I have a variation of tomato and basil photos taken from pretty much every summer since I started gardening and taking digital photos. Even so I can't stop myself, especially when it involves "the first tomato".
Red round tomatoes are from Thursday farmer's market at Everedy Square, and orange small tomato is from our own garden along with basil and raspberries.
We didn't have any fresh mozzarella cheese so we used feta cheese stored in brine. They were quite good together but I think I still miss the classic combination. I am going to stop by Juliette and pick up some hand-made mozzarella cheese.
We will see cherry tomatoes at the farmer's market pretty soon (maybe this week) followed by gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. Summer is here.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I have a variation of tomato and basil photos taken from pretty much every summer since I started gardening and taking digital photos. Even so I can't stop myself, especially when it involves "the first tomato".
I was pretty excited to get a pint of blueberries at the Glade Link Farm stand at the farmer's market this past weekend. Then I put them in the back of my car and they got a bit smooshed, and then I refrigerated them to save them until I could cook with them. Today I made blueberry muffins. I thought I would be clever and put yogurt milk in the recipe, but the muffins never rose much; however, they are moist and delicious. Stop by and get one. Yes there is one missing already. Hurry!
I recorded a "community connection" announcement with Chef Bryan Voltaggio of Volt Restaurant today at Key 103. This is different from the PSA I did myself. The previous one advertised the website along with all of the farmer's markets. Today's advertised the Summer Festival that will be on July 11. I wrote a corny script and Bryan was kind enough to read it with me. Thanks to Phil Briggs for recording the spot. Bryan and Phil also chatted afterwards about summer grilling tips. Bryan talked about good foods to go with barbecues.
Now there are two blueberry muffins missing.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Cosmos, sweet pea and pink snap dragon flowers from my garden. Airy coral bells are from Jen's garden.
Sweet peas smell so heavenly and I love all the colors that I got this year. Next year, I might skip sugar snap peas (for food) and instead use all the supports to grow sweet pea flowers. I can always buy fresh peas from the farmer's market but I haven't seen a place selling fresh-cut sweet pea flowers. With a limited garden space, I might as well grow something that I love and hard to find.
Even though sweet peas are excellent cut flowers, the vase life of sweet pea seems to be rather short. If cut at full bloom, they last only a a couple of days. I should try cutting the stems with buds and see how they go.
I notice bee balms, purple cone flower, coreopsis blooming this week. My balloon flower (platycodon) started to bloom and liatris (blazing start) is geting ready to burst out. And yes, sunflowers are opening up in their glory.
Friday, June 26, 2009
My friend Elin told me last night that she was asked to be on a panel with Dorie Greenspan, and I got very excited. Dorie is a very well-known food writer, who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks, "Baking with Julia" and has a blog that I read avidly. Not only that, my friend and Dorie are both farmer's market lovers, so I am linking to a recent post from Dorie's blog about her recent hauls from the Lyme Farmer's Market in Connecticut. I am sure when the two meet that they will have lots to talk about, both being pastry chefs who are fanatical about using farm-fresh produce.
Sidebar: Speaking of Lyme, the disease is actually named after Lyme, Connecticut, where a number of moms got together and discovered that an unusual number of their children had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My own Lyme disease is not going away as quickly as I had hoped.
But back to Elin. I asked her how her garden was going and she mentioned something about having 47 tomatoes.
"You...count them?" I gasped.
"Yes, I count them. I count every little one. I want to make sure that Fatty McFatten hasn't gotten to them." And then I think she may have raised her fist in the air and she may have shaken it while yelling, "FATTY!"
Fatty McFatten, it turns out, is a very fat and hungry squirrel, and the bane of Elin's yard. My friend Amanda piped in that her squirrel is named Charlie, and that it eats the tops of her lily of the valley as well as her sunflowers.
I don't have names for the squirrels in my yard or the rabbits- there are just too many of them. Do you?
Anyway, I think Elin and Dorie will have a good time chatting with each other. To be a fly on the wall- or a squirrel in the tree...
The other night, I was ready to try Farfalle Alfredo with Gravlax reicipe in the same book. I substitute the farfalle with pappardelle (the one we got from Trader Joe's is not really wide though... They are barely 1/2 inch wide). I followed the recipe pretty much, except that I used much less minced fresh dill and added nasturtium flower for garnich. The dish tasted excellent. If you love salmon and dill, you will absolutly love this dish.
Ever since I read the article "Urban Harvest" by Eugenia Bone on Saveur, I have been waiting for this book to come out. The beginning chapter covers the safety and basics of canning pretty well. The recipes have more of gourmet flair, which I like. However, I think I need another book that covers really basic canning recipes.
While writing this, I discovered that she has a blog. I shall go check it out.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I called Glade Link Farms this morning and listened to the recording to find out that they will be bringing beets, cut sunflowers and BLUEBERRIES this week to the market. Yay!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
SUGAR COOKIE TOURIST LIVIN’ THE GOOD LIFE
The sugar-cookie-tourist contest is really heating up! One of our cookie friends vacationed in Mexico last week and, from the looks of it, had the time of his life! Pictures show him lounging on the beach with a drink in hand, floating in the pool (in a protective Tupperware, of course!) and, finally, making friends with an iguana, who turned on him in the end! He had a good run in Cancun-- this one is going to be hard to top!
MIDDLETOWN FARMER’S MARKET
The Cakes for Cause stand was ready for action last Thursday at the Middletown Farmer’s Market. Unfortunately, we were not overrun by stampeding hordes of addicted Cakes customers! We need all you die-hard fans to come out and show your support!! We’d hate for you to go into a sugar coma, though, so use those networking skills and forward this email or tell your coworkers/friends/family/anyone you see…. to get their butts to Middletown!! Our program director has become very attached to this market and can’t bear to give it up, so help her make it worth it! The Middletown Farmer’s Market is located in Middletown on 12 S. Church Street (Rt. 17 South, off of Alt. 40) from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.
VOLUNTEERING WITH CAKES FOR CAUSE
The Cakes for Cause Farmer’s Market booths are staffed by volunteers. If you are interested in helping out and getting involved in the community, we would love to have you! It is a great way to meet new people and spread the word about Cakes for Cause (each pastry bought helps youth who have aged out of foster care gain real job skills). You can sign up to help at our volunteer calendar.
On Saturday July 4th we will donate 5% of our proceeds to CALM, The Frederick Community Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center. CALM is a non-profit community service organization that provides affordable and accessible conflict resolution services to Frederick residents. CALM encourages peaceful resolution of conflicts through the use of mediation. They offer mediation in the following areas: business, community, and all family issues including parent/teen, divorce, eldercare, and school. CALM also offers facilitation, community conferencing, trainings, and presentations. So we want to encourage you to come out and support not only the Cakes for Cause, but CALM as well. Remember: THERE ARE NO CALORIES WHEN IT COMES TO CHARITY!! For more information about CALM, you can visit their website.
Cakes for Cause
These little cupcakes came out pretty good. I followed the recipe for One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes to make the cupcakes and made Strawberry Buttercream for the icing (only half the recipe).
Aren't strawberries so versatile? They taste awesome when they are fresh, they can be cooked into sauce and jam, you can make yummy baked goods, and they freeze so well. I need more strawberries to make Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble posted by Chef Christine. I am crossing my fingers that Gwen would bring strawberries this Thursday to the Everedy Square market. I've heard that they stopped pick-your-own for strawberries last Sunday so we might not have fresh strawberries any more.
On an upbeat note, we had cherries at the market last Saturday and I hear blueberries are getting ready. You know cherries and blueberries are also versatile. We can eat them fresh, cook them into sauce and jam, make baked goods, freeze...... you get the idea.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Dan and I had a slow and peaceful Sunday. I spent a couple of hours in the garden harvesting dill, thyme, lavender flowers, nasturtium flowers and such. In the early evening, I made a pickle with radishes from the farmer's market and red onion from my garden. Drinking home-made raspberry lemonade (yep, raspberries are from our own garden too!) and slicing radishes, I thought these objects looked so beautiful together. So there you have it.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Two different lavender blooms. Nasturtium and desert blue bells trailing slightly down. Cosmos in the center. Borage blossoms, mostly in buds, in the back. These are reflecting what are blooming in my garden.
In my neighborhood this week, more hydrangea plants started to bloom. Asiatic lilies and day lilies started to open up. Spirea in my garden started to bloom. Sweet peas are getting ready to bloom.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Get Spoiled With the Good Stuff Twice in One Week
By Monday, have you gobbled up every last cookie that you bought on Saturday? That's ok because we’re stepping it up a notch and adding the Middletown Farmer’s Market every Thursday, starting this week! If munching our treats once a week just wasn’t enough for you, you will have the chance to fulfill your cravings TWICE a week…lucky you! We are mixing things up a little, by offering some different products (light and fluffy cheddar biscuits for those of you who know them so well), so come check us out and help support another great market! The Middletown Farmer’s Market is located in Middletown on 12 S. Church Street (Rt. 17 South, off of Alt. 40, across from the firehouse) from 3:00 - 6:00 pm. On Saturday we’ll be at our Baughman’s Lane location from 10:00-1:00. We’ve acquired some beautiful organic strawberries that we’ll feature in several products this week…note that it’s plural!
Scratch Twice... Get Three Times The Fix
Yes, that’s right: if you want, you can get your Cakes for Cause fix THREE times this week…whoa! On Friday, we will have a booth set-up at Chartreuse & Co. If you aren’t familiar with Chartreuse, Friday would be a great time to come see what it’s all about-- and trust us, you won’t be disappointed! Chartreuse is a barn fully stocked with cool things! You will find vintage and modern hip home goods: ranging from new Victorian dressers to old farm benches, to chic accessories. Cakes for Cause will be there from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm, providing you with plenty of delicious snacks to fuel your shopping. We will have breakfast pastries & coffee in the morning and fresh lemonade & cookies in the afternoon. Chartreuse is located in Frederick at 4007A Buckeystown Pike.
Get Pumped For CALM
On July 4th Cakes for Cause will donate a portion of our proceeds to CALM, The Frederick Community Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center. CALM is a non-profit community service organization that provides affordable and accessible conflict resolution services to Frederick residents. CALM encourages peaceful resolution of conflicts through the use of mediation. They offer mediation in the following areas: business, community, and all family issues including parent/teen, divorce, eldercare, and school. CALM also offers facilitation, community conferencing, trainings, and presentations.
Volunteering With Cakes For Cause
The Cakes for Cause Farmer’s Market booth is staffed by volunteers. If you are interested in helping out and getting involved in the community, we would love to have you! It is a great way to meet new people and spread the word about Cakes for Cause (every pastry helps youth who have aged out of foster care to gain real job skills). To can sign up to help at our volunteer calendar. We will be posting the Middletown schedule next week.
Cakes For Cause
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It's still early, but I thought I would make you aware of Maryland's Buy Local Challenge, which asks you to eat something from a local farm every day July 18-26. You have plenty of time to start salivating over what you are going to eat.
There are certificates that people can sign too. It would be cool to have people sign up at the farmer's market and then maybe give people a little something for the signup. I don't know. I am going to think about it with the marketing committee and see what we can come up with.
The West Frederick Farmer's Market has 64 fans on facebook. I am pretty excited since it's only been up a couple of days. We asked people what they liked best about the farmer's market and here are the three answers we got so far:
Fruit that tastes like candy!
- fruit that tastes like candy and a pastry for breakfast.
- lemonade and cheddar chive scones!!
- The colors of all of the fruits and veggies mid summer. Also the incredible taste difference, the experience of shopping outside and chatting with the fabulous farmers that grow the food we put into our bodies! I love it when they give me a recipe suggestion.
I recorded a PSA (Public Service Announcement) with Dan Stevens from Key 103. He is a very funny person. So am I. We cracked a lot of jokes. Meanwhile I learned that the script I had written was a tongue twister and virtually impossible for me to say. Luckily he had equipment that would delete out all of my bad takes. "Visit Frederick Farm Fresh dot com." Rubber baby buggy bumpers. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? It was a feast of consonants. Anyway, the PSA promotes the website which in turn promotes all of the farmer's markets. It was started by the West Frederick Farmer's Market with the idea that a rising tide floats all boats. Though the West Frederick market is the biggest, the other ones have their advantages. They are in eleven locations in Frederick County, on lots of different days and times, and generally don't have lines.
On the PSA, I also mentioned that you can vote for your favorite farmer's market. I checked and there are six votes so far. I casually mentioned to the marketing committee that there are more people on the committee than that. There's a link on the top right of this page if you would like to vote and tell them why you like the market. No pressure. Well maybe a little. Friendly encouragement. Smart Markets at George Mason University has 59 votes already because college students will do anything. I feel compelled to out-vote them.
I harvested some peas, beets and carrots from my garden last night. They are looking beautiful!
It was a bit breezy on that day so I had to borrow the planter from Cakes for Cause booth to a table we set up for "Passport to Freshness" raffle table. If you missed the event, this is how the raffle went. We gave out a vendor map to all the shoppers. Whenever a shopper bought item(s) from a booth, vendors either placed a sticker or initialed under their booth names. You had to collect at least one sticker/initial from each zone to qualify for grand-prize drawing. The following week on June 6, we drew a grand-prize winner and a second-prize winner. There was also a special prize called "Most Stickers Award" which we had tied winners. I am planning to post a photo of prizes that we gave away. All the vendors at the market contributed for the prizes and they looked awesome!
In this week, cosmos started to bloom heavily and lavender started to bloom. At the market, I bought a gorgeous hydrangea plant (mophead type, pink blossom) from Wendy. One can't have too many hydrangeas.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We had a guest visiting us on Sunday. Since my sense of smell and taste was slowing coming back, I welcomed the chance to cook brunch for our vegetarian friend. I had most of the fresh produce from the farmer's market and garden. Dan and I wanted to try more recipes from the Herbal Kitchen mentioned in this post. I was happy to use many different herbs from our garden.
Summer roll with lettuce, basil, cilantro from our garden. I had 6 spears of asparagus left from a bunch I bought at the market and added to the rolls.
Potato Gratin. Dan thinks we sliced the potatoes too thin. We are going to try thicker slice next time and also make it with more liquid. I shouldn't pack down the potato layers next time. We used winter savory following the recipe and it tasted very good.
Gratin with grated zucchini, basil topped with bread crumbs (I used panko). This was so simple and surprisingly good.
I wanted peas to be the highlight of the meal, couldn't find a recipe I wanted to try, so went with impromptu salad. I blanched them in salt water and cooled in ice water. The dressing was made with olive oil (3), lemon juice (1), finely chopped garlic scapes (0.5), finely chopped pinch of rosemary , salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. I added green onions and baby yellow carrot from our garden. Peas, radish, and cucumber (which I added later and thus not on the photo) were from the farmer's market. Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese were added on top.
I wanted to add hard-boiled eggs to my pea salad, but Dan wanted me to make egg salad. A scoop of egg salad on the side of pea salad was delicious, but I still think the wedges of hard-boiled eggs would have looked nicer.
It is very satisfying to work with the freshest ingredients in season. Peas are coming in abundance at the market. I am excited to see zucchini, cucumber, cabbages, potatoes, squash blossoms, and even tomatoes at the market. I need to make sure I pick them all up this Saturday.
Monday, June 15, 2009
About the "Stinking Rose"
Better known as garlic, the “stinking rose” is a culinary treasure (and an excellent restaurant in San Francisco).
Garlic is a bulbous plant of the genus allium. There are around 500 members of this family, which includes other well known plants such as leeks, shallots and onions. Garlic has been used throughout history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Garlic grows under the ground in large, slightly off-white bulbs (or "heads") which are covered by a papery skin. Inside each bulb is anywhere from 10 to 20 individual cloves which themselves have a pinkish skin.
To easily peel the skin from garlic cloves, smash them with the flat side of a chef’s knife. (See this photo series for detail.)Recipe Feature
Garlicky Lime-Cooked Fish
4 servings, 30 minutes
By Mark Bittman
4 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola
5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large or 8 small fish fillets, 1 1/2 pounds or more
3 small hot dried red chilies, or dried chili flakes to taste
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, optional
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Combine 2 tablespoons oil with garlic in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until garlic browns, 5 to 10 minutes; season with a little salt and pepper, and turn off heat. Meanwhile, put remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. A minute later, add fish and chilies and cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add all but a tablespoon or 2 of lime juice, along with tomatoes if desired. Cook another 2 minutes or so, until fish is cooked through, turning if necessary.
Carefully remove fish to a platter. Stir cilantro into pan juices and pour, with tomatoes, over fish, along with garlic, its oil and remaining lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Recipe originally published on Mark Bittman’s NYT blog, June 18,, 2008
Link of the week
Maryland’s Best, from the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
Fresh This Week
- New potatoes
- A surprise
Contact us: email@example.com
hahahaha...no, Kraft. Just...no.
This post brought to you by PureKRAFT Seasonal Produce at Your Fingertips The PureKRAFT In-Season widget is continually updated with fresh facts, tasty tips and how-to-videos about your favorite in-season produce. You’ll also find great recipe ideas and wonderful KRAFT salad dressing pairings, which you can post on social networking sites like Facebook, or email to your friends. Just click the “grab & share” tab and enjoy!
Update: We have 16 fans after being up for 12 hours- thanks pals!
For those of you on facebook, the West Frederick Farmer's Market now has a page on the site. The easiest way to find it is to scroll down on this page until you see the facebook badge on the right. Click on it. Ta-da! Become a fan of the market and we will send you updates!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Strawberry BBQ Sauce
recipe from Rohrer's Meats
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 TBS shallot, chopped
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh chives or tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 pt strawberries- stems removed, halved
- 1 TBS sugar
- 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
- salt, pepper to taste
Add shallots, garlic, herbs; cook, stirring often, approx 2 minutes.
Add strawberries and sugar; cook approximately 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Deglaze pan with vinegar and simmer until thickened and syrupy, approximately 4 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste
Grill meat over medium heat, thurning occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, brush meat with sauce and cook until desired temperature is reached.
Serve with remaining sauce.
Here is the story as written by the folks at Caprikorn Farms:
Last Fall Scott put a supposedly sterile buck in with the milking does "...so he would be happy before we sent him to the auction." Well it turned out he was not sterile and he bred a large number of the does (eventually resulting in a "baby blizzard"). Since we do not milk does in late pregnancy, this meant we did not have enough milk to make cheese in January and February. Ever resourceful, we got some hormone free cow milk from a licensed raw milk dairy and made a goat/cow cheddar.
The goat/cow cheddar melts like a goat cheese. We classify this cheese as a semi-soft cheese (our regular goat cheddar is classified as a semi-hard cheese). Since it is made with winter milk, this cheese is soooo rich it is almost buttery in flavor.
Enjoy this "one time" special cheese.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Yeon and I have been volunteering this season on the marketing committee for the West Frederick Farmer's Market. Let me explain from my perspective how all of this started.
Last summer, Yeon had been volunteering heavily at the Cakes for Cause booth at the market. One day she shared with me that she really wanted to do something to help the farmers at the market because they all work so hard and have such beautiful produce. She wanted to start a blog. I had a blog about global warming (seriously- I had been writing in it almost every day for a a year and a half) so she knew I would be good for the writing part. I hesitated at first because I was already up to my eyeballs in alligators, but Yeon is hard to say no to. So we started Grown in Frederick.
This year Yeon casually mentioned that she went to a marketing meeting for the West Frederick Farmer's Market. I convinced her that I should be on the marketing committee too, and so there we were, meeting with the vendors from So Very Special, Summer Creek Farm, and Cakes for Cause. We decided to do a bunch of things this summer; to have festivals (May 6 and July 11), to do a "Passport to Freshness" where people could draw prizes, and to do a live radio broadcast from the market (coming up on July 11). We also decided to print posters and create a website under the name Frederick Farm Fresh.
I think our marketing efforts have been really successful. None of our events have been perfect so far but we have learned a lot from them for the future.
The market today had as many people at it as we normally get in the middle of the summer when the corn comes in. I realized today that we need to add more vendors. I think we can support them. I just sent one potential new vendor over to the market manager that I am excited about.
I've got a PSA to record next week with Key 103 (thanks Key and Nassau Broadcasting!). I plan to promote all of the Farmer's Markets in Frederick County though promotion of the website. What else should I say? I have 40 seconds. We will also be doing promotions of the upcoming festival July 11 and the live broadcast with Key 103 on that day. Yeon has worked very hard to put the Frederick Farm Fresh site together and has been keeping it updated. She also organized the band for the first festival, the Passport to Freshness, and I can't even remember what all else. We've been keeping busy!
Oh, and please vote for your favorite farmer's market. It takes a minute. So far there are two votes: mine and someone else's. Probably Yeon's.
Some of the vendors at the farmer's market have recently been passing out recipes. I'll be typing them up and sharing them with you.
Caprikorn Farms Jalapeno Quesadilla with Grilled Chicken Breast and Baby Zucchini
- 4 rice tortillas
- 1 whole chicken breast, skinned, split and marinated overnight in 2 TBS olive oil, 1/4 c balsamic vinegar 1/8 c maple syrup or honey, 1 TBS chili powder, and salt and pepper
- 6 to 8 ounces grated Caprikorn farms Jalapeno goat cheddar cheese
- 6 to 8 baby zucchini
Make a medium fire in your grill. Place chicken on hot grill and sear on both sides. Brush with remainder of marinade. Cover the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove. [let rest 5 minutes to keep the juices in-S] and cut in strips.
Split baby zucchini and brush with a mixture of salt, pepper, and olive oil and gently sear on the grill.
In a hot pan slide in a rice tortilla and spin it around and keep it moving as it gets hot, then turn it over and add one fourth of the cheese, chicken and zucchini; fold. Remove to hot plate and repeat with remaining tortillas.
Serves four. Sugar, wheat, corn, soy and oat free.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Dan and I went strawberry picking on last Sunday at Glade-Link Farm. We gave some of picked strawberries to our friends, cleaned and froze some, of course ate some fresh, and reserved some for baking. I made this galette using the fresh strawberries from this year, and frozen blueberries picked from Glade-Link farm last year.
Our raspberry patch is doing great this year. We had to move the plants the first year and obviously they were not happy getting moved in the middle of summer and then staying in pots for the rest of the season. Last year was the first full year they stayed in the ground and they did okay. This year they just took off and developed a nice looking patch along the side of the fence. Our cat, Remy, loves to run to the raspberry patch and hide behind the bush. I don't know if it is because our cat is guarding the berries or not, but we started to harvest our raspberries this week without losing much to the birds.
We are approaching the end of strawberry season but we will have raspberry and blueberry at the market, very soon.
Folks, I haven't been feeling too well. I've been on antibiotics for a few weeks for lyme disease and I feel like a wet dishrag that has been wrung out. I haven't been out and about as much as usual and I have missed hanging out with friends. Yesterday, my friend Jerica stopped by. Her husband and son were hanging out in the park in back of my house, so we chatted for a little bit and caught up before they showed up in the backyard.
The little boy was hungry, so I took him to the veggie patch and held him up in the air while he picked peas- the plants are about five feet high right now, too tall for a little boy without a human ladder. He loved picking the peas and eating them right off the vine. Jerica came right behind and ate a handful too; then I got excited and helped her boy pull red and yellow carrots, and one each of three kinds of beets: Detroit, chioggia, and golden. He was so proud of himself, and his mother was excited too: it's a lot easier to get kids to eat vegetables if they pick them themselves.
Jerica and her husband Richard have a garden too, and right now they are busting out with kale and chard. They were excited to see something different; it's easy to get tired of kale after a short while.
Richard and Jerica weeded my tomato bed, which was a few days away from a strangulation disaster from all of the bindweed.
The lightning bugs were in full flare, so we grabbed jars and caught a few. It's fun to have friends who grew up on the west coast because lightning bugs never cease to amaze them. I laughed as Jerica and her boy ran across the yard chasing streaks of light in the early dark.
I sent the family home with a small box of fresh vegetables and felt happier and more energized than I had in a week. Thanks, friends.
Thanks Dianne for the link to Yeon's Asparagus Bacon Pizza at the blog, Dianne's Dishes. If it hadn't originated from our blog, I would have linked to it too. That pizza looks so delicious I could cry. And then eat it. And then cry because it was gone.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Greetings from the farm. I writing a quick note to let you know that I did pickup the chickens today. They will be available Saturday at the Frederick market. I have whole birds 5 pounds and up, cornish hens weighing 1.5-2.5 pounds. There are also birds cut into 8 pieces, but I think they did some of the cornish hens as they weigh 1.5 to 2.5 pounds each. There are no giblets with the birds this year. However, I do have pint containers of liver. There are also a few packs of nothing but necks.
I will also have my full line of beef, pork, and lamb. While I should have plenty of the whole chickens and cornish hens, cutup are rather limited in number. If you could, please let me know if you want birds this week so I know how many to bring. But it will take several weeks to move them all.
I am also doing a Friday evening market at the Grace Community Church which is located on alternate route 40, beside of Trout Liquors. Hours are 3-7 PM. At this market my meats will be frozen. I will also have vegetables that I grew plus fruits from Allenberg Orchards. You can avoid the crowd by shopping Fridays.
Have a good week and I will see you at the market.
Hey there friends of the West Frederick Farmer's Market and its sister markets! Show your love for the market by VOTING in the America's Favorite Farmers Markets Contest. Just go to the website, type in 21702 in the zip code, and click on the West Frederick Farmer's Market. Next, write a nice blurb about why you love the market. If you want to, you can leave a comment here and tell us what you wrote.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The last few days the farm has experienced terrible storms. Yesterday we had hail hit the farm the size of nickels. It hit for several minutes. This caused a great deal of damage to the strawberries. We tossed many of them today due to bruising from the hail. It also will have detrimental effects on our other fruit coming this summer. The hail nicks the fruit when green and it ripens with bruises. It looks like the hail effected the Asian Pears pretty bad. Some damage was seen on the Raspberries. The total effects of this damage will take time to show. We also have some plants cut by hail. Some just planted peppers were affected.
This is part of farming, in just a few minutes thousands of dollars of damage could take place. I will keep you up to date as we move later into the season as to the total effects of this damage. It will be a shame if we do not have Asian pears since they are very popular every year.
I was so excited about asparagus and thus bought a bit too much one weekend. Uneaten asparagus was getting less tasty and thus I blanched them in boiling water and set them aside. When we were ready to fire up an oven, we made thin crusted pizza (dough recipe here) with asparagus and bacon. Some mixed cheeses found in our cheese drawer and paper thin sliced onions and lemon peels were scattered at the top. Dan wasn't sure about my lemon peel idea so I added just tiny bit - I think we should put more lemon peels next time.
In addition to grilling, roasting, adding to a pizza, throwing in my Korean ramen soup and eating with egg/cheese bagel, I also made asparagus tempura. They were very special spears, picked right from my garden minutes ago, dipped into ice-cold batter, and then fried up.
I asked Chris of Jubilee Organic Farm if we would have asparagus this Saturday. He said yes. There is still time to get fresh asparagus and make asparagus pizza, asparagus soup, grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, asparagus tempura and more. Seize the season.
1 cup ice-cold water
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2-3 ice cubes
Mix ice-cold water with beaten egg. Add flour. Using chopsticks or a fork casually and briefly mix the flour in. Do not beat - the batter will be quite lumpy. Add ice cubes to keep the batter cold.
To check if the oil is hot, you can drop a batter to the oil. If the drop of batter sinks to the bottom and rise to the surface right away, you are ready to fry your asparagus dipped in the batter.
I'm a big fan of Do-it-Yourself. I probably got this from my dad, who built a TV and a solar hot water heating system during my childhood from Heath Kits. It makes sense that I also followed in his footsteps with a garden, though mine is about a twentieth the size his used to be. I learned from my parents recently that my mom used to sell their produce on the side of the road to make money during the summers, and that they did a brisk business in strawberries and tomatoes. But not everyone wants to sell stuff on the side of the road, so the question arises: what do you do with your extra produce? Because friends, the harvest may be manageable now, but wait a month or two.
I read an article today in the New York Times on this very subject. Coincidentally, one of the sites mentioned in the article, Veggie Trader, was also just forwarded to me by my friend Truffles. Sign up on the site with extra produce and trade with someone who has something that you want in exchange. This works until everyone has too many tomatoes... The article also featured some other efforts like Neighborhood Fruit, where you can see which trees are dropping fruit in the public domain.
The interesting thing about food-trading social networking is that the groups that spring up around food trading often donate portions of their bounty to local food banks. Right on. I don't think our food bank accepts fresh produce though. So perhaps you can just go back to selling your produce on the side of the road and donate part of your proceeds.
Another thing I somehow managed to miss: the West Frederick Farmer's Market is featured prominently in this month's Elegant Living Magazine, as the subject of its cover article. The article quotes Wendy Barth, the market manager. Check it out!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I waited for a year to post this. No, I am not kidding. Last year, I had garlic scapes from the farmer's market, and fresh peas and bak choi harvested from my back yard. It was one of those nights that I had no clue what I was going to cook. I had cooked rice in the fridge so I decided to make a stir-fried rice.
It is simple to make - heat up some veg oil, cook cut-up garlic scapes, shrimp pieces, and bak choi. Add cold cooked rice, add peas, mix them well, cook until rice is hot and season well with salt and pepper. Serve. The photo is from June 10, 2008!
Sometimes I surprise myself with simple yet so delicious food and this was one of those. Looking at the photo, I might have had a couple more ingredients than I remember including left-over leek (I do use green part of leek. I don't understand why people are using only the white part of leek. The green part is as delicious, especially great either stir-fried or fried, and awesome in making a stock).
I think garlic scapes taste best cooked in oil to draw out its mild garlicky flavor, but Dan and I have been using them everywhere this year.
- Soy dipping sauce: mix soy sauce, sesame oil and finely chopped garlic scapes. Sprinkle sesame seeds. This sauce is so versatile - use anywhere you want.
- Asparagus, pea, shrimp, scallop soup: we made a Thai style soup and threw in some garlic scapes.
- Korean Seafood pancake: Along with garlic chives and scallion, garlic scapes were added!
- Home-made gravax, chevre, finely minced garlic scapes on a toasted bagel.
- Stir-fried kale: yep, added garlic scapes again.
- Flank steak rolled with goat-cheese and garlic scapes
Garlic scapes are great grilled too. I will leave you with this awesome article that I found. Let me know what you are cooking with garlic scapes.
Rumor has it that there are still a few spaces left at the Kitchen Studio's "Make and Take Strawberry Pie" 6:30 PM class scheduled for Thursday June 11 (morning class is full!). If you are like me and you ate all of your strawberries from the farmer's market plus the ones you grew from the plants that Yeon gave you, then this is a good excuse to get more.
Fresh this Week:
Purple spring onions
Links of the week
The Kitchen Studio – July 17 and 18, Farmer’s Market cooking class
Check out this blog by one of our CSA members:Dianne’s Dishes
From Farmer Rick: The Week in Weather
The rain has really delayed the planting of crops and advanced weed growth. We will spend this week catching up on planting, weeding and finishing up hay. All we need is dry weather so we really will have to push to catch up. At some point in the future this delay will show up as lighter harvests, but we will recover later I am sure.
Recipe of the Week
Raita Yogurt Salad
1 large cucumber, diced
1 cup thick plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add yogurt right before serving. (Keeps in fridge without the yogurt for up to 2 days.) Serve with fresh naan, tandoori anything, or a great masala or daal.
Recipe: The Kitchen Studio
About the Editor
Farmer Rick asked me to include a little about myself in this issue (although I’d rather talk about Indian food!). I had so much fun cooking new things with my CSA boxes last year that I offered to help out with this year’s newsletter. By day I am a communications professional, but at work I don’t get to write about my favorite thing: food! Most (if not all) of the recipes I share here are ones I have tried (and liked), and many have become family favorites. (Note: I have no financial interest in the Kitchen Studio – I am just a happy customer!)
They are not available online, but send me an e-mail if you’d like my favorite naan and daal (yellow peas and rice) recipes: firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your feedback, suggestions or requests.
Fresh mint comes in two main varieties: spearmint, which has bright green wrinkled leaves, and peppermint, which has smooth leaves. Chop or crush fresh leaves to release their flavor (remove stems). Mint is traditional with peas or potatoes, but it goes well with many fruits, vegetables, yogurt-based sauces and chutneys. It’s also great in tabouleh.
When I have fresh mint, I make Indian food. I took a class at Frederick’s own Kitchen Studio a couple years ago to learn more about Indian cooking.
We made a lot of fantastic food, including this coconut-mint chutney:
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ cup plain yogurt
½ tsp grated ginger
⅓ cup chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for one hour. Serve at room temperature.
Sources: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman 2008, and Chef Christine, The Kitchen Studio.)
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Monday, June 8, 2009
I planted my peas, beets and carrots in mid-March and they are going like gangbusters now. Today I sauteed a quart of peas (three different kinds) with sesame oil and tamari (soy sauce) along with some slivered almonds and had them for dinner. I also roasted some beets and carrots in the oven with salt and oil (early for them, but they are about ready) and sauteed some beet greens and rapini with paprika, salt, oil and water (the rapini, or broccoli raab, was from Chesapeake's Choice.) By the time I finished the quart of peas, I was full, so it looks like I have some delicious leftovers for tomorrow.
Notice the weird colors of the heirloom beets and carrots. I like weird colors. The oxblood-colored carrot is orange on the inside. My neighbor told me a story recently about how orange carrots used to be rare; I'll have to look that up.
A note on beet greens; they are delicious and taste a little like chard or a slightly salty spinach. If you grow beets, please try them because they are a real treat.
By the way, Yeon has not been posting much recently because she has been under the weather. Why not drop her a note to cheer her up?
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Dan takes better pictures than I do, but he never posts them, so I am going to post mine from today's Chef's Challenge at the West Frederick Farmer's Market. The Chef doing the challenge was Bryan Voltaggio of Volt. Chef had to go around the market and get foods from the stands to cook in a demonstration and then share with the market patrons. Kind of like Iron Chef meets MacGyver.
Chef cooked up an amazing lamb loin dish and a strawberry shortcake dessert on a CAMP STOVE. When I not very seriously mentioned that people could do this camping, some ladies in the audience suggested that they could take Chef with them. To which he replied, "for a small fee". And then one of the ladies said, "oh a hug. I can do that."
For the first dish, Chef sliced lemon ginger scones from Cakes for Cause and grilled them in butter. Every time Chef was cooking something in butter I made some people in the audience say "butter". That was very fun for me. He made a strawberry sauce by cooking strawberries from Glade Link Farm with sugar and a little thai basil from Tomatoes, etc.. When the sauce was cooked, he strained it into some chopped strawberries. Then he made a mousse by whipping goat cheese from Caprikorn Farms and heavy whipping cream from South Mountain Creamery with a little salt. The mousse was savory.
Chef PLATED the desserts on paper plates. Here he is making the cannelles of mousse, which he demonstrated to the crowd.
This is my friend AJ making a face after trying the dessert. It was delicious. I stole a bite from my friend Amanda.
Here are the dishes, plated. The lamb loin was from Danny Rohrer. Chef seared it on the fatty side and then pan roasted it. He finished it in butter with a garlic scape from Summer Creek Farm. He poached a "tenderloin" of zucchini, which is the part of the zucchini just next to the seeds. Then he sauteed some broccoli raab (rapini) in - butter. The zucchini was seasoned with a Basque paprika, which smelled wonderful. There are also apples pan-cooked in a reduced sauce made with apple butter (zucchini, apple and apple butter from Scenic View Orchards), poultry stock, and some other ingredient I forget (garlic scapes?). We took the dishes around to the vendors to show what Bryan made with their stuff and they were pretty stoked. One of the farmers suggested that Chef could have used more greens because they are really good right now- so make a salad when you cook this meal on your camp stove! Or go to Volt. Either way.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Hey, the Everedy Square Farmer's Market opens Thursday and is 3-6PM (and will run until October). This is a nice little market on East Street across from the coffee roasting place and I suggest you check it out. Great for your Friday night feast!
Don't miss this Saturday at the West Frederick Farmer's Market!!! At 10AM, Chef Bryan Voltaggio of Volt is going to take the Chef's Challenge. He has to go to different stands at the market and find things to cook in a demonstration for all of us. We are going to have him on a PA system so expect a lot of bad MacGyver/ Iron Chef type moments. I can not wait for this. We'll also be raffling off the Cakes for Cause Bag full of Farmer's Market goodies and a few other cool items.
Our Farmer's Market Festival last week was awesome. It was our first one, so we learned a few things. Like bring the band closer and make it easier for people to figure out where to drop their passports. As promised, we had loads of strawberries. It's amazing but all of the strawberries at the different stands tasted different. I should know; I tried three different kinds.
I started antibiotics for Lyme Disease last Friday so I am a little pooped; hence the light posting. I am starting to feel better and will be back to normal posting soon enough. On a happy personal note the peas are coming in in my garden. It's the little things.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Here is some information from Farmer Rick at Summer Creek Farm. I have heard from several people who participate in his community supported agriculture that they got five pints of strawberries this week. I was lucky enough to try these fruits this week and they are the sweetest, most strawberry-tasting strawberries; they remind me of the ones my dad used to grow. Enjoy!
Link of the week
Frederick Farm Fresh – Dedicated to Farmer’s Markets in Frederick Co.
Recipe of the Week
2 fillets canned salmon, flaked (1 tall can)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup garlic scapes, diced or chopped finely
½ cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat (you can use less oil if you use a non-stick pan). Combine canned salmon, beaten egg, garlic scapes and ¼ cup bread crumbs. Form into patties and dust with additional bread crumbs. Fry until golden brown, about -3 minutes on each side. (Note: when garlic scapes are not in season, try scallions or chives.)
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen, Salmon Croquettes.
Fresh this week:
Chard or salad greens
About Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are the sprout of the garlic plant—a thin green stalk that curls above the ground and is more tender and sweeter than the bulbs that grow below ground. The season for garlic scapes is only a couple weeks; after that, they become tough.
Scapes can be used in place of garlic, scallions, onions or ramps in most recipes. They have a garlic taste, but it is milder and “fresher” than that of garlic cloves. They are a great addition to salmon croquettes (see this week’s recipe), guacamole, omelets and more.
Scapes store well for a couple weeks. To make a quick pesto using garlic scapes instead of basil combine in a food processor: ½ cup almonds, ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup grated parmesan and 1 cup garlic scapes.
Sources: SeriousEats.com and StarChefs.com.
Weather is an ever important part of farming. Too little rain and crops die or fail to produce; most vegetables are 80% water by volume. Too much rain and crops become lacking in flavor, rot or drown. Some crops like it hot, some like it cool.
This season we have been all over the spectrum with a general cooling trend in place. We have seen this late spring cooling over the last several years. Today, on June 1 it was in the low 40's when we woke up. This is certainly delaying the development of crops. With this weather we could hit some slow spots mid-June. The great thing is that our potato crop is looking great, you will see five different varieties over the season. Our greenhouse crops are doing well and our field crops are growing slowly. As I walked around the farm this AM the sky was clear and the smell of honeysuckle is in the air. This evening we will be making hay; all is progressing at the farm.
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