Friday, July 31, 2009

Cakes for Cause: We Have A MOTHER!!!!

Yes, we were successful last week at Cakes for Cause and we are noshing on a lovely, chewy, delicious sourdough loaf this morning. You too will be able to experience this yumminess every week now (we have a lot of mother!) at the Farmer’s Markets. As you know, Cakes for Cause is not a bread bakery (and won’t be even when we open the storefront) but we’ll have limited quantities in Middletown and West Frederick every week. If you got a chance to sample the potato rosemary loaf last week, we’ll be making that one as dinner rolls this week. Get there early!

Middletown Farmer’s Market
Thursdays 3-6 on Old Route 40 and Route 17 in Middletown

West Frederick Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 10-1 on Baughman’s Lane behind the Motel 6 on Route 40 in Frederick

Help Others In Frederick
This Saturday is a special one because on the first Saturday of every month, Cakes for Cause highlights another non-profit in the area and we donate 5% of our Farmer’s Market proceeds to them. On August 1st, 5% of our proceeds will go to benefit Hope Alive. Hope Alive, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering transitional housing and support services for homeless women and their children in Frederick County. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, too! They have an anonymous donor that will match up to $100 of anything we help them raise so come on out, have our friendly volunteers help you stock up on baked goods and make a double difference for two community organizations in Frederick.

Speaking of Baked Goods…
Well, not really baked goods but equally yummy last week was our Arnold Palmer. Half lemonade and half iced tea = totally refreshing! It’s supposed to be hot, hot, hot this week so let our lemonade-istas shake it up for you. Holler, “I’d like an ARNOLD!” when you get to the front of the line and we’ll know what you mean.

**Important Calendar Note**
Next week, both our farmer’s market booths will be closed. We typically close for a week every August and January. Our staff has already taken vacation this year but you know what? We’re opening a bakery in less than TWO MONTHS!!!!!!! And we realized that we have a lot of administrative stuff that needs doing so we’re taking a week off from the baking (no full-scale panic please) to try and get it all done. Please don’t hold it against us…we’ll be back in Middletown on the 13th of August and in West Frederick on the 15th of August. Who knows, it might be possible to actually catch us at our offices next week! We’ll still send out an email to remind you and please read it because it will also have some special information on how to put your own personal stamp on the café when we open our doors.

Cakes for Cause


Fresh this Week from Rohrer's Meats

Greetings from the farm.

I will have my full line of beef, pork, lamb, eggs and jellies at the Frederick market this week. I will also be restocked on chickens as I brought 348 home from the processor this week. I will have Cornish hens, cutup chickens in the 4-5 pound range, and whole birds weighing 4-7 pounds.

I will also have goat meat. While the bigger cuts have been ordered, there will be loin and rib chops, cubes, and ground goat available.

The veal calf has been cut and will be available this week. I think the loin and rib chops are most likely sold out. Still available are sirloin chops, maybe scallopini and some shoulder roasts, most likely cutlets and shanks, definitely available are cubes and ground veal. Also available are the heart, tongue, and liver.

It looks like a marathon weighing and pricing session tonight since there was even an extra hog processed as well. Hopefully I will be alert enough to check my emails tonight. If you would like to preorder for tomorrow, please do so by 7PM tonight. And please come to the market this week and take some of this product off of my hands. My freezers are filled to capacity!
I hope you have a good week. Eat fresh, eat local, and be well. I will see you at the market.

DannyRohrer's Meats


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Donate to the Frederick Food Bank

My friend Ilene at House in the Woods Farm has a post up on how to donate fresh vegetables to the Frederick Food Bank. This is the time of the summer when many of us have the crazy in our eyes because we are overwhelmed with produce, but there are many in our community that are hungry right now. Ilene goes a step further and grows a row of chard specifically for the Food Bank. It's good to be abundant and to have plenty to share.



Another 60's era recipe card photo: gazpacho

I think April is doing this on purpose now, creating 60's era photographs of modern food. Look at her earlier photo of Caprese salad and you'll understand what I mean. Check out her most recent post up at 1000 pizza doughs with a recipe on how to make gazpacho and not have it taste like salsa (I have often wondered what the difference is).


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh this week

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Basil
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Melons
  • Basil (Presto Pesto!)
Presto Pesto!

Originally from central Africa and Southeast Asia, basil has long been cultivated as a culinary and medicinal herb.

Traditionally, basil has been used in treatment of headaches, coughs, diarrhea, constipation, warts, worms and kidney malfunctions.

If you have an abundance of basil, try making pesto, which can be used as a spread (it’s great in grilled cheese sandwiches) or a sauce for pasta.

To make a basic basil pesto, blend the following in a food processor:

2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup grated hard cheese (like Parmesan or pecorino)

Serve pesto at room temperature. It freezes well for later use.
Sources: Purdue University and Food Network

Recipe Feature

Braided Basil Bread
Recipe and photo: Jessica Hibbard

1 1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 cups unbleached white flour + 1 extra cup for kneading
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 package (1/4 ounce) rapid rise dry yeast
1 tsp salt

Mix milk, olive oil, and honey in a small saucepan over low-medium heat on the stovetop. This takes a little while, so let it heat up while you prepare the basil: Remove the stems, wash the leaves, and pat dry with a towel. Chop coarsely.

In a mixing bowl, combine salt, yeast, basil, whole wheat flour, and 2 cups of the unbleached white flour.

Let the liquid mixture get fairly hot, but try to avoid curdling the milk. Remove from heat and wait until it's no longer hot, just warm. (To test the temperature, I try to see if I can put my finger in it without burning myself. I'm sure you'll come up with a more scientific method, but I'm pretty lazy about all this baking stuff.)

Add the liquids to the mixing bowl and beat until everything is combined. (The original recipe says to beat 100 times with a spoon, but I use a KitchenAid mixer. Please refer to above comment re: laziness.) Knead in the final cup of unbleached white flour. I use the kneading hook on the KitchenAid, and make sure I let it run for at least a few minutes.

Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Oil the top of the dough, place on the baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let it rise until doubled in size. (With rapid rise yeast, this usually takes only about 20 minutes.)

Punch down the dough, and divide in half. Make 3 ropes from each half and braid together into 2 loaves. Spray a second baking sheet with olive oil. Cover both loaves with plastic wrap and a towel and let them rise until doubled in size. (This takes about an hour.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap & towel and bake each loaf for 15-20 minutes. The bread is done when it turns golden brown on top and sounds hollow when knocked.

If you keep this bread in a sealed container or ziploc bag, it will stay fresh-tasting for a few days. The honey acts as a natural preservative, so it doesn't become stale as quickly as homebaked bread made with sugar.

From Farmer Rick

Wheat harvest is done, and we are busy planting fall crops, beans, peas, broccoli, beets, etc.

Always something to plant, something to harvest and something to weed this time of year!

Editor’s note (April Finnen)

Yes, my backyard is a testament to that… seems I can only successfully grow those hardiest of plants: weeds!

Link of the week

Waste Not Cooking (from Edible Vancouver)
Includes tips on using food scraps and leftovers.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reporting back from Buy Local Challenge Week

April from 1000 Pizza Doughs has a great post up about what she put together for Buy Local Challenge Week. It's fun to see what deliciousness was had (picture from 1000 Pizza Doughs- I love it because it looks like one of those 60's recipe cards).

One of the dishes made was this lovely Caprese salad made with local tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.

Sometimes when I make this salad I also throw on a little balsamic vinegar for tartness and depth of flavor. Caprese salad is one of those treats that is only good in the summer with garden fresh tomatoes.

I also love a good Caprese sub- the same thing with a little vinaigrette on a sub roll.

Today I made a pizza Margherita, which is Caprese pizza: Slabs of heirloom tomato and fresh mozzarella with basil and a little bit of olive oil. The tomatoes pictured are from my garden and were rescued from incomplete predation so they have parts cut off. Parts that were maimed by squirrels/rabbits/crows/bugs/etc. Anyway they were still pretty and quite delicious. My friend Rick joined me for dinner, and I was able to give him a bag of tomatoes as a little present.

(And speaking of pizza, I would be remiss if I did not mention the slice of farmer's market pizza that my friend Jen brought me the other day. It had sausage from Danny Rohrer and Italian goat cheddar from Caprikorn Farms. Jen makes her own sourdough starter and uses it for everything. YUM!)


Monday, July 27, 2009

Blueberry Buckle

One of the advantages of writing a blog about local food is that friends invite me to their local food feasts and send me pictures of things like blueberry buckle.

Actually, I am not sure if it is an advantage to be sent a picture of something so obviously delicious that I can't eat. Especially after the peach berry cake fiasco, a cake which nearly killed a man. I like to think that this is what our cake was trying to be.

I think Omar is teasing me with this item because of the many times he has had to read my posts about food to which he is not privy. From Omar:

I made a blueberry buckle over the weekend, one of my seasonal baked goods. It's a dense cake-like batter that can hold up to the 20oz (!) of fresh blueberries that go into it. Topped with a crisp streusel. Photos attached to make ya hungry. :)

Yeah, okay, it worked. Omar, could you please share the recipe?


Corn Salad at Dianne's Dishes

Dianne's Dishes has a recipe up for corn salad using fresh corn on the cob and other summer vegetables in a light vinaigrette with lime. Perfect for your barbecue this coming weekend (Picture from Dianne's Dishes).



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dinner Party with Billy and Tracey

My friends Billy and Tracey invited a few of us over for dinner. People brought friends, and we were sprawled out all over the living and dining rooms. Their house is done with great 60's vintage stuff. Especially the dining room.

Billy plated everyone's dinner on some vintage ware and said, "I made all of this from local food except for, what did we decide, Shannon? The mushrooms. The potatoes are local. The haricot verts are local. The pork loin is local. The lardons (bacon chunks) and onion are local."

And then Billy told me, "So you can put it on your blog thingie." And I said, "well I should take pictures, then."

Are you getting tired of my thumb in all of the pictures? I can't compose a shot with my cel phone. And the light of the range hood is eerie. Anyway, dinner was really delicious.

I asked Billy where he got the pork loin, and he got it from Trout's.

My friend Jackie and I made a peach berry cake to take to the party too, but we spent too much time in the pool today and overcooked it. People tried to eat it anyway and I overheard one guy choking on it. Not our best work. But we did make it out of local peaches and blueberries.

Hope you are having a great weekend.



Friday, July 24, 2009

Pressure Canner Gauge Testing

CSA Recipes reminds you that if you can food, you should get the pressure gauge on your cooker tested. You can find out more about how to get your canner tested for free here. Also, CSA Recipes is new to our blogroll. (Rick- does that make four of your CSA members with blogs? Summer Creek farm is the blogger's CSA, I guess.)


Shall we watch Food Inc?

Dale told me about this movie on May 30, during our Strawberry Festival at West Frederick farmer's market. Food Inc. has come to conversations with our friends often ever since. Enough just talking about it - I feel it is time to go watch the movie.

Rose of Whitmore Farm at the Everedy Square farmer's market let me know that the movie will be played at Gettysburg, PA: Majestic on August 7. This will be a nice trip to Gettysburg and watch the so-much-talked-about movie. Also googling leads me to this page that shows all the movie theaters that are playing Food Inc. As Chelsea and SixGables commented on Shannon's posting, Shepherdstown, WV: Opera House Theatre is playing the movie. Other close-by locations include Baltimore, MD: Charles Theatre, Bethesda, MD: Bethesda Row Cinema, and Washington, DC: E Street Cinema.
It would be nice to see the movie here in downtown Frederick. I sent out an inquiry email last night regarding this - will keep you updated if I get a reply.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cakes for Cause: Because Some Of Us Watch Too Many Horror Movies…

We got ourselves on a theme this week and we just couldn’t stop…that’s just how we roll sometimes. Check out Cakes for Cause at one of our weekly farmer’s markets on Thursday or Saturday and slap us upside the head to make it stop!

Middletown Farmer’s Market
Thursdays 3-6 on Old Route 40 and Route 17 in Middletown

West Frederick Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 10-1 on Baughman’s Lane behind Motel 6 on Route 40 in Frederick

Because we love our MOTHER! (think “Psycho,” only tastier!)
On a tired, Friday afternoon, 3 people gathered in a hot kitchen in a small town in Maryland vowing to begin a journey together. It was a destination they sought before but the perilous nature of it got the best of them. It takes precision, devotion and patience but this time they will succeed! Join us at Cakes for Cause while we begin our Bread Journey together. We’re creating a mother (sourdough starter, that is…). Our mother is simmering and stirring and we are giving her constant devotion. Will she live? Will she shrivel and die from negligence? Check back for more on this suspenseful drama… If we're successful, that means a whole new type of artisanal quality bread from Cakes for Cause. In the interim, have you had a chance to try our whole wheat sandwich bread yet? We're using bran from our own ground wheat and it's delicious toasted. Available at both our market locations.

Cool, Frosty Iced Tea (& Arsenic? Just kidding!)
In the horror theme of this week’s email, we will NOT have arsenic in our tea. But we will make it tasty and fresh-brewed. If you smile and say please, maybe we’ll make you an Arnold Palmer (half tea, half lemonade).

Become a stalker tonight!
Go ahead and take a walk tonight after dinner and peer in the windows at 629 North Market Street. Our new home will open (hopefully) by the end of September. The builders took the fence down, so it’s legal to rub your noses on the windows now! The café is coming right along and you should keep a look out for new equipment and black & white, checkered floors in the kitchen.

Keeping you on the edge of your seat…
We have a way for you to have your own little piece of our social enterprise Moxie Bakery & Cafe. Tune in next week for the thrilling preview!

The Mission of Cakes for Cause is to empower vulnerable youth and develop social enterprises that engage the community in cultivating meaningful employment and educational opportunities to teach work and life skills. In Frederick, Cakes for Cause will open a bakery/café in mid-August that trains youth in the hospitality industry.

Cakes for Cause


Homemade pizza

I got inspired to make pizza after seeing Chef Christine's grilled pizza on her blog. I realized today that my grill is too uneven to make a good pizza so I cooked it in the oven. Super easy:

Homemade pizza
Makes two medium pizzas. Takes about half an hour to make.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.


1 c warm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp honey
2 tsp salt
3 c flour

Mix the water, yeast and honey together. Let it sit until it looks foamy, about 15 minutes. Mix into the flour and salt. If too moist, add flour. If too dry, add water. Knead about 5 minutes. Let sit in a bowl.


Whatever you want. I used fresh tomato and oregano from my garden , mozzarella and chevre from South Mountain Creamery, and olive oil with a little Parmesan from Italia. Chop up your ingredients or whatever.

Roll out the dough. Roll it a few times to make it elastic. Oil both sides. Spread it out on a pan and poke holes in it to keep it from puffing up. Let it sit a few minutes. Put your fillings on it. Bake until bottom has medium brown spots and top has brown spots. May want to prebake the crust 5 minutes before adding filling depending on your oven.

Share with your brother.


Fresh this week at Summer Creek Farm

Fresh this Week

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Basil
  • Slicing tomatoes
Summer Squash

Summer squash does not need to be peeled or seeded; simply wash and trim the ends. With the skin on, summer squash is a great source of vitamin C.

Squash can be eaten raw, or cooked in a variety of ways. Squash is mostly water, so it may make some recipes too watery. To remove some of the liquid, cut the squash, salt lightly and let sit in a colander for 30 minutes. Then rinse and use in your recipe. Try baking squash in a 350° oven, topped with grated hard cheese.

(You may need to broil for a couple minutes at the end to brown the cheese.)
This PDF download has nice photos of the different types of summer squash, and more cooking and storage tips.

Source: Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network

Recipe Double Feature

Summer Squash Pasta with Basil
Recipe: April Finnen

1 pound box small pasta, cooked
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 large yellow squash, sliced
1 to 2 tbsp. butter
1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Handful fresh basil, chopped
In large skillet, sauté zucchini, squash and garlic in butter and olive oil over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat through. Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan and basil, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Tomato Cucumber Salad
Recipe: Amy Bigus Beach

1 large fresh tomato, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 to 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

Bonus link: photos of these recipes

Link of the week

CSA Recipes: A new blog by one of our own Summer Creek CSA members:

Buy Local Challenge

(This section from the editor this week – Farmer Rick is recuperating from all that wheat harvesting!)

We’re halfway through Buy Local Challenge week. The challenge is a simple pledge that, as a CSA member, you’ve probably been doing anyway:

“I pledge to eat at least one thing from a local farm every day during Buy Local Week.”

Visit the Web site to learn more:


Sunday Lunch

I had a great time visiting friends that I haven't seen for a while. I was well fed during the trip, visited a farmer's market, a community garden and a really nice Italian garden, shopped a bit, and chatted a lot with friends. After all the fun and excitement, it was nice to come home, sleep in the familiar bed, and wake up in the morning and walk out to our garden.

On Sunday morning, I pulled out some carrots (yellow and orange) and a beet. Potato plants looked yellow but I wasn't sure if it was because they were ready for harvest or because they were stressed out from lack of rain. Feeling impatient, I decide to harvest one of the two potato bags. I simply dump the soil out of the bag, started going through and picking up potatoes! Oh my, that was so fun!!

For lunch, Dan decided to make grilled shrimp dish with lime, cilantro, garlic and peanuts, which happens to feature in martha stewart Living magazine. He marinated the shrimp in lime juice and garlic, grilled the shrimp first, and then in the skillet cooked the peanuts and cilantro briefly which later joined by grilled shrimp. He also made a small batch of fried potatoes with freshly dug yukon gold potatoes. Since we had a grill going, we also grilled the beet, and smallest potatoes from the harvest.
For salad, I made a quick thai-style slaw with sliced cucumber from the farmer's market, julienned carrot, chopped mint, vinegar, sugar and fish sauce.

First tomatoes are coming in too. We were very excited with our first two striped roma tomatoes, and made the classic combo of basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella drizzled with olive oil, and some salt and pepper. I know, we eat this a lot throughout the summer with different tomatoes, sometimes with different cheese, and sometimes dressed up more with balsamic vinegar and so on.
How local was our lunch? Let me list. Tomatoes, beet, potatoes, carrot, basil, cilantro, mint and garlic were from our own garden. Fresh Mozzarella cheese was from South Mountain Creamery in Middletown. Cucumber was from Whitmore farm in Emmitsburg. Peanuts were from Virginia. Olive oil came from Spain, salt from Portugal, peppercorns from India, and shrimps from Thailand. I wish we had local shrimp but overall we did pretty well. All the vegetables were very local, most of them being from our own backyard.
Dan and I are proud of our small garden and our on-going patronage to local farmer's markets. But really, it simply comes down to the pure joy of eating fresh delicious food. I can't wait to go to downtown farmer's market at Everedy Square this afternoon and buy fruits and vegetables at their peak. Oh, I shouldn't forget fresh eggs!



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Starbucks Farmer's Market Salad FAIL

What do you think of when you think of a farmer's market? As I mentioned back in June, we asked people what they liked best about the farmer's market and here is my favorite answer:

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.
When you think farmer's market, do you think corporate agribusiness? Obviously not, because the farmer's market is a local concept. So cut to me walking by this sign at my local Starbucks, where I love to get my corporate mochas and breakfast sandwiches:

A farmer's market salad? So I went in and asked the manager, "is the farmer's market salad from a farmer's market?" And she said "they made us put that on there." And I said, "but is it from a farmer's market?" And she said, "no, but it's delicious."

So I told her, see, I volunteer on a marketing committee for a farmer's market, and farmers work very hard to keep a living in the face of giant agribusiness and that I thought this was misleading. She kind of disappeared. But the barista told me I could call 1-800-Starbucks. Since I have nothing better to do, I did when I got home from work today.

I told 1-800-Starbucks that I thought the "farmer's market" nomer on the salad was misleading, since they are not supporting farmer's markets. And the guy on the other end of the line said he would pass that on to the marketing committee, and that his mom shops at farmer's markets. And I suggested that a number of the farmers in our farmer's market build relationships with restaurants and that Starbucks could reach out to local farmers. And the rep told me that would be hard for them since they are a large corporation, and I suggested to him that they shouldn't use the farmer's market language FOR THAT VERY REASON.

Underlying the marketing decision to use the words "farmer's market" is the understanding that the buy local movement has become powerful enough to influence marketing demographics. It is actually cutting into the profits of agribusiness. It can also mean extra profits for those who capitalize on it. See how Frito-Lay is trying to market itself as a purveyor of "local" potato chips and you'll see what I mean. See also the case of Hunt's tomatoes:
"The problem is there is absolutely no way we can have local produce within 100 miles of every person in America, so the question is how do we take it to that next level," said Phil Lempert, a grocery industry analyst known as the Supermarket Guru who ConAgra recently hired to work on its Hunt's tomatoes promotion.
I imagine someone in marketing at Starbucks wanted to "take it to that next level" and said, "well, technically it's true. We did buy the vegetables from farmers at a market."

I shop at Starbucks. They are a more ethical company than most, were one of the first corporations to address climate change in their operations, and their bottled water supports poor kids without access to clean water, but here's the thing: Starbucks, with the farmer's market salad, is trying to capitalize on the buy local movement in a disingenuous way that rides on its own carefully crafted image without having to deliver on it, and it ought to drop it. Way to take it to that next level. Starbucks FAIL.

Oh, and I hear the movie Food Inc. is awesome.


P.S. It's day four of the buy local challenge. Today I ate a local peach and an apricot.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Catoctin Mountain Orchard eblast

Click on the image to see it bigger.


Buy Local Challenge is on!

Well folks, we are on day two of Maryland's Buy Local Challenge, which asks you to eat something from a local farm every day July 18-26.

Today I ate a piece of sausage that I bought from Danny Rohrer. When I go to my parents' place tonight, I am going to bring a fresh fruit dessert. I have pie cherries and peaches from Scenic View Orchards and blueberries from Glade Link farm. I figure I will either make a cherry pie or a peach berry cobbler. Choices! I think I will make the cherry pie because the cherries are ready to go.

I had a good chat with a couple of farmers at the market on Saturday. One of the things we talked about is the true cost of food. Sometimes food at the market costs more than what you pay at a grocery store. There is a temptation to think that the farmers should sell for less (especially if a few "farm stands" do- but they are often hobby farmers without a profit motive, or people who are selling off produce at a loss lest it rot, or people who have brought in industrial food from elsewhere), but many local farmers exist at a subsistence level and don't even have health insurance. The difference in cost is that the food in the grocery store usually comes from industrial processes with all aspects of production and shipping heavily subsidized. The quality of the food is sacrificed for its uniformity and portability. According to

  • Corporate agribusiness profits increased 98 percent during the 1990s; meanwhile, in 2002 farmers earned their lowest real net cash income since 1940.
  • Modern industrial agriculture is making farming unprofitable for many. For more than 60 percent of farm households in 1998, farming actually lowered the household's before tax-income.
  • Taxpayers provided $22.9 billion in subsidies during the first three years of the "Freedom to Farm" law (1996-98), but 10 percent of the recipients (144,000 participants) collected 61 percent of the money.
A side note: many of the farmers in our area refuse subsidies altogether. They have ethical reasons for doing so. Also, while we are on the topic of costs, in this region, according to one farmer friend, he raises his seedlings starting in January and has to raise some in greenhouses to get early tomatoes. Getting a longer growing season in a climate like ours requires some additional resources, like a $5000 greenhouse, for starters.

The red tomatoes you see in the grocery store most times of the year are actually green tomatoes that have been sprayed with ethylene gas to "ripen" them. In fact, the nutritional content of industrially produced foods is declining, not to mention the taste. According to an article at Worldwatch Institute,
food scientists have compared the nutritional levels of modern crops with historic, and generally lower-yielding, ones. Today’s food produces 10 to 25 percent less iron, zinc, protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other nutrients, the studies show. Researchers from Washington State University who analyzed 63 spring wheat cultivars grown between 1842 and 2003 found an 11 percent decline in iron content, a 16 percent decline in copper, a 25 percent decline in zinc, and a 50 percent decline in selenium.
Foods that are not nutrient-dense cause the body to eat more. They also lack phytochemicals that fight disease and free radicals. This is a partial explanation for the increase in diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Other negative impacts from factory farming:
Plants cultivated to produce higher yields tend to have less energy for other activities like growing deep roots and generating phytochemicals—health-promoting compounds like antioxidants—the report explains. And conventional farming methods, such as close plant spacing and the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, often cause crops to absorb fewer nutrients and have unhealthy root systems and less flavor, and sometimes make them more vulnerable to pests.
Nothing compares to the taste of a farm fresh tomato for a reason. It is a real tomato, with real phytochemicals that are good for you.

We have gotten used to food costing less than it ought to. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation, "Americans spend about 10.7 percent of their disposable income on food, compared to 11.2 percent in England; 14.9 percent in Australia; 17.6 percent in Japan; 24.5 percent in Mexico; and 51.3 percent in India." The percent we spend on food of our total income has declined by about 50% in the past few decades.

Let's talk about the benefits of buying local. According to
  • Buying food directly from local farmers reduces the portion of your food dollar going to corporate agribusiness and ensures that farmers get their fair share of your food dollar.
  • Local farmers will reinvest more of your food dollar in your region. Buying local food increases the circulation of your food dollars locally, in effect "creating" money and economic prosperity in your region.
There are other side benefits to keeping agriculture around. One is that the land your food is grown on won't turn into housing farms. Two is that your local area will have resilience if there is a problem with transporting food, or shortages of certain crops in main food-producing regions. You can also build a personal relationship with the producer of your food, and I find that personally life-enriching.

If money is tight, you can still find ways to eat local food. First of all, grow your own. Second, help out at a farm with your own labor-I have friends who take their toddler with them and he loves it. Some Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms will let you pay off the cost of your share with labor. Also, pick your own. The cost of labor at the farm is about 39% of the cost of food according to the PA Ag Extension, and farms will cut you a deal if you do it yourself. It's also a fun field trip, as Yeon and I can attest from our berry picking excursions.

I would love to see more people make fresh food a priority and think about their budgets more closely. Do you go out to eat a lot, like I do? Where are you throwing money away? And if money is not the main issue, why not frequent locally-owned establishments that feature local produce? Shop in stores like the Common Market that support local farmers? Shop at the farmer's market?

It's all about priorities. I know that our readers already care about local food, and I would love to hear from them what they get out of eating local.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Notes from the Summer Festival

Sometimes you take pictures and sometimes you write and sometimes you just do things. By the time we were done with the West Frederick Farmer's Market Summer Festival on July 11, I was so tired that Yeon took pity just looking at me. I think it went over well- at one point I was painting faces, Bryan was cooking with a big crowd around him. Key 103 was broadcasting, and the bagpipes started playing in the next aisle. Yeon also had the drawing going and so we had quite the day. I painted about ten butterflies on kids' faces but my favorite face of the day was R2D2. Luckily the kid who got the R2D2 had it on his shirt, so it was pretty easy to copy. Even so it only kind of looked like the little droid. Nevertheless, the kid's mom said later that he would not let her wash it off and this made me very proud.

Bryan Voltaggio apparently made an amazing meal for the Chef's Challenge. The only thing I saw of it was frozen yogurt that he made somehow with liquid nitrogen. Luckily Hilda posted a bunch of pictures from the chef's challenge up at the Volt blog.

Yeon and I agreed that it will be a lot more fun for us in the future if we do one thing at a time. That way I can help more with the Chef's Challenge and learn a few tips for cooking on a camp stove with a gourmet chef!

This Saturday starts the Buy Local Challenge, so prepare to eat something local every day for the next week! It's a perfect time in the summer to do it.



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cakes for Cause Update

Well, really we're just running behind this week and we apologize. We know that you look forward to your Cakes for Cause email each week almost as much as we enjoy writing it. So here it is, a little late but still in your inbox...enjoy!

Because we like the French…
Or at least we like what the French eat! We’re introducing yet another fun-to-say treat: Palmiers! (say it all together now, “palm-ee-aye”) We’ve now broadened your horizons to TWO French words (Jalousie, anyone?). And they taste good, too. This puff pastry, cardamom-sugared cookie is melt-in-your-mouth delicious (perfect with a cup of coffee)! Stop by all three locations this week to taste them for yourself.

Middletown Farmer’s Market
Thursdays 3-6 on Old Route 40 and Route 17 in Middletown
West Frederick Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 10-1:00 on Baughman’s Lane behind the Motel 6 on Route 40 in Frederick
Chartreuse & Co. Tag Sale
3rd Friday of each month on 85 South towards Buckeystown

Tis the season…
For ice cream sandwiches! And our chocolate chocolate chip cookies work fabulously for making your very own. Just take two of our cookies, a slightly soft scoop of your favorite ice cream (Mint chocolate chip? Cappuccino? Vanilla bean?), gently squish ‘em all together and get your very own homemade ice cream sandwich (after re-freezing them for a bit). We know it works because we’ve tried it ourselves (and shared it with some happy friends). So come buy chocolate chocolate chip cookies in even numbers at all the markets this week.

Since we’ve been easy on you…
We’re now bringing it to you with some t-shirt harassment! Do you have the latest Cakes for Cause shirt? If not, then you’re a slacker. Not really, but we’ve had our newest edition out for a couple of months and you'd better hurry—we only print a certain number so when they’re gone, they’re gone. Because they’re a baseball-style shirt you can also say you’re on our team (but not if you don’t have the gear) and what team isn’t a winner that provides lemonade and cookies at every event? They're available at every market we attend.

Do you know where the barn is?
If not, then you’re missing out. Join us this Friday morning beginning at 8:30 at the Chartreuse & Co. tag sale. We’ll be there with all kinds of breakfast treats to fuel your shopping. And if you’re like us, you’ll still be wandering the grounds looking for amazing deals in the afternoon and will need re-energizing with lemonade and a cookie. 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. Check out their website for more info.

The Mission of Cakes for Cause is to empower vulnerable youth and develop social enterprises that engage the community in cultivating meaningful employment and educational opportunities to teach work and life skills. In Frederick, Cakes for Cause will open a bakery/café in mid-August that trains youth in the hospitality industry.

Cakes for Cause
22 South Market Street, Suite 3
Frederick, Maryland 21701
Phone: 240-344-0295


Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fried Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are simply regular tomatoes that haven’t ripened yet. They are firmer in texture than ripe tomatoes, which are usually red. Being from the South (N.C.), I can testify that many Southerners don’t recognize (much less eat) vegetables unless they have been deep fried. There are probably as many fried green tomato recipes as there are Southern cooks. There are plenty of ways to coat and fry your tomatoes. You could use bread crumbs (try Panko), cracker crumbs, cornmeal, or flour. Some people dip them in beaten eggs before dredging, while some just dredge then fry. Be sure to salt and pepper them first. A deep skillet with a generous amount of oil is a reasonable substitute if you don’t have a deep fryer.

Sources: and wikipedia


Recipe Feature
Baked Green Tomatoes

Try them for dessert!
Serves 6, Recipe from Diana Rattray,
4 large firm green tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup coarse buttery cracker crumbs (like Ritz crackers)
4 tablespoons butter
Cut green tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices; arrange green tomato slices in a greased baking dish. Season sliced green tomatoes with salt and pepper and spread each with about 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar. Cover sliced green tomatoes with crumbs and dot with butter. Bake at 350° until green tomatoes are tender but still firm, or about 25 to 35 minutes.

Link of the week
Fried Green Tomatoes: A Taste of New Orleans (NPR story)
Includes recipes for fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, and fried green tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce.

From Farmer Rick
We are almost finished with our wheat harvest. Harvest has been slow due to machinery breakdowns and the fact that we have been working hard to get irrigation up and running. It is very dry now so we have switched from mud to dust. Since vegetables are 80% water we really need to get it running! It takes about 3 days of work to set our system up every season. We are also busy planting fall crops like squash, hard squash, beans and peas. The crops are running late but we will have red tomatoes and other summer vegetables soon.

Fresh This Week

  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • Green tomatoes
  • Chard
  • Cucumber
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Green beans

Have a favorite way to use all those great CSA tomatoes, green peppers, squash and other veggies? Please e-mail if you’d like to share your ideas!

[I usually make fried green tomatoes by dredging in flour, then beaten egg or buttermilk, then cornmeal. The crust will come off the tomato if you don't have a good nonstick surface. I also like to eat these at the end of the season when you have to pull your tomato plants before the first frost, when there are lots of green tomatoes. This year, the tomato season is late because of cool temperatures and so this is a great way to have tomatoes early. -Shannon]


Monday, July 13, 2009


Last year I went out of town when my squash plants were under attack by squash bugs. I am going out of town tomorrow and my green zucchini plant is under attack by squash bugs again. That poor plant is so stressed out even though I did my best to catch all the bugs, trim out the leaves infested by the eggs, and even water the plant's root area. I am worried that when I come back from the trip, the plant might have lost the battle.

On sunday evening I watered my tomato plants too. The soil was getting pretty dry, I saw a tomato fruit showing blossom end rot, and thus decide to water them. This was the first time I watered tomato plants this year - it seems we are getting into a dry period and thus occasional watering would help. 

I will miss Frederick farmer's markets on Thursday and Saturday this week. While away, I plan to visit farmer's markets in my destination area. It won't be the same without talking to familiar faces and running into friends at the market, but will be fun to see how their local farmer's markets are doing. Hopefully I will come back with some photos and stories to share.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunflowers blooming, Goldfinch visiting.

[Click the photos to see larger images]

Photos by Dan
Shannon and I have bought many different varieties of sunflowers seeds this year. One of the tall, deep red (open almost black) sunflowers are blooming. Right after the breakfast in the backyard this morning, Dan noticed that we had a goldfinch eating our sunflower seeds! I took binoculars out and Dan took his camera out. We had an exciting moment watching this cheery little fellow. 



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Strawberry Crepe with Black Raspberry Jam Topping

I don't know why but I love cooking black raspberries. I will buy these beautiful berries at the market, maybe eat a few fresh, and then the rest of them go to a pot with sugar and then get cooked. I don't even measure how much sugar I put in. Just enough sugar to cover the berries in the pot.  I like my jam slightly syrupy with not too much sweetness. 

I am not a huge jam person, so a small quarter pint of jam  lasts for a while kept in a refrigerator. I love eating a toast with a smear of home-made black raspberry jam though.  The jam makes excellent cookie filling. You can put a spoonful on top of your vanilla ice cream and instantaneously transform it to black raspberry ice cream.
One saturday morning we had a bit of beaten egg left (after making Dan's fabulous French toast), so I made crepes following this recipe, and then topped with the black raspberry jam. Yum. Maybe I need to make more black raspberry jam. This time I will do canning so that I can enjoy the flavor in the middle of winter.



Cakes for Cause: Not-Your-Gramma’s Banana Cake!

We don’t want all the Grandmothers out there to get up in arms, but we’re afraid we’ve beaten their down-home cooking this week.  Come by the booth on Saturday and try our newest product: Not-Your-Gramma’s Banana Cake.  We can’t tell you our secret but there is a touch of an ingredient that you’ll never guess and makes a nice, rich-but-not-too-heavy treat! 

Middletown Farmer’s Market
Thursdays 3-6 on Alternate Route 40 and Route 17 in Middletown

West Frederick Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 10-1:00 on Baughman’s Lane behind the Motel 6 on Route 40 in Frederick

Jalousie, Jalousie, oh how we love you…
This is our Program Director’s favorite new word and its popularity designates that it gets its very own section!  Just say,  “ja-loo-see” this Saturday and you’ll receive this braided, croissant puff filled with chocolate hazelnut—and it is a MUST-HAVE.  We hyped it up last week and sold out in minutes, so ask for it again this weekend!  WE PROMISE, we’ve made more.  But if you desperately want one of these delectables, you should hit reply now and ask for us to set it aside for you.  (but you better show up or we’ll be forced to eat it ourselves!)
Summer Festival this weekend at the West Frederick Market!
Let’s help Frederick County celebrate the arrival of summer vegetables and fruits such as corns, tomatoes and blueberries! Chef Bryan Voltaggio will be back for his second Chef's Challenge (last time he used our scones for a meltingly delicious dessert—what will he use this week?!). The "Passport to Freshness" raffle makes a return (win a Cakes for Cause tote stuffed with fresh market products!) and KEY103 will be broadcasting live at the market from 10am to 12pm.  You know you’ve always wanted your 15 minutes of fame—this weekend’s your chance.  Hope to see you there!

Construction Progress Continues… slowly but surely…
We know you’re all dying for your dose of Cakes for Cause/Moxie Bakery & Café on a weekly—no!... DAILY, basis.  Take a peek in the windows, if you happen to be on the North End of Market Street (629 N Market) and see how the Bernard Brown Community Center is coming along (look for our banner!) and keep your fingers crossed for an opening in the next 3 months!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vote for the West Frederick Farmer's Market

There are two farmer's market contests going on at the same time, so you're gonna have to vote twice! First, check out the link on the right to vote in the American Farmland Trust contest. Second, visit here to vote in the Local Harvest contest. Crazy, I know.


The secret is out!

It couldn't have happened to a better man. Chef Bryan of Volt Restaurant is going to be on Top Chef 6, Las Vegas. I am really proud that this guy made it; not only is he a great chef, he's an advocate for local, sustainable and organic who walks the walk. Bryan has worked hard to build relationships with local producers; this really shows in his exquisite dishes that showcase farm fresh food.

Chef Bryan is going to be doing the Chef's Challenge at the Summer Festival this Saturday at the West Frederick Farmer's Market. Here is a link to the first Chef's Challenge he did with us, where he made lamb loin and strawberry shortcake on a camp stove. And here is a link to the interview we did with him for this blog about local food.

More info about the Summer Festival at

Images are from the Volt website.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Blueberry Yogurt Pie

Of course it was an awesome weekend full of picnics and friends and family, in gorgeous weather. In a weekend of really great food, today's picnic stood out. The lamb kebabs at my friend Jackie's house were awesome- the lamb was from Rohrer's meats, and the zucchini and squash were stolen from my neighbor's garden since they are on vacation. Jackie's mom made a chicken corn soup that had carrots in it from my garden. She said the carrots were gorgeous- she had never seen any that weren't orange. I had given them some yellow ones and a few beet-colored ones that were orange in the middle with a little white star in the very center. She really loved those. I also made a blueberry yogurt pie:

This was a big hit and was loved by all. I got the blueberries from Glade Link Farm and the yogurt from South Mountain Creamery. The recipe is modified from Sundays at Moosewood.

Blueberry Yogurt Pie

1/3 c butter
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 c unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs
3 Tbsp sugar
1 c plain yogurt (I used plain kefir from South Mountain Creamery)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I left this out to make a less obviously tart pie)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen

Butter and flour a 9- or 10- inch pie pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer or by hand, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and blend well. Combine the flour and baking powder and mix them into the wet ingredients to form a soft dough. With flour-dusted fingers, push the sticky dough into the bottom of the buttered and floured pie pan. Push the dough up to cover the sides of the pan. Refrigerate while making the filling (I put in the freezer).

Mix all the filling ingredients, except the blueberries, until smooth. Put the berries into the pie shell and gently pour in the filling so the berries are coated and evenly distributed. (At this point I put a strip of foil around the top of the pie where the crust was exposed to prevent it from getting burned.)

Bake for 50 or 60 minutes, until the crust is browned and the custard is set. Chill well.

As I was leaving, Jackie's mom asked, "do you want to take the blueberry pie with you?" I figured since she asked, I would say no. I can always make another one and get the pie plate later :D


Friday, July 3, 2009

News of the week from Rohrer's Meats

Greetings from the farm. The Frederick market will be open this Saturday as usual. Since Saturday is a holiday, and you might like your meats early, I picked up from the butcher shop today. On Fridays, there is a market at Grace Community Church, on Alternate 40, just past the route 70 interchange. The church is located next to Trout liquors, and hours are 3-7 PM. I will have the same fresh meats on Friday this week, as I do on Saturday.

Pork will include pork chops, bacon, Canadian bacon, spare ribs, country style ribs, country ham slices, and pulled pork. All seven sausage flavors will be available. I will also have frozen boneless loin roasts. Lamb will include butterflied legs, kabob cubes, boneless shoulders, racks, shanks, loin chops, arm chops, ground lamb, and lamb sausage. Beef will include strip, ribeye, porterhouse, T-bone, sirloin, flank, and skirt steaks; boneless chuck, eye round, and sirloin tip roasts; short ribs, kabob cubes, ground round, beef patties, and steak burgers. I will also have whole chickens. For those of you who liked the cheeses from last winter, I will have them as well.

I will also have fruits and berries from Allenberg orchards. There will be sweet cherries, sour cherries, red raspberries, black raspberries, squash, onions, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and cucumbers.

Have a good week and a safe holiday. I will see you at the market.

Rohrer's Meats


Turnip fritters

I have not eaten many turnips in my life, or parsnips for that matter. It's nothing personal. My parents just weren't big on them, and I never got in the habit of eating them. Same with beets. But I have discovered beets in adulthood in a big way (anybody want any? My garden is full of ripe ones) and am on the verge of discovering turnips and parsnips too. I actually prefer them to potatoes. Sadly, I did not grow any this year. But for those of you who subscribe to CSAs or who want to get some at a farmer's market, turnips are in. Here's an awesome looking recipe for turnip fritters from my friend Ilene at her House in the Woods CSA Blog. Ilene is the same person who sold tomato seedlings to Hilda and John Staples and me, and who sells her tomatoes to the Common Market. Thanks Ilene!



Cakes for Cause: Can’t Beat Chocolate and Hazelnut

Croissants get crazy (and more delicious)!

So, we found ourselves with some extra croissant dough this weekend (don’t ask how that happens) and happened to have some chocolate hazelnut spread…you know, the stuff you shouldn’t really eat on toast but you do anyway. Well, we rolled it up into our newest Danish shape and baked it off and…you have no idea what’s in store for you this weekend! It’s the 4th of July weekend and with two markets in one week, it’s a double billing for Cakes for Cause products. In Middletown, we’ll bring an array of delicious cookies, cheddar biscuits, and some new breads we’re experimenting with. Frederick’s market will have our usual wide selection of scones and cookies, croissants, breads, and the aforementioned jalousie (the new Danish). Jalousie are named for the architectural element…the jalousie window. It’s a long, thin pastry filled with goodness peeking out from behind our yummy all-butter croissant. If you missed it last week filled with apricot preserves, you definitely don’t want to miss it this week filled with chocolate hazelnut cream!

Middletown Farmer’s Market
Thursdays 3-6 on Old Route 40 and Route 17 in Middletown

West Frederick Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 10-1:00 on Baughman’s Lane behind the Motel 6 on Route 40 in Frederick

Both of these markets are producers-only markets and bring the best in local produce to your community. Your support of Cakes for Cause at these markets helps us to develop our quality programs for youth who have aged out of the foster care system. We hope we’ll see you there!

Help Us Make a Difference

This is our third month to donate a portion of our proceeds to another local non-profit. It’s been a challenging summer for many smaller community service organizations so each month on the first Saturday, Cakes for Cause donates 5% of our total proceeds to another organization that provides human services in our community. On July 4th we 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.

Need a Little Buzz?

We keep forgetting to remind you that we’re now carrying Dublin Roasters Coffees at the Farmer’s Markets. If you haven’t tried some of their blends, you’re definitely missing out. Dublin Roasters Coffee is a women-owned, local roaster and we get a contact buzz just by opening up the display box. We carry several varieties so if you’re in need of your own coffee high, stop by our booth and pick up either a half or full pound of deliciousness!

Cakes for Cause


Thursday, July 2, 2009

I love you, grilled pizza

Remember when you were a kid and you said, "I love pizza" and then one of your jokester friends said, "Then why don't you marry it?" I think I would marry this pizza. I don't think I can live another week without trying Chef Christine's grilled pizza recipe, posted at her Frederick Foodie blog.

I need to check my tomato plants. If Yeon has tomatoes coming in then I hope that mine aren't far behind. They would be great on this pizza. And I have basil ready for the picking. All I need next is some fresh mozzarella from my friend Juliet's Italian Market or from South Mountain Creamery.

I also want to try this with grilled eggplant and zucchini and some tahini sauce and crumbled falafel. With some pretty, plain yogurt drizzled on top and a few blossoms from an allium or chive thrown in for looks. But I digress.

The picture of the pizza is from Chef Christine's daughter Anna.



Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Update from Catoctin Mountain Orchard

Come to Catoctin for all your food needs. BUY FRESH, BUY LOCAL, means you get the best quality, fresh tasting, grown in Frederick County soil (not in some 3rd world country),and at 1/3 the price you pay at your grocery store. Our produce, fruits and produces are so good, you'll want to buy extra to can or freeze for that fresh taste in those cold winter months.

You can "pick-your-own" raspberries and blueberries (starting tomorrow July 2nd).Berry seasons are short so don't wait to long to get all your favorites.Always make sure you call to get picking dates and times.

We now have early PEACHES along with LODI APPLES and APRICOTS.We will keep you informed on all new arrivals through the 2008 season as they become available via and eBlasts.

Our summer hours are Monday - Sunday 9 am - 5 pm

Please come by the market, there are too many things to mention.

Look forward to seeing you again.

The Black Family