Fortunately in life sometimes we find ourselves in a position where we are doing something we love or maybe we loved it all along and never realized we were passionate about it.
Our passion: Food. Everything about it: the culture, the personalities (or the industry slang: Back of House staff, the chefs, dishwashers, prep cooks, line cooks), eating it, reading about it–well, it has moved beyond obsession to possession or at least that’s how it feels sometimes and that is a good thing, ahem, umm. m. .mostly.
Hollygrove Market & Farm works to bring the background players of food production (whether it is growing, harvesting, or preparation i.e. cooking) into the forefront. We have recently completed several garden beds and have food stuffs in limited quantities currently growing on site in our efforts to expose those ideals and test the ideas of the current food system. Slow Food and Slow Money aren’t new ideas they have simply– been out of favor because our current views of logic (economically speaking) have changed because it may be easier to disconnect or dis-associate ourselves with the truth or absolute existence of the current systems and our nature.
George Orwell said it best:
“A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into; other functions and faculties may be more godlike, but in point of time they come afterwards. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children. I think it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion. The Great War, for example, could have never happened if tinned food had not been invented. And the history of the past four hundred years in England would have been immensely different if it had not been for the introduction of root-crops and various other vegetables at the end of the Middle Ages, and a little later the introduction of non-alcoholic drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa) and also of distilled liquors to which the beer-drinking English were not accustomed. Yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks, or bacon curers, or market gardeners.”–The Road to Wigan Pier
Strikingly blunt and we couldn’t agree more.
Week 28 Recipe: Not your Mama’s Hash
Week 28 Farms: Farmer Map
Recently some of the staff at HGM&F, Ashley Locklear & John Burns, have been reading about Tassajara cooking. Tassajara cooking is based on Zen Buddhist views of being mindful in both actions and thought while applying it to every step of the cooking process. Tassajara is the work of Edward Espe Brown who in the early 70′s published a few notable cookbooks however he refers to them as guides, “the skeletal framework. You must fill in the flesh according to your own nature and desire. Your life, your love, will bring these words into full creation. This cannot be taught. You already know it. So please cook, love, feel, and create.”
“We need more cooks, not more cookbooks.” -Charles W. Brooks.
Tassajara Cooking and Little Nell in Colorado help shape and inspire the simple ans easy recipe this week; it’s also cheap roasting chickens stuffed with lemons, mushrooms, and fresh herbs. It also puts to good use the fava beans that have been making an appearance in your box over the past few weeks with a fava bean and radish salad. Hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as much as we did.
Week 27 Recipe: Lemon & Garlic Chicken
Week 27 Produce:Farms
This past Saturday you may have been pleasantly surprised to find radishes in your box. Here in the Southeast you may not see too many Spring or Summer radishes; as Spring quickly gives way to Summer you may start anticipate Creole tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, sweet corn, potatoes, and much more.
The inspirations for the recipe for your box this week are simple and inspired by a classic Vietnamese sandwich which is very similar to a Po Boy. The Bahn Mi Pho the term has quit blended with the French meaning: “Salad Sandwich.” This salad sandwich is a product of French Colonialism in Indochina and uses the traditional ingredients of Pho, a gloriously simple and tasty traditional Vietnamese soup. It has pickled toppings such as carrots, cucumbers, radishes along with different choices of meat or tofu. It often includes something else decidedly French on the sandwiches: a spicy version of aloi as well as a thin layer of butter.
In some regions, Banh mi, can also mean bread. The bread, as we all know, is the most important part of the sandwich: it is the frame of the vehicle which is filled with other earthly delights awaiting inside bite after bite.
The Hollygrove Market & Farm has used what nature has decided what is best and in season to fill our bahn mi pho. The recipe includes a unusual sounding use for radishes, which happens to be quite tasty, was offered by Patrick Hamilton, a WWOOF (worldwide opportunities on organic farms), of L’Hoste Citrus in Braithwaite. Radishes are packed with asboric acid, folic acid, and potassium. Radishes also like most other root vegetables are also very filling because while being mostly carbohydrates they offer only 20 calories per bulb which leaves you with a low caloric intake but a satisfied feeling of being full.
We hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as we did!
Week 26 Recipes: Hollygrove’s Salad Sandwich
Week 26 Produce: Weekly Farmer Map
Here at Hollygrove Market & Farm we understand that sometimes eating locally can become synonymous with expense and time. We try to offer the freshest seasonal local food available. Most weeks the produce is picked the same day as the pick up or delivery, if not the same day, it is within 36 hours and is immediately washed and refrigerated (if necessary). The staff at Hollygrove Market & Farm comes from a largely diverse background including economics, sociology, environmental urban planning, cultural anthropology, and biology. Also there is over two decades of retail and culinary management.
Everyone loves to read. A lot. Especially when it comes to food whether it’s the history & biology of particular fruit or vegetable’s development all the way to how society & economics might have changed the fate of that particular fruit or vegetable. So when we ran across some tips from the authors of the book, 100 Mile Diet, Smith & McKinnon, we thought it vital to share those with you:
“Somehow we’ve forgotten that cooking your own meals and putting away food for winter used to be considered thrifty things to do – and the fact is, they still are. Local eating does have its costs, but it has its savings, too.”
First: Are local foods really so expensive?
1. Do a fair comparison. Farmers’ market foods often have a higher sticker price. But wait – that head of lettuce is much larger than the one at the supermarket, and it’s organic. Compared pound-for-pound with supermarket foods of similar quality, farmers market foods may actually cost less. Also, some so-called luxury foods (often foods that don’t keep or transport well, such as basil and artichokes) can be far cheaper at the farmers’ market than the supermarket.
2. Consider a box program. Weekly local-food box deliveries, especially community-supported agriculture programs (or CSAs, in which you become a subscriber to a particular farm or set of farms), often offer excellent value.
Second: Shop wisely
3. Arrive at the market early, or late. The best-priced foods can sell out quickly. On the other hand, vendors will often sell end-of-day food (especially in bulk) for less, rather than ship it back to the farm.
4. Do a walk-around. Quickly check the farmers market stalls for the best deals. Earlier this year I saw the first salad greens for $11/lbs. I gave those a pass, and instead bought a huge bag of wild miner’s lettuce – a succulent seasonal treat – for just $2.
5. Buy in bulk, buy in season. Local foods are cheapest in the peak of their season. That’s the time to invest in your food and freeze, can, or dry some for later. The outlay of cash can be a big bite, but in winter your grocery bill will be close to zero. Some real-life examples from Alisa and my experience: nearly 50 peaches for $3 (that’s total, not by weight); organic tomatoes for $1/lbs; wild salmon for $4/lbs (in stores I’ve seen it topping $20/lbs).
6. Buy cheaper cuts and ugly food. It costs money to raise animals in humane conditions. Expect to pay more, but expect better-tasting meat, too; keep costs down by eating less expensive cuts, such as stewing meats, more often. With vegetables and fruit, it’s often cheaper to buy “uglies” – products with small blemishes or funny shapes – that taste just fine but can be hard for farmers to market.
Third: Do not waste food
7. Do not waste food. When new research indicates we throw out http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ one-third of the edible food we buy, it’s hard to take seriously claims that food “costs too much.” Make plans to use the food in the fridge or freezer, including leftovers.
8. Use everything edible. You eat radishes. But do you also eat their greens, flowers, and seed pods – all delicious? Carrot tops are tasty, and so are cauliflower and broccoli stalks and leaves. In Africa, I’ve eaten whole dishes made entirely of bean or squash leaves. Ask your farmer or food producer for ideas on how to use every edible part of what you buy, or troll the internet for ideas.
9. Remember the stock pot: Much of what we throw away – bones, fish heads, vegetable trimmings – can be saved to make healthful soup stock. Many older people remember keeping stock pots (or still do); ask your elders about what works well in stock and what should go in the compost instead.
Fourth: Cook smart
10. Use fewer ingredients. Fresh foods have bolder flavors than bland supermarket foods. Use fewer ingredients and let their simple flavors shine.
11. Prepare smaller portions of meat, eggs, cheese etc. Everyone knows that most of us eat too much of these expensive foods, but it’s hard to replace them with bland supermarket fruit and veg. Fresh, local vegetables, on the other hand, earn their place at the center of the plate.
12. Eat smaller meals. Many locavores report that, over time, their meal sizes shrink and they also do less snacking. That’s certainly been my experience. We can’t say for certain why this happens, but my guess is that local eaters are getting better nutrition through their fresh, whole foods. What I can say for sure is that it’s saving us money.
Fifth: Community comes with savings
13. Buy together, cook together. Making big bulk purchases, with even deeper savings, is easiest in groups. Having food friends allows you to share different kitchen tools and appliances – not everyone needs a dehydrator or a storage freezer. Carpooling or splitting the labor of seasonal buying saves gas. We’ve even watched groups come together and cooperate with farmers to decide the following year’s crops and explore the costs together.
14. Get to know your food producers. The baker’s dozen is alive and well on the rural backroads! We still frequently see “honor boxes” – unattended roadside stands with a coin box where you pay what you feel is fair for the food that you take. Alisa and I rarely make a farmgate purchase without receiving a little something extra, like a newly ripe melon or a few onions. This year, Alisa was invited to pick our canning strawberries for free, just because the berries were otherwise going to rot on the vine.
15. Barter, trade, and work for your food. Some u-pick operations and other growers will pay you to pick for them as well as give you a good price on food you harvest for yourself. Some farmers appreciate offers to work for food (I used to do this weekly while in my mid-twenties). At farmers’ markets, some vendors will give free fruit or veg if you help set up or take down their stall. And don’t forget to barter and trade with other locavores with the extras of what you grow or preserve.
Sixth: Be a little more self-sufficient
16. Plant a garden. Even a small container garden can save you money on herbs, which are expensive at the shops. We focus on planting foods that are costly but easy to grow, like garlic, basil, herbs, and, this year, tomatilloes. We also also plant a winter garden, for fresh food when supermarket prices are at their highest.
17. Forage. Wild foods are free. And foraging doesn’t only happen in the wilderness – ask your neighbours about all that tree fruit they’re letting drop and rot on the ground.
18. Consider some livestock. Even in the city, rules and regulations increasingly permit people to keep bees, chickens, and – more rarely – goats or larger animals. Bantam chickens, for example, are small and can keep a family in eggs much of the year.
19. Ask yourself – and your local politicians – why bad food is so often cheap and good food is so often expensive. Why does our system subsidize the producers who use tons of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, ship food huge distances, pay farmworkers the bare minimum, and treat animals as if they were machines rather than living creatures? Why not invest instead in a food system that is first and foremost local, organic, humane, and a decent place to work? Remember: If the food’s too cheap, it’s because someone else is paying.
It is official– Citrus season in Louisiana has come to a close. It won’t be until late October and early November before we see another satsuma, navel orange, or a grapefruit. In honor of losing one of our favorite fruits there is a video from YouTube about an orange being the center master and commander of the universe. Citrus definitely ruled the world for several months at the Hollygrove Market & Farm.
Citrus originated in Asia and moved gradually West with every major world event namely all those wars for control of the spice trade. Citrus grows just about any region from the sour oranges of Afghanistan, the seedless orange, Shamouti, in Israel to the tangerine which derives its name from Tangiers, North Africa.
Citrus has left its footprint on every continent on the planet. Customs vary widely in the manner in which it is consumed. For example, having orange juice with breakfast is not very widespread and is considered an American habit although it is somewhat popular in among the Danes, Hondurans, Filipinos, and Jamaicans. Children in Australia can often be found with an orange in their lunch box peeled spirally halfway down and is often consumed by sucking the juice right out of the middle.
Some interesting facts:
The color of an orange has no absolute correlation with the maturity of the flesh and juice inside. An orange can be a sweet and ripe as it can be and still be green on the tree. Coolness, slightly chilly temperatures are what makes an orange –orange.
Citrus fruit is a berry called a hesperidium.
Citrus is monoecious both sexes can be found in the same single blossom. Mean that the fruit can be set parthenocarpically–they will produce fruit without fertilization.
Citrus doesn’t have true seed. For example: plant a Perisan Lime seed and that tree may turn out to be a carnival of sweet oranges, bitter oranges, grapefruit, lemons all growing on the same tree.
So all this talk of citrus now that the season is over may seem rather pointless, doesn’t it? Well it was actually inspiration for the recipe this week’s Buyers’ Club box: a tasty light Thai chicken & lemongrass soup. Most Thai soups are a little labor intensive but the pay off is enoromous! There are no real cooking skills needed just the patience and a little extra time in all the prep work. For more tips in Thai cooking: www.templeofthai.com
Week 25: Thai Chicken & Lemongrass Soup
Hollygrove Market & Farm: Map of Farms