Countryside Farmers’ Market Gift Guide ~ Week 3

~ erin molnar, assistant markets manager

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be exhausting. And we certainly don’t want you to be too exhausted to join us on Saturday morning at the Market. We have three weeks of suggestions to offer some inspiration to shop local and source some wonderful gifts.

This week we are featuring: Gifts for Delicious Holiday Meals!

(In case you the previous posts – Gifts from Our Fabulous Vendors! (click here) and Gifts from Countryside Conservancy, (click here).)

The holiday meals can be a gift for everyone involved. Here are some options to make it the tastiest and healthiest gift possible.

Red Run Buffalo Farm suggests a Buffalo Brisket. And this easy preparation method – spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating! (Contact Steve at 330.472.2216 to order ahead of time.)

Place a Red Run Buffalo brisket in a crock pot or oven and  salt and pepper both sides; cover with 1 sliced onion, 1 jar of sauerkraut ( rinsed); ½ cup wine ( not cooking wine);1/2 cup brown sugar; and 1 Sliced apple.  You can just put everything on top the brisket and mix it up a little. Cook on high for 6 hrs. in the crock pot; or on 325 degrees in the oven for 3 hours. Remove and slice; Thicken the broth unstrained to make a great gravy. The brisket will be tender and delicious. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Brunty Farms has half (7-11 pounds) and whole (14-22 pounds) hams available. Brunty hogs are pastured, hickory smoked and have no nitrates or nitrites added. Here is Mel’s go-to glaze and method: 

Warm ham at 325 for approximately 8 minutes per pound. 
Combine the following in a saucepan:
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard

Take the ham out and baste with glaze.  Return to oven, basting every 10 minutes, for an additional 30 minutes.  Slice and devour!

 
Brunty Farms also offers a couple festive lamb options – Frenched style leg of lamb and rack of lamb. (Contact Mel at 330.594.7315 or melanie@bruntyfarms.com to reserve ham or lamb.)
 
Perhaps you are entertaining or want to supplement your homemade main dish with some prepared appetizers?
 
McCoy’s Custom Catering is offering a selection of hot or cold catered appetizers. (Contact Dan at 330.571.7696 or mccoyscustomcatering@hotmail.com.)
 
  • Hot – Italian Meatball Splash; Italian Sweet Sausage with grilled peppers, onions and cheese; Mediterranean Beef and Chicken Satay; Mexican Quesadilla; Indian Curried Chicken
  • Cold – Grilled Veg Tray; Mediterranean Platter; Fruit Salad; Greek Spanakopita Platter; Smoked Meats and Fine Imported Cheeses; Assorted Mini Sandwich Platter.
 
Ms. Julie’s Kitchen has a wide range of vegan dishes – perfect to easily expand your table for your non-meat-eating friends and family. Ms. Julie’s creations are so delicious, your meat and dairy loyalists won’t even question them. Ms. Julie will definitely have her wonderful sauerkraut balls on hand on Saturday – in half and whole dozens. Call her (330.819.3834)  ahead of time to find out what other goodies she’ll have available, or to pre-order. 
 
The market will also be packed with fresh greens, lots of winter roots, cheeses, breads and desserts, perfect for that holiday party or special meal.
 
Hope to see you on Saturday – we won’t be back again until January 18th, so now is the time to stock up beyond the holidays as well.
 
Happy Holidays!!!

 

Countryside Farmers’ Market Gift Guide ~ Week 2

~ erin molnar, assistant markets manager

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be exhausting. And we certainly don’t want you to be too exhausted to join us on Saturday morning at the Market. We have three weeks of suggestions to offer some inspiration to shop local and source some wonderful gifts.

This week we are featuring: Gifts from Our Fabulous Vendors!

(In case you missed last week, which featured Gifts from Countryside Conservancy, click here.)

The Farmers’ Market is the perfect place to shop for the foodies on your list.

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Summit Croissants and Big Fat Greek and Italian Pastries also offer gift certificates. This is the perfect way to give someone an extra treat when they visit the market!

Have someone who will have healthy eating on their resolution list in 2014? Baker’s Fresh Produce & Honey offers gift certificates – both for their market stand and their CSA program. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.

But wait! You can find non-food gifts at the market as well!

  • Everyone’s head gets chilly in the winter. Thanks Marge! has crocheted cotton hats in a multitude of colors. Cotton dishcloths, headbands and water bottle holders are also available.
  • For artists and all lovers of beautiful things, Kathie McCurdy Botanical Arts offers hand painted wine, cordial and martini glasses and serving dishes. You can also find pressed flower prints and cards, and felted flower pins.

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  • Glass by Leona has beautiful glass work pieces. From small to large, to accommodate anyone on your list.

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  • Paqarina Farm and Jewelry creates gorgeous statement necklaces, bracelets and rings crafted from found natural materials. Also check out the handsewn aprons in beautiful fabrics.
  • Lazy Bee offers all kinds of delicious smelling stocking stuffers – soaps, lip balms, lotions. These also make great gifts for holiday gift exchanges at the office, or anywhere you need a small but wonderful item.

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  • Don’t forget your pooch! Or your pooch lover. Baked Earth makes dog treats that sound so scrumptious that I am tempted to try – Peanut Butter Pumpkin, Ginger Parsley, Anise Pear. They use locally sourced, high-quality ingredients – which doesn’t help me avoid the temptation. (For the record, despite my incessant need to snack, I have not succumbed yet…) For the holidays, you can get a beautiful glass jar – 10oz of cookies or 7oz of protein bark.

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Countryside Farmers’ Market Gift Guide 2013 ~ Week 1

~ erin molnar, assistant markets manager

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be exhausting. And we certainly don’t want you to be too exhausted to join us on Saturday morning at the Market. For the next three weeks, we are going to offer some inspiration to shop local and source some wonderful gifts.

This week we are featuring: Gifts from Countryside Conservancy!

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There’s always someone on your list who simply has everything, or lives so simply they don’t need anything. What to do? They still need to eat, so stock them up with MARKET TOKENS. Countryside Market Tokens come in $5 increments, never expire and are good at all of our markets (Highland Square, Howe Meadow and Old Trail School). So, super flexible! Whether you are looking for a stocking stuffer or a major gift, you can make the tokens fit. 

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We also have a wide variety of chicken swag for kids and adults. How can you resist a chicken onesie?? Note the tote. There are also car magnets, short sleeved shirts in multiple colors (kids, men and women), long sleeved shirts in a couple colors (men and women) and a very sporty chicken ball cap. 

 

For that altruistic recipient, consider making a donation to Countryside in their name. As a small non-profit, individual contributions make a huge difference to the programs that we offer and the impact that we can have. Visit here to donate or to see the difference that a personal or gift contribution can make. (Please contact Erin at emolnar@cvcountryside.org if you are interested in a certificate to present to your gift recipient.)

We are also offering gift certificates for our 2014 Countryside U classes. The curriculum is packed with returning favorites, as well as new and exciting offerings. Local Meals for Busy People, Backyard Chickens, Bread Making 101, Fermentation 101, Home Brewing 101 – just to name a few. (Click here to see the whole line-up.) You can buy a specific class for your special someone, or simply choose a dollar amount that can be applied to the class of their choosing. Get in touch with Erin, at emolnar@cvcountryside.org, to arrange. 

Somewhere in there is something that will cross at least one person off your list, right? Stay tuned next week for a curated selection of market products that make excellent gifts. 

Thanksgiving Inspiration ~ Beth Knorr, Farmers’ Market Manager and Darlene Kelbach, Market Assistant

~ erin molnar, assistant markets manager

The big day is almost here! In case you need a little more inspiration before you finalize your menu, we have TWO today.

I ask Beth a lot of cooking questions year-round. She has a great repertoire of reliable recipes. She also loves to experiment, so she usually offers up the go-to standard and then a couple of less traditional options. Her T-Day menu is a perfect representation of that. Read on!

I love thanksgiving.  Mostly because it gives me a great excuse to spend so much time in the kitchen.  And, everything except for the cranberries can be sourced locally (and of course conveniently) at the Countryside Farmers’ Markets.

Turkey & Gravy. I have most frequently used the Cook’s Illustrated Recipe here.  Flipping the bird, however, is a messy affair, though it does add some excitement to the day.

I’ve also made a deconstructed turkey.  While you don’t get the traditional presentation, you do get tasty turkey! When I used this recipe, I roasted it over the root veggies, but saved those for a dinner later that weekend instead of adding them to the Thanksgiving menu.  We like our other dishes too much to replace them with the roasted veggies, and they helped to keep the leftovers feeling fresh.

For the gravy, I like to make a stock from the neck and other bits the day before Thanksgiving specifically for the gravy.  And, I like to add a little apple cider and white wine to it, too.

Stuffing. It says it serves 12.  More like 24.  Unless that’s all you’re eating.  I bake it in a separate pan- I’m not crazy about stuffing cooked inside the turkey.  One of the best parts about this is that I freeze half and turn it into a savory strata for Christmas morning breakfast. I whisk some eggs and whole milk and pour it over the strata on Christmas eve, and pop it in the oven in the morning to eat after the gift-giving frenzy has ended.

Mashed potatoes. I use Yukon Golds when I can, but whatever is available works equally well.  (Except fingerlings.  They don’t work very well for mashed potatoes.) I actually like to add a bit of buttermilk to my mashed potatoes.  I love the zip it adds.

Bourbon candied yams.  This is a recipe from Heather Haviland that I received at a Les Dames d’Escoffier event several years ago, but have included in our meal every year since!  Much better than the dish with marshmallows, in my humble opinion.  Delicious!

  • 3 pounds large sweet potatoes, peeled and halved crosswise
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 375

Cut each potato half lengthwise into fourths.  Steam potatoes until just tender (about 10-15 minutes) then cool, uncovered.  Transfer to a buttered 3 quart shallow baking dish.

Simmer brown sugar, butter, water and salt, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is thickened, roughly 5 minutes.  Stir in bourbon to taste.  Drizzle syrup over potatoes and bake in middle of the oven, basting occasionally, until syrup is thick and bubbling, about 1 ¼ hours.

Sweet potatoes can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.  Reheat before serving.

Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries and Bacon. My family used to be Brussels sprouts haters, until we added a little bacon to the mix. Now we can’t get enough! We still don’t care for raisins, though, so I use dried cranberries instead.  

Cranberry sauce.  My preference for this dish is for it to be super simple.  I love cranberries with orange, so that’s about as exotic as I make it.  Cranberries, sugar, just a smidge of orange juice so they don’t scorch or stick, and a little orange zest.  Simmer until they pop and start to thicken a little.

Pie.  We all love pie, but we don’t have a set pie we have to have each year (though my husband does like the traditional pumpkin pie.)  I’m not a fan of pumpkin or apple pies so I like to play around a bit more.  Pear tarts or even a cranberry apple to liven it up a bit are what I really like. There are a few floating around on Pinterest right now that are piquing my interest, so whatever it turns out to be, there will definitely be pie.

Beth also made a Thanksgiving Pinterest board. Check it out!

Darlene is an excellent vegetarian/vegan cook and her menu shows that if you are going turkey-less this year, you need not go hungry!

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a big holiday that both sides of my family celebrated.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins as well as grandparents gathered – usually at the Grandmas’ houses.  At Grandma Tvorik’s house, the food was reflective of our Hungarian heritage.  At Grandma Lakins’ house, the menu was more traditional American.  Now, my mom has taken over hosting the Thanksgiving gathering.  The number of family members who partake has dwindled as people have passed on and others have moved away.  My food choices have also changed over the years.  I have been a vegetarian now for about 10 years and have explored being vegan and even raw throughout that time.  So, when I sit down to Thanksgiving dinner these days, I say, “pass the veggies please!”

To my surprise, although the turkey had always taken the limelight when I was young, there are actually an abundance of vegetarian options already available on the table.  I just had to look at the meal differently.  Focusing on the “side dishes,” I realized there was actually already plenty of delicious food to fill my belly!

I also realized that many of the traditional dishes could be easily converted to vegan or raw recipes.  I began to bring these as my offering to the dinner table as a way to provide myself with something delicious and nutritious to eat but also as a way of introducing my family to different and healthier food alternatives.

Below is a taste of what I expect to be eating this Thanksgiving – “Pass the veggies, please!”

Appetizers:

Veggie Tray filled with julienned carrots and celery, cauliflower and broccoli florets, as well as cherry tomatoes.  Eat as-is or dip into hummus spread.

Olives & Pickles with the sweet and dill pickles being made by grandma, grandpa, sister or aunt!  I, myself, have yet to try my hand at canning.

Cheese & Crackers is dairy-full but a traditional family plate that meets vegetarian criteria.  If I am in vegan or raw mode, I will skip this plate but savor the memories of the cheese melting in my mouth…ahhh, fresh brie, my favorite!

Entrees:  (aka:  “side dishes”)

Mashed Potatoes made with Yukon gold potatoes (a must!), butter and milk. Whip these with the electric beater to get them super fluffy.  Don’t forget the cracked black pepper!  For vegan, I sub out the butter and milk and use Earth Balance (vegan buttery spread) and unsweetened almond milk instead.  Of course, no gravy.  Eat plain or top with other veggies such as brussel sprouts.

Steamed Brussels Sprouts – just eat um’ hot out of the pan!!  Or top um’ on the MP’s (mashed potatoes).

Roasted Acorn Squash served simply with butter (Earth Balance) or, if I take-it-up-a-notch, roasted with blueberries in the center and drizzled with maple syrup.

Baked Sweet Potatoes or Yams again, served simply with butter (Earth Balance).  If it’s a really big one, we share it with someone special!

Grandma Tvorik’s Hungarian Rice will be new on my Thankgiving menu this year although it is probably one of the dishes I most remember from my childhood.  Grandma has been gone for many years now and no one in the family has picked up making this dish since.  For me, “the vegetarian,” the turkey gizzards and livers were a turn-off.  However, as I look as the recipe, I see how I can easily convert it to be vegan as well as vegetarian.  So, get ready family – Grandma T’s Hungarian Rice is back!

Dessert:

Fresh Homemade Pumpkin Pie is now expected of me!  My 10 year old daughter is hooked and will accept no less.  She usually helps me make the pie.  Her preference is to use cream and to top it with Uncle Scotty’s fresh whipping cream!  On a vegan day, we will use almond milk instead of cream and make a nut crust.  Not sure which version we will make this year yet.  Either way, delish!

No-Bake Apple Pie (aka:  Raw Apple Pie) has made its debut at the family table filled with long-time apple pie lovers.  I have appreciated the open-mindedness of my family in trying this version of an old favorite.  Not quite the same as the texture is more of an applesauce and the crust is nut based.  Plus, it is cold.  Nonetheless it tastes great and to me, is a wonderful, healthy rendition!

It’s time to finalize those menus and make your shopping lists. We’ll see you at the market on Saturday, won’t we?

Thanksgiving Inspiration ~ Tami Mitchell, Dine-In Diva Personal Chef Service

~ erin molnar, assistant markets manager

I met, and initially got to know, Tami as a regular market customer. Clearly she loved good food, especially good local food. Then Tami became a regular at the food swaps. My impression that Tami was an amazing cook was confirmed, and has been over and over again since then. I also really like Tami’s style – she has an appreciation for well-crafted basics, but also has a creative flair that gives new preparations, ingredients and flavor combinations a chance, more often than not with amazing results. So, of course, when I wanted to know what people were going to put on their T-Day tables, Tami came to mind. 

Here is the list of recipe links that Tami shared with us.

Spatchcocked Turkey – It cooks fast and it’s easy to do.

Celery, Date, Walnut, Pecorino Salad – Sweet, Salty, Crunchy – a light, delicious foil to all of the usual rich dishes on the table.

Fig, Almond Bread Stuffing with Fennel – Figs and Fennel are two of my favorite things
 
Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed Carrots  – fantastic and extra beautiful with purple carrots from the farmers market
 
Hot and Spicy Cranberry Chutney – sure, there’s no can rings, but there is a lot more flavor
 
 
 
 
Once again, the transcription of the menu has left me drooling!
Thanks Tami!!

Thanksgiving Inspiration ~ Diane Sikorski, Humble Pie Baking Company

~ erin molnar, assistant markets manager

Now is the time to start planning your Thanksgiving menu. I don’t know how many times I have planned to make a large scale meal and realized too late that I didn’t have the proper ingredients or didn’t plan enough time to have things brine or rest or some other critical element to a preparation. To help you out, we have asked some of our favorite people to share their Thanksgiving menus to help inspire you and start your planning.

Diane Sikorski and her company, Humble Pie Baking Company, used to be vendors at our Howe Meadow Farmers’ Market. And we miss her! Her pies are some of the best that you can ever hope to eat. She is also an all around AMAZING cook, always emphasizing ingredients of high quality and local origin. She remains a close friend of the markets, and market staff. When I thought about whose Thanksgiving tables I would want to eat it, she was one of the first to pop into my head. A huge THANK YOU to Diane for sharing with us!

I’m usually an adventurous eater who appreciates diversity and creativity in cooking but when it comes to Thanksgiving I most enjoy the simple versions of the holiday dishes, simple but done well.

My ideal Thanksgiving meal would include a roasted heirloom turkey, roasted kabocha or hubbard squash, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing a green salad and cranberry sauce.

My mother’s stuffing is my favorite and it’s as simple as could be. We don’t work with recipes but in general terms the stuffing is cubed pieces of bread that have been left to dry for a day or two tossed with several VERY generous handfuls of parsley, sage and thyme (or whatever herbs you like or have on hand), sweated onions (be generous) and enough chicken, turkey or vegetable stock to soften the bread. Some of the mix is placed in the bird and the rest is cooked in a covered pan.

We always “bard the bird” before it goes into the oven by simply draping strips of bacon over all of its surfaces. Don’t worry about the drippings and gravy tasting of bacon. While the fat from the bacon adds some depth to the drippings it does not leaves them tasting of bacon.

I am quite fond of turkey. I buy several heirloom birds at Thanksgiving and break them down and freeze them in pieces/parts to use throughout the year. Whenever I make turkey with those pieces/parts I use the bones and scraps to make stock and I make sure I have turkey stock on hand to make the Thanksgiving gravy. My gravy is a simple one. After removing the bird from its roasting pan I add flour that is a little less than equal to the amount of fat in the pan and cook in on a low heat to make a loose paste of the butter and fat. You want to let this “roux” cook for several minutes to get rid of the flour taste. Once the roux is a few shades darker than golden I add the stock and let that simmer until it thickens, all the while scraping the bottom of the roaster to get off all the cooked on bits or “fond”. That’s where all the flavor is. Salt and black pepper to taste.

When it comes to mashed potatoes, I prefer equal parts potato and turnip with kale folded in. I boil the potatoes and turnips together with a few cloves of smashed garlic thrown into the pot. While those are cooking I saute lots of leeks in lots of butter and just when the leeks start to soften I throw in handfuls of chopped kale. The greens and leeks get folded into the potato/turnip mixture after they’ve been mashed along with a cup or so of cream.

The squash gets cut into 2-3 inch pieces, tossed with olive oil and salt and roasts for the last hour or so that the bird is in the oven.

I love green bean casserole and my friend Tom Noe’s recipe is perfect. http://exploringfoodmyway.blogspot.com/2009/11/extra-helpings-friendsgiving-part-ii.html

The cranberry sauce is as easy as could be. Start with four cups or so of cranberries, place them in a sauce pan with one cup each of water and sugar, a pinch of salt and simmer/low boil them for 15-20 minutes. If you like you may add lemon, orange zest or chopped nuts but I like to keep it plain myself.

The Thanksgiving green salad is simply whatever beautiful greens can be found at the market tossed with really good olive oil, a favorite vinegar, salt and pepper and roasted squash seeds.

And of course, we have my pies for dessert!

Did you notice how much of that meal you can get at the market? Heritage turkeys, bread, herbs, onions, potatoes, bacon, greens, squash, garlic, leeks, turnips and kale!! 

If you need a pie for the big day, I encourage you to contact Diane ASAP (via Facebook, phone @ 440.933.3317, or email @ humblepiebc@yahoo.com)- she reaches her order capacity quickly and if you are buying a pie this year, you do not want to miss out on the best available.

Food Safety Modernization Act – Why You Should Comment

Recently, Countryside Conservancy submitted our comments to the FDA regarding the proposed regulations in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  We are currently in an open comment period, ending November 15.  Please read our statement below and consider adding your voice to support small farms.  Click here to visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) website and learn more about the proposed regulations and submitting your comment.  For ideas on what to say, view these two documents, courtesy of the NSAC:  FSMA_Sample_Consumer_Comment_Template or NSAC_FSMA_Sample_Farmer_Comment_Template.

 

The purpose of Countryside Conservancy is to connect people, food, and land.  We support and engage countless small farmers throughout the region in our programming work of Countryside Farmers’ Markets, Countryside Initiative, and Countryside U.  And while we feel strongly that food safety is a crucial component of a sustainable food culture, the proposed regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will ultimately harm our local food systems, degrade the quality of life of those who value locally grown and sustainably produced foods, and may result in the failure of thousands of farms and related agriculture and food businesses in our state, having a substantial impact on Ohio’s economy.

Our specific concerns are the extreme expense to small growers, unclear standards and procedures for exemptions, and the lack of consideration for organic and sustainable management standards.

The majority of farms we assist and advocate for fall into the FDA categories of “small” and “very small.”  The cost estimates for compliance of these regulations, as projected by the FDA, would be devastating for farms in these categories.  Projections indicate these farms could lose anywhere from half to more than 100% of profits in the first year of compliance, with future years looking equally grim.  If these regulations are put into effect, we recommend the FDA or USDA subsidize the cost of compliance for the protection of the family farm.

In the proposed regulations, the smallest farms (making less than $25,000) will be exempt from compliance, while others fall under a modified requirement status.  There remains great uncertainty around these statuses – particularly surrounding the withdrawal of exemption and restitution procedures.  Clarity is needed before any regulations are passed.

Finally, the current proposed regulations do not adhere to the National Organic Standards.  Small farms practicing organic or sustainable management do not have the land or length of growing season to adhere to the FSMA, nor do we believe the regulations are sound given our decades of experience with organic and sustainable production.  We recommend a reconsideration of this portion of the FSMA with close consultation with agricultural experts in organic and sustainable production methods.

We believe the FSMA regulations were not written with consideration of small and very small farms.  Our constituency cares deeply about food safety, but we believe very few would support the current FSMA.  We also believe the FSMA’s “one size fits all” approach to food safety will be ineffective and potentially devastating to our local food systems.

We ask that in your efforts to do your due diligence you avoid creating another food safety hazard: an America without small, family farms and food businesses.