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As we spring into summer, we anticipate planting our annual fresh vegetable garden at Le Barn. The joys of cultivating your own vegetable garden are both rewarding and healthy, especially with attention turned toward the latest trend of eating local produce. What could be better having an ultra-fresh produce “store” right in your own backyard?
Although Le Barn is blessed with a large plot of land that is devoted solely to vegetable gardening, there are alternatives for those who have limited space available. Consider container gardening as a viable option! Just about any container will work. Half-wine barrels, hanging baskets, wooden boxes or even plastic buckets make ideal holders for your summertime bounty. Just be sure the containers you select are able to drain off excess water.
Planning your vegetable garden is the first step. Decide what and where you are going to plant. If you purchase starter plants from your local nursery, be sure to ask what soil is best, when to plant, how and when to fertilize, how often to water, and how much sunlight is necessary for healthy growth. Never hesitate to call or return to the place from which you bought your starter plants to ask additional questions. If you are a beginner, the best advice is to plant small batches of vegetables that are easy to manage, then expand your garden each year as you gain more experience. You might want to start out with some all time favorites like tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes and, perhaps, a few herbs for good measure. All make for a great homegrown salad. Once you get started, you will not want to stop. You simply cannot get fresher than this!
No salad would be complete without the perfect homemade dressing to go with it. What follows is Le Barn’s secret family recipe, authentic French vinaigrette. This gem of a recipe is one you will want to keep close at hand because it is easy to make, healthy, delicious, and guaranteed to please (even the kids).
Le Barn’s French Vinaigrette Dressing
2-teaspoons French Dijon mustard (Maille is preferred)
1-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Stir together, and then add:
2 pinches sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Stir together, and then add:
4-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to be whisked in slowly.
Serve over your homegrown garden vegetables and enjoy!
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These unique wine bottle-drying racks were a common sight in almost every French Chateau dating back to the 1800’s. Their purpose was to provide a temporary place to collect, dry, and store empty wine bottles for return to the wine maker (for refill, of course).
These whimsical bottle holders prove to be a beautiful, yet practical addition to any home. There are so many uses for this well loved traditional French kitchen item. The wire racks range in size, so you can select one that suits your particular needs.
For example, the taller five-tier rack can be set on a counter in the kitchen to display small pots and pans. It could be used as the centerpiece on a buffet table for a stylish self-serve stemware stand. Enhance this rack further by wrapping a string of small LED Christmas lights around the central vertical column, then dim the lights for a special romantic touch.
The three-tier racks can sit next to or in a kitchen sink to safely dry just washed drinking glasses. Depending on the size of the pegs, this rack can be used as an organizer in your craft room to hold spools of ribbon or thread. If you are a knitter, you can use the rack to store extra balls of yarn waiting to be used. You might even want to use the rack for hanging necklaces or bracelets from the pegs in order to prevent them from becoming tangled in your jewelry box.
To bring this writing full circle and back to the original purpose of the wine bottle-drying rack, you can do your part and contribute to the planet’s effort to “go green” by rinsing and drying any bottle on the rack prior to placing it in the recycling bin.
Visit Le Barn to take a look at the variety of French wire wine racks in stock. You will be amazed at the rustic beauty and simplicity of this charming antique and you will not want to leave without one!