Don’t be a turkey

Friday, October 12, 2007

Last year I ordered an organic, heritage breed turkey for Thanksgiving dinner through the Fair Food Farmstand.  Even my in-laws, who admittedly are not foodies and don’t care so much about eating locally, commented on the great taste and juiciness of the turkey.  We even discussed the benefits of eating meat that isn’t drenched in growth hormones, something a little too serious for Thanksgiving at my house usually.  I can’t promise that eating an organic, heritage breed turkey will guarantee a discussion of anything other than grandchildren and the various Philadelphia sports teams at your own house, of course!

Thanksgiving is fast approaching (I’ve already started deciding what to cook).  I’ll be participating in the 100 Mile Thanksgiving again this year, but you don’t have to be involved in that to want to try a locally grown turkey!  There are quite a few options available, the easiest of which for me is ordering through the Fair Food Farmstand.  I was recently alerted that they’ll be taking orders starting next week.

You might be able to find locally grown turkey at Whole Foods, and the farmer’s market in Collingswood, NJ definitely takes orders.  To get straight to the source, though, try Woodsong Hollow, Bolton Turkey Farm, or Rumbleway Farm.

Posted by Nicole on 10/12 at 06:19 AM

CSA Weekly Report: Lancaster Farm Fresh

Thursday, October 11, 2007


It seems strange that today is my very last share of the season from Lancaster Farm Fresh.  It’ll be sad not to bring home a bevy of vegetables every Thursday.  I guess this means I’ll be seeing the inside of a grocery store a little more often.  Yuck.

So what’s in the final share?

    1 head Joi Choi grown by Scarecrow Hill Farm 1 head Verona radicchio grown by Scarecrow Hill Farm 1 head cabbage grown by Farmdale Organics 1 bunch celery grown by Farmdale Organics 1 bunch carrots grown by Riverview Organics 2.5 lbs red creamer potatoes grown by Green Valley Organics 3 lbs Beauregard sweet potatoes grown by Busy Bee Acres 1 baby pie pumpkin & 1 small butternut grown by Green Acres Organics
    2 heads lettuce grown by Scarecrow Hill Farm 1 bunch collard greens grown by Farmdale Organics

I’ve never had joi choi before, but I understand it’s pretty much like bok choi.  With the cooler weather, I’ve been craving soup - so I decided to use the choi to make won ton soup.  It’s going to be a multi-step and vaguely time consuming thing, but it’ll be something I’ve never done before.  You know, making the won tons from scratch and all that [not the won ton wrappers, mind you - I bought a pack at the H-mart in Upper Darby a few weeks ago].  By some strange stroke of luck, I have been able to source nearly all the ingredients from local growers.  Hooray!

Posted by Nicole on 10/11 at 04:26 PM

Get Asian pears now!

North Star Orchard is in the midst of an Asian pear boom!  If you love Asian pears, now is the time to seek out at the Orchard’s various market locations - Clark Park, Rittenhouse Square, and Headhouse in Philadelphia, and a bunch of other suburban locations.

North Star is currently producing the following varieties of Asian pear: Hosui, Yoinashi, and Olympic.  The Hosui is slightly acidic but mild with a crisp, juicy, off-white flesh.  The Yoinashi has the highest sugar content of all Asian pears and is extremely juicy with a lovely butterscotch flavor.  The Olympic has an outstanding storage life and flavor actually improves with storage.  They’re sweet with an earthy flavor.

And don’t miss out on North Star’s apple harvest!  You can find Florina, Golden Russet, Stellar, and Sugar Snap apples at market. 

North Star Orchard is located in Coatesville, PA.

Posted by Nicole on 10/11 at 08:39 AM

CSA Weekly Report: Red Earth Farm

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

CSA 2007 #12

This week’s share:
Mixed tomatoes- most likely the last of the season for me.
Italian basil- to go with the tomatoes in a panzanella.
Breakfast radishes- I have plans to eat these with just salt and butter.
Sorrel- new to me. I like the sour taste.
Mixed bell peppers
Arugula- tonight’s dinner, as will be shown in my next post.

Posted by Yoko on 10/09 at 11:49 PM

Headhouse Market extended

headhouse square date change

After several weeks away, I finally got a chance to stop into the Headhouse Square Market this Sunday.  It’s been nearly a month since my last visit and I noticed a few changes.  A couple of farmers who products I had bought and enjoyed were absent.  The abundance of tomatoes was replaced by apples as far as the eye could see.  And the closing date of the market has been extended until the end of the year.  Oh happy day!  We now have until December 23rd to buy our meats, cheeses, breads and produce from the growers, makers and bakers. 

Posted by Marisa on 10/09 at 10:43 PM

CSA Weekly Report: Blooming Glen Farm


My sister and I split our share each week, and it only recently occurred to me, the extent of our literalness.



Posted by Mikaela on 10/09 at 09:25 PM

Autumn Leaves Artisan Cheese & Foods Festival

Monday, October 08, 2007

After discovering existence of the Autumn Leaves Artisan Cheese & Foods Festival to be held at the end of September at Valley Shepherd Creamery and pouting because I wasn’t able to attend, I was delighted to find out an FTP reader was going and was more than happy to serve as our eyes and ears for this awesome-sounding event!  What follows is Athena Fotiadis’ report on the festival:

Back in July, I was at my local farmer’s market (Montclair, NJ), and I noticed a new cheese vendor, Valley Shepherd Creamery.  I perused the
selection, and I decided to try their manchego-style cheese.  It was great! While waiting for my cheese to be wrapped, I picked up a flyer for the Autumn Leaves Artisan Cheese & Foods Festival on Saturday, September 29, 2007.  I was so excited!  I immediately lined up a friend to come with.

We arrived about noon after a very pleasant and easy drive down Route 78. It was warm with a slight nippy breeze, my favorite weather.  The leaves are
already barely starting to turn colors and the drive took us through some beautiful landscape.  When we made it to the entrance, we were directed to
drive on a bit to the middle school.  They had parking and a bus to take us to the farm itself.  Already, we could tell, it was pretty busy!

So, the cheese.  There were quite a few farms/cheesemakers represented. Some were from New Jersey, many were from further up the northeast,
including Quebec.  My friend and I tasted cheeses from Meadow Stone Farm from CT (cheese with chocolate liqueur and tobacco wrapped cheese), the
well-known and TV-featured Bobolink Dairy from NJ (Jean Louis and Drumm, if you like your cheese stinky, here’s where to go), Artisan Made-Northeast from CT who distribute some of the other cheeses there (five different blue cheeses, my favorite being the Benedictin, and handmade chocolate turtles that were orgasmic), Seal Cove Farm all the way from Maine (really creamy and nice goat cheeses and a couple of interesting washed rind cheeses), Cato Corner Farm from CT (our favorite, we tried everything he brought and this was the cheese we bought for our baguettes), and Beltane Farm from CT (the *freshest* goat cheese I have ever tasted!).

There were other cheesemakers there, but it started getting very crowded. So, we were at Cato Corner Farm and decided to buy our slices for the baguette table as mentioned before.  They had a really neat thing that you could buy a slice of cheese from whomever you liked for $2 and then go to the baguette table and pay $2 for a generous hunk of baguette and some olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar to make a nice sandwich.  We got the Fromage d’O'Cow, a creamy and stinky cheese.  We were lucky to have gotten the last of the baguettes (although, they started using the rounds of bread from one of the purveyers there, which for some reason, we didn’t visit).  So good!  The olive oil was such a nice green fruity counterpoint to the cheese.

We dived back into the tent, it was starting to approach mob levels.  It wasn’t even 2pm at this point.  We decided we need desert, so we headed to
the Bent Spoon table for the Lavendar Mascarpone ice cream.  You know, the cheese was awesome, but I think the ice cream was divine.  We never made it to any of the wine tables.  At this point, you couldn’t get near them in under 10 minutes, and I noticed some of the other vendors were starting to run out of stuff.  I don’t think they anticipated the turnout (I think their website mentioned 1,500 people!), which is actually a great thing to me.  That many people care about quality, handcrafted food!  We headed back to a few tables and got some apricot honey from Gooserock Farm from NJ, and tried the handmade chocolates by J. Emanuel, also in NJ. We totally missed the Quebecois cheese.  It was starting to get really really crowded.  We took a break and took some photos of the sheep, and headed to our final destination—Valley Shepherd’s own table outside their shop.  We tried the Fairmount, a nice swiss style, mentioned by Nicole in a previous post, and the Califon Tomme, a beautiful gouda-style cheese, which actually, this was my favorite.

Whew!  Can you believe, we were actually cheesed out at this point.  It was just about 2pm, so we headed back.  The cheeses that I know that can be
found in the Philly area are Valley Shepherd and Cato Corner Farm.  Everyone had a website, and quite a few ship their products.

All in all, it was a perfect September day with really great food, and I can’t wait for next year!

My mouth is absolutely watering!  Thanks, Athena, for such a great report - I’m completely jealous!  To see more photos from the festival, click here.

Posted by Nicole on 10/08 at 11:09 AM

CSA Weekly Report: Lancaster Farm Fresh

Better late than never, right?  Last week’s CSA share from Lancaster Farm Fresh was chock full of Winter squash goodness!

    1 bunch radishes grown by Farmdale Organics 2 baby pie pumpkins grown by Countryside Organics 2 acorn squash grown by Countryside Organics 3 spaghetti squash grown by Elm Tree Organics 4 heads baby boc choi grown by Scarecrow Hill Farm 1/2 lb. spinach grown by E. Zook 1 bunch carrots grown by Riverview Organics 1 bag hot peppers grown by Farmdale Organics

I used the spinach to make an excellent on-the-fly creamed spinach, but the rest of everything is waiting for my attention.  I do believe I’ll peel and slice the carrots today, and get the pie pumpkins roasted and prepped for Thanksgiving pie.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I’ll be doing the 100 Mile Thanksgiving again this year - anyone else in on this?

Posted by Nicole on 10/08 at 11:02 AM

Busy bee!

You know that FedEx commercial?

“Worky work! Busy bee!”

busy canning 02

God, that cracks me up smile

Are you a busy bee preserving some of this fantastic fall food? I’ve scheduled the last four weekends around dates with my Foodsaver and Ball jars. I’m sure there’s a joke somewhere in there.  Maybe something about “cold” versus “hot” dates? 

Anyway, so far I’ve preserved pumpkin, peppers, pears, peaches (what’s with the P theme?), butternut squash and tomatoes. Details to be forthcoming - as soon as I can slow down on all the worky work! This is the most food preservation I’ve done and I’m open to any tips, suggestions and/or recipes. Share ‘em, if you got ‘em!

Posted by Mikaela on 10/08 at 09:30 AM

Weekly CSA Report: Red Earth Farm

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

CSA 2007 #11

This week’s share:
-A double order of sweet potatoes. We had them baked last night, and I’m thinking of making mashed tonight.
-Fennel. I love eating this either raw or roasted.
-Carrots. A good staple to have.
-Collard greens. Also for tonight.
-Red radicchio. I do love the bitter greens. Thinking of braising these and adding to pasta.
-Empire apples (from the buying club). Crunchy and sweet.

We have five more weeks of shares left for the season.

Posted by Yoko on 10/03 at 10:09 AM

CSA Weekly Report: Blooming Glen Farm

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No picture of the share board this week, but I think this beautiful share speaks for itself.

CSA crop share 2007 #19 - 1002 - 01

(Click photo to read notes at flick’r regarding names and quantities of this week’s share.)

Broccoli and Bok Choy and greens - yum!

Posted by Mikaela on 10/02 at 09:29 PM

Hendricks Farm Parmesan

Hendricks Farm parmesan

My refrigerator is awash in parmesan rinds.  I save them for use in flavoring soup stocks.  And I never run out because I use parmesan like it’s my job or something.  And that crappy sawdust-esque crap that comes in the shake can gives me the hives.  It’s good parmesan on everything!

I’ve heard rumors that I could get locally made parmesan, but up until recently I hadn’t seen it anywhere.  The other day, though, I found Hendrick’s Farm parmesan at Salumeria cheese shop at Reading Terminal Market.  It’s really more a snacking parmesan than a grating parmesan.  Granted, I used it grated over some pasta the other night and it was delicious!

Their parmesan is a full fat cheese, aged about one year.  It has a nice nuttiness to it.  A good, all around parmesan!

Posted by Nicole on 10/02 at 03:09 PM

Challenge update - final week!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The September Eat Local Challenge is officially over!  How did we all do?

Jeanne’s local meal for the week was a yummy all-local stirfry of eggplant, green beans, shiitake mushrooms and garlic.  She also went into a Whole Foods last week, her first trip to a big chain grocery store since the beginning of the challenge.

Their whole produce section just looked weird to me - what are they doing with grapefruits??? They don’t grow here and they are not in season in Florida!  Why on earth are they selling apples from Washington and berries from California???  After this Eat Local Challenge month, I looked at the produce department with all new eyes.

Naomi made a delicious-sounding local meal - she chopped a zucchini and half a bell pepper, and sauteed them along with a local egg.

Anj had a meal of potato salad (local potatoes, local celery, local hardboiled eggs) with homemade mayo (local eggs), and mizuna greens and garlic (both local) with a side of likely non-local free range no-horomone chicken.  And she went on a preserving spree last Monday, blanching and freezing okra (to be used for a gumbo), making kimchi (in the cellar fermenting as I write), and roasting tomatoes that were then stored in oil, garlic, and basil and frozen.  Additionally, Anj dried some figs and topped them with Shellbark Farms sharp goat and honey for a yummy snack.

I visited the Haddonfield Farmer’s Market in Jersey for the first time, tried a new locally made cheese and some locally grown hardy kiwi, and went on a freezing frenzy on Saturday - roasted beets, blanched kale and edamame and rutabaga tops, and fennel fronds in oil.  The latest glut of tomatoes became ketchup that got canned in a water bath, along with homemade applesauce and cranberry sauce made from some great white cranberries I snagged from the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal.  My local meal for the week was a stir fry of spaghetti squash and pork tenderloin.

Did you miss the update deadline?  Add your progress in the comments section!

Posted by Nicole on 10/01 at 01:00 PM

You say ketchup, I saw catsup

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The table on my back patio was a sea of red as far as the eye could see.  Or, at least as much as the table would allow.  Tomatoes!  Tomatoes from my garden, tomatoes from the CSA share.  Too many tomatoes!

You know, maybe next year I’ll learn my lesson and plant a few less tomato plants.

I have made tomatoes in every conceivable way this year - sauce to salsa to dried tomatoes.  But I have not made catsup.  Until yesterday, that is.  Now I can say that I’m a catsup-making fool.

Nearly 12 pounds of tomatoes gave me two pints of ketchup.  It’s a good amount for our house - I barely eat catsup on anything, whereas my husband eats it pretty often.  After our current bottle of store bought catsup runs out, I think two pints of catsup should last us awhile.

Here’s how to make it:
4 pounds tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup vinegar

Peel tomatoes, then drop 2 or 3 tomatoes at a time into boiling water. Leave them in the water for a minute, or until the skins begin to split. Remove them to a bowl until they are cool enough to handle. Peel and chop the tomatoes, making sure to catch all the juices. Simmer tomatoes and onion in a heavy saucepan until tender, about 10 minutes.

Puree the tomato-onion mixture in a food processor and return to saucepan [if you really want that uber-smooth consistency, run the puree through a food mill before returning to the saucepan]. Add spices and vinegar and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring frequently.

Spoon into jars and process in a water bath for 35 minutes.

Posted by Nicole on 09/30 at 11:29 AM

Market report: Haddonfield Farmer’s Market

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Haddonfield Farmer's Market

There’s nothing like putting things off until the very last minute!  Today, on the second to last day of the September Eat Local Challenge, I visited the Haddonfield, NJ Farmer’s Market.  I’ve never been there before and never purchased anything from any of the vendors present, so it counts toward trying one new resource.  The market is in the parking lot of the Haddonfield PATCO stop.  While small (I estimate about six or seven vendors selling food), there was a lovely selection of produce.  There are other vendors who regularly offer their products who were not there today, including Butcher Bloc and Red Barn.

I purchased scallions and the last leeks from the super friendly chicks from Flaim Family Farm.  They had at least a half dozen eggplant varieties, absolutely gorgeous carrots and beets, all manner of fresh herbs, beautiful salad greens, and a bevy of other vegetables and fruit.

Haynicz’s Orchard View Farms was selling a great array of apples and pears, as well as peach and apple cider.  My eyes lit up when I saw the peach cider.  I’ve never had it before, and it sounds wonderful!  It’s currently chilling in my refrigerator.

Triple Oaks Nursery was selling over half a dozen varieties of heirloom tomatoes, the only one of which I recognized was the Green Zebra.  They were all very pretty, though, and incredible-looking!  I also saw some fresh cut flowers for sale.

Busy Bee Farms was selling honey and soap.  I just purchased some buckwheat honey from Linvilla Orchards, so I didn’t really need more - but it was so tempting to just buy another jar.  It looked so good, and I overheard the vendor talking to a customer about his blueberry honey. Yum!

Versailles Bakery had a mouth-watering selection of locally made breads, bagels, and pastries.  The olive rolls were too good to pass up, and I walked away with two of them.

My husband purchased some dog treats from Cafe Woof.  While the ingredients are not locally sourced, they are locally made and my dog loved them!

The Haddonfield Farmer’s Market is open from 9am-1pm on Saturdays.  October 27 will be the last day for the market this season, and it’s easily accessible.  Only seven miles from Philadelphia, it’s a quick drive over the bridge or a quick train ride on PATCO.

Coincidentally, there’s another farmer’s market really close by, and also just as easily accessible via public transit.  That’s the Collingswood Farmer’s Market.  It’s also open on Saturdays, but from 8am until noon.  Better yet, Collingswood market is open until Thanksgiving.  The market offers locally grown and heirloom breed (free range, antiobiotic free) turkeys from Griggstown Quail Farm in Princeton, as well.

Posted by Nicole on 09/29 at 12:52 PM

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