Saturday, July 24, 2010

Results of the Blueberry Challenge!

Hey pals! I'm behind! The banner on top of this website says it's still June. I am also a few days later than I wanted to be reporting the results of the blueberry challenge. C'est la vie! I am excited to report we had three entries for the blueberry challenge (four if you count my muffins and the awesome blueberry/peach cobbler that we ate before we remembered to take a picture of it):

It's always fun to do a challenge and see what people make! Thanks to the talented cooks who participated in the blueberry challenge- I want to come visit your houses now to thank you in person ;D


Simple tomato salad

We're having my parents over for dinner tonight, and we've decided to make picnic food (but eat it indoors- it's 100 degrees ouside!) Here's what's on the menu:

  • Devilled eggs (mom's recipe, but made by me with eggs from Chesapeake's Choice at the West Frederick Farmer's Market)
  • Potato salad (great grandmother's recipe, made by mom)
  • Baked beans (from a can)
  • Fresh fruit salad (with watermelon, peaches, blueberries and blackberries from the farmer's market)
  • Ribeye (from the Safeway)
  • Tomato salad (with tomatoes from the farmer's market) with basil, olive oil, and Cherry balsamic vinegar from Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium (new place on Market Street-it's Lou's addiction)
Lou and I had to eat one of the eggs because it didn't look pretty enough. Now there is an empty hole in the egg tray. Too bad. There might be a few more holes before people get here. Lou is making the fruit salad- that might get a few holes in it too. The watermelon might be missing a few pieces already. We are bad.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh this Week

  • Potatoes
  • Slicing tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Beets
  • Basil
  • Onion
  • and more!
From Farmer Rick

So what happens each week to make your veggies happen? Well our work team arrives at the farm at 8 a.m. At that time nothing is harvested yet for your boxes (except maybe potatoes). On a board in the packing area of our basement is the list for today's box. We start the day picking in the High Tunnels to beat the heat of the day. Tomatoes, greens and berries are picked first. Next we move on to the field crops. Generally 4 people are in our work team on CSA days.

At the same time we are taking restaurant orders for evening delivery. Today we took orders from Cafe Nola, Isabella's and Volt. Additionally we picked an order for the Common Market and MOM's. While the crew is picking, my two young nieces start packing in the packing area (that is why CSA members sometimes see smiley faces on the bags!). They weigh and bag potatoes, tomatoes, etc. When the field crew comes back in (like today with about 200 lbs of squash and zuch!) they start cleaning the produce and methodically placing it in the CSA box so each person's box is similar. We finish by cutting the herbs so they are still fresh. All this packing is in an area that is about 75 degrees so that the produce is not stressed.

We then pull my delivery van under a large awning to keep it cool and load the produce in order of our delivery route. About 3 p.m. (give or take--OK I run late a lot) I leave to deliver to the Frederick drop-off. Then downtown to the restaurants and out to the groceries. Then to Urbana. All the while the produce is in an air-conditioned van. We do the best we can to pick it fresh that day and keep it cool so when you get it it tastes like just out of the field. I hope you enjoy all our hard work.

Thanks for all your support and for the jobs you have helped create for our young work crew.

--Farmer Rick

Photo: Summer Creek CSA box contents, Week 10, 2009


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 (or no more than gently warmed - do not cook). Pesto freezes well for later use. Try adding a thin layer of olive oil on top before freezing, to help maintain the bright green color. If freezing, try adding the cheese after thawing.

Sources: Purdue University (basil facts) and Food Network (pesto recipe, modified)

Recipe Feature

This rustic tomato and bread salad is an excellent way to use leftover artisan bread from the farmer's market (or your oven), and tomatoes and basil. For the recipe, including a photo, cruise over to Frederick Foodie's blog.

Recipe: Christine Van Bloem

Link of the Week - Buy Local Challenge

Buy Local Challenge Week (July 17-25, 2010) encourages everyone to eat at least one local item per day for the week. You've probably been doing this without trying! For the rest of this week, consider trying the challenge. If you're already eating mostly local foods at home, try visiting one of the restaurants Farmer Rick mentioned above for some tasty, locally grown treats cooked by someone else!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

News from Truffle King

Greetings Chocolate Lovers:

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, there were things going on behind the scenes that had not been finalized. You may have noticed my recent absences at the Farmer’s Markets. I will be locating in August to Alexandria, VA. To help organize and pack for the move, I will no longer be at any of the Farmer’s Markets for the rest of July and there will be no production in August.

I’ll try and keep the Clustered Spires Pastry Shop on 285 Montevue Lane, Frederick stocked for the remainder of the month, but once inventory is gone, there will be no further production. Google directions are on my web site listed above. Clustered Spires is not far from the West Frederick Farmer’s Market on Baughman’s Lane, so you might stop there on your way home and pick up your truffles. They are open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm.

A special thanks to all my favorite customers for your inputs, patronage and mutual enjoyment of my truffles over the months and years. Once relocated and up and running again, I will send out an email, and perhaps we can do business again through the mail, or by some other method.

Monthly flavors for JULY:

DARK (58.5% Cacao)Semi-Sweet Chocolate & Heavy Cream Ganache enrobed in Semi-Sweet Chocolate

DARK/BLUEBERRY (58.5% Cacao)Semi-Sweet Chocolate, Heavy Cream, and Organic Blueberries enrobed in Semi-Sweet Chocolate

WHITE CHOCOLATE/COCONUT (35% Cacao Butter)Sweet White Chocolate, Heavy Cream, Organic Coconut Ganache enrobed in Sweet Milk Chocolate

MIXEDEqual mixes of all three flavors in boxes of 6 or 12

Yours for good chocolate,
Timothy Miller, Chocolatier

Imperial Chocolate Company
Frederick, MD
301 788-5278


Friday, July 16, 2010

Buy Local Challenge Week July 17-25!!!

From the press release:

Start Today!

Pledge to Eat Local during Buy Local Challenge Week, July 17-25, 2010

Every pledge counts! We invite you to take the pledge again this year and join the thousands across Maryland supporting Maryland's family farms during Buy Local Challenge Week, July 17-25, 2010.

Register your pledge now at Your pledge to "eat at least one item from a local farm every day during Buy Local Challenge Week" immediately puts your $'s to work in your neighborhood, ensuring that farms survive for future generations. Plus you're doing your part to maintain a cleaner, greener planet and provide safe, nutritious food for you and your family. If you have already registered your pledge - take the next step: starting today make your first purchase at a local farm, farm stand, farmers' market or winery; stock up at a grocer that offers genuine local products; or treat yourself to a meal at a restaurant that serves local farm food. Discover the bounty of Maryland's farms, and we hope you'll decide to shop local year round!

Need help finding Local? Visit for statewide directories to locate farm fresh products, meats, wines and more. Share your favorite Buy Local experience with your friends. The Buy Local Challenge website also hosts the BLC Online Community. This site allows you to upload information about BLC events, submit your photos, tips or recipes, to chat, or generally interact with other users in Maryland and around the nation.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blueberry Challenge: You have til July 18!

Hi there, blueberry lovers! Just a quick reminder that you have until July 18 to complete the blueberry challenge!

I have already gotten one submission already from my pal Omar Siddique. Pictured is his blueberry buckle. He makes these every year when the blueberries are in season. From Omar:
I made my usual blueberry buckle recipe, it's a firm-textured coffee-cake with a vast quantity of blueberries (about 4 cups), and a crisp streusel top. Pictured here for your viewing pleasure. The in-season berries were a little too juicy and seemed to burst disproportionally (making for a bit of a soggy cake on one side) but pleasing over-all.Recipe is from Cook's Illustrated, berries from
Larriland Farms.
You can see more pics of the buckle here.


Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh this Week

  • Potatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Green tomatoes
  • Basil
  • and more!
Notes from the Farm

The farm went from drought to mud this week. We went from fixing irrigation breakdowns to weed control. The rain is very welcome but the weeds go wild when it is hot and wet like this. Slicing tomatoes and peppers are coming on soon. Our cherry tomatoes are in four regional grocery stores this week. I hope you are enjoying them too. We pick on average 50 pints a day this time of year. At the same time we are planting for fall. More crops to continue our harvest through Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving we get a rest, for now we have too much to do!

--Farmer Rick

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.

There are probably as many fried green tomato recipes as there are Southern cooks. There are plenty of ways to coat and fry your sliced green tomatoes. First, season with salt and pepper. You could use bread crumbs (such as Panko), cracker crumbs, corn meal, flour or even crushed Corn Flakes for the outside coating. The coating will stick better if you coat the tomato slices with flour, then dip them in a beaten egg, then coat with your final outside layer. Then fry in a deep skillet or deep fryer.

Of course, you can always place the tomatoes in a brown paper bag and wait for them to ripen before using. You can find some tips on how to speed the process here. Store tomatoes in a cool place, but try to avoid refrigerating whole tomatoes, for better flavor. Once they are cut, leftover tomatoes should be refrigerated.

Thanks to Chef Christine Van Bloem and Shannon Moore for the green tomato tips.

Recipe Feature
Fried Green Tomatoes
2 medium to large green tomatoes, sliced thick
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup flour, seasoned to taste (salt, pepper, cayenne, etc. to taste)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs, or other coating of your choice
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tbsp water (egg wash)
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat butter and olive oil together in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. (If you don't use a nonstick skillet, you'll need to use more butter and/or oil.)

Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper, and coat lightly with flour. Then dip in the egg wash, and coat with bread crumbs. Be sure the outside is completely covered.

Carefully place tomato slices in the heated oil/butter mixture and fry until the bottom is golden brown (4-5 minutes). Carefully flip and repeat on other side. If you have one, a fish spatula works well to flip delicate items with minimal disturbance of the coating.

Once both sides are golden brown, remove to drain on paper towels. Season again to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Recipe: April Finnen

Link of the Week - About Lycopene

According to the Mayo Clinic, "numerous studies correlate high intake of lycopene-containing foods or high lycopene serum levels with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration." These studies were based on tomato intake, and while it is not clear that lycopene was the sole reason since tomatoes are high in a number of nutrients including lycopene, study participants who ate a lot of tomatoes fared better than those who didn't. So enjoy those tomatoes!

Summer Creek Farm
15209 Mud College Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
We are on facebook!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Truffle Flavors from Truffle King

Greetings Chocolate Lovers:

Last month I queried: what happened to Spring? Now that we’re into August weather in late June and early July, like all the plants, I’m confused. With the heat wave this week, and other complications, my Farmer’s Market appearances will be predicated on the weather and other circumstances. I’ll try and keep the Clustered Spires Pastry Shop on 285 Montevue stocked in case we miss each other. Google directions and hours are on my web site listed above.

I am still at the West Frederick Farmer’s Market from 10 am - 1 pm in the rear parking lot of the Physician’s Building at 110 Baughman’s Lane, Frederick (off of US 40) and should be there some Saturdays this month. Note: I do not attend the Farmer’s Market if it is raining or excessive heat; rain or excessive heat and chocolate just don’t mix. I am also contemplating a move, so may be in search of housing some Saturdays this month.

I am also set up from 3 pm - 7 pm at the brand new Farmer’s Market on Market Street in the parking lot of the old Jay-Carmack Building. Again, excessive heat precludes my appearance, but if you live or work downtown, you should check this market out. It has some very fine vendors, great produce, meats, honey and other items.

13 July I will be at the special Ft. Detrick Farmer’s Market in front of NCIS Library from 11 am - 1:30 pm.

You can continue to stop by the Clustered Spires Pastry Shop (directions on the website) 285 Montevue Lane, Frederick 11 am- 2 pm Tuesday-Saturday and pick some up during the week or call me for alternate pick-up times or for mail orders.

Monthly flavors for JULY:

DARK (58.5% Cacao)
Semi-Sweet Chocolate & Heavy Cream Ganache enrobed in Semi-Sweet Chocolate

DARK/BLUEBERRY (58.5% Cacao)
Semi-Sweet Chocolate, Heavy Cream, and Organic Blueberries enrobed in Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Sweet White Chocolate, Heavy Cream, Organic Coconut Ganache enrobed in Sweet White Chocolate

Yours for good chocolate,

Timothy Miller, Chocolatier
Imperial Chocolate Company
Frederick, MD
301 788-5278


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blogger's Challenge: Blueberries

We're in the middle of blueberry season. For me, that means I hit the farmers' markets several times a week, buy a pint of blueberries and eat them all by the next day. Blueberries are wonderful in baking, and with meats, but I just can't seem to let them sit around long enough for that to happen. This week, after I got a pint from Glade Link Farms at the West Frederick Farmers Market, I decided after my third or fourth handful that I would make the rest into blueberry muffins. This was quite a sacrifice, I must tell you.

I bought a cookbook recently of gluten-free recipes called "Artisanal Gluten-Free Cookbook" and had been experimenting with it the past two weeks. So far everything I had made with it was tasty, but the leavening was totally not working, and the recipes seemed gummy. This might have been due to the brands of flour I was using- I hear that Bob's Red Mill Brown Rice flour is not milled finely enough to rise well in GF recipes. I made a flat, gummy lemon poppyseed bread that everyone loved and chocolate chip scones using the flour mix recommended in the book with a recipe from another book that was also tasty but flat. Since I had already made up a big batch of the flour mix that is the basis for all the recipes in the book, I was loathe to abandon it. I decided to use the blueberry muffin recipe from the book, but double the baking soda it called for and halve the xanthan gum (xanthan gum makes doughs stretchy and is used in lieu of gluten, You can also use it to make instant pudding out of just about any liquid. It's weird stuff, both creepy and impressive. I got mine at the Common Market). The product is the picture you see above. These muffins rose, they browned, they tasted like regular blueberry muffins. I could not have been happier.

This leads me to my next point: all of you bloggers and tweeters and food lovers out there, I am inviting you to participate in a blueberry challenge. Make a dish involving blueberries, and then either post a picture or send me one. Feel free to include the recipe if you like. You have until July 18th to make something out of blueberries and post it up. At the end of the challenge, I'll post a link or pictures to everyone's blueberry dishes. Have fun!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Fresh this Week from Rohrer's Meats

With the nice weather this week I'm trying to bale hay. Hopefully I will still be in one piece and functioning well for the markets.

With the holiday this weekend you might want to get an early start shopping or also avoid the lines at the Frederick market. This is where the Friday afternoon market at Grace Community Church is an alternative. The church is located just west of Frederick on Alternate Route 40 next to Trout Liquors. Hours are 3 until 7 PM. At today's market I will start out with frozen meats. I hope to be back from the butchershop by 6 if you want fresh product for your holiday cookout. I will have a full selection of fresh beef, pork, and lamb when I return. I will also have the first sweet corn of the season and hopefully peaches as well. Everyone knows that the first local corn of the season tastes the best since we have been waiting for it since last fall. There should also be red raspberries, blackberries, squash and other vegetables.

My full product line will be available Saturday as well. Scenic View called to tell me they will have sweet corn and lots of peaches at the market this week. Every week new fruits and vegetables will be ripening making your farm market shopping experience more enjoyable.The Saturday market is open every week from 10 AM until 1 PM at 110 Baughmans Lane.

Enjoy the break from the heat and I hope to see you at the markets.

Rohrer's Meats


Chef's Challenge with Bryan Voltaggio at the market

Chef Bryan Voltaggio of Volt Restaurant (and who can forget, runner-up on Top Chef to his own brother, after a nail biting competition and decision by the judges) was at the North Market Farmers Market on Wednesday for a Chef's Challenge. Bryan actually started the Chef's Challenges at the West Frederick Farmers Market last year- he was a big supporter of the market and had just filmed the episodes for Top Chef. I think he had really enjoyed cooking in front of people in a pressured environment on that show, because he suggested to me that he'd like to do a challenge at the market. The way we decided to do it was with just one chef for logistics, and the challenge would be that he would have to go around the market, get products from the different stands, and cook a dish onsite using what he found. Even before the Top Chef episodes aired, his Chef's Challenges were very popular with the customers, who would watch him cook things like lamb loin on a camp stove under a shade structure. Though his tools were crude, his finished product was always exquisite. Iron Chef meets MacGyver.

This time Chef made a poached egg with soft polenta, a vegetable and bacon hash, and potato souffles. He had much fancier equipment, but still explained how people could make the dishes themselves at home.

To make a soft polenta, he used three parts broth to one part polenta. He suggests never to use a metal whisk in a metal pan like he is doing here. Use a wooden spoon so the metals don't get in the food.
The egg was poached at 63 degrees C, the temperature at which the yolk and the white are the same consistency.

Bryan sweated onions and peppers, which means he cooked them to translucent without browning. He also added lardons, which are small strips of thick bacon about a few millimeters wide and an inch long. He also added Swiss chard.

The potato souffles are little slices of potato that are first fried at 250 degrees and then deep fried at 450 until they puff. Each of the souffles has a little dehydrated something on top. Bryan taught the audience how they could make their own dehydrated herbs in the microwave.

The audience really enjoyed Bryan and I enjoyed emceeing with him. The first Chef's Challenges we did last year, I prompted him a lot because he would get really involved in cooking. But this time he was a seasoned pro, and explained his processes really fluidly- it's obvious that being what the Denver Post recently called himself and his brother, the "hottest chefs in the country", has given him tons of practice to be not only an excellent chef, but also one who knows how to entertain. Thanks so much to Bryan for his ongoing support of the farmers and farmers' markets, and for having his wonderful restaurant, Volt, here in Frederick.


Woman About Town

FiND iT FREDERiCK has a very dedicated person known as Woman About Town, or WAT, who attends various events downtown and writes about them with chipper enthusiasm. This gal has made it her mission to visit all of the farmers' markets in Frederick County and report back on them. It's wonderful for the markets and propably pretty fun for WAT too. She writes about here experiences on her blog, which I have linked to here. Her most recent post, from the Chef's Challenge at the North Market Farmers Market with Bryan Voltaggio, is here.

I was meaning to look out for her at the Chef's Challenge but got sucked in to my emcee role and forgot. Maybe WAT and I can meet up some time soon and talk turkey.