Garden Lodge Fresh, LLC

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Garden Lodge Fresh, LLC Ghost Pepper Products. Southwestern-Style Ghost Pepper Salsa. Ghost Pepper Dill Pickles. Dill, Kos The Star of the products is Ghost Pepper Salsa.

Garden Lodge Fresh is a small Northern Virginia based business specializing in fresh products made with Ghost Pepper. This rustic, boutique style fresh salsa ranges in heat levels from No Heat at all up 6 levels to Off-the-Chart HOT! Fresh crisp Dill, Kosher, and Spicy Dill Pickles are also on the menu. The Spicy Pickles are infused with either Habanero, Ghost, or Carolina Reaper Peppers. There is

also a Sweet Heat and Habi Chow; Bread and Butter Style infused with Habanero. For the sweet tooth, try Pumpkin Pie Spiced Candied Almonds and Raw Unfiltered Honey, both products made with or without Ghost Pepper. Remember, every product Garden Lodge Fresh produces HOT, there is an unheated version as well. There are many interesting products and one for every palette.

Ola Salsa (and Pickle) Fans,I hope many of you are still with me.  And sorry for the departure of the routine.  Maybe it...

Ola Salsa (and Pickle) Fans,

I hope many of you are still with me. And sorry for the departure of the routine. Maybe it was too much or were y'all looking forward to my weekly Post? Let me know.

The Sun set yesterday on our First Anniversary in Portugal. Time flies, Hard to believe it has been a year, or Have they really been gone that long? It is all of them. We have new friends here, and we see people we know on our daily walks and moving about.

We haven’t done as much traveling outside of Portugal as we had planned at this point, but we have been back to America, to Lisbon, Setubal, and Nazare. In the Algarve, we have visited Sagres, Lagos, Praia do Luz, Alburfera, Faro, Olhoa, and Tavira. We have been to Spain Twice, visiting Seville, Islantilla, and on the Costa del Sol, Estepona, Marbella, and Torremolinos. We met up with a friend Lynn and took a day trip to Gibraltar. (BTW, you cannot cross the runway at Gibraltar in your car anymore)

We miss family and friends very much but are loving this new chapter in our lives.

We return to the States for a visit for the month of April. We will be back and forth from NOVA to Sackets Harbor, NY, to welcome Meaghan back from her Deployment in the Middle East.

Maybe we will see you in April?

Salsa Dave y Rey de la Salsa (Rei da Salsa)

Ola Garden Lodge Fans,I hope everyone had a safe celebration this past Memorial Day Weekend. The last Post, we were just...

Ola Garden Lodge Fans,
I hope everyone had a safe celebration this past Memorial Day Weekend.
The last Post, we were just back from Spain where we toured Sevilla, Torremolinos (near Malaga), and Islantilla. On the way back from that trip we stopped at a restaurant called Polvo e Comanhia (Octopus and Company) for lunch. It was amazing. Last weekend we visited Praia da Luz, where the search for the truth of what happened to Madeleine McCann continues, and then hiked to Praia do Burgao. It was a beautiful 11,000 step walk between the two beaches.

Caution: Complex Math Ahead. What I have posted here on my Portugal Update is a picture of cost of the petrol fill-up for Maggie. 1.759 Euros per liter, 3.8 Liters to the Gallon, “carry the one”, and then you have a top-off of 151 Euros for roughly 86 liters of fuel. By Contrast the ever elusive and sparsely available White Vinegar with 5% acidity is 4 Euros for 568 ml. For perspective my American friends, a Pint of beer for example is 473.18 ml. Carry the one again and the math comes up to 7.04 Euros for a gallon of vinegar vs. 6.68 Euros for a gallon of Petrol. News Flash: the price of my pickles have just increased exponentially. That would be, if I were actually selling the pickles. The commercial pickles here are on the sweet side and the Portuguese do not seem to have a taste for “acid” pickles as they are called, so for now, I “Jonny Appleseed” my pickles in small batches to anyone here brave enough to have a go of them.

Until next Post,

Portugal Dave

Ola GLF Followers,Thank you for hanging in.  Time is flying here.  We have settled into a fairly typical routine.  Early...

Ola GLF Followers,

Thank you for hanging in. Time is flying here. We have settled into a fairly typical routine. Early morning starts with care & tending to my Pepper, Tomato, and Cucumber Plants. Setting up my automatic watering system has been a slow process. Trying to deliver varying amounts of water to many different plants all out of one line per watering timer has proven difficult. I have never had ALL my “eggs” in Containers and not in the ground. The first system is fairly tweaked and the second is in the process. I have to get this fine tuned so I can bail out of town without the worry of losing the plants I have reared from seeds. After morning coffee and then a light lunch, we plod a 3-5 mile daily walk, and then figure out dinner. Sound retired?

Our visit to Sintra was a bit of a bust. You will remember over 2 weeks we took a train to Lisbon, spent two nights, and Uber’ed to Sintra to see the Ancient city and Pick up Maggie, Miranda’s Porsche we had shipped from America. Good to report the ‘ol Girl made it to Portugal relatively unscathed. A few bits of mistreatment but nothing I do not feel she cannot recover from. That Monday was Labor Day here and I am not sure Sintra was not completely closed so we elected to save the exploration of this city to Autumn when it will be fully opened and not loaded with tourists.

Last weekend, we met Irish Friends in Torremolinos, Spain. On the way there we stopped in Seville for a night. On the way home we toured and stayed a night in Islantilla, Spain. Nice to get away from the Algarve, but are SO Thankful to have such a Beautiful Playground right at our doorstep here in Portugal.

Not too sure what I promised to deliver in my last Post but next. I will try to finish up the progression of GLF and my experienced at Gilbert’s Corner.

Sorry for the long delay.


It’s Monday again Team GLF,My delay from last week has been as a result of my Go Daddy Mail Marketing campaign.  (So now...

It’s Monday again Team GLF,

My delay from last week has been as a result of my Go Daddy Mail Marketing campaign. (So now, Happy Tuesday or Feliz Terca-feira {Happy Third Day}) I may require some technical assistance and recommendations regarding exportation of my Go Daddy contacts and a new mail merge provider. I no longer have the pockets the business side GLF provided me for such activity.

I received a text two Sundays ago around opening time from Jenn, the Market Manager at Gilbert’s Corner. She wanted to know if I was going to Stand-In (or Drop-In, I am not sure what she called it) Sunday, April 16. I sent her a beautiful picture from Portugal and said “What? And leave all this?” She said a patron inquired as to what time I might be arriving at the Corner. I told her I was not planning on being back any time soon and went on with my day. I later realized I made a comment in my last Post about “almost landing” at Gilbert’s Corner. This, of course, was just the figurative progress GLF was making towards eventual tenure at the Corner. Sorry if I confused anyone. I appreciate the enthusiasm, however.

I do not remember how it was that I came to have Scott’s phone number in my phone. Scott was the new guy in charge of the vendors at the Corner. I had tried a year or two earlier to see if I could sell my variety of tomato plants at Gilbert’s Corner. Jeff then, I believe, was the contact for the activity for Gilbert’s Corner, which in 2013-2014 only included The Great Maine Lobster Company with Christian and Ron’s Pit Stop BBQ. The occasional Birdhouse Guy made appearances from time to time. Tomato Dave was denied for plant sales. No biggie.

After receiving “That Text”, I shot Scott a text to see if I could join the Gilbert’s Corner Group. It was so late that evening in the Spring of 2015 and I went to bed not knowing whether I would be eating Salsa for 2 weeks straight, giving my efforts away, or both. I woke up to find a message from Scott instructing me to arrive at Gilbert’s Corner around 9:00 and speak with Ronny, the BBQ Guy, about a setup spot. Okay, Game On! I think I stayed until around 2:00 and gave up feeling half dejected. I returned Sunday and finally sold out of Salsa. Mind you, I had a small canopy, no signs, 1 table, 1 cooler, and a chair. (I was able to sit at my stand back then). Scott was kind enough to give me the month of May rent-free to see if I could make a Go of it.

Next Chapter: BBQ Ronny said I needed to “Up My Game” and a Shut-Down from the LoCo Health Department…..nothing bad. I was just operating (offering Samples) without a Temporary Food Vendor Permit. Who knew? I didn’t. I limped into my Business “On the Fly”, making discoveries as I went.

Last week I promised pictures of the status/progress of my plants. I will post them in a week or two. Very excited to take a trip this week to Sintra, pictured. Miranda’s Porsche is finally available this week for pickup north of Lisbon, just over 3 hours by train. We parked her car at the Docks in Baltimore at the end of January. Side note: if your aspirations include a move to Portugal, DO NOT bring your car. More (actual) pictures of Sintra next week. It will be nice to have mobility again since dropping back our rental car. Fortunately, there is SO much, SO close here and only a 13-minute walk to Pingo Doce (or Pingo-Pingo as we call a competitor of Lidl and Aldie). Remember, next week you will have to bounce over to Facebook to catch ALL the photos of our trip to Sintra, as I am only able to attach one to my email distro.

Portugal Dave 940-1 94/25/23 12 707-1

Happy Sunday Team GLF,Tax Day is upon us.  For the first time in a long time, mine are completed.  I hope yours are too....

Happy Sunday Team GLF,
Tax Day is upon us. For the first time in a long time, mine are completed. I hope yours are too.
So, back to Drama and Farmers Market Politics. (Hang on please; I have almost landed at Gilbert’s Corner) Things went fairly smoothly in our first month in the second season at our new spot in Purcellville. We didn’t have assigned spots, so vendors started arriving crazy-early to get “primo” spots. There were only around 24 vendors. I didn’t see the need.

There was another salsa person, my Market Mentor and Salsa Consultant named Betty. We coexisted nicely, having two very different product lines. After that first month, a group went “rogue” and decided to leave the Market and return to the old spot to start a splinter group. Betty’s Chips and Salsa went back to the old spot, so in fairness to any competition I decided to stay with a very small group at the new location.

We moved from the grassy area which was now way too large a space for the Vendors that stayed, to the parking lot where Loco Joe’s Coffee Shop was. One Saturday, I was selling tomato seedlings and 25 containers of Salsa I prepared with vine ripened tomatoes and other ingredients purchased at the supermarket, as my tomatoes were still 6-8 weeks from being ready. The market was open this season for a month, and I wanted to keep my customers “in Salsa” until I could use my own tomatoes. As I was setting up that day, a woman stopped by a bread vendor across from me and dropped off 20 containers of what appeared to be salsa and then left. The Breadman put the salsa on a crate at the side of his table full of gorgeous homemade breads. At the close (thankfully no “Ringing Bell”) of the Market, I had sold most of my seedlings and every container of Salsa. The woman returned to the Market to collect her proceeds for the salsa she left with Breadman. He hadn’t sold one. (How could she effectively “sell” when she wasn’t there to SELL?) Salsa Lady was not happy. She approached the market manager to inquire why she hadn’t sold any of her salsa. The market manager asked me if I had sold any salsa and I told her I had sold out. That was it. I didn’t hear anything again until the following Friday evening when I had already prepared my salsa for Saturday’s Market when I received a TEXT message. It was from Market Manager. The text message said that the Market now was too small, and she said she thought I was using my own tomatoes for my salsa. Um, it was April. No greenhouse (not yet) so No tomatoes until June. Funny, because I thought there were only two vendors selling salsa and Betty had gone back to the old location. Instead of asking me to ramp up my salsa to support the Market needs, Market Manager asked a former salsa person to fill Betty’s spot. Well, that wasn’t nice! Hello! I’m right here. I say former because this “former” salsa vendor was asked to leave this Market years earlier because she was allegedly using canned tomatoes for her salsa, yet she still received the nod to come back. How about asking for more productivity from Salsa Dave?!

I may sound bitter, but I am not. I just feel this situation could have been handled better. Honestly, it was the best thing that could have happened to Garden Lodge Fresh. It was a blessing in disguise and the beginning of a Fantastic 8-year Run at Gilbert’s Corner!

Next Chapter: A call to Scott for a spot at Gilbert’s Corner.

Last week I shared a picture of the Giardiniera and Pickles I made in repurposed jars for my fridge. Pictured: repurposing isn’t just for the final product. Recycling is huge in Portugal, so why not use what I have available? My Peppers have already blossomed, and my tomatoes are threatening to do so this week. My first cucumbers are about 1 mm. Pictures of all next week.

Portugal Dave 941-5 04-15-23 11 708 E

Happy Easter Weekend Pickle Fans,I will hold off on the Famers’ Market Drama Chapter I promised last week in the Evoluti...

Happy Easter Weekend Pickle Fans,
I will hold off on the Famers’ Market Drama Chapter I promised last week in the Evolution of GLF and just want to wish everyone a Happy Easter Weekend. My daughter has traveled from Upstate New York to be with my parents for Easter and for that, I am thankful. Have a great visit family!

Deb came and picked up the last of my new-in-the-box Mason Jars. Steph, the Angel I desperately needed and fell from Heaven to help me get out of my house on time (Commercial Kitchen building), took the rest of most of last of the Mason Jars, lids and bands I had left. Long story short, I have left myself with practically No Mason Jars and No Proper Lids. I was too busy trying to get out of my house in Leesburg and did not quite think ahead. There certainly is not a Walmart just down the road to pick up a case of jars. So Pictured, you can see, I am recycling every jar I can get my hands on. Sorry Joyce, Sorry Harry, everything you see is for my personal use. I have yet to find a good commercial pickle here so I am busy making my own. Certainly nothing like the goods I was serving up at the G.C. Market. Sorry to send the tease, but I have just finished a few days of casual canning. Funny, I never considered it “canning” for the products I prepared for all of you for so long.
5% acidity, white vinegar? Good Luck. I have to make a special trip to the Food Company. Aka, Tesco, or Apolonia (English products) for white vinegar. Don’t get me wrong. The varieties of Vinegar here are amazing….but the Portuguese do not know White Vinegar. Or, if they do, I haven’t found it yet.

This Saturday has all but expired in Portugal so until next week Salsa Fans…..Happy Easter.

Portugal Dave 946-2 04/08/23 10 708 E

Happy Friday to All,It is the day before April.  It is not too late to start tomatoes but getting close to being late fo...

Happy Friday to All,
It is the day before April. It is not too late to start tomatoes but getting close to being late for peppers. I have picked one photo of my Starts for this week. You can find more on my page.

The evolution and transformation of GLF started picking up by the summer of 2014. By this time, the Purcellville Farmers Market moved from the parking lot behind a government center to a grassy area near a coffee shop that was owned by the P-Ville Market Manager so she could manage both on a Saturday morning. I thought it was a nice spot in the shade of mature Oak trees, but a pecking order of set-up spots ensued. Some vendors needed to be close to a power source and were given primo locations at the front of the market. It was small market, so who really cared. Apparently, it caused problems. I only mention this because I had no idea how much Politics and Drama play into Farmers Markets. Maybe I was naive, but I had no idea things could get so cutthroat at a farmers’ market. This will be the topic of the next chapter as I transition to my 8-year tenure at Gilbert’s Corner.
It came to be that I was taking too many tomatoes to market and ended up bringing a lot of them home. It was only a 4-hour market and had a small number of patrons. The tomato machine on my property didn’t take a break so I had to find something to do with all the market leftovers. I held them until the following Thursday and started ramping up my Salsa Production for Saturday’s Market. I started measuring my dry ingredients (the Salsa Magic) by weight and determined the amount of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro required per batch. A batch yielded 26-28, 8-ounce plastic containers. I would cut the batch in half and throw a small amount of heat to one and considerably more to the other. Medium and Hot. That’s it. I learned it was easier to control the heat level by dehydrating the pepper and grinding them into powder. Using micro spoons, I measured a precise amount of powder to add to each level of Salsa, and then run a taste test to keep the weekly heat levels consistent. This was a huge revelation in my business because it would lead to other products that I would eventually add to my repertoire. Within a few Saturdays after ramping up Salsa production, I had very few people coming to see me for my fresh tomatoes but instead were returning weekly for their Garden Lodge Fresh Salsa Fix. Apparently, I was on to something with this particular recipe and kept the ingredients constant. I started making what I called “Go Cups’. They were premeasured dry ingredients that I placed in plastic containers. I would make 20-40 at a time so I could just grab one off the shelf and quickly knock out the Salsa. It was becoming quite time consuming, and I needed to find short cuts to streamline production. Standardization and streamlining were key with what was to come of Garden Lodge Fresh Salsa. Up next: Drama at the Market.

Many of you have started seeds and have kept me updated on the progress. Let me know how things are progressing.

Greetings from Portugal.

Dave 948-1 03-30-23 9 708+1

Back to the Grind Salsa Fans,Happy Monday (?) to all.  Sorry I missed last week.  I will pick up with the next Chapter o...

Back to the Grind Salsa Fans,
Happy Monday (?) to all. Sorry I missed last week. I will pick up with the next Chapter of the Evolution of Garden Lodge Fresh by Friday.
For now, attached are the Beach Photos from Albufeira as promised. II have also added a few from "my" beach: Praia Vale do Lobo and a view of the Ocean on the 9th Greenway on one of our 3+ mile daily walks.

Until Friday, from Portugal,

Dave 949-4 03/25/23 8 707 E

Hello Salsa Fans and Happy St. Patrick’s Day America!Sorry for those of you who were set on seeing the Albufeira Beach P...

Hello Salsa Fans and Happy St. Patrick’s Day America!

Sorry for those of you who were set on seeing the Albufeira Beach Pictures I promised last week. It is St. Patrick’s Day, so put on your Green and please wait a while for the Beach Pictures. I promise they WILL come. I have two sets of photos I want to Post on my Email Campaign and cannot decide which one to Post here. For the others that I am not able to Post here, again, I encourage you to jump over to my page at Garden Lodge Fresh and check out the additional pictures. Please LIKE my Page and not just the Pictures.
IV: Quest for the Perfect Salsa

Friday night became Harvest Night so as to deliver the freshest tomatoes for the Purcellville Saturday Market. This usually happened after dinner activities at home. Different varieties were picked and packed in boxes and baskets. The Gourmet tomatoes previously referenced, were washed and sorted. Instead of having customers pick their own mix, I purchased clear vented-clamshell containers as one may find at grocery stores. They were packaged with either all tomatoes of a certain variety, or medleys were fashioned. It seemed a better way to sell at the Market. I found customers just wanted to pick up a pack and proceed to the next vendor. After the packaging was completed, it was time to turn the “Uglies” into Salsa. The tomatoes were washed, cut, seeds removed, diced, and then placed into a food processor. Onions, Cilantro, Salt, Fresh Hot Peppers, and (Shoosh) other spices and goodies were combined. Each batch was tasted for flavor. This was a problem because every batch was slightly different. Tweak this, add that; eventually I was satisfied enough for Market. Friday night was lingering on, the family had gone to bed, and I was left with a kitchen that resembled a Disaster Zone, and still had Salsa to “jar”.

Labels were arranged on a master file, six 3-inch labels to a page, and send to the printer set with glossy photo paper. The labels were individually cut out, placed face down, and shot with an adhesive spray. The labels were inverted and stuck on the lids of 8-ounce plastic containers, sadly with poorly fitting lids. Remember this was an evolution (small scale antics) and had no idea the success I would have. I certainly could not carry on this way. The process usually netted 12-22 containers, but would the Market Customers like them? Would I have enough or not enough? Would I have wasted my time or had success? I purchased 2 decorative bowls, one each for samples of Mild and Hot, and set out chips for tasting at the Market.

Chapter V: Success Requires Standardization

I have yet to see a Mailman (if I may use the term) in my Portuguese neighborhood but happily report that we did receive our first delivery from UPS….It was a He.

Please remember to check out my page for the other photos this week.

Ya’ll are the Best!

Portugal Dave 953+2 03/17/23 707+1

Boa Tarde to you, and Boa Noite to me, Team Garden Lodge Fresh!                                            Chapter III: ...

Boa Tarde to you, and Boa Noite to me, Team Garden Lodge Fresh!

Chapter III:
Freezer Overload
I found a recipe for tomato sauce that required 5 pounds of Roma tomatoes. I remember picking a “ton” of tomatoes one day before leaving for vacation. I packed zip lock bags with tomatoes and tossed them into the freezer. Blanching Tip: Instead of boiling water and blanching tomatoes to break the skin for removal, (burning your fingers because you want the chore done Now) just toss them in the freezer overnight. Later, place the frozen tomatoes a bowl and as they begin to thaw, the skins can easily be pealed and discarded. Burning or freezing fingers, this is your choice. After that, all you will need to do is chop and run the broken tomatoes through a food mill to remove the undigestible seeds for your sauce. I made vats of tomato sauce and froze it in small containers that I would use at home or give away. Again, after so many Ugly tomatoes, (remember I planted 150 tomato plants) I quickly ran out of freezer space. Magic Chef was the beneficiary of my labor when I bought a 7-point-something cubic foot freezer chest. 5 weeks later it too was full, with not only sauce but also bags of unprocessed tomatoes. Perhaps I over planted.

Necessity, IS the Mother of Invention. From the 16th Century: William Horman quoted the Latin phrase “Mater atrium necessitas”, meaning the mother of invention is necessity. I didn’t know this. I asked Siri, and she told me. It was time to walk away from “Sauce” and start experimenting with Salsa recipes. Insights on my trials and tribulations in Chapter 4: Quest for the Perfect Salsa. Sorry bottom feeders, this will not include my process nor my recipe. “You” were given a chance to own that.

One thing I did not mention earlier was where and how I grew 150 tomato plants. Pictured. Remember “email subscribers” to go to my page where am able to Post multiple pictures, in this case, of the progression of my raised beds. Search Garden Lodge Fresh and you will find the Post and Pictures. It is worth the effort of the View as I hope it will inspire you in your own gardens. Please LIKE the Page if you haven't, and SHARE! Thanks. To those who rather receive an email rather than a jaunt on Facebook, please PM me with your email and I will add you to my mail marketing campaign. It will only be ONE email per week.

In Chapter II, we learned the difference between Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants. Truth be told, most of my plantings were Indeterminate, and therefore Climbers. I had a hill on my property that was pretty much wasted space. I built oak-wood raised beds and because they were on a hill, I only needed to make them 3-sided. Two-foot rebar anchors held the “boxes” in place on the hill. I used metal ½ inch electrical conduit pounded 2 feet into the ground and 3.5 x 7.0 foot vertical sheet of “hog wire” strung between a set of the conduits to fabricate a homemade trellis. This made a perfect trellis, which with a little coaching and training of the plants, I wove the tomato plants to heights over 7 feet. This kept the tomatoes off the ground and therefore provided better results with the fruit development. FYI, these wire mesh pieces make an incredible cucumber trellis, best when mounted horizontally. Please email me if you need further information or assistance constructing your own. I am happy to help.

We took a short trip west to Praia do (beach of) Albufeira today. Maybe a Picture of this next week.

And so ends another evening here in Portugal. As always, I thank you for your read.

Portugal Dave 951-2 03/09/23 6 706+1

Bom Dia, Team Garden Lodge Fresh!Welcome to March.  It is not too early to start thinking about your Tomato and Pepper S...

Bom Dia, Team Garden Lodge Fresh!
Welcome to March. It is not too early to start thinking about your Tomato and Pepper Starts, that is IF you are one to “Start”. What varieties will you grow this year? About your tomatoes, will you start Determinate or Indeterminate varieties? It depends…more about this later. Welcome Friends.

{EU Residency, Portuguese Residency, Tax Office, Social Security Numbers, Public Health Care, Private Health Insurance, Drivers licenses, etc. Ugh! I DO realize I am not the first one to “depart the building”. My driver’s license with a “Real ID” mark is not good enough. I must surrender my VA License in exchange for a Portuguese one and provide “Authentication” of the Surrender. Apparently, it is necessary to obtain an “Abstract” of my driving record from the issuing authority from the last state of residence. This Abstract must attest the Authenticity through a process called an “Apostille”. Okay, I will get right on that! Geez, I thought it was going to be fun here. PLEASE just stay with me; the awesome pictures of our adventure WILL come, I promise!}

Chapter II: After my lack of experience trying to sow, transfer to small grow cups, then larger, and still larger to keep the plants developing nicely for sale of at Market, I ended up just planting all (150+) that I had left. Plant sales were over for the season. By this time, some of my tomatoes were ready to be picked and taken to market. The larger tomatoes went into baskets and the smaller ones, into a box with compartments. I picked up a few large strawberry packing boxes from Costco and “dado-ed” thin wood into compartments to display what I called “Gourmet” tomatoes. These were red, yellow, orange, and chocolate bite-sized tomatoes in cherry, pear, and grape shapes. Ie, salad tomatoes, to be mixed and sold by weight. How Fun! You were able to pick out exactly what you wanted for your cause.

For the freshest tomatoes, I would pick early Saturday morning for the market. Progressively, with larger and larger numbers to pick, I arrived later and later in advance of my customers to the market. It was time to start picking Friday night instead. {time frame; Spring, 2012} I picked only the best fruit as nobody wants damaged, blemished, or otherwise ugly tomatoes…but what to do with all of the “rejects”? I would pick them, cut out the “Ugly”, and use at my home. Still, I had too many Uglies. Now what? I started experimenting with homemade pasta sauce. I will arrest this chapter and pick up next week. Next Chapter: “Freezer Overload”.

It Depends, upon how much Space you have and how long you think your growing season will be. Started late? Not much space to grow? Container Garden on your Deck? Grow Determinate Tomatoes. These varieties are sometimes called Bush Tomatoes. These compact plants are easy to grow in small spaces and usually end up less than 3-4 feet. They grow quickly and blowout all their fruit at once and then they are done. Good Night Irene!

Have “more land than sense” like I did? Grow Indeterminate Varieties. These varieties are sometimes called Cordon or Vine Tomatoes which will continue to grow and fruit throughout the season. (if you have a season like I will have, with strategic pruning, you can grow these varieties year-round. In theory, they do not have to die. Disney has (Had?) a Sustainable Garden Themed area. I remember One Tomato plant in a 3 square foot pot that grew straight up 8 to 10 feet and a 20 foot horizontal trellis held hundreds of tomatoes in a perennially producing environment. An actual Tomato “Shade Tree”. Disney Fun Fact: Workers would shove baby pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, and even tomatoes into clear plastic containers shaped like Micky’s Head, and let Nature run Her course.

Pictured: My new Greenhouse, Potting Station, and Starting area. Not much, but all I have for now. Maybe one day I will actually Grill there!

Y’all are Troupers, and I thank you for reading.

Please LIKE and SHARE!

Portugal Dave 953-E 03/03/23 5 705-

Bom Dia Garden Lodge Fresh Fans,A little over a week ago, Harry, a customer who is devastated by my absence, reached out...

Bom Dia Garden Lodge Fresh Fans,
A little over a week ago, Harry, a customer who is devastated by my absence, reached out to me in an email to let me know about a shop that sells heirloom tomatoes and “Tinned” Fish. Seems like an unlikely combination, but then again so is a “shop” that sells Salsa, Pickled Products, Ghost Pepper Honey, and Peanut Brittle, and Almonds.

Amish country, 3 hours away, Harry reported. I started writing back to him to with the story how GLF started and thought maybe I could share it everyone. I will break the story in several parts to try to keep everyone engaged. First Chapter: What to do With ALL the Tomatoes? Feel Free to Grab a Coffee for the read.
I inherited my “Green Thumb” a passion for gardening from my grandfather and as a child would often help my mother in the garden. Around the turn of the century (that makes me sound old) and with and more land than sense, I dedicated all my efforts to Tomatoes and Peppers. By the time 2010 hit, I was growing 30+ types of Heirloom Tomatoes and of course a large variety of Peppers (another Chapter). As a Learjet Pilot, I would jet all over the U.S. and, making use of my “down time”, I would collect both tomato seedlings and seed packs of varieties not so common on the east coast. Some of the Heirloom Beauties in my repertoire were:
Azoychka Beefsteak from Russa * Brandywine, both Pink and Yellow Varieties * Golden Rave *
Japanese Black Trifle * Jubilee * Large Barred Boar * Black Krim from the Crimean Peninsula *
Marglobe – my grandfather’s favorite * Purple and Black Cherokee * Sunny Boy * Warren’s Yellow *
Crimson Cush from the UK * German Johnson * Mortgage Lifter. Google this tomato to learn how it was named. Interesting story.
The last three can grow tomatoes up to Two Pounds each! Most of these varieties listed above are Indeterminate and not Determinate, but more about that in the next chapter. Stay with me Class, I am almost done today.

So as not to be left without a particular variety, I would over-plant seeds to make sure I had success. Success I had, and found myself giving away seedlings. Not long after that I found myself at the Purcellville Farmers Market selling my hard-to-find plants early in the growing season. It wasn’t long after that I was selling the Fruits of my labor, carting hundreds of tomatoes to the Market. Chapter II: What I did with all the Tomatoes.

Two weeks ago, I promised a picture of a beach. Last week I posted the Beach at Quarteira. I Posted this quiet beach for contrast as to what it will look like July through September. We discovered a café on this beach called Bianco. To our amazement upon our next visit, we stumbled right into the middle of “Carnaval Quarteira”, complete with a Parade with Floats. With all the commotion in front of us, we could barely see through to the ocean. More Pictures on my page. Please LIKE my PAGE if you haven’t already: Garden Lodge Fresh,

Until Next Week,

Portugal Dave 956-3 02/25/23 4 705+2


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Sunday 10:00 - 16:30


(703) 362-7352


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Our Story

Garden Lodge Fresh is a small Northern Virginia based business specializing in fresh products made with Ghost Pepper. The Star of the products is Ghost Pepper Salsa. This rustic, boutique style fresh #salsa ranges in heat levels from No Heat at all up 6 levels to Off-the-Chart HOT! Fresh crisp Dill, Kosher, and Spicy Dill Pickles are also on the menu. The Spicy Pickles are infused with either #Habanero, #GhostPepper, or #CarolinaReaper Peppers. There is also a Sweet Heat and Habi Chow; Bread and Butter Style infused with Habanero. For the sweet tooth, try Pumpkin Pie Spiced Candied Almonds and Raw Unfiltered Honey, both products made with or without Ghost Pepper. Remember, every product Garden Lodge Fresh produces #HOT, there is an unheated version as well. There are many interesting products and one for every palette.