Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
This is the fifth year that I made cookies for my friends, coworkers and neighbors. Dan and I decided not to "buy" gifts for a Christmas several years ago, and then cookie baking grew a little bigger in scale. I feel like a little elf when trying to churn out these cookies but it is extremely rewarding once they are all packaged up and gifted. Hope your holidays with loved ones are filled with peace and joy, and yummy cookies.
Dan and I stopped by an orchard on the day after Thanksgiving and bought a bushel of second apples following Ken's advice. On top of the unbelievable price (we paid $8 for a bushel of royal Gala apples) those second apples looked and tasted very good! Just minor scratches and cracks were found and there was no bruising.
We have been eating lots of apples and now we have only a handful left for making a pie. We took out a juicer that we never used for the past five years and made fresh apple juice, twice. I also had some red Gala apples from the last farmer's market and made pink apple sauce using the red Gala and royal Gala apples. It was my first time making the apple sauce and it was really easy.
- Wash apples, cut them into chunks.
- Add two tablespoons of light brown sugar and a half cup of water for 12 apples. Cook until apples are soft enough that you can break the apple pieces easily with the back of a spoon.
- Take out your handy dandy food mill and separate the skin and seeds out.
- Now the sauce is ready for you to eat. I canned most of it for later use.
As I was sitting on the Metro this morning, wondering if I was going to get mugged for my giant tray of cookies, I was thinking of each and every one of you. Not that you lean toward a life of crime but that it would be nice if everyone carried cookies on the Metro...it would probably be a happier place. That's my holiday plug for peace and good will, this is Cakes for Cause's last plug for holiday cookies. We have gift packs of large and small cookies for the colleagues, neighbors, bus drivers, paper delivery people, and everyone else special in your life. Who wouldn't want to receive a bag of bite-sized treats that they can nosh on all day and think of you? Our elves stand ready to deliver through Christmas Eve so just give us a call (240-344-0295) or shoot us an email. We have limited quantities and flavors but everything is delicious. We also have a few boxes of frozen sugar cookies that would be perfect for a Christmas Eve family activity...and Santa's cookie plate!
Cakes for Cause
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Greetings from the farm. I'm writing today to remind you that I'll be at the Dutch Plant Farm Wednesday December 24 From 10 AM until 12:30 PM making Christmas deliveries. While I will be sending some extra product, it would be good to preorder so I know how much to send. If you have not placed your Christmas order, I need it by Monday morning. Possibilities include hams, crown roasts, leg of lamb, beef filet, boneless prime rib, standing rib roast, and Maple Lawn Farm turkeys. If you prefer another cut just let me know and I may be able to provide it. If you want to mark your calendar, my next visit to Frederick will be January 10.
In my job-job, I manage the Watershed Management Section at Frederick County Division of Public Works. One of my favorite projects that we do is coordinate the Monocacy and Catoctin Watershed Alliance (Alliance). We work with dozens of community partners to protect and restore water quality and habitat in Frederick County. Many of our partners are part of the agricultural community. You will be happy to hear that there are many farmers that are actively working to do what's best for the environment AND the farm. My father grew up on a dairy farm in Frederick County and passed his stewardship ethic on to his kids- it's exciting to be part of efforts that work on the synergies between supporting local agriculture and protecting the environment. One of my staff, Kay Schultz, coordinates the Alliance. She and Jessica Hunicke, my other staffperson, did an exceptional job putting together the winter quarterly newsletter- I want to share it with you, as it includes a number of awesome efforts taking place in our region that you can be proud of. Many of our Alliance partners work directly with the public on conservation activities and I encourage you to peruse the site to learn more about them.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sometimes it takes a long long time to discover a part that I am made of. I remember looking between the cracks of the roads and wondering how a tiny plant could start growing there. It is one of my earliest memories. I was always mildly obsessed with plants but didn't realize it. When I finally had my first garden and start playing in the dirt, sowing seeds and talking to plants, I was already 29. I wish it didn't take that long to find out that I am deeply rooted in the soil and that I feel a strong connection to the nature when I am tending to plants in a garden. I am not complaining though - I feel lucky to be able to continue gardening since I started.
Monday, December 15, 2008
The Common Market has long held relationships with local farmers. They have a nice page up that lists some of the farms they do business with, here. You'll recognize Summer Creek Farm from here. I learned from the website that my friend Mark Seibert also has a farm that works with the Common Market: Clear Spring Creamery. It's always exciting to see these partnerships. I will be looking over time for restaurants and stores that support local agriculture and will highlight them for you so you can support these people in return.
I was also excited to read about a place called Catoctin Mountain Botanicals that sells forest products like ginseng; I have been wanting to start up something in the woods at my mom and dad's place; I think this could be a good contact.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
"Local and sustainable food does not cost more, the price tag on local and sustainable food is the real price for food, and there are no hidden costs."
From a food market in Boston.
How true, if oversimplified, this is. In the field of economics, these hidden costs are known as "externalities." They are generally costs that are borne by the public rather than the consumer because they are not worked into the cost of a transaction. The world is suddenly becoming aware that it is a closed system, and that we can't afford environmental externalities. For example, the production and transportation of food using fossil fuels is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. This affects us all. By eating locally, we can cut back on carbon footprints.
Of course, there are many other benefits to eating locally, such as preserving local economies and keeping land in agriculture. We try here at Grown in Frederick to share with you the fun reasons to eat locally so that we can create a culture around local food and farms. My thought is that the farmers are there. The product is there. You are there. My job here is to connect you to the farmer in a way that would make sense to your life and make it better through good eating and farm experiences. But I also have ulterior motives because I am an environmentalist. I would like to see our food sustainable for future generations and for the environment for its own sake.
Why eat an apple from New Zealand when the apples now are so fresh? Visit a local farm market, like the Catoctin Mountain Orchard on Route 15 above Thurmont owned by my friend Robert Black, and taste how nuanced an apple can be. Or visit McCutcheon's Apple Products on Wisner street to see what wonderful products are made with local fruits from various farmers; I promise you that these places will bring you joy in the holiday season- and their products serve as excellent gifts. The McCutcheons make some of the best apple butter and preserves I have ever eaten. I believe they process products for many of the farms around here that the farms sell under their own labels. McCutcheon's has a holiday shoppe at the FSK mall. Why not stop in?
I want to thank you for reading Grown in Frederick. Yeon and I just started the blog this past summer but we have big plans for adding more writers and all kinds of good things in the new year. Talk to us about your experience with local food and gardening. Share your recipes with us. Tell us about your favorite farm outlet. We want to share this stuff with our readers, for so many good reasons.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Most of the flowers are from Shannon's garden. Shannon has one of the most prolific hydrangea bushes which I envy so much. Blue hydrangea that I used for red-white-blue arrangement above AND the pink and green hydrangea blooms below are all from Shannon's garden. One can't have too much hydrangea.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I was lucky to have tender lettuce till the beginning of July. I think it was because we had a pretty good rain at the early part of growing season this year. I grew 3 varieties and valentine did very well as well as red romaine lettuce.
Greetings from the farm. This is the weekend for the Clear Spring Historical Society open house. Plumb Grove is an 1831 farm house that will be decorated as if it were still the 19th century. The house is also filled with period furniture, most of which is from the Clear Spring area. Your favorite meat man will be stationed by the door to greet you. There will be good food and drink available and a $5 donation is requested. Plumb Grove will be open from 2-11 PM. The town garden club will also have several other houses open for tour. Most of the town churches will be open with music and there is also a chicken and waffle supper scheduled. The Plumb Grove decorations alone make the trip worth while. Plumb Grove is located at the intersection of North Martin Street and Broadfording Road in Clear Spring, MD.
I will be in Frederick this week. You can find me at the Dutch Plant farm from 10 AM until 12:30 PM. Pork will include tenderloin, pork chops, spare and country style ribs, boneless shoulders, ground pork, and bacon. Polish sausage will be available for the first time this year as well as country, hot Italian, mild Italian, sage, applewurst, maple, and bratwurst. Beef will include ribeye, strip, porterhouse, T-bone, sirloin, flank, and skirt steaks; eye round, boneless chuck, and sirloin tip roasts; stew cubes, and ground beef. Lamb will include loin, arm, and sirloin chops; racks, shanks, and ground lamb. There will also be whole, cutup, and stewing chickens. I will also have eggs, jellies, and cheese with all of the goat cheeses being restocked this week.
Christmas is just around the corner and my next Frederick visit will be Christmas Eve morning. That means it is time to place Christmas orders. Some possibilities are Maple Lawn Farm turkeys, smoked, fresh, or country cured hams; pork crown roast, pork tenderloin, boneless prime rib, standing rib roast, beef tenderloin, leg, and rack of lamb. If your preferred cut is not listed, ask about it's availability. My sisters can also provide your sweets. Cakes, cheesecakes, pies, cookies, tea breads, and peanut brittle are some of the possibilities.
The precipitation should be gone but cold temperatures will be back by Saturday. Stop on by and see my new market truck, which means I'm in the meat business at least 5 more years. Eat fresh, be well, and I will see you at the market.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Week of June 28: Poppies started to bloom. Echinacia and zinnia (which I started from seeds) started to bloom too. For a small vase, I placed delicate pale pink poppies from my garden and airy coral bells from Jen's garden. Don't they look so lovely together? Poppies were so pretty I asked myself 'what did I do to deserve this beautiful bloom?' But then I remembered that I have been obsessively buying and sowing poppy flower seeds every year. Yeh, it's about time. The small patch that I reserved for the poppy did very well, and tiny flower bloomed into October. I let them self sow quite a bit for next year. Hopefully I will see that papery delicate beauties again.
It was so nice of Jen to let me have one of her last rose bloom of the season. I surrounded the center piece rose with some zinnias (pink and orange) and echinacea from my garden, and petunia and butterfly bush flower from Jen's.
Isn't it nice to see pretty summer flowers in the darkest days of the year? As Shannon mentioned, I have some backlogs of photos which I would like to share, remembering the glory of the growing season and planning the next year's garden.
It's only been a few short weeks since the farmer's market ended but we've been pining away. Fortunately, several of you have made some holiday arrangements with us and we're looking forward to staying in touch until the spring. If there's any sweet treats you need, just give us at least a week's notice and we'll get it delivered fresh to you.
Important Cookie Announcement!
We have been trying to contact everyone who pre-ordered cookies from us and we're having some challenges. Apparently we can't read your handwriting and several emails and phone calls have bounced back to us. So, IF YOU ORDERED COOKIES FROM US and haven't yet confirmed your delivery, can you please contact us at email@example.com or call 240-344-0295. At this point we don't have any extra boxes of cookies so no new orders please but if we don't reach some people we may have some bonus boxes and we'll let you know as soon as we know.
Otherwise, we're off to the culinary school this Wednesday to roll and cut your cookies for you and we start delivering on Thursday...everyone preheat their ovens!
Important Cookie Photographs!
Did you know that cookies have lives just like the rest of us? Take a peek at how they spend their time when they're not working cookie exchanges, parties, and gift baskets
Visiting the reindeer forest...
Celebrity spokesmodels for local non-profit...
Moms and Dads, this is not a picture for everyone because secretly they hang out in their underwear and watch TV (didn't you already suspect that though?)...
If we don't see you or hear from you, we wish you the best this holiday season. We have appreciated your support all year. We're looking forward to opening our retail space this spring and being back at the farmer's markets again. Please don't forget that we are a mission-based organization. Every dollar you spend on cookies, scones and baked goods, helps us operate our program but you can also make a tax-deductible contribution to us as well and it is very much appreciated.
Cakes for Cause
Monday, December 8, 2008
Here is Farmer Rick from Summer Creek Farm on the last day of the Farmer's Market. I was admiring his insulated coveralls at the time I took this picture. My hand shook so much from the cold that the picture is a little blurry. You can tell how cold it is by Rick's grim face. Somehow he managed to have heirloom tomatoes in addition to radishes and his delicious potatoes. Rick is selling organic CSA memberships for next year and gift certificates if you want to give him a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Here we have the Rohrer siblings packaging up a chicken for some lucky fellow. There are ham sandwiches in some of those coolers and I crave them now that the market is over. "Meat Man" as my friends call him is still out on Saturday mornings in front of the Dutch Plant Farm. Or you can reach Danny at :
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
I took a bunch of photos at the last farmer's market of the year on Baughman's Lane and will try to share one a day during these winter months until I run out. Dan also took pictures. I asked Yeon what she would write about during the winter, and she has a backlog of material. So have no fears!
Here are some delicious products at Scenic View Orchards with an apple and pear theme. I like that they have candy apples. I am also a big fan of applesauce and no sugar added apple and pear butters. I could eat one of those pears right now.
Scenic View Orchards has its own shop on 550. They are closed at the moment but will be open December 13 and 14 for "holiday needs." See the website.
A new freeware graphics program and a new camera make blogging about Frederick foods even more fun.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is giving away free Maryland Farm products to some lucky people who sign up on their mailing list here. You could win anything from wine, seafood, or honey to a Christmas tree (from Sewell Farms in Taneytown, where my friends Bryan and Jessica get their tree every year).
Hope you're a winner!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Just a note during the Holiday rush that if you are looking for a practical gift during this Holiday season for your friends and loved ones we can help. A gift that is very healthy and practical, a gift that is not made in some far away land or may contribute to the filling of our local landfill eventually, a gift that can be practical and memorable, you may consider giving a gift certificate from Summer Creek Farm to be used at the farmers market (any one we participate in) next season. We offer gift certificates in $5-$25.00, we will email you a certificate to print on your color printer (or mail one if you want us to print it up)! All I need is who it is to, the holiday you want mentioned (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, or just Winter Holiday) the amount you want it for and payment for that amount. We will honor the certificate at any farmers market during the 2009 season (May-October). Your friends will have choice of any produce on our table at that market.
This offer expires December 22, 2008 and the certificate can refer to a specific holiday this season or just a winter gift.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Hello??? Are you out there? Is this microphone working? This is the VERY LAST CHANCE to order your holiday cookies from Cakes for Cause. Wednesday is too late for delicious sugar cookie and gingerbread cookies that come to you frozen and in 15 short minutes become the template for the artistic geniuses in your house. Here's the details:
Each box contains 30 cookies and costs $18, frosting mix is $6 and will be available at the drop off sites.
Tuesday November 25th: YOUR LAST CHANCE TO ORDER. We are not responsible for disappointed kiddies, officemates, or the neighborhood cookie exchange.
We will be contacting everyone who has reserved cookies in the week following Thanksgiving to confirm your order and arrange your pickup and payment details.
Wednesday, December 3rd: If you'd like to practice decorating, Cakes for Cause will be having a house party. E-mail us for details.
Thursday, December 11th 10:00-2:00, Cultural Arts Center (downtown) OR
Saturday, December 13th 11:00-1:00, Dutch Plant Farm (Baughman's Lane) OR
Wednesday, December 17th 10:00-2:00, Cultural Arts Center (downtown) OR
Saturday, December 20th (this is pushing it people!) 10:00-2:00, Dutch Plant Farm (Baughman's Lane)
But, really we're pretty flexible and if you absolutely cannot get to any of these locations, we'll make arrangements with you to get your cookies.
That's it, easy as cookies (as we like to say in the pastry business).
We missed some thank yous...
Of course, last week we forgot to mention some people in our email (our parents for one, and Dad is still upset about it) so here we go again:
Many thanks to the people who helped us this summer at the Farmer's Market, it wouldn't have been possible without you. Amanda, Mike, Mike, and Mike, Annie, Chris, and Chris, Jen, Rachele, Jeanine, Annie, Patty, Barbara, Truby, Jennifer and Jennifer, Shannon, Kluane, Natalie, Marcia, Amy, Hannah, Michelle, Julie, Lynda, Kara, Cat, Sarah, Sarah, and Sara, Kathaleen, Keri Ann, Ann Marie, Harriet, Kelly, Lauren and Lauren, Madeline, Victoria, Kate, Mary Ann, Cara, Steve, Stacy, Pam, Kevin, Vicki, Melissa, and to our two amazing farmer's market committee chairs Jen and Yeon......aaand to the people we forgot last week, Kermit and Gaye, Ron and Rhonda, and to our shortbread and t-shirt marketing king Rick. We truly hope we didn't miss anyone this time.
Cakes for Cause
-- The last Farmer's Market was on on Nov 22.--
Yes folks, this is it...the end of the 2008 Frederick Farmer's Market on Baughman's Lane. Another season of tomato fights and corn husk surfing has come to a close. But you were part of it this year with Cakes for Cause and for that we are so grateful. To the gentleman who dropped his cookie on the ground and insisted on eating it because, "it's too good to waste", to the many other customers who have supported us and our mission, and to our army of volunteers who braved rain, humidity and wind: Amanda, Mike, Mike, and Mike, Annie, Chris, and Chris, Jen, Rachele, Jeanine, Annie, Patty, Barbara, Truby, Jennifer and Jennifer, Shannon, Kluane, Natalie, Marcia, Amy, Hannah, Michelle, Julie, Lynda, Kara, Cat, Sarah, Sarah, and Sara, Kathaleen, Keri Ann, Ann Marie, Harriet, Kelly, Lauren and Lauren, Madeline, Victoria, Kate, Mary Ann, Cara, Steve, Stacy, Pam, Kevin, Vicki, Melissa, and to our two amazing farmer's market committee chairs Jen and Yeon. I hope we didn't miss anyone and THANK YOU. We'll be back next summer. P.S. no farmers were harmed during the tomato fights!
Wait...don't power down your email yet! There's still this week and we have a pantry full of ingredients to use up. So prepare yourselves for more cookies, more pastries, more cakes than ever before! Hot chocolate? We've got it! Crackers? Bags and bags! Our elves will be busy this week so that you can stock up. But, what's that? You can order from us in the off season...really? Although we don't open our retail space until next spring, you can still order great Cakes for Cause products throughout the holidays and the loooooong cold days of winter. Just give us a couple of days notice and we'll craft something special for your next big event, or just your next family breakfast.
THIS IS THE LAST WEEK to order holiday cookies (THIS IS THE LAST WEEK)...holiday gingerbread and sugar cookies that you pop into the oven and bake (THIS IS THE LAST WEEK). We will be rolling cookies on December 10th and delivering them in the Frederick area starting on the 11th. If you have already placed an order (THIS IS THE LAST WEEK), we will be contacting you the week after Thanksgiving to arrange payment and confirm your delivery and make sure you don't need anything else. The drop-dead date for ordering is Tuesday November 25th and if you miss us at the Market on Saturday, you can send an email to email@example.com to order. And then people, we must insist that everyone enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey before even thinking about cookies! THIS IS THE LAST WEEK!!!!!!!!!
We will have our long sleeve and thermal t-shirts at the Market this week as well. If you'd like us to hold a size for you, we're more than happy to do so. This is the shirt that all the fashionistas are wearing this season and we have them in limited quantities. Accept no substitutions!
Cakes for Cause
Our friend Elin gets a mention in the Frederick Foodie Blog here. Quote of the day "Elin Ross is the ethusiastic and dynamic head of the organization and I swear, girlfriend works so hard that she sweats butter and eggs."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Greetings from the farm. This coming Saturday will be the last full market day for the season. While it may be cold, I think it will at least be dry. Be sure to come in and stock up from your favorite vendors.
My beef offering will include ribeye, strip, sirloin, porterhouse, flank, and skirt steaks; eye round, boneless chuck, and sirloin tip roasts; stew cubes, and ground round. Lamb will include loin, arm, and rib chops; racks, boneless shoulders, butterflied leg, stew meat, kabob cubes, and ground lamb. Pork will include tenderloin, pork chops; spare, country style, and baby back ribs; boneless butts, smoked ham steaks, country slices, and bacon. Maple and country sausage will be fresh while hot Italian, mild Italian, applewurst, and bratwurst will be frozen. I will also have chickens, eggs, and jellies.
There is still time to order your turkey or baked goods for pickup Wednesday at the Dutch Plant Farm. The turkeys I sell are grown and processed by Maple Lawn Farm in Howard County. Several years ago the Washington Post did a taste test of turkeys
available locally and the Maple Lawn bird was the easy winner. I am offering the turkeys at $2.50 per pound. If you need a turkey, it must be order by Sunday night.
Customers might be stocking up Saturday and supply could run short so please order ahead if possible. I need to have your orders by 9 AM Friday. If you did not get a copy of my winter schedule last week, be sure to ask for one. Also, don't forget that I'll be at Dutch Plant Farm on Wednesday, November 26, for you to get you holiday orders. Wednesday hours will be 10 AM until 12:30 PM. Stay warm and I will see you at the market.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Greetings from the farm. With Thanksgiving only 15 days away, it is time to order your holiday bird, ham, and dessert. Orders can be picked up at the last Frederick market of the year on Saturday November 22. If you prefer fresher product, I will be making a delivery at the Dutch Plant Farm on Baughmans Lane Wednesday November 26. Wednesday hours will be 10 AM until 12:30 PM. I will be selling locally raised and processed turkeys from Maple Lawn Farm. Turkey size can be from 12 to 40 pounds and the price is $2.50 per pound. If you prefer only white meat, breasts will be priced at $4.00 per pound. For dark meat lovers, the part remaining after removal of the breast is available at $1.25 per pound. I also have hams, country cured, smoked, or fresh. My sisters will be making on order pies, cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, and tea breads. For those of you interested in capons, I should have an answer Friday if any will be available.
For the market this Saturday lamb cuts will include butterflied leg, boneless shoulder, racks, ground lamb, and leg, loin, rib, arm, and sirloin chops. Pork will include tenderloin, pork chops, boneless shoulder roast, bacon, smoked ham steaks, and spare, country style, and baby back ribs. Sausage flavors will be country, sage, hot Italian, mild Italian, applewurst, bratwurst, and maple. Beef will include ribeye, strip, porterhouse, sirloin, flank, and skirt steaks; boneless chuck, eye round, sirloin tip roasts; stew cubes, and ground beef. I also have some frozen veal left. Cuts are rib chops, sirloin chops, arm roast, stew cubes, and ground veal. Eggs will also be available.
I also had chickens processed this week. There will be broilers available as well as stewing birds. The "stewing" birds are young males of a laying breed. They are not as meaty as the broilers but are excellent for soup, stock, or chicken salad. This would be the type of chicken our ancestors ate a few generations back. Another good use for these birds would be for authentic coq au vin. Several years ago I had a group of this type of chicken and customers said it was perfect for that dish.
I need your help. I have a supply of pork chops, spare and country style ribs, lamb rib, arm, and sirloin chops, and veal in my freezer. I need to move this product before winter and at the same time put together a down payment for a new market truck. I will be offering these frozen meats at a 10 per cent discount this Saturday. Supply is limited so you might want to preorder to be sure of getting what you need.
Also, please get you Thanksgiving orders in soon. Be sure to let me know which day you will be picking up. Be well, and I will see you at the market.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This is the email that Farmer Rick Hood from Summer Creek Farm sends out to his CSA members:
Hi all, winter is close to setting in. This is the time of year I look at the past year and plan for the next year. This year had it's success and it's disappointments. We grew more produce than ever and had better farmers market sales than ever. On the flip side our costs have risen significantly. Some crops did very well and some suffered too. I am planning next year to address the issues that cropped up this year and by trying to increase our production to supply variety and value.
On the cost side this year everyone talks about fuel but we have seen cost increases in many areas. Take paper lunch bags, from July to August we saw a 30% increase in paper bags. We saw a 16% increase in boxes. This was definitely energy related. Paper consumes huge amounts of water and energy to be made. Interestingly enough we saw no similar increase in plastic bags. Currently we are buying seeds for next year. The costs increases are unbelievable. The floods in the Midwest have driven seed costs way up. Last year we purchased soybean seed for $35.00 per bag (3 years ago it was $28.00), this years cost is $49.00 per bag. Even simple non exotic crops like squash have seen a 30% increase in seed prices. Organic Fertilizers are way up too. We are trying to purchase earlier this year while the economy is cooled. Looking into the crystal ball I expect the world economy to grow, especially China and India even if our economy stalls. China has already talked about a stimulus package and unlike the US they can afford it. The emerging countries have a huge hunger for food. Once they reestablish growth in there economies they will once again become major food importers, driving world prices up. China is already the largest pork producer in the world and is still importing US Pork. This will drive world grain prices too.
Additionally I recently read an article about water shortages in California. A major issue looming in the west is the lack of water and growing cities. Farmers and city officials both need water. The cities of Los Angles, Phoenix and Las Vegas are growing. Much of the vegetables in your local store come from these areas and they are grown under irrigation. As water gets tight the farmer will not win this battle with the growing cities. Currently farmers are being told they will get 30% of their normal allocation next year. Unless winter snows change the availability of water many California farmers will plant less than next year. Less production equals higher store costs. All the more reason to support your local growers. We appreciate that support!
Enough with all that is challenging. We have much to look forward to next year. We have planned our CSA for next year. We will be offering pickups at the Farm, Urbana (new location on Singleton Terrace, close to the old one), in Frederick at Dr. Laura's and at the Saturday Farmers Market in Frederick. The Urbana CSA will also move to Wed pick up with a change in time to 4:30.
Our web site is updated with the new form. We are keeping the price the same as last year, $450.00. To all our old customers we are offering to hold your spot in the CSA with a $100.00 deposit, the balance due on March 1. Existing customers are getting CSA notice first to sign up. We have had a lot of interest since the article last summer in Frederick Magazine so we wanted to make sure you all got a chance to sign up first. New customers will be asked to pay in full at start up. You certainly can pay the full cost from the start if you desire. We do use these funds to procure supplies and get ready for next year. I am sorry but we will not be offering egg shares in the next year but, we will still offer discounts on bulk produce and rain barrels to CSA customers. Their will be a limited number of shares this year so let me know if you are interested as soon as possible.
Next year we will also offer our produce again at the Frederick Farmers Market on Saturday and Clarksburg Market on Sunday. I will also keep you notified of various activities we will be doing over the winter months. We do offer gardening courses and talks in the area. I will update that schedule soon.
We have wheat grain ready for all of you that would like to grind your own flour. I also have firewood available in late December. Delivery will be available. Just let me know the quantity you may be interested in. It is mixed dry hardwoods.
I hope your winter goes well. I look forward to growing more good food for you next season. Thanks again for your support!
Monday, November 10, 2008
First, I apologize to my veggie friends, but those that know me understand my penchant for the beasties from our local farmers here in Frederick County, MD. This post is dedicated to those hardworking men and women who deem it necessary to take care of our chattle for our consumption.
To those beasts who have not burdened and are about to die so that I shall live, I salute you.
Danny Rohrer is a farmer whose crop is the animal. In his honor I present a preparation of a rack of goat. The goat is such a useful creature, especially to those in more arid climates. It lives on scraps in poorer countries and yet it can still sustain life for the farmer and his family. The goat has taste characteristics normally toward the more gamier fare. However, the meat that came from the Rohrer farm was as delectable as any I have ever tasted.
In order to prepare this small (1.25lb) but delicious looking rack, I chose to dry rub in sage, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Oh, by the way, the herbs are from our own garden (organic, of course) and all other supplies are from the Frederick Farmer's Market.
But before I did that, I needed to dress it up a bit. The French are quite particular as to how the meal looks, this is no different for a simple rack. Dressing it a la francais means to trim cleanly the tips of the rib. Additionally, in order to create the appearance of a clean bone practically jumping out of the rack after it's cooked, one must split the fascia next to the bone on the "bone" side of the rack. Notice how it looks after it is cooked to get an idea of final presentation.
This "table" presentation means the guests can just pick up the rib of their choice.
The cooking of the rack was simple. Start the charcoals in a chimney starter. We want NONE of that nasty starter fluid taste. Set coals to one side of grill, put grill on, scrape grill after 5 minutes (it's easier when it's hot). Since the coals are probably still pretty blazin', you'll put the potatoes on first.
My potatoes involve thickly sliced and quartered laying in a foil "packet" with Montreal chicken season (1/2 tsp) and a small sprig of rosemary. Over the hot coals the butter melts, nearly frying the potato quarters while the seasoning chars slightly to a mild salty crispiness. You know they are done when you can actually HEAR the frying of the potato over the coals. Move them to the side (after about 15 minutes).
Set the rack meat side down with 2 foil pie plates over it. Since this was a small rack the first side took only 7 minutes while the bone side took less than 5 minutes. This will leave you with a medium rare (more rare, but not blue) portion of meat which gives you the true essence of the meat, which practically melts in your mouth. This is due in no small part to the quality, freshness, and care of Danny's product. Let the meat set for 10 minutes (as it will let the juices settle back to the cool part (the middle), slice between the bone, press together and give the table presentation as above.
And now a word from our sponsor - The Health Advocate (Me) - Why naturally raised meats are better:
1. They TASTE better
2. They have more nutritive value because the animal was not fending off a chemical onslaught and over crowded conditions
3. Because they're DEEEEELICIOUS!
Did I mention they taste better...oh yea... well you get the idea, there's a reason it tastes better.
In the end, we save on transportation cost, support local farmers and thus the local economy, and most important make friends that we can count on.
Here are some more photos for the shutterbugs out there. Enjoy.
Friday, November 7, 2008
SOME Sugarcookies do NOT use sunscreen!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Well possibly sleet would deter us but we're like the Post Office at Cakes for Cause. We brought out our tent weights, our hot cocoa, and our good humor last week and it was great to see how many Farmer's Market addicts there really are in Frederick County (and beyond)! This week we'll have more hot cocoa, along with hot coffee but unless there is a huge outcry response via email, we probably won't do cider. Our cocoa is based on several old-fashioned recipes and it's creamy and chocolatey...perfect to partner with a scone or pain au chocolat as you wander the late fall market.
We'll be doing a tasting for a restaurant later this week so we may have some special items in limited quantities at the Saturday Market (on Baughman's Lane 10:00-1:00). We're also planning apple turnovers made with several varieties of local apples ...puff pastry and glazed with cider, they're a yummy addition to your Sunday breakfast or brunch. Cheddar biscuits return this week, along with vegan scones, a new crispy peppercorn cracker (we had it with cheddar over the weekend...yummy!), and a full complement of our breads and pastries.
GET YOUR CAKES FOR CAUSE SWAG!!!
We're unveiling our fall/winter t-shirt design this week. We have a couple of long-sleeved options for you to choose from-thermal, and men's and ladies sizes in a more traditional material. If you bring over your (now) vintage original shirt as proof of purchase, we'll knock $2 off the price for you as a thank you for buying multiples. Our tagline on the back of this shirt comes from a bartender in Brooklyn who heard about our project earlier in the year and calls us, "...a noble food project." Remember, we change our design every 100 shirts so once they're gone, you'll just have to wistfully view them on our website (www.cakesforcause.org).
Also, we're planning an order for hoodies using the same design. We're going to pre-order/pre-pay for these so once we have at least 25 orders, we'll get them printed. Still trying to set up for online credit card purchases but we'll take checks or cash at this time.
We're gearing up and we'll have some special treats in the upcoming weeks. Look for a photo essay as the SugarCookie (they're a modern married couple with a combined name) family makes their way back to Frederick in time for our holiday cookie fundraiser. There's still time to order these and other special treats for the holidays. Ask us about special cakes, desserts, and savories to make your celebrations easier and special.
Cakes for Cause
Friday, October 24, 2008
From Danny Rohrer, aka Meat Man:
Greetings from the farm. For those of you who have been waiting for varieties of meat that I don't often have, this will be your week. I will have goat at the market this week. Cuts will include loin chops, rib chops, rack, boneless cubes, and ground goat.
I will also have veal this week. This will be an older calf that has eaten solid food and the meat will be red rather than white. Cuts will include scallopini, cutlets, shanks, loin chops, rib chops, boneless shoulder roasts, bone-in arm roasts, cubes, and ground veal. Please remember that there is only a certain amount of the "premium cuts" and I do need to sell everything. When you order your cutlets, please consider ground veal, cubes, and the roasts as well. The faster the less popular cuts sell, the quicker I can process another calf.
I will also have my complete line of meats this week as well. Beef, pork, lamb, chickens, and eggs will be available.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching I am ready to start taking orders. I will be handling turkeys from Howard County's Maple Lawn Farm again this year. The turkeys are raised and processed right on their farm.This is an excellent bird which won a Washington Post taste test a few years back. I will also have hams and my sisters will be making pies and cakes for dessert.
Even though it is late, please order your veal and goat today to help me with filling orders. Hopefully tomorrow will only bring occasional showers during market hours rather than a downpour.
Eat fresh, be well, and I will see you at the market.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Farmer Rick runs Summer Creek Farm. He sends emails out to his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members every week. Here's his most recent one. Many farmers are taking signups for this coming spring's CSA now. You get a box or bag of farm-fresh goodies every week at a pickup location. You can learn more about CSAs in your region at Local Harvest and can learn more about Frederick County Farms at the Virtual Farmer's Market from the Frederick County Office of Economic Development.
Hi All, Today we delivered the last of the fall CSA. The boxes were so full we could not close them! We had a hard frost two nights ago. Today we spent the day picking for a hard freeze tonight. If we get it that will mean the end of the summer crops. As I picked tomatoes tonight I could not help but think about how these plants were started 10 months ago. We started in late January to get plants ready for summer. We plant, cultivate and care for these plants 10 months a year to get fresh tomatoes for 4 months. We no sooner finished with these and are thinking about changes to make next year even better. We are working on changes to the farm for next year already. We will be planting wheat tomorrow and garlic soon to be harvested next year. If you want peppers or tomatoes along with other summer crops we will have the end of the season at this Saturdays farmers market in Frederick and Sunday in Clarksburg.
Our fall crops are in, our famous broccoli is now in. All members of the fall CSA got the extra broccoli we had promised in this weeks box. We have a lb of broccoli for all other members of our summer CSA too. Just please let me know what farmers market and date you would like to pick it up at so I have enough.
We will soon be forwarding information on next years CSA. All current members will have an early notice to sign up before new members. Also this winter we will be working with Mt.St. Marys University on there environmental studies program, the green building institute on environmental matters and have workshops at the Common Market in Frederick. Stay tune for details.
Thanks so much for your support this year. Many things have gone on at the farm as well as personal issues. Our season was our best ever and we look forward to making it even better next year.
I love Saturdays. I look forward to getting up early and baking something for the weekend. Jubilee Organic Farm brings 4 or 5 different types of winter squash to the farmer's market. The very first week they had winter squash, I picked up a butternut squash and made lasagna, using my favorite recipe by Jamie Oliver (slightly altered since I cannot remember every measurement). Another week, I picked up a kabocha squash. This squash came with a rave review of Chris' daughter that when it is baked, it is so tender, sweet and downright delicious. Kabocha squashes seem to be small to medium sized and they have such a bright orange-red color. Once I peeled the skin off and scooped out the seeds, Dan roasted the seeds in the oven. The seeds were not meaty but they were very nutty and had good flavors.
Now the pie. I had this recipe by Dorie Greenspan that I wanted to try. It calls for a butternut squash but I thought kabocha will also do nicely. Roughly following the recipe, I combined cubed and cooked kabocha squash (2 cups), cubed pear (2 ripe pears), 1/3 cup of white rasin and cranberries, orange peel from a half orange and orange juice (2 Tbs), cinnamon (1 Tbs), freshly grated nutmeg (a pinch), coarsely chopped walnuts (1/3 cup), and bread crumbs (I used panko, 2 Tbs). It smelled so good just mixing these ingredients that I was jumping up and down with the joy talking to myself 'wow, this is going to make a great pie'!! Use your favorite pie crust recipe and place the filling. The recipe was for 9 inch pie, but instead I made two mini pies (4 inch) and one in an individual lasagna pan. Dan suggested that we do lattice top so I did.
This pie is really good. It reminds me of a mince pie, Dan said. Maybe so. The sweet flavor combination from the squash and pear on top of nice, cold-weather spice is just good. It is substantial enough to hold you over when you are hungry in a long afternoon. Even though the pie is best on the day is it made, I still enjoyed it two days later, kept at room temperature all the time.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Cool weather vegetables are showing up more at the market and among the warm orange and yellow hue of fall vegetables, broccolis are standing up green. When Gwen of Glade-Link Farm brought broccolis to the farmer's market, I had to make my favorite pizza with broccolis. I think broccolis are best when it is sautéed in a little bit of olive oil and garlic, and this pizza showcases broccoli at its best flavor with backdrop of melting cheese and crispy crust. Yum - it can't get any better!
My another favorite is a pizza with onions. These are not the ordinary onions. They are cooked in butter and soaked and simmered in red wine till they become caramelized with complex flavors from wine. Yellow, white and red onions from Chris of Jubilee Organic Farm are delicious and I had enough red onions to make my onion pizza.
I have made pizzas with different dough recipes and liked them all, from thin crispy kind to thick soft kind. However for the past year or two, I have been making this very simple dough, which turns out extra crispy thin pizzas. The recipe came with a pizza pan (a non-stick metal round pan with holes in it), courtesy of Cook's Illustrated. I modified it to use whole wheat flour and do without a food processor.
Dough for extra crispy thin pizzas
Once the dough is made, the following steps are quite simple. Go through your refrigerator and find all the cheeses and food-leftovers that you like to use.
For broccoli pizza, saute broccolis in olive oil and sliced garlic for a brief time, until they just turn bright green. Since they are going to be baked in a very hot oven, you don't want to cook them too long. We used mozzarella, manchego and fresh mozzarella cheese this time. Dan sprinkled fresh ground black pepper and very thinly sliced dried Thai pepper (from Wendy of Persimmon Pond Plants). This Thai pepper was a nice touch. Those tiny specs of pepper strip gave a nice surprising kick to the pizza.
For onion pizza, we layered a leftover meat (roasted eye-round beef) and olives underneath onions. The sauteed onions in wine is the recipe from Baking with Julia (my baking bible). The original recipe calls for a long long time to gently cook the onions in the lowest heat setting once wine is introduced. Since I make pizzas on a whim, I don't have that long long time to cook down the onions. So here is what I do.
You want to use a good drinking red wine for this. I have a bottle of red that was gifted and when we opened it up, it was sadly passed the prime. So I use it for cooking and when I use this wine, I add a really good balsamic vinegar toward the end of reduction.
Preheat the oven at 475 F and bake the pizza for 10 minutes. Once it comes out of oven, let it rest for a few minutes before you cut and dig in.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Last week was a perfect week for hot cider and it was delicious. In the coming weeks (as the weather permits), we'll be adding real hot chocolate to the mix along with the cider and coffee. Stop by the Cakes for Cause booth for your scone and beverage as you check out the squash, kale, and root vegetable selection at the Frederick Farmer's Market (on Baughman's Lane on Saturday mornings). One small announcement: the Cakes for Cause booth is taking a week off on Saturday October 18th. We anticipate closing our café each year in August and in January for one week so that our staff and apprentices can schedule vacation time. We missed August because it was so busy so we will be closed the week of October 12-18. We will not be taking orders during that time either. We'll miss you but it's important that our staff have some quality time with their families...in advance of the holiday frenzy. We'll be back at the market on the 25th.
Speaking of the holidays, Cakes for Cause has a bunch of ways to make your holiday special. How about pre-ordering a dozen scones or croissants for Thanksgiving morning so you don't have to worry about breakfast? Just pop them in the oven for 10 minutes and they'll taste just like they did when we pulled them out of the oven. Are you having a holiday soiree? Think about our rosemary sage crackers served with your favorite dip or spread...we sell these crackers by the pound. And, don't forget the cookie decorating. We still have boxes of rolled and cut gingerbread and sugar cookies available to pre-order. All you have to do is slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and in 15 minutes, you're ready to have a decorating party. Whatever your need, the Cakes for Cause commitment to small-batch baking, interesting flavors, and custom cakes and pastries is a way for you to be able to enjoy the holidays.
This week at the Market, we'll offer our usual great selection of scones (possibly pumpkin???) and croissants. Our baker thinks there will be an ooey, gooey coconut chocolate bar in there somewhere, along with our yummy toffee mini cakes. Our breads will include the newly popular Pane Siciliano with equal parts semolina and white flours and our herbed dipping bread (even though the tomatoes are going, this bread is still delicious as a sandwich bread with fresh meats and cheeses...try chicken or egg salad too!). Although our cheddar biscuits weren't a big draw when we first brought them to Frederick, the weather might have turned just enough to tempt you this month. These are a fluffy, aged cheddar biscuit with a sprinkling of sea salt on the top before they bake and are delicious with your autumn stews and soups. Whatever your preference, we enjoy seeing you at the market and talking about our products and our mission. If you'd like more information about our program, click here.
Cakes for Cause
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I visited my parents today. They live out in the woods near Sabillasville, in the Catoctin Mountains. Dad and I took a walk.
"Are there persimmons on the tree this year?," I asked. "Can't you see them?," said Dad, "the little yellow globes everywhere?" At first I couldn't- the sun was in my eyes. But then we got a little closer and he was right. The tree had more persimmons on it than I had ever seen before. "Why don't you eat one?," he asked, with an evil twinkle in his eye.
"I'm not falling for that again," I told him.
Some years back Dad and I went to the persimmon tree and he convinced me to eat one because they are delicious. So of course I ate one. Then my mouth turned inside out and I salivated uncontrollably and he laughed like a nut and said, "my Father did that to me too!"
Back to today...Dad walked to the tree and said, "no, really, they're delicious. I've been eating them every time I go to the mailbox."
"Yeah right. You eat one," I said. "I'll watch you." After watching him eat half of a persimmon I made him give me the other half. It was delicious. So what gives?
Native persimmons are usually inedible until after the first good freeze. But if they fall off the tree before that and are translucent then you can eat them. So be really careful about eating them right now. You might end up drooling for about an hour. It's miserable and interminable.
I have a few friends who love the native persimmons and they have their favorite trees. Local foraging knowledge is a very special thing that people share with each other as a sign of affection and trust. If you want to try persimmons, there is a big one next to a parking lot at Utica Park. I can't give away any of the other locations or I will lose a very good friend.
I also made Dad take me to the shellbark hickory trees, where I collected a small bag. He couldn't understand why I would bother with them because the nuts are so small and hard to get out of the walnut-like shells. But that makes them all the more precious. Hickory nuts are kind of like walnuts in taste but have their own flavor. I really love to eat native foods. There's something wholesome and essential to the experience of gathering. There's food in the woods and it is good.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Hi! Stop by the Cakes for Cause booth at the Farmer's Market this week and ask us for your special treat. It's our opportunity to thank you for supporting us all summer in Frederick and Middletown.
Also, if you're a collector, we're unveiling our winning cupcake postcard design this week in Frederick. This is a limited edition postcard designed by Joanna Wong who heard about us from the brother of a friend. She designed a fresh, colorful, cupcake card (think Jack and the Cupcakestalk) that we hope you'll add to your collection. We'll be displaying Joanna and other artist's cupcake art in our retail space and at the farmer's markets and festivals we attend.
If you're coming out to the Market this week (Saturdays on Baughman's Lane from 10:00 to 1:00), we'll have cheddar chive and lemon ginger scones, soda bread, our new Pane Siciliano bread, herb dipping bread, our rosemary crackers and loads of other fresh, small-batch baked goods. If you're a vegan or vegetarian, we also have some options for you and we promise, they are delicious. We'll also have a booth and our new banner at In the Street on the Kid's Block. We won't be selling any food but you know we like to have a good time so come out and say hi.
T-shirts are a premium right now. Moving fast and the next one will be different so if you've even been considering one, you should act soon. They're high-quality cotton (we've tried to shrink them and it doesn't work) in chocolate brown. Our logo is on the front and the tagline on the back is so appropriate, "Everyone Deserves Dessert". We think it conveys not only our attitude but how we approach our mission...to serve youth who age out of foster care or who live in public housing...everyone DOES deserve dessert. T-shirts are only $20 and as you know, all of the proceeds from our retail sales go to support the mission of Cakes for Cause.
If you're attending the Friends of Frederick event this weekend, Cakes for Cause is donating a tray of petit fours. We haven't decided what they will be but it's an opportunity for you to try some of our dessert products. Friends of Frederick is holding their annual gala on Saturday night. For tickets or more information on this great organization, hit their website.
Cakes For Cause
Saturday, September 27, 2008
There's lots of ways you can support Cakes for Cause. We are always looking for volunteers and we have several opportunities available. Click here if you're interested in volunteering. We'd like to remind you that all the proceeds from our retail sales, from donations, and from our fundraising events go to support the mission of our organization. Your financial contributions help us to provide job training, community development, and life skills training to youth who have been in the foster care system. We will teach these youth practical vocational skills and critical life skills that will help them obtain and maintain employment into adulthood. If you'd like to make a tax-deductible contribution, you may mail it to Cakes for Cause, PO Box 3452, Frederick, MD 21705 (please be patient with us, we're setting up our online donations site now). Thank you for your generous support to our organization.
Cakes for Cause
As I reported earlier, the pawpaws are ripe RIGHT NOW. I finally had a ripe one yesterday, and I can honestly say it was one of the best fruits I have ever eaten. Ripe, the pawpaws are green with black spots and they feel like an avocado from the outside. Inside, the flesh is white-yellow. But the taste...
The taste is like a combination of banana and papaya. The texture is firm but custardy, also like an avocado. The skin is really thin. I just cut the fruit in half and scooped the flesh out with my teeth. I have a thing for cherimoyas so it should be no surprise that I like their cousin, the pawpaw. How exciting that a native fruit is this delicious! This tropical!
My friend Jen, the doyenne of pawpaws, thinks they would be good in a pina colada. Yum!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Here is a copy of Farmer Rick's most recent post to his CSA members...
Hi All, This is the last week of the summer 2008 CSA. Your box is very full this week to catch up from the light boxes early in the season. You have sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes in this box. That along with the hard squash will let some of the stuff keep till next week to reduce your CSA withdrawl. Additionally you have green tomatoes. You can either use them for Fried Green Tomatoes or place them on your counter to ripen for red tomatoes next week. Additionally you received peppers and several other items.
For those of you joining us for the fall I need to clarify some fall details. Our pickups will be as follows:
Urbana, same place, 4:30 pm -6pm pick up time but the day will move to Wed.Frederick Wed pickup, will remain the same as the summer CSA.Creagerstown, TBD depending on sign ups.Frederick Saturday - will remain the same as summer CSA.I need all payments by September 29 so we know how many boxes to pack.
You all will receive an email pertaining to bonus produce you can pick up from us at the Farmers Market in Frederick on Saturday in October, once Broccoli and pumpkins are you we will have some for you. This is for all summer members to say thanks for a great season.
2009, we are working on the 2009 plans right now. We have received a lot of requests already and some things will change from 2008. We will be taking sign ups sooner this year. All members of 2008 will get first notice for 2009. I also am planning a web site overhaul this winter so check that over the winter to see what is going on at the farm.
Finally some thoughts, first let me thank you for helping make our farm successful in 2008. Me and my family (plus 150 chickens, 240 peeps, 120,000 bees and one lazy dog too) thank you. As I am sure you all know we work very hard to bring you fresh produce. Our farm employed 7 people this year, providing them some income but more importantly an education of real life issues. For young people used to video games this is a very different experience.
Farming is something you do because you love it, not because it makes a lot of money. From June to the end of September I call it the gauntlet. Once you enter that season your time is consumed but many items, some more important than others. All items need to be done to keep the crops growing and a steady stream of produce for our CSA and farmers markets. Most of our income is made during this season so while winter is a time to plan, rest, repair all our broken equipment it is also a time of little income. This adds pressure to make the summer even more successful. The CSA is an important way for us to get our season started. We need about $10,000 each year to start the farm. This buys seed, fertilizer, parts and equipment. It also helps to pay for spring labor before we get income from sales. We thank you for that support.
The gauntlet is also tough on friends and relatives. It is hard for people not in farming to understand why no time is available for much else during this time. Many items seem like they could wait but experience teaches me that not performing them would lead to serious financial issues later. With one eye on the weather and one on the calendar we try to fit to many items in a day. These stresses may be why farming as an occupation is listed in the top 10 on both divorce and suicide. Each year I try to plan more ways to grow more in less time for time is the most precious resource I have. Some day I hope to find that magic solution.
Farming does have many benefits that you will not see in a normal job however. The wonder of harvesting boxes of tomatoes from one seed. The feeling of watching grain pour out of the augers as a roaring combine cuts a swath through a field of grain. Nothing is more beautiful than the sparkle of clear water rushing from an irrigation port on a bright sunny day. The sparkle of that water on a hot day quenching a drought is better than diamonds. Of course working on the farm we learn to appreciate the little things in a complicated world. The value of a gentle breeze, the sight of bees pollinating a crop and feel of healthy soil sifting through your hands. All of these won't make the evening news but all help put food on the table at night.
Our world is currently changing. With energy no longer cheap and growing economies around the world demanding more food the farmer is more important ever. We hope that you all stay abreast of the issues in the world for they will effect your food supply and costs. Food is the most basic of needs and it is
often taken for granted. Something so valuable should not be taking so lightly.
Thanks again and we hope to see many of you back next season.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Today I visited a friend who happened to have a bag of pawpaws that she recently picked in a wild area along a local stream. I had never tasted one before, so she sent me home with a few. I wasted no time cutting one open and tasting it for myself.
The fruit was partly ripe and partly rotten. I cut the rotten, brown part off and dug into the yellow-orange flesh, which had a tropical sweetness and a banana-like texture. It was delicious. The huge seeds were easy to eat around. The fruit looked something like a cherimoya (which is in the same family), which I loved when I lived in California. The pawpaw fruit was about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. It was green on one side and black on the other (the black side was rotten). I found the picture above at slow food international. The fruit looked very similar except the flesh was pencil-colored. For more information about the pawpaw, check out wikipedia and Virginia Tech websites.
Now is the time to harvest these local, native fruits. You can pick them and eat them yourself, or you can give them to Growing Native. Growing Native is a local project that collects native tree seeds and sends them to state tree nurseries to grow for environmental restoration.
Here's a recipe for pawpaw and black walnut cookies from the University of Kentucky website. Black walnut is also a native tree; it is dropping its delicious, edible nuts now. They are similar to English walnuts, but have a strong, distinctive flavor that is a little bitter.
Pawpaw Cookies with Black Walnuts
- ¾ c. pureed pawpaw pulp
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ c. butter
- ½ c. brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ c. black walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350o F and grease one large cookie sheet. Peel and seed fresh pawpaws and process in a food processor until fine. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg. Add the flour mixture and then add the pawpaw pulp. Chop half the nuts (reserve 16 pieces) and blend them in. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet and press a piece of black walnut onto the top of each cookie. Bake 12 minutes or until brown across the top. Makes about 16 cookies.