It may seem like a high-summer food, a batting-mosquitoes-backyard-barbeque kind of thing, but I’m still getting sweet corn in my weekly CSA box, and probably will for a week or two more. So corn stays on my menu this week, regardless of the cooler days and the smattering of leaves I’ve started to see on the ground. Tomatoes Sweet corn Mid-season update: My CSA box hasn’t seen too many new additions in recent weeks.
I’m five weeks into my CSA this year, and my weekly haul is gradually picking up. This week I got a few more tomatoes, a handful of potatoes, more blueberries, corn, and the first eggplant. So what to do with all this produce? Here’s what I’m thinking: Red Bliss and Yukon Gold Potatoes Swiss chard Blueberries Kirby Cucumbers Eggplant: Baba GhanoushStir-Fried Chicken and Eggplant With Asian BasilThe New York Times. Green Beans: Get the recipe here.
I spent yesterday morning tramping around a tart cherry farm in northern Michigan, and I wanted to give you a sneak peek at one of the most interesting moments. Did you know that cherries are literally shaken off the tree? For the past couple of days I’ve been in Traverse City, Michigan, on a trip sponsored by The Cherry Marketing Institute, who is always looking for ways, naturally, to help people eat a few more cherries.
Bagged lettuce is a lot of things. It’s convenient, it’s usually affordable, and it can make a quick lunch or dinner side salad in a cinch. But recent health scares and extensive media coverage have people chatting about the other not-so-great side of bagged lettuce. Modern Farmer recently explored the potential health risks that go along with bagged lettuce.
July is just around the corner and for me that means just one thing: it’s the time when the local tomato production starts to get serious and the farmers’ markets starting running red (and yellow, and pink, and chocolate, and green stripe). Sure, there’s the occasional basket of cherry tomatoes the last few weeks of June and I guess they’re pretty good. But when the dry-farmed Early Girls start showing up, that’s when then I know all is right in the world.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for our health, right? We’ve all heard that for years, and it is true. But according to Jo Robinson, author of the forthcoming book Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, what really matters is choosing the right varieties of those fruits and vegetables.
It may come as a surprise to some, but buying foods labeled cage-free or grass-fed does not necessarily mean that those items are what they say they are, or what we assume they mean. This can be really frustrating if you are trying to do your best to purchase humane and sustainable food, not to mention that foods labeled with these claims are often more expensive. Do you pay extra for organic, or non-GMO, or hormone-free foods? Do you know which labels are reliable?
Three years ago I wrote a post asking if $7.50 was too much to pay for a dozen eggs. The eggs in question were gathered from pasture-raised chickens and in my post I brought up how pasture-raised poultry was handled differently than free-range or cage-free and why it was worth it to me. The debate in the comment section was lively, as I’m sure you can imagine. Today I usually pay $6.
The folks at Amagansett Sea Salt Company want you to know you’re wrong about salt. Think it’s supposed to be uniform in color, texture, and shape? They beg to differ. They say the best salt is kind of a mess — irregularly shaped, filled with natural moisture, color and, of course, a wide variety of flavors and tastes. Just see if you don’t agree after watching Food Curated’s video profile — looks pretty great to us!
When you bring home organic vegetables from the farmers’ market or grocery store, it’s tempting to just give them a quick rinse rather than a thorough washing. But they’re pesticide-free, you say! And a little dirt is good for you, right? But there’s good reason not to forgo the wash, according to Mother Jones.
Trying to eat and buy local is all well and good until I can purchase a giant tub of cottage cheese from my local Costco for $5. Writing for a food blog leaves me with a little guilt about that, but this new website helped me discover that my tasty breakfast snack comes from a dairy farm right here in Illinois! Want to see where your dairy comes from?
CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are something many of us are familiar with. CSAs are programs where customers pay farmers to share in their harvest (usually in the form of a farm box that is delivered or picked up at a farmers market). But this model of purchasing food has gone beyond weekly bundles of squash and kale — I’ve seen weekly share programs evolve into meat, cheese and pasta CSAs.
“It was so magical,” Scott told me, as we drove from the train station to the farm. “A tempest was literally happening! [The actor playing] Prospero, the magician, was talking about his art and magic, and as he waved his hand, there was a flash of lightening outside! It couldn’t have been better.
All week long The Kitchn has focused on farms and farming, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one big farming trend to emerge in recent years: urban farming, specifically backyard chicken keeping. Chickens (and their coops) have become so popular that there are now multiple chicken coop tours around the country, like the Tour de Cluck, a 200-chicken-coops-in-16-miles biking expedition in Davis, California.
On a farm, the sound of birds singing isn’t always a pleasant reminder of nature. It can also be the sound of an incoming pest, one that attacks crops at peak ripeness, damaging or decimating fruits before they can be harvested. Instead of turning to chemical poisons, some organic farmers are turning to birds’ natural predators for help, enlisting falcons to patrol the fields.
Many people, myself included, will tell you that buying bagged, pre-washed lettuce mixes makes it easier to eat more salad. More organized folks will point out that washing and drying your own lettuce isn’t that difficult and that bagged lettuce isn’t always that safe. What’s the best way to go? Well, the answer is complicated.I picked up the bag of lettuce pictured above at Happy Boy Farms, one of my favorite stalls at my local farmers’ market.
If you’re gearing up for a summer of all things cherry, you may need to rethink your plans: cherry production is actually down 70% this season, according to the Department of Agriculture, due to the mild winter and cherry blossoms dropping too quickly.
What’s in season right now? Lettuces, turnip greens, kale, and possibly some root vegetables like fennel and onions are signatures of Spring. You’re also likely to see strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus, and okra. Check out your region below for a quick guide to the Top 5 in-season fruits and vegetables by region.
The Grower’s Exchange, a family-run farm in Virginia specializing in unusual and hard-to-find herbs, has chosen Bee Balm as the 2013 Notable Native Herb. If you’re not familiar with the herb, it’s actually gaining popularity as a culinary herb and makes a great substitute for oregano. (Bee balm pizza, anyone?
We’ve been hearing buzz lately about food hubs. Have you heard of them? Like the name suggests, a food hub provides makers, growers, and other food producers with a central structure of some sort in which to process, distribute, and market their locally or regionally produced food goods. It’s becoming quite common in many states, and farmers are now looking at it as a new way to distribute food among their members. Think it of as CSA 2.0.
In late March, just two days after the Spring Equinox, I went to Amagansett to visit Quail Hill Farm, the first of what will be many visits over the course of the coming year, to look at the life and labor behind one of the oldest community-supported agriculture farms in the country. What can we, as home cooks, eaters, and amateur growers, learn from observing the seasonal changes on this farm?
There was a time—eight, ten years ago—when eggs were “scrubbed from the standard American breakfast” due to cholesterol concerns, according to a recent article in The New York Times, but those days are over. Eggs are back, but they’re not coming to you by way of a poultry farm conveyer belt; they’re coming from a backyard, a rooftop, maybe even your own living room.
Several years ago, we posted Dan Barber’s amazing TED talk about how he witnessed a more humane way to produce the delicious but controversial fatted goose liver called foie gras. The talk is classic Dan Barber, full of self-deprecating humor and his clearly passionate relationship to food. After his discovery of this more humane method, which eschews gavage, or force feeding, Barber (sort of) vows to never serve conventional foie gras in his restaurants again.
One hundred percent of Americans eat food, but less than 2% of Americans actually grow or raise food.Farming as the primary source of income has decreased so rapidly over the last century that unless you’ve deliberately visited a farm as an “agro-tourist” you might be missing out on the most delicious food stories – not the ones about cooking, but the ones about growing.Field Notes is a chance to hear from the people who knew your food before your oven did.