Well, I think Clan Stewart beat me for best dinner of the week. But the Rising Spring pork cubes and Mark Bittman helped me get close.
Seth Wilberding, a good friend and fellow co-op member, introduced me to Mark Bittman a few years ago. (I know... I was a latecomer.) Bittman has a recipe for nearly everything and his recipes are usually heavy on the vegetables which suits our budget and our principles. So I flipped to "pork" in the index of "The Food Matters Cookbook" and quickly picked "Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables". (Quickly, as in, the baby's still napping, get chopping!)
This was a story of substitution... no leeks - use onions, no zucchini - use cabbage, no chopped tomatoes - call the neighbor, no fresh parsley - ok, got dried, no bay leaves - oh well, no time to defrost chicken stock - bouillon. So it's not Bittman's fault I couldn't compete with Clan Stewart.
I'm sorry to say, other than the pork and the parsley which I dried last summer, I can't report the sources of any of these vegetables. Honestly, I think the meal suffered somewhat. We didn't have the same gratitude sitting down as we do when we marvel at the gorgeous fresh food that comes from farms we've seen.
Starting the online market in December seemed like a crazy notion. But learning how to distribute the food over the slow winter months was a wise decision and like CSA members and Farmers Market devotees, online market customers are just chomping at the bit to see more of those bright fresh vegetables coming in the weeks and months ahead.
Doug is home from his volunteer stint at the online market. Our son comes in delivering our Clan Stewart pizza like he's interning for the local pizza shop, and Doug's got the rest of the haul.
It felt like Facia Luna in our house about 20 minutes later.
Clan Stewart Pizza - "Our 14-inch homemade wheat-flour crust topped with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan; bacon; and our asparagus, onions, and green garlic." ($10.50 F&F member price)
Eden View Cucumber Salad - "English cucumbers and red onion in a sweet sour apple cider brine" ($4.04 F&F member price)
Salad made from Stone Meadow cheese, Jade Family Farm French Breakfast radishes ($1.89), Village Acres Baby Spring Mix ($4.20), and Tait Farm Arugula ($4.20). (Then some tomatoes from Trader Joes and olives from who knows where.)
Probably our best dinner this week, but that depends on what I manage to make with pork cubes from Rising Spring.
I don't know a lot about meat. I was vegetarian in my 20's, when I learned to cook for myself. But now cooking for an
More than anything else in the grocery store, meat causes me to raise my skeptical eyebrow. Concern about bioaccumulation of environmental chemicals and pharmaceuticals in animals high on the food chain, questions about growing conditions and humane treatment, worries about the environmental impact of the "farms" (um, er, factories?)... I just know that when we buy local meat we are limiting our exposure and minimizing the impact of our dinner plates.omnivorous family I'm branching out.
So, for my son who proudly claims to be a carnivore, I scan the meat department of the F&F online market every week. (He is four, and the food chain figures large in his mind.)
This week, we enjoyed a pork butt steak from Chase Farm. It really was ish-dish-delish. (The 4-year-olds proclamation.) The recipe originated from Wegman's and we followed it to the letter. http://www.food.com/recipe/wegmans-pork-butt-steaks-212492
Yesterday I was at a local grocery store which shall remain nameless. I selected the freshest of the not-so-fresh cucumbers and then realized they were all on a shelf with a banner tag that said “LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL.” (I wish I’d taken a picture.)
A CUCUMBER. IN FEBRUARY. IN STATE COLLEGE, PA.
I’m not someone who has to make a point out of everything, but somehow, even with two kids in tow, I couldn’t let that one go.
I suggested to the produce manager that they probably should take the sign down. Even under the most broad-reaching definition of “local”, those cucumbers were mis-labeled.
He said he couldn’t. It’s a corporate policy.
It’s corporate policy to offer some kind of local produce at all times? (No.) It’s corporate policy to label something local at all times? (Apparently.) And why would that be, Mr. Corporate? Because you think your customers will be green-washed into buying more cucumbers if you say they are grown locally?!?Read more
“Oh go on!” I can hear my grandmother’s voice, clear as a bell, as I look at four bags of beautiful greens grown by Tait farm and boxed up by our Friends & Farmers volunteers.
February 17. No lie.
When the community builds something that doesn’t currently exist, milestones are especially important. The co-op’s latest milestone is all about building the talent to make this vision a reality.
Friends & Farmers recently offered part-time positions to two women who were already fulfilling many of these tasks as volunteers. As the demands of this cooperative increase, the Board of Directors believed it was important to make these roles official, creating a level of accountability inherent in a paid position.
We are pleased to announce Stacey Budd as Outreach Coordinator and Melanie Rosenberger as the new Online Market Manager. Read about these women below:
Stacey Budd is a recent transplant to the State College area. A Midwestern girl at heart, she was born in Minnesota, studied at Grinnell College in Iowa and lived most of her formative years in Madison, Wisconsin. While there, she pursued a career in conference management/event planning with an international professional membership association. Her local food frenzy started in Madison, spending Saturdays attending the largest producer-only farmers market in the U.S. and becoming an owner-member of the Willy Street Co-op. After 13 years, she was lured east by an opportunity to build an 11-acre homestead with friends in Western Maryland. It was here she explored growing her own food and sourcing her meals from her own backyard. Read more here.
Before landing in Central Pennsylvania, Stacey spent a year traveling the world seeking to find connection and commonality with diverse cultures. Food was often at the center of her many authentic experiences in foreign lands. Food is a great way to bring people together, and she sees the co-op as a way to build community and strengthen our resilience by consuming more fresh, local foods. Immediately upon her move, she began volunteering for the co-op. Stacey was able to utilize her planning experience to help coordinate the logistics for the membership kick-off, design our first pie contest and organize our inaugural membership meeting. When S
tacey is not out promoting Friends & Farmers, you can find her crafting some DIY repurposing project or digging up her lawn making more garden beds for edibles to grow.
Melanie Rosenberger is a longtime transplant to the Centre County region. Receiving her BFA in Fine Arts from Penn State University, Melanie fell in love with the surrounding area and decided to set her roo
ts here. Being the creative existential type, Melanie has worked a myriad of places and industries. She firmly planted herself in the hospitality industry, working at a few local restaurants, honing her craft. Melanie then decided to take a giant leap and moved to New York City to study Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center, formerly known as the French Culinary Institute. Melanie worked at Perilla in Greenwich Village and Miller’s Tavern in Brooklyn, as well as Great Performances and Peter Callahan catering firms. This work in NYC, along with her longtime love of local foods, helped Melanie to understand what a treasure Centre County is for local foods. So she promptly returned!
For Melanie, food is her creative outlet, her voice, and her passion. She firmly believes that local foods should be available to all and working with Friends & Farmers Co-op is helping to make that belief a reality. Part of her job as the Online Market Manager is to set up SNAP Benefits to open the availability of local foods to everyone. When Melanie is not managing the co-op market, she can be found fervently baking scrumptious desserts for the Dante Group, at the Boalsburg Farmers Market photographing and eating the delicious treats, or hiking with her always loyal pup Scrappy.
When we placed our order tonight, I looked at my husband and said, I can’t believe we got all that for $65!
So here’s our order…so much to be excited about. Fasta joined the market this week, and Eden view continues to offer their incredible soups and pockets. And Tait’s arugula is back!
We are co-op members so prices listed here reflect that discount.
Item Name, Producer, Unit, Price
Lettuce Mix, Tait Farm, 1/2 lb. bags, $4.80
Arugula, Tait Farm, 1/2 lb. bag, $4.80
Spinach, Tait Farm, 1/2 lb. bag, $3.60
Leeks, Tait Farm, (2), $1.80
Parsnips, Tait Farm, (2 large), $1.80
Red Beets, Tait Farm, 1 Pound, $2.40
Jonagold Apples, Way Fruit Farm, 1/2 peck, $6.60
Applesauce, Way Fruit Farm, 32 oz. Glass Jar, $3.00
Cilantro, Tait Farm, 2 oz., $1.20
Salt’n’Peppa Bread, Gemelli Bakers, $5.58
Stuffed Pepper Soup, Eden View, pint, $4.62
Butternut Leek Soup, Eden View, pint, $4.62
Black Bean Red Pepper Hummus, Eden View, $2.70
Spice Rubbed Chicken Pocket Pies w/Maple Bourbon Sauce, Eden View, $3.00 each, $9.00
Fresh Tomato Sauce, Fasta & Ravioli Co., 1 pound, $4.12
Whole Wheat Fettuccini, Fasta & Ravioli Co., 1 pound, $4.80
Order Total: $65.44
Order until Monday at noon!
(I’m a former co-op board member, enjoying shopping on the couch in front of the fire.)
Tee hee… We finally got a bag of the Swiss chard I’d been checking every week. Tonight, like so many nights, dinner got started a little late so I went with one of our standards… Cheesy polenta and greens. Alas, I didn’t write down the source for the original recipe but it’s been modified many times in our kitchen, always with good results.
1 T butter
1/2 c onions, shallots, or leeks
1 lb chopped spinach
1/4 t salt
I’ve used just about any green in place of the spinach, they all have their unique flavors and textures, but they do all work. Tonight we used the leeks and rainbow Swiss chard from Tait through our online market order.Read more
“I’m a monkey’s uncle” to quote Barbara Kingsolver when she managed to find fresh fruit (rhubarb) at her early spring farmers market. (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle page 38.)
That’s how we felt tonight (January 6th!) when we paired Tait’s greens with Jade’s watermelon radishes for a gorgeous salad.
Now, I’m guessing a good number of readers wouldn’t list radish in their top 10 salad toppings. But you might want to give these a try… I was in the middle of loading my own fork when I heard my four-year old crunching away. Apparently the gorgeous pink wedges are great dipped in tartar sauce.
Here’s what our salad looked like after adding the rest of the toppings – carrots, pears, avocados, feta, walnuts, and salt and pepper. In the interest of “getting real” with Wednesday night dinner prep, I’ll tell you the salad accompanied some boxed breaded cod chunks (hence the tartar sauce), and pan-fried sweet potatoes. (The 8-month-old got the pears, avocados, and sweet potatoes.)
This past week saw more customers than ever for F&F’s online market, thanks in part to the article just before Christmas in the Centre Daily Times. If you haven’t ordered yet – give it a try! But a word of warning, the demand exceeds the supply. If you want Swiss chard, log on Friday night at 6.
(I am a former co-op board member feeling grateful for the local food we ate tonight.)