinner beyond the challah, and we need to scramble to add something to complete the meal. I use a standard recipe, which varies based on how much whole wheat flour I add, whether there are raisins on hand, how much time there is for rising, and the temperature and humidity of the kitchen.  They come out differently each week and even between the two loaves on the same week there is often variation, one dough compliant and neatly braided, …

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Welcome to the Lettuce Edge

post by Tanya Tolchin Welcome to the Lettuce Edge, a new blog on farming, gardening, sewing, parenting, Jewish life and living green. The name refers to a few things. First, I recently read that many people consider lettuce to be the quintessential vegetable, possibly representing the very essence of vegetable-ness.  I live on a small family organic vegetable farm, so lettuce (and beets, and garlic and flowers) are at the center of our lives and table. And secondly,  I am beginning to sew and many mothers of little girls can tell you that the “lettuce edge” is as lovely as …

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