Thank You Blake's Mother: Peach Curd Tart

So ever since I laid eyed on those stunning rosemary shortbread tart shells from Blake's Mother's Cookies they have been burning a hole in my imagination. What to do, oh the possibilities!

It's peach season, and I love the combo of peaches and rosemary. This was the recipe that made me fall in love with the flavor combo, a cocktail, of course, bourbon of course, Peach and Rosemary Cocktail, sinful! 

I love curds, but most of use think of only citrus curds. Well, peaches make a beautiful curd as well! Here's the recipe I used for my peach curd - it is yummy! Let your peaches get super sweet and ripe to really highlight the flavor. 

The rest of this recipe is simply concocted from what was easy and using ingredients I had on hand. I filled the tart shell with one batch of the peach curd. Beautiful. Then, since I had some creme fraiche on hand I whipped together about a half cup of creme fraiche with a tablespoon of honey. I put that mixture into a piping bag and spiraled it onto the top of the cured, then used a skewer to marble the creme fraiche into the curd. 

The tart shell comes with a glaze, basically red current jam - sweet, slightly tart flavor. I diced one peach and mixed the cubes with about 2 tablespoons of the glaze and allowed it to sit for about an hour. As the peach cubes macerate in the glaze you'll see them start to give off their juice - it's a process called osmosis, not that its important, or that you need to know, that's just what its called - random facts! Just before serving, drain the juice from the cubes and scatter them onto the top of the marbled curd. For how easy this is, it looks darn impressive, and tastes even better!

Jammin' It with Cherry Tomatoes!

7 pounds sounds like a lot of tomatoes, but it's not as intimidating now. 

7 pounds sounds like a lot of tomatoes, but it's not as intimidating now. 

Bob from Down to Earth Harvest got the jump on tomatoes at the market this season, in a big way. Buckets and buckets of them, especially cherry tomatoes. Saturday he convinced me that I couldn't go home without a 7 pound box of sungolds - my favorite, super sweet - I was weak, my defenses were down. I couldn't refuse the opportunity to make a batch of one of my absolute favorite jams - Smokey Sungold Tomato Jam from Marissa MeClellan's Food 'n Jars.  

Marissa uses big size yellow tom's for her jam. I love the sungolds. The first step in the recipe is  to slice the tomatoes. Seriously, 7 pounds of sungold tomatoes, the size of my thumb, sliced? Looking for the easy button here - there aren't enuf hours in the day to slice 7 pounds of sungolds. At the same time, I didn't want to leave them whole and risk the skin of the tomato creating an unpleasant texture to the jam. Solution: food processor! I was nervous it wouldn't be able to handle slicing them and would end up mushing them, and I was ok with that, the alternative was slicing by hand, and that was not going to happen. But it did a great job! Lookie here:

The rest of the ingredients are easy to come by. The recipe calls for hot pepper flakes. I've gotten hooked on Aleppo pepper flakes - a distinctly different flavor, somewhat fruity hot. There's another pepper in the recipe, smoked paprika, made from pimento smoked over an oak fire and then ground to a powder - - - don't worry, you can purchase ready to use. I love this stuff! It gives a lovely smokey flavor.  

For the recipe, please visit the Food 'n Jars website. Marissa used big yellow tomatoes for her batch of jam, good, but not as sweet as the sungolds! 

The result - jars of Sungold GOLD - tomato-y, smokey, a smitch spicy, sweet! This jam is incredible on so many things: burgers, eggs, cheese, chicken and more!

Cherry Tomatoes - small but mighty!

Our farmers are starting to bring cherry tomatoes to market, in buckets! Down to Earth Harvest has had an impressive tomato haul this season. All shapes and sizes and colors, each with their own quirky name and flavor profile. My favorite - sungold - sweet!  And while these little dudes are tasty in salads, don't underestimate their cooking potential. 

Talk about a simple dinner for the family - blistered tomatoes, Aunt Mamile's Cavatelli and Day Spring Farm sheep's milk crotin.

Ingredients:

  • one quart cherry tomatoes
  • onion, about 1/2 cup chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pund cavatelli
  • cheese, one cup grated - I used Day Spring Farm crotin
  • basil leaves - a handful
  • if you like a little spice I suggest a healthy sprinkling of Aleppo pepper

In a large stainless steel pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and tomatoes, and over medium high heat saute till the tomatoes start to blister. Keep cooking, allowing the tomatoes to release their juices. Start mashing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon to break them up (wear an apron!). Cook them until they look like they need some liquid - add the wine and allow to cook off.Season with salt and peppers (black and Aleppo). 

While your tomatoes are cooking you can cook your pasta. I am login this cavatelli pasta from Aunt Mamie's - it does a great job holding onto the sauce. Cook to al dente, drain and put into a serving dish. Toss with about a tablespoon of olive oil and the grated cheese, stirring while the cheese melts into the pasta. Add the blistered tomatoes. Stir in the basil. Serve. Enjoy the compliments!

Tomorrow - Smokey Sungold Tomato Jam. This stuff rocks!

Guest Blogger: AnnMarie Cantrell from Cucina Verde

Everyone knows Annmarie Cantrell from Cucina Verde. If you don't, you will soon. She is at the Eagelview Farmers Market every other week, but will also be making guest appearances at the Malvern and Downingtown Farmers Markets this summer. If you have not tried her krauts, kimchi, Moroccan carrots and more, you simply don't know what you are missing.

In addition to Annmarie making the great fermented products she sells at our farmers markets, she is also a a great cook! Last week she posted a fantastic seasonal recipe on her blog that she agreed to share with The Market Beet. The recipe, Quinoa Spinach and Herbs Salad, looks delicious and ever so healthy. And while spinach is not that readily available at the market these days (it doesn't like the heat), you can substitute any green.

Visit the Cucina Verde blog to get her recipe, and please leave a note to say we sent you! 

Thanks ever so much Annmarie for sharing your talent with The Market Beet.

Sheet Pan Dinner: Summer.July.2017

So we've played with sheet pan dinners before - quick and easy meals to throw together for the family. I had a drawer full of gorgeous produce in the fridge that needed to be processed and decided to pull it all together on a sheet pan.

There's really no recipe - you can just use what you have on hand. For my sheet pan concoction I used taters from B&H organic Produce, Quick tater tip: I use Veggie Scrub (see photo below) to make quick work of cleaning the taters. This little thing is genius. You can make your own using netting from old onion bags, but if you see the real deal in a kitchen shop I suggest making the purchase.

Also on my sheet pan: one green pepper sliced into strips, a small bunch of broccoli and a small head of cauliflower in bite sized pieces, and a yellow squash cut into about 1 inch pieces. Drizzle the whole shabam with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Pop it into a hot oven, 400 degrees, until veggies are roasted to your liking.

Lindenhof Farm had a new product last week - smoked chorizo. I tool the chorizo out of the casing (personal preference) and roasted them on a small sheet pan while my veggies were roasting, Toward the end of the cooking time, I poured one bottle of Bottled Thyme's Romesco Sauce in a casserole and popped that in the oven to warm. When all is done - combine! This was:

  • so easy
  • so flavorful
  • so healthy
  • so impressive
  • such a great way to use your fresh farmers market produce

As a side, I rescued more veggies from aging in my fridge drawer, this time for a quick salad: a kohlrabi, one small fennel bulb, 4 pickling cucumbers (love them fresh) including 2 of the yellow varieties, a handful of cherry heirloom tomatoes and, not pictured, a jalapeno. After some quick slicing and slivering, a dressing with EVOO and sorghum vinegar, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper it was ready for the table. Be creative - play with your food!

Picnic Dessert Bar Cookies

I LOVE when market shoppers send me recipe ideas - send more!!!

Holly's Passion Fruit and Nectarine Crumble Bars!

Holly's Passion Fruit and Nectarine Crumble Bars!

Earlier this week Holly, a shopper at Malvern Farmers Market sent me a recipe for "Crumble Bars" that she makes using jam from Mamyli' Jam. Her most recent version used Liliane's nectarine and passion fruit jam - it just sound delicious!

Bar cookies are perfect picnic food! And using jam makes prepping these bar cookies quick and easy.

Want the recipe for her "crumble bars"? Me too! Here you go - the original recipe was for Raspberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars from Averie Cooks. I've got a jar of Mamyli' Jam's Apricot Cream Jam - think they'd make great a great version of Averie's bar cookies.

Do you have a great recipe using market ingredients? Please forward it to me for The Market Beet!

More Picnic Side Dish Ideas: Slaw and Salad!

These two salads cannot be easier to make, or easier to pack up in the picnic basket. And, today we're debuting the spiralizer, perfect for transforming summer's zucchini and cucumbers into something the kids will love.

Recipe One: Zucchini Salad. The recipe calls for 1/4 inch slices of the zucchini and yellow squash. I opted to pull out the spiralizer. Sure the slices are thinner than the instructions. I simply adjusted the roasting time to only 5 minutes.

After roasting the zucchini, all that's left is dressing it with olive oil - use either Kastania or Lovin' Spoonful; and adding vinegar. Keepwell Vinegar has only visited Malvern Farmers Market but we promise they will try to visit all of our markets. I used their Sorghum Vinegar to dress the salad, it adds a lovely sweetness. Sure, you can serve this warm, but I cooled the roasted sqaush to room temp and it was delicious!

My squash mushrooms - they found their way into an omelet!

Recipe Two: Herbed Cabbage Cucumber Slaw. Again, so easy!

Ingredients:

  • One head cabbage, thinly sliced 
  • One cucumber, quartered length-wise, then sliced thinly
  • Dill, Mint, Cilantro - I used about a total of 1/2 cup of these chopped herbs
  • Juice of two limes
  • Olive Oil for Dressing, about 1/4 cup.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop the veggies and herbs. Combine in a bowl. Dress with the lime juice and olive oil, toss. Season with salt and pepper. Done! I've had a big batch in the fridge and have been eating it for the past 3 days - delicious. So good for you too, and super low in calories!

Eagleview Farmers Market - allow me to introduce you to Aldebaran Farm

We are very excited to join Eagleview Farmers Market for the remainder of the season! This is Aldebaran Farm's first year of operation, and it is a small one acre farm owned and operated by Heidi Ochsenreither and Dan Risser. You will see Dan at market more often as Heidi will be manning the field work on Thursdays. 

Rainbow over Aldebaran Farm

Rainbow over Aldebaran Farm

Aldebaran Farm specializes in doing a consistent variety of top-quality baby greens, including lettuce mix, spicy salad mix, arugula, and baby red Russian kale. Bear with us as we adjust our field map and seeding schedule to accommodate this additional market - it typically takes 2-3 weeks for our baby greens to come in so it may be a few weeks before we have a sufficient quantity to satisfy this additional market. We also grow microgreens and pea shoots, although we are taking a break from the pea shoots during the heat of summer as the peas don't like the heat so much.

In addition to our greens, we grow a diverse array of vegetables, with a consistent weekly supply of carrots and beets and a concentration on summer crops including squash, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes (heirloom, cherry, and paste.) We plan to have a unique and diverse array of heirloom tomatoes this year (13 different varieties), some of which will be familiar to you (such as Brandywine and Black Krim), and some of which are rare and new to even us (Chestnut Chocolate and True Black Brandywine to name a few.) We farm in a climate that is consistently a few degrees cooler than the Exton area so our vegetables tend to come in slightly later, but we see a lot of green tomatoes on the vine!

This week we will be bringing small quantities of arugula, baby red Russian kale, and spicy salad mix, as well as some microgreens. Additionally, we will have summer squash/zucchini, cucumbers (pickling and slicing), carrots, beets, savoy cabbage, Napa cabbage, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, kale (curly and Toscano), lettuce heads, parsley, scallions, and a small quantity of dill and edible dill flowers. We look forward to meeting you, please stop by our stand and say hello! Also, check out our Facebook and Instagram!

Picnic Basket Side Dishes - Deviled Red Beet Eggs

Plentiful and beautiful - beetiful!

Plentiful and beautiful - beetiful!

Picnic season is here! We're going to take the next few blog posts to talk about quick ideas for picnic sides using ingredients you can find at the farmers market. Today, it's deviled red beet eggs - what's a picnic with deviled eggs!

Sure, we could have just shared a recipe for plain old white deviled eggs, but it's red beet season, and nothing is prettier than a red beet deviled egg. There are a few steps to this recipe, but stick with it because the the outcome is well worth it!

Step One: pickle your beets! Here's an easy recipe for pickled beets, standard, quick and not complicated. You'll end up with great pickled beets.

Step Two: Make hard boiled eggs, the most important step to get right!. Now this may sound silly, but you want old eggs. Older eggs are easier to peel. Our farmers bring such fresh eggs to market that if you try to hard boil them the day you get them home you'll end up with half the white stuck to the shell. You'll be cursing at the farmer and that's just not good. Your eggs should be about 2 weeks old to make peeling easier. Follow the directions here to make a perfect hard boiled egg.

Step Three: Pickle your eggs by soaking them with your pickled beets. You'll likely need to turn them midway through the process to get them a uniform color. I like to keep them in them with the beets for about 12 hour. After that the yolks begin to soak up the beet color and, well, it just isn't pretty.

Step 4: Devil them! Where to begin? There are so many recipes for deviled eggs. I love the recipe in Food With Friends by Leela Cyd. Yep, I still buy cookbooks, still love them! I kept my filling simple for this post, but there are so many different ways to flavor your filling it's difficult to decide. 

Here's my process with my tried and true process. I make a lot of deviled eggs. My 93 year old mother-in-law loves them and I want to stay on her goos side.

Food with Friends!

The yolks are perfect. If you are getting a gray ring around your yolk, you're over-cooking your eggs! 

Mash Yolks!

I love using my potato ricer to mash my yolks - gives a smooth texture!

So Easy!

Really - you can do more than rice potatoes with your potato ricer!

Prep the filling!

I used mayo, cumin, turmeric and lemon juice.

Add-ins:

Consider adding some relishes or salsa from Hazel & Ash or Laura's Garden

Piping Bag!

I use a piping bag to fill the eggs - looks prettier!

Creative

I like to use different tips to make the filling look nice.

Add toppings

I added capers, diced pickled beets, and slivers of Laura's Garden Pickled Carrots

There you go, deviled red beet eggs - so delicious.

What's next? Tomorrow a great cabbage and cucumber slaw, plus zucchini ribbon salad. That's right - ribbons - the spiralizer is making it's debut. Wednesday we're cooking up an amazing carrot dip - delicious, simple and oh so good for you. And Thursday we're featuring a reader recipe using jams from Mamy'li Jam! 

Get Pickled!

Market folks love pickles. We love to talk about our pickle recipes. We think everyone should pickle. It's so easy, especially refrigerator dill pickles.

Jenelle from Old Homestead Farm and I have been making this recipe for years. It is perfect. It is simple. It is delicious. Super crunchy! And once you get a few jars going, you can add more cukes (farmer lingo for cucumber!) to the mix to reuse the pickling juice. Or, you could add other produce - broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, pretty much anything.

Plus, I have a guilty obsession - applesauce from Whiskey Hollow. I'm swimming in quart jars to reuse from my applesauce obsession. If you've not tried it, well, the more for me! Hint - they are great pickle jars too!

So here's a link to the recipe for Refrigerator Dill Pickles from Once Upon a Chef. Unlike other recipes that I fuss with, add a little more of this, little less of that, this is one that goes untouched. Its that good!

So, be sure to pick up fresh Kirby cukes and dill from the market and you're all set for pickle glory! Remember, these are fresh refrigerator dill pickles, no hot water bath processing. Easy!

Herbed Citrus Vinaigrette + Seasonal Pasta Salad

Herbs are in season - ever farmer has a lovely collection of basil, dill, cilantro, mint, parsley and more. Just the flavor of these herbs suggests the freshness of summer. And, oh the possibilities. Here's a great recipe when you find yourself fully armed with bunches of herbs - Herbed Citrus Vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup citrus juice (I used what I had on hand, a mix of lemon and lime)
  • 2 Tbsp honey, local of course
  • 1 - 2 tsp mustard, Dijon or whole grain
  • a cup of herb leaves, a big handful (i used a mix of basil, cilantro and mint)
  • salt and pepper to taste

lace all of the ingredients EXCEPT the OLIVE OIL in a blender. Give it a whirl to chop up the herbs. Then, with the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a thin stream. The results, a beautiful green dressing to use on veggie salads, pasta salads, and yes, fruit salads.

In my market bag last week I brought home beautiful pasta from Aunt Mamies, Cavatelli, perfect for pasta salad, plus 2 bunches of arugula and shelled peas from Old Homestead Farm. I cooked the pasta according to the package directions, perfect. Steamed the peas just to take away the crunch - don't go mushy on me here - and cooled them down in an ice bath! And then washed up the arugula. For the salad, I simply tossed the cooled pasta with the cooled peas and freshly bathed arugula, dressed it with some of my Herbed Citrus Vinaigrette and presto, the perfect side dish. Top with a great local cheese - sure go ahead! Maybe slosh on a perfectly poached egg, oh how delish that would be. Other veggies, other grains, oh the others, oh the possibilities!

For dinner that night - the pasta salad paired with a grilled lamb chop from Lindenhof Farm and a first of the season tomato salad tossed with Stoudt's Blue Cheese. 

Summer Slaw

Prepping your ingredients for the slaw is just a quick chopping of the cabbage and cukes. When slicing the cabbage just slice around the core. For the cukes, cut length-wise into quarters, and then slice away.

And now for the shelling. I do love shelling peas, its nothing you can hurry, you simply sit and shell, and relax. I shelled a basket of peas probably about one and a half cups, worth every minute. I steamed the shelled peas for about 4 minutes in a steamer, and then ran under cold water to cool quickly.

Sliver the mint leaves

All good - all green! I was at the Eagleview and Malvern Farmers Markets last week and picked up:

  • Conehead cabbage from Down to Earth Harvest, one because I just love the shape of it, and two for it's sweet flavor - perfect in slaws! One head for this recipe
  • English Cukes from Kneehigh Farm, who can resist, the first of the season! 3, but they were small. 
  • Sweet shelling peas from Old Homestead Farm - love peas, and actually love shelling them! One basket
  • Mint - about 6 - 8 good sized leaves

And yes, I'm making slaw with all three of them and bringing it all together with a maple mustard lemon vinaigrette!

Combine all of the ingredients in a dressing container and give it a good shake. I mean really shake it - you want the mustard to emulsify the dressing to keep it from separating. Shake a little more - perfect - you're there!

For the Maple Mustard Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1 Tbsp Whiskey Hollow maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Whiskey Hollow maple mustard
  • 3 Tbsp Kastania olive oil
  • lemon juice, about 1/3 cup
  • salt and pepper

In a big bowl toss the sliced cabbage, cukes, cooled peas, and mint - mix it up good - but don't smash those precious peas! Pour on the dressing to taste - you may need all of it - go ahead - use it up! Toss some more! Let it sit for about 30 minutes to really incorporate the flavors. Then have at it - crunchy and delicious - and, good for you too!

I served this up with a chicken that I got from Canter Hill Farm, spatchcocked and semi de-boned whole chicken that was marinated in lemon juice and grilled to juicy perfection. Had full intentions to share that with you too but dinner got away from me. Guests arrived. Bourbon sours were served, and well, you know the rest of the story. Take my word, it was delicious. More on spatchcocking in another post.

Cheesy Market - a cheese table for the ages

A little inspiration for the Cheesy Market Challenge happening this week at Eagelview Farmers Market, a brag book of sorts.

This past Christmas, and yes I realize this is the first day of summer, I created a cheese and charcuterie table for my family's Christmas appetizer. My goal to feature the local food available at the famers markets I coordinate. I'm very proud of my gaggle of amazing producers and this seemed like the perfect time to showcase them.

The Cheesy Market Cheeseboard challenge can be as simple as one cheese with perfect pairing, or as elaborate and over the top as my Christmas version. Creativity reigns!

So here are a few photos from the "table", use them for inspiration, or just enjoy. 

Sunday Suppers, Market Kitchen: Early June

Sundays in the market kitchen are so inspiring with a fridge full of treasures from Saturday farmers markets. And, Sunday dinners, are a perfect time to take a relaxed approach to playing in the kitchen with all of your market finds to create a dinner for friends and family!

To start, a simple snack of Stoudt's Roasted Thyme Cheese, sliced, room temp; served with Crisp & Co. Pinot Noir Pickled Beets! I love this cheese from Stoudt's, delicious for snacking and melting in sandwiches. Slightly sweet and nutty, with a definite note of thyme.

The sides, well, its all about the veggies! Both of the sides are based on vegan dishes from Phaidon's Vegan cookbok, however, this meal is far from vegan as you will see!

Veg #1: A salad of Down to Earth Harvest's radicchio, grilled, and topped with Old Homestead Farms cherry tomatoes, B&H Organic's radishes and mint from my "garden" - the only thing that grows in my garden.  To grill the radicchio simply cut in half, drizzle with olive oil and grill till it begins to char. Remove and cut into 1 inch sections. Slice the radishes, quarter the tomatoes, sliver the mint and toss with a simple mustard vinaigrette. Plate the grilled radicchio on one half of the platter and the tossed veggies on the other. Drizzle a touch of dressing on the radicchio too.

Veg #2: Peas, Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms with Penne in a Saffron Cream Sauce.

  • Ready the cream sauce by heating about 1 cup of cream - real cream! When warm take off the heat and add about 1 teaspoon saffron threads to infuse.
  • Cook about 1/2 pound penne pasta, fresh from Aunt Mamie's Italian Specialities.
  • Ready the vedge. I used a mix of sugar snap peas and snow peas, purple and green, as well as the last of the season asparagus from B&H Organics, cut into bite size pieces. In a large saute pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil, add about 1/4 cup chopped onions or leeks, saute till translucent. Add slivered shiitake mushrooms and brown slightly. Add the peas and asparagus and toss, sauting to slightly tender.
  • Add the pasta and cream sauce. Season with salt & pepper. So easy and so delicious.

You can stop here and make a vegetarian very happy, but I bought meat from Carnicopia, beef, expertly butchered, grass fed goodness, tri-tip steaks. These steaks were beautifully marbled with fat. They grilled up perfectly - wish the photo was a bit better - a perfect medium rare. Salt and pepper, nothing more, the meat has all the flavor. 

Dessert - the easy button! Peach Cream Croissant Tarts from Malvern Buttery and Vanilla Strawberry Shortbread Cookies from Flour & Oats!

Aldebaran Farm - What's in the Bag?

Don't be bashful - introduce yourself to Heidi and Dan from Aldebaran Farm! There's lots of delicious goodness in those bags on their table. We've asked to the explain what's in the bags - have a quick read:

Come to Aldebaran Farm this week for all of your salad greens! Our mouths are watering every time we look at this week's crop of pea shoots. Pea shoots are basically tiny pea plants: they have all of the sweet flavor of a pea, and they are commonly used anywhere you would use a leafy green, such as in a salad, wrap, or sandwich. The same goes for microgreens, which we will also have this week. These tiny vegetables offer the flavor of their full-grown counterparts, and have 4-6 times the nutrient content. Our microgreens include radish, broccoli, red cabbage, red and green kale, mizuna, chard, mustard greens, and pac choi. As a special treat, this week we will also have cilantro microgreens! 

In addition to "micro" greens, we will have an assortment of "baby" greens, including arugula, baby red Russian kale, and mesclun mix. We are extremely happy with the quality of our mesclun mix: you will be hard-pressed to find salad greens with such a beautiful variety of delicate leaves. Don't miss out - make sure you pick up a bag and see what we're talking about! Our arugula is small and delicate, with just the right amount of spice. We will be harvesting the first batch of spinach this week, which we consider a true delicacy and well worth the labor-intensive harvest. A small quantity of mustard greens will be available for those of you who enjoy cooking with them. Lastly, we will have bagged kale. Our bagged kale consists of the small, first tender leaves of our kale plants, and is a special item in the spring and fall.

We will be bringing transplants as well, so think about what you need in your garden this week!

Beet It!

We love beets here at Growing Roots - it is the veggie of choice that stands as our logo, it's the name of the Growing Roots blog, The Market Beet, it's everwhere. Everything about them is just so appealing - their beautiful red color, or gold for golden beets, or red and white for chioggia beets. So tasty, and so good for you too!

Well a good friend of Growing Roots, Nicole Riegl, from The Riegl Palate posted a great recipe last week for Roasted Beet Hummus. And, since we're just entering beet season, we though this was a perfect time to tip our hat to the beet, and show you something new to prepare using the humble beet!

Roasted-Beet-Hummus-1024x683.jpg

Just look at this beautiful hummus featuring beets! Imagine how delicious this would be with rye crackers, or on bread with a crumble of goat cheese! 

Please visit The Riegl Palate for this recipe and to explore more of Nicole's beautiful blog! 

B&H Organic Produce - get to know them!

After 15 years of farming, I have finally learned to look at the beginning of each season as the beginning of a journey as opposed to being anxious of what is to come.  I know what is to come.  There will be joy and sorrow, there will be great bounties as well as crop losses.  In several months I will look back at this time and feel that years have gone by.  I am ready to embrace this year and all it may bring. I spent most of the winter focusing on managing the soil in our hoop houses and it truly paid off to provide us with a great selection and bounty for the Spring. Now I am ready to focus on the fields.

Bumps and repairs along their farming journey at B&H Organic Produce

Bumps and repairs along their farming journey at B&H Organic Produce

A peek at the spring crop of kohlrabi - alien like!

A peek at the spring crop of kohlrabi - alien like!

We have been blessed with the best staff a farm could ask for and they were so eager to return. The farm has been busy this spring with markets, CSA harvests and plant sales. Now we are ready to get down to business and get some serious planting done. I love to watch the fields transform from their winter slumber into a new shape for a new year. We use crop rotation to its fullest. It feels like we are redecorating a house and who doesn’t love a fresh coat of paint.

We are hoping to offer pick your own strawberries this year.  There are few if any pick your own organic strawberry farms in the area. Considering that strawberries are one of the most sprayed crops I can’t imagine picking strawberries in a non-organic field.

Lettuce eat veggies!

Lettuce eat veggies!

Let’s all hold peace in our hearts and healthy veggies in our mouths. We hope you’ll join us for this ride!

If you haven’t signed up for our Summer CSA don’t wait.  We have a few spaces available.  Support organic agriculture and improve your health.

Spring Rhubarb - the only rhubarb!

The folks at B&H Organic Produce sent me some photos of their rhubarb and I wanted to share with you how this vegetable grows.

A rhubarb plant

A rhubarb plant

The rhubarb plant has a center stalk, with multiple leafy stems growing out of that center stalk. It is the stems of the leaves that are the edible portion of the plant. They are red, pink or greenish in color, and look a lot like a stalk of celery without the ridges.

Rhubarb 2.JPG

The plant has huge leaves, and, yes, the leaves are poisonous. They contain very high levels of oxalic acid which, if ingested in a large enough quantity, can damage the kidneys. So if you ever wondered why rhubarb is missing it's leaves at the market - that's the reason. 

Now, if you've ever taken a big bite of raw rhubarb to see what all the fuss was about, well, you'd be sorely disappointed. Why? It's terrifically tart, seriously TART! But relax - sugar calms the beast!

Most of us are more than aware of the deliciousness of a rhubarb pie - it's a spring treat not to be missed. Plus rhubarb pairs intensely well with strawberries in strawberry rhubarb pie. And, if you don't feel like baking a pie, I can strongly recommend the rhubarb pie from Nomadic Pies - it's exceptional!

But there's more to do with rhubarb than bake it in a pie.

A flowering rhubarb! Looks kind of alien!

A flowering rhubarb! Looks kind of alien!

  1. Push the easy button and stew it. I love stewed rhubarb alone, over ice cream or mixed into yogurt for breakfast
  2.  Roasted Rhubarb - a more intense flavor and to die for over ice cream, vanilla or strawberry ice cream!
  3. Pickled Rhubarb - a real treat and so easy!
  4. Rhubarb Salsa - great on chips, grilled chicken or fish too!
  5. Rhubarb Fizz - gin, it must be good

So there are a few recipes to get you started experimenting with rhubarb.

FYI - rhubarb is super low in calories (without the sugar addition) and is a good source of folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid, as well as vitamin K.

 

Introducing Aldebaran Farm to Downingtown Farmers Market

Meet Heidi from Aldebaran Farm, homegrown in Downingtown, PA!

Meet Heidi from Aldebaran Farm, homegrown in Downingtown, PA!

Hello Growing Roots Partners Farmers Market Enthusiasts!

We are Aldebaran Farm, and we would like to introduce ourselves to you as this is our first year with Growing Roots Partners.

Who are we?

Heidi Ochsenreither and Dan Risser are the owners and operators of Aldebaran Farm.

What kind of farm is Aldebaran Farm?

Aldebaran Farm is a small (one acre) diversified vegetable farm committed to sustainable growing practices. We grow microgreens, pea shoots, salad greens, cut flowers, and other mixed vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, squash, peppers, kohlrabi and all of the other vegetables you would find at a typical farmers market.

When was Aldebaran Farm created?

Aldebaran Farm is in its first year of business! Needless to say, this is an exciting and scary year for us, and we truly appreciate you stopping by, getting to know us, and trying something new.

Where the heck is Orwigsburg, and why are we selling at Downingtown?

Orwigsburg is located in Schuylkill County, PA, and our farm is just five miles from Hawk Mountain. We are farming in a temporary rental situation this year. Finding farmland is one of the most difficult hurdles for young farmers, especially those of us like Heidi and Dan who did not grow up in farming families. In the future, we hope to move closer to Chester County, both for the farmers market and also because Downingtown is where Heidi grew up!

That’s right, Heidi is returning to her roots: her Downingtown history goes way back to attending elementary school at West Bradford Elementary, through graduating in 2003 from Downingtown Senior High School. Dan is no stranger to Downingtown, either. Heidi and Dan met while working as apprentices at Two Gander Farm in Downingtown in 2013, the same year that Downingtown Farmers Market began. Some of you might also recognize Dan from Malvern Farmers Market that year, as he sold produce for Two Gander Farm on Saturday mornings.  

Why?

Heidi and Dan are passionate about sustainable agriculture. We both learned about the environmental impacts of agriculture as young adults, and felt motivated to be a part of the positive change that is needed for the environmental and food security of our local community, our nation, and the world. It took some time for us to find our way: Heidi worked as a textile designer for many years before becoming involved in sustainable agriculture. Dan was involved in restaurant work and landscaping, and in addition to the farm, just started an organic landscaping business in 2017 (“Dan’s Organic Land Care.)

What makes you say you are “sustainable,” and why are you not certified organic?

Our love of nature propelled us into the field of agriculture. We would never spray synthetic pesticides or fertilizers because it goes against everything we believe in. We believe that when a farmer creates a diverse and healthy ecosystem, crops remain healthy and resilient. We are experimenting with many different techniques in these first years in order to find a system that works best for us. For example, we will not use the plastic mulch that many farmers, even organic farmers, typically use. Instead, we are trying a system that includes straw, leaf mulch, and wood chips. This method of mulching suppresses weeds while building up soil biology. We also use landscape fabric as a mulch because it is reusable for many seasons and allows moisture and oxygen to circulate. We also prefer not to till our land. While we had to do an initial tillage on the land because it had not been farmed for three years, we will not do any more the rest of the season because it is damaging to the soil biology. We could geek out about our methods for hours, but we will keep it short here. Feel free to ask us anything at market!

We considered getting organic certification this year, and went so far as to purchase all organic seeds and cover crop. However, we do not think that the certification cost would be worth it to us because we could potentially have to leave our land as early as November. If we had hoop houses to extend our season, or if we had a guarantee of staying on this land for another year, we would get certified.

What will you have at market on Saturday?

We hope that you will bear with us as May will be a slow month! Unlike many farmers, we do not have access to hoop houses for season extension. So while everyone else is growing beautiful greens and starting their cucumbers and tomatoes in the hoop house, we are reliant on good old Mother Nature this year. That being said, we have some beautiful microgreens and pea shoots growing this week (a little slower than we would have hoped for with the cloudy weather…) and some transplants. At the very least, we will be there to say hello and meet all of you wonderful supporters of local farmers! We can’t wait to meet you!