Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe from The Vermont Country Store Cookbook. Photo Matthew Benson.

Hello Everyone.

Lately, I've been thinking about connections; friends, family, neighbors, and professional networks. All make up the structures that establish our lives. Much like the garden, some friendships last a long time, while others are momentary, yet all weave together to make up who we are. We can't do it alone.

Until 2020, before our lives changed, I was eager to invite friends over for dinner. The menu was not fancy, yet I always set the table with placemats, cloth napkins, fresh flowers, and candles. I hoped my efforts would express my joy to share and provide nourishment that went beyond the food.

When I think back to when I first started cooking, it was a loaf of Anadama bread that changed my life. Somewhere between the yeast coming alive in the warm water, kneading of the soft dough, and the aroma of the bread baking in the oven, the alchemy of taking simple ingredients and transforming them into something delicious to eat was transformative.

The recipe above is from one of my cookbooks, and I'll admit it is both time-consuming and filling. But I've learned the value of dessert to keep guests lingering around the table. This is when the best conversation takes place, and a feeling of connection happens after a good meal. Through food, we make connections, but also through our gardens. Keep it healthy, take time to nurture yourself, and enjoy the holiday table.


Creamy Beet Spoon Bread

LEEK TART-New Heriloom Garden

Caramelized Leek Tart


Rainbow Carrots and Tarragon


Pumpkin Apple Bisque


Bitter Greens and Savory Tarts

Like most authors, I am always looking for new projects, and beginning in 2022, I have big ideas. I'll continue to teach my online classes, both as a live class and pre-recorded, and also have thoughts about a newsletter/podcast to interview food gardeners on what they grow and cook from their gardens.

I'm hoping it will spark a conversation around why it truly matters to grow a food garden. Setting by example is one of the best ways we can effect positive change. When we bring our families together around the table to share our love for good homegrown food, we are cultivating a healthy choice that spreads beyond our backyard.

A friend suggested the working title Bitter Greens and Savory Tarts because these are two of my favorite things to both make and serve to friends. If you would like to take part ( or suggest a different title), send me a note. Tell me more about your design process, why you grow food, and your favorite recipes for cooking from your garden.

As always,
Ellen Ecker Ogden

Author of The Complete Kitchen Garden and The New Heirloom Garden. Designs, Books, and Classes For Gardeners Who Love to Cook.

The New Heirloom Garden Book

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Ellen Ogden. Profile 01. Ali Kaukas

Ellen Ecker Ogden. Author, Garden Designer and Garden Speaker.

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