Archive for the 'Farmer’s Markets' Category

Buying Tips and Seasonal Recipes for Fall Vegetables

Fall vegetables bring to mind the hearth, coziness, beautiful autumn colors, hearty food and interesting one dish and multi-dish menus.  We think about roasting, caramelizing, thick rich stocks, braising and sautéing when we think about the preparation of root vegetables and the other succulent vegetables which brighten up farm stands and markets all over the country at this time of the year.

I hope that all of you enjoy Fall Vegetables as much as I do. What’s fun about the change of seasons is that we are forced into creative ways to cook with the new bounty of the season. In this way, your food is never boring and you don’t get stuck eating the same foods day in and day out.

Red, White, & Blue Vegan Shabbat Dinner

Photos: Lauren Krohn

The last time I hosted a vegan Shabbat dinner for friends, I planned it a couple of weeks in advance. Although I only came up with the idea of hosting this past Friday’s dinner four days earlier, there was still an “agenda.” First, I wanted to rely chiefly on produce purchased at the Union Square farmers’ market earlier in the day. Second, I wanted to use some red, white, and blue foods, as Independence Day was just two days away.

Healthy Bodegas

This article is crossposted to Gothamist and was written by Zoe Schlager.  Red Jacket Orchard often donates apples to Hazon events.

Since 2005, the Department of Health has been developing an initiative to provide fresh produce and low fat milk to neighborhoods that rely on the nutrition-devoid wares of their local bodega. Progress has been slow, and while the low fat milk initiative was deemed a success in 2008, the produce side of things has been anything but. Finally, the Healthy Bodegas Initiative [pdf here] is gaining some real momentum, thanks to the NY state farmers that have begun to revitalise the project.

Last-Minute Locavore – Chicago Style

So you promised your boss you would go to work 1/2 day Monday, but you haven’t finished your shopping for the big night.  It’s Chicago.  It’s winter.  OK technically it’s Spring, but we’re all still wearing parkas and fantasizing about the sun returning.  And most importantly, the farmers’ market season in Chicago doesn’t really being until April.

Or does it?

A little-known gem is thriving right under your L stop in downtown Chicago!  Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand, located at 66 E. Randolph Street, is practically under the Randolph/Wabash stop, across from the Millenium Metra Train station, and open 6 days a week ALL YEAR.

Yes, Elisheba, There IS A Farmers’ Market (In Chicago)…

B'nai Abraham Zion of Oak Park Helping Market shoppers for Passover

…during the winter

…on a day other than Saturday

Those of us organic, sustainable foodies in Chicago are keenly aware of the famous Green City Market which stays open year-round by moving into the Nature Museum November-April.  But for us who observe Shabbat, the Saturday-only schedule they keep in the in winter months is sad news indeed.

So I finally kvetched – kvweeted? – to all the Chicago farmers market Tweeps I follow about how Jews are blocked from farmers market goodness in the winter.

Jewish Groups Fight “Food Deserts”

food-desert-1

Check out this great article in the L.A. Times about the Progressive Jewish Alliance organizing a tour of food deserts in Los Angeles. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Jewish community groups aim to broaden the growing local and national campaigns to attract more supermarkets to poor neighborhoods, where limited access to healthful food has been linked to obesity, diabetes and other diseases. Programs are sprouting up in Louisiana, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

Read more here.

Foraging locally for Pesach

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Here in Portland we’re fortunate to have a year-round farmer’s market, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting, tasty, off-the-beaten-path things to make for Pesach. I love serving fresh asparagus at my seder, but it’s not in season yet, so I was looking for an alternative. Our local mushroom purveyor, Springwater Farm, offers a great variety of mushrooms, but they also sell other wild/foragable foods, including fiddlehead ferns and bags of stinging nettles. Here’s a link to some fiddlehead fern recipes.

The fiddleheads can be served in lieu of asparagus; just blanch them in boiling water and saute in garlic with a little salt.

Win A Copy of Eat Fresh Food – Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs

Eat Fresh Food by Rozanne Gold

Photos by Phil Mansfield

Every once in a while I feel sorry for myself because my kids won’t eat my lovingly prepared meals; for comfort, I seek out one of my fellow mom’s, specifically those with teen-agers. Invariably they look at me with a withering ‘well let me get you the violins and a stiff drink fast, your poor thing’ stare, reminding me that I am a mere amateur at kitchen rejection. When I hear their tales of trying to feed their teens, my load somehow seems lighter, more manageable. Snarky, picky, and sometimes downright nasty, it is no easy task to manage teens at the table.

Enter Rozanne Gold and her new book, Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs. I sat down with the author and discovered that the book’s appeal to teens is as organic as its recipes. Gold recently adopted a teen-ager and for the past few years they have been coming together as a family, in and out of the kitchen. Her daughter was one of five teen chefs engaged to prepare and test each recipe. Their collective industry and obvious enjoyment is evidenced throughout the book with hands-on pictures depicting their efforts.

The Thanksgiving Hunter and Gatherer

thanksgiving table

I love cooking big dinners especially when they come with interesting dishes or new culinary challenges.  Thanksgiving has been a favorite of mine for a long time, since I have in part not been celebrating the Jewish food holidays for all that long.   Even when I was college I was whipping up elaborate meals despite limitations to space (one year it was a dormitory kitchen in the basement of the building) or even supplies (I forgot to buy aluminum foil so I improvised by covering my chicken, not a turkey, in applesauce, which by the way kept the meat moist and gave it a slightly sweet flavor).

Living in New York City poses its own set of advantages and challenges.  I mean in New York, you can get anything and usually get it delivered (at least in Manhattan).  I’ve found that mostly to be true – that was until I tried to serve venison for Thanksgiving.

Running for the Crossroads Farmers Market

Ellen and Rhea kick booty

The Crossroads spirit was with me on Sunday. At 6 a.m., I headed down to the starting line of Washington D.C.’s Marine Corps Marathon decked out in my Crossroads Farmers Market shirt and fortified by a well-wishing card from the market’s director. (For anyone interested, my tummy was fortified by some organic coffee and a PB & J on sprouted grain bread–what I’ve found to be an excellent pre-race snack).

I went into this knowing that the campaign to rejuvenate the Crossroads’ Fresh Checks program for low-income shoppers through writing articles about it and running 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) had not actually reached its goal. My attempt at a charitable and world-healing act–an act of tikkun olam–had raised awareness and monetarily netted just shy of $700 ($698 to be exact) in donations. My goal was $1,000, but I was pretty sure I had reached my limit. The market managers had sent the ask to their supporters and shoppers, too, so together we had tried the best we could.

Sukkot Drash Tishrei 21 5770/Oct. 9, 2009

Author’s note: The following is a drash I gave at my shul two days ago. My shul, Havurah Shalom in Portland, Oregon, is a participatory congregation.

sukkah2007

We are in the final days of Sukkot, one of Judaism’s three harvest festivals, and one of my favorite times of year. The traditional observance of Sukkot: building a booth, decorating it with greens and seasonal fruits and veggies, eating and sleeping under its roof through which we must be able to see the stars, all highlight and make holy things we do every day: living in our homes, eating meals together, even sleeping. Perhaps this is why I look forward to Sukkot so much, or perhaps that it often coincides with my birthday (I’m still young enough to enjoy rather than dread it), or perhaps simply that it happens during the autumn, my favorite season of the year.

Judaism is particularly connected to food, and Sukkot especially to the bounty of our fall harvest. Now is the time for the first apples of the season, in all their amazing varieties, for winter squashes, for root vegetables, and for the last of summer’s abundance: the tomatoes, the zucchini, the pesto made from homemade basil. It is a time to celebrate the simple pleasure of growing and cooking and eating.

USDA Initiatives, Grassroots Efforts Harvest Increase in Farmers Markets

FreshFarm Market, by the White House

(This is cross-posted from Examiner.com)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced October 2 that the number of farmers markets in the United States is up more than 13 percent from just a year ago. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Directory now lists almost 5,300 markets nationwide, up from 4,685 reported in 2008. That’s an increase of about 600 new markets, or more than 10 new markets a week.

“Farmers markets assure that consumers have easier access to local fruits and vegetables and this growth demonstrates incredible interest consumers have in purchasing from local producers,” said Vilsack in a press release.

The announcement went on to mention the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, whose mission recognizes the distance between Americans and the farmers who produce their food, and ensures the people that “we are marshalling resources from across USDA to help create the link between local production and local consumption.” The news release also mentions its own farmers market that the agency has hosted for the past 14 years, and a guide to setting up a new market on federal property.

Bare Bones

Throw me a bone!

My dad has strong memories of his mother’s chicken soup: the aroma, the flavor, and the chicken feet at the bottom of the bowl. He especially liked biting into the pads of the feet, which were nice and chewy.

Like many ethnic cuisines that evolve at least in part out of deprivation, Jewish food has long mined the more interesting parts of the animal (think tongue). But though the tip-to-tail movement has made offal, bone marrow and pork belly trendy, I don’t know any Jewish cooks these days that serve chicken feet in their soup. I set out to dip a toe into the world of off-cuts by buying a bag of beef bones at the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market in San Francisco.

Michelle Obama opens White House Farmer’s Market

Personally, I can’t think of a better way to begin the new year. Check this out:

L’shana tovah.