It has been delightful

1 Aug

The Farm Table Brussels Sprouts

One of my fondest memories as a child was sitting around a large mixing bowl of strawberries, most of which had been consumed by my family during a visit from multiple great aunts and uncles visiting us in the Northwest all the way from Kansas. We used to say, “Kansas is coming,” and that meant time spent together telling stories (or in my case, listening), and eating good food while planning out the next meal. 

I also recall the satisfaction of eating my Mom’s blackberry cobbler after picking berries from the bushes found just about everywhere you turn in Oregon, or the summery taste of fresh, just picked tomatoes from my grandparents yard and turning them into the perfect tomato sandwich.

Good food has a remarkable way of linking us to memories with loved one’s, good experiences, and giving us a sense of comfort.

My time in Virginia has come to and end, and sadly, so has my time with The Farm Table. I write this post-move, as my husband, children, and I have officially moved back to Oregon for work, and to be near the support of family chomping at the bit to get their hands on their grandchildren/niece/nephews/cousins/you get the idea. 

We will  have fond memories of Virginia — the people, the culture, and THE FOOD! The Farm Table has nourished us, broadened our cooking experiences, and given us the opportunity to connect with a welcoming food community that has fed us in so many ways.

Long Island cheese squash, mushrooms, bibb lettuce, beets, and yes,  Brussels sprouts, will bring up cherished memories of our time in RVA.

Thanks for reading my posts over the last year and a half.  I have had a wonderful time blogging for all of you, and am flattered that you have read my posts, or better yet, decided to Follow The Tractor!

I do hope you will stay tuned as The Farm Table ushers in a new blogger who will offer his or her brand of creativity, good recipes, and food-inspired posts.

Thank you for everything,

Michele

Cajun Grill-less Corn Recipe

15 Jul

Our post this week comes from The Farm Table member, and guest blogger, Laura Miller, who blogs over at Beyond the Cuke. When we asked her to come up with a post for us featuring Farm Table produce, we were flattered to get this post in return. First, she had us at Game of Thrones, and while we don’t expect to be adding “milk of the poppy” to our add-on list anytime soon, we were delighted to hear she thinks so highly of us. Thanks for a great post, and recipe, Laura!

3 Reasons Why The Farm Table is the Best of All of the CSAs

Let me just put it this way–If this was Game of Thrones, House Baratheon, House Lannister, House Stark and House Greyjoy would see no reason to wage war because The Farm Table obviously rules the realm. Here’s why:

1. No vegetable ninjas here. I’ve tried my share of vegetable delivery services and I’ve never come across one with such friendly neighborhood coordinators! In fact, not only did these other services not have Angela, my friendly neighborhood coordinator who chats with me about running and blogging, but they might not have had NCs at all for all I know. After all, I’d just leave a box out and sometime by the end of the day–varying times, meaning that my veggies might sit out for a bit since I wasn’t sure when to expect them–it’d be replaced by another box of veggies.

Okay, okay. I’m sure there are neighborhood coordinators for all CSAs but I’m just going to assume they were vegetable ninjas until you provide evidence that proves otherwise.

2. The “S” in “CSA” could stand for “Social.” It doesn’t, but it could. With everything from farm volunteer days like this one in May to local food tastings like the one that I had the pleasure of attending last night at The Savory Grain, your weekly veggie boxes basically come with berries, potatoes and a new set of like-minded friends.

3. Piles and piles of produce. Here’s a visual:

Beyond the Cuke

So maybe we don’t get corn every week but we get the week’s version of corn. No more eating out of season food that has traveled all of the way from South America or the West Coast. In July, you’re going to eat peaches. In September, you’re going to have some apples. And you’re going to enjoy them because they’re delicious, in-season and local.

Since this week’s corn is, well, corn, here’s something to make with the Farm Table box bounty:

Cajun Grill-less Corn, otherwise known as “Targaryen Corn”

What You’ll Need:

4 medium ears of corn
2 tablespoons vegan butter substitute
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup vegetable broth

What You’ll Do With It (before eating it, of course):

1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. While the water’s boiling, peel your corn.
2. Add the corn to the water. Return to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until tender. Keep an eye on it–you don’t want mushy corn but you don’t want hard corn either!
3. While boiling the corn, melt your vegan butter substitute in a small saucepan. Stir in the chili powder, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne and stir for 1 minute.
4. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and broth. Once combined, whisk into the butter mixture. Bring to a boil and cook and stir until slightly thickened, which should take about 1-2 minutes.
5. Drain the corn and then get your Van Gogh on and paint the corn with the seasoned butter.
6. Sit back and enjoy compliments from your fam, after enjoying at least two ears yourself, of course.

Veganized recipe from Taste of Home

Laura Miller Beyond the Cuke
Laura Miller blogs about each week’s kitchen triumphs–and kitchen “learning experiences”–featuring The Farm Table produce at Beyond the Cuke. Follow @beyondthecuke on Twitter and Instagram.

Ample Harvest

19 Jun
St. Thomas' Food Pantry doors welcomes guests every Thursday from 10-12

St. Thomas’ food pantry doors welcome guests every Thursday from 10-12

Nestled in what is known as Ginter Park in North Richmond, sits St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, a place of simple hospitality that has served the community since 1907. We visited St. Thomas’ a few weeks ago to learn more about their food pantry, which regularly serves people in the 23222 and 23227 zip codes. What we found was a highly organized food market with volunteers dedicated to serving the community.

The food pantry, part of a three church network including St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Ginter Park Methodist Church, is a market-style pantry where guests select the food they like to eat according to USDA nutrition guidelines.

The goal? To provide three meals for three days for each person in the household.

Food Pantry Volunteer Linc Sparks

8-year volunteer Linc Sparks prepares to register guests of the food pantry.

St. Thomas' food pantry

In May, the food pantry served a record number of people: 282 households, totaling 1,114 people. This is up from 2012 (213 households), and 2011 (105 households).

Food Pantry

To date for 2013, the food pantry has served 2,502 households, a total of 9,536 people.

USDA Guidelines

St. Thomas’ serves people in the 23222 and 23227 zip codes — a restriction based on guidelines from the Central Virginia Food Bank as part of their effort to make sure food distribution is widely spread across the areas where food is needed.

At 19 cents a pound, the food is purchased through the Central Virginia Food Bank (CVFB), which is part of Feedmore, using funds from the church budget. Through CVFB, St. Thomas is able to access the USDA surplus food, which they receive for free and distribute according to specific guidelines set by the USDA.

St. Thomas is also a Food Rescue partner with the Food Lion on Chamberlayne Avenue, gleaning good food 2 times a week that would otherwise by discarded. Other supporters of the pantry include Panera Bread, and The Little House Green Grocery, among many other supporters who provide food on a weekly basis. 

St. Thomas Volunteers

Grace Sparks and her granddaughter prepare pastries gleaned from Panera Bread

St. Thomas Volunteer, Lilly

10 year old Lilly visits every summer from Ohio and serves as the “produce manager.” This is her second year volunteering with her grandparents.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church Hospitality

Coffee, water, and pastries are prepared and served to guests waiting their turn at the food pantry. A focus on hospitality is the trademark of St. Thomas’ volunteers.

St. Thomas revamped their food pantry over a year ago — rather than giving guests a box of food, some of which the clients may not be able to eat because of dietary restriction — they allow guests to choose food for themselves using the USDA guidelines as a tool. The pantry is set up each week, resembling a market, and the people they serve are given a grocery bag where they can “shop” for the food that they are able to eat. The foods the pantry is unable to keep on the shelves include tuna, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and cereal. They offer a limited supply of perishable items, mainly because they do not have the means to store fresh food for long periods of time.

Ray Jackson preparing the bread table

Ray A. Jackson, City of Richmond retiree and World War II Army Veteran, has volunteered at the food pantry since the 1960’s. He also helped The Farm Table blogger, Michele, pronounce Norfolk properly, the place where he grew up before moving to Richmond in 1952. He is St. Thomas’ longest running food pantry volunteer.

St. Thomas' Market-style food pantry

St. Thomas’ market-style food pantry allows guests to choose items they need based on USDA requirements.

Perishable items gleaned from local grocers

Perishable items gleaned from local grocers like Food Lion and The Little House Green Grocer on Richmond’s Northside.

This is where Ampleharvest.org and you, our readers, come in. The site links home gardeners and other supporters to the nearest food pantry in the community who accepts perishable items. As gardens begin to flourish with an abundance of food, linking up your food surpluses with pantries in need is a wonderful way to offer the people who need it access to good, healthy, and fresh food.

Dried beans ready for guests to take home

Food items gleaned from local grocers

Sharing from your garden is not the only way to give! Beginning this Thursday, June 20th, we will collect non-perishable items from Farm Table members who place canned, jarred, and boxed goods in their empty boxes. We will deliver them to food pantries in need, including St. Thomas’. We think giving back is one way we can broaden our food community, and we can do that with your help!

Food pantry volunteers, Ray and Bob, preparing to open the doors for guests waiting outside for the pantry to open

Food pantry volunteers, Ray A. Jackson and Bob Wiard, preparing to open the doors for guests waiting outside for the pantry to open. Today they celebrate one of their regular guests who is officially cancer free.

Looking for other ways to give?

Consider volunteering at your nearest food pantry. St. Thomas  is always looking for volunteers to assist with gleaning throughout the week, or helping on Thursday mornings when their food pantry is open to the people who need it.

Food pantry volunteer and member of the St. Thomas community, Andrea Marcinkevicius, hopes to see more youth helping out at local food pantries this summer. “People of all ages and abilities can help!”, Andrea says.

Farm Table member and Ministry Leader at Gayton Care Ministries, Stacy Deyerle, says she regularly donates food from her Farm Table box to the pantry at Gayton Baptist Church in Short Pump. Deyerle says their pantry serves people from Goochland, as well as “folks dealing with a recent job loss or serious health issues.” Food donated to their pantry really helps people in need.

We hope you will join us in supporting your local food pantry this summer and beyond — as we all enjoy the bounty of the season, let’s share it with others.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church   3602 Hawthorne Ave   Richmond, Virginia, 23222   804-321-9548 Food Pantry is open from 10:00am-12:00 noon on Thursdays Volunteers needed: Tuesdays at 12:00 noon to help unload food purchased at CVFB. Thursdays anytime between 9am-1pm Gleaning, Tuesdays and Saturdays

St. Thomas Episcopal Church
3602 Hawthorne Ave
Richmond, Virginia, 23222
804-321-9548
Food Pantry is open from 10:00am-12:00 noon on Thursdays
Volunteers needed:
Tuesdays at 12:00 noon to help unload food purchased at CVFB.
Thursdays anytime between 9am-1pm
Gleaning, Tuesdays and Saturdays

 

 
 
 

2883.74 Miles Away

17 Jun

I spent some time in Oregon last week and had the pleasure of enjoying all of this:

Oregon Carrots

Oregon Berries

Oregon Beets

Oregon Flowers

Oregon Potatoes

Easter Egg Radishes, Oregon

Where are you going this Summer? Wherever it is, consider stopping at the Farmer’s Market!

Meal Planning Template: Free Printable

10 Jun

The Farm Table Meal Planning

With all of the wonderful Farm Table food delivered to your door each week comes the need for a little meal planning to make the most of your produce.

To that end, we thought a meal planning template might be useful for you. Just print and plan your menu out for the week.

You’re welcome!

Bok Choy Stir Fry with Broccoli

Pizza Night

Yucatecan Chicken Tacos

Spring Squash in a Creamy Garlic Sauce

Pad Thai Salad with Green Cabbage

Grilled Garlic Scapes with Herb Roasted Potatoes

Sweet Potato Fries

Blue Bee Cider

7 Jun

The Farm Table:

We hope you will join us at our Pop-up Market at  Blue Bee Cider in the Old Manchester District tomorrow, June 8, from 12:00-4:00pm.

We will have fresh local produce, Harvest Hill Farms meats, Quail Cove Cheese, freshly baked goodies from Flour Garden Bakery, and Polyface chickens! Blue Bee Cider, Virginia’s first and only urban cidery, will be open for your tasting pleasure from 12-6.

Until then, enjoy this piece we did on Blue Bee Cider back in December and then come taste the real deal with us tomorrow!

Originally posted on Follow The Tractor:

Blue Bee Cider

The Farm Table had the opportunity last year to meet Courtney Mailey of Blue Bee Cider, at the 2012 Richmond Earth Day Festival. We’ve enjoyed following the progress of this local business ever since.

Courtney, author of the Cider Apprentice Blog, started blogging about her experiences as an apprentice cidermaker at Albemarle CiderWorks in 2011. Since then, she has started her own urban cidery housed in Richmond’s Old Manchester District.

Courtney Mailey of Blue Bee Cider

This Brite Tank was made in Oregon and shipped to RVA

The Brite Tank was built in Oregon and shipped to RVA

Expelling the juice from the apples

Pressing the apples

I had the pleasure of joining Courtney and her in December during a pressing, and came away from the visit appreciating the making of Blue Bee Cider even more. Courtney’s father, Mel, a sweet and gracious man, who is clearly committed to the success of Blue Bee Cider, gave me a tour and run down on theprocess of making cider

Blue Bee Cider

Apples just waiting for the magic to happen Apples…

View original 423 more words

Bok Choy Stir Fry

4 Jun

The Farm Table Pop-up Market

This recipe comes to you a few days late as we missed Flashback Friday on the blog last week. I promise we weren’t slacking! We were “in the field,” so to speak, taking pictures and working on a future post that will highlight some of the really cool things happening in Richmond that will make all of us proud!

Speaking of cool things going on — The Farm Table is excited to announce that we are expanding to the Hampton Roads area! If you have family and friends that would enjoy receiving a Farm Table box as much as you do, or if you know anyone who might want to become part of our team, please share this with them and contact support@thefarmtable.org. More details coming soon!

We are also having a lot of fun with our Pop-up Markets. Our next market, this Saturday, June 8 from 12:00-4:00pm, will be at Blue Bee Cider in the Manchester District.  We will have fresh local produce, Harvest Hill Farms meats, Quail Cove Cheese and freshly baked goodies from Flour Garden Bakery. Blue Bee Cider will be open for your tasting pleasure from 12-6. Please join us! Details HERE.

Until then, please try this Bok Choy Stir Fry from our May, 2012 newsletter, which features broccoli, snow peas, peppers, and chicken (optional). It is very important to do all of the prep work for this meal before you start cooking, as stir frying relies on being able to move and cook food quickly in a very hot pan. Also, it may seem labor intensive, but once you’ve prepped the vegetables, it cooks very quickly. Delicious!

The Farm Table Bok Choy

Bok Choy Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into strips and lightly dusted with corn starch
  • 1 small onion, halved/thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2-3 cloves sliced garlic
  • 1 cup snow peas (optional)
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (separated into medium pieces) and stems (sliced thin), keep them separate
  • 1/2 Tbs finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup red or green pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 head of bok choy, sliced into thick ribbons
  • 4 Tbs Hoisin sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat a wok or large, deep, frying pan with a heavy bottom over medium-high heat. Coat with peanut oil.
  • Add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes, making sure to cook on all sides. Remove chicken to a bowl, or push aside.
  • Add the onions, celery, broccoli stems, red/green pepper, ginger and garlic and, stirring continuously until onions become translucent, and veggies start to soften. Add more peanut oil if needed (you need to keep the food moving).
  • Add the broccoli florets, snow peas, bok choy. Keep stirring!
  • After about 5 minutes, add 2 Tbs soy sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper, Hoisin sauce, and the cornstarch/broth mixture. Add the Chicken back to the mixture.
  • Stir for about 3-5 minutes and allow the mixture to thicken. 
  • Serve immediately over cooked rice.

Spring Squash in a Creamy Garlic Sauce with Parsley

24 May

Farm Table Spring Squash

It is flashback Friday on the blog today, and we are featuring a recipe in our May newsletter from the 2011 Farm Table season. With yellow spring squash appearing in our boxes, this dish is the perfect compliment to any dinner as a side, or serve over penne pasta as your main course. 

Easy and delicious – this is a quick, no-brainer recipe that will continue to make an appearance in your meal rotation once you’ve tried it.

Enjoy!

Yellow Spring Squash in a Creamy Garlic sauce with Parsley

Ingredients

  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 small or medium yellow squash
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 + 2 Tbs of butter
  • 1/3 cup cream or whole milk
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • finely ground pper, to taste

Directions

  • Remove ends from squash, cut lengthwise, then dice into 1/4 inch thick chunks
  • Remove  garlic from husks, chop into large chunks
  • Melt 2 Tbs of butter into pan over medium heat 
  • Add garlic and cook for about 60 seconds, careful not to burn or brown
  • Add the squash and cook until soft, about 5 minutes
  • While waiting, in another pan, melt 2 Tbs butter. Add diced onion and cook until it just starts to brown.
  • Once the squash as softened, remove 1/2 and place in bowl. Smash remaining squash in pan with a fork or potato masher until it resembles a course relish.
  • Slowly pour the cream into the pan of mashed squash and mix thoroughly. 
  • Add the onion, kosher salt to taste, and remaining squash that was set aside.
  • Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled over the top. A small amount of grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled along with the parsley goes well with this dish.

Might we also suggest a recipe published on our blog last summer, care of Tim Vidra, local Richmond blogger over at E.A.T. He shared a delicious Summer Squash Tart using yellow squash, zuchinni, and dill (you can use up any leftover from your box last week).

Delicious indeed! 

Tomato-Cheese Pie, 3 Ways

21 May

Tomato-Cheese Pie

While searching for new recipes to share with my children, I stumbled upon this sweet little cookbook with great recipes to get children involved in the cooking process. I am ashamed to say, however, that the first recipe I found interesting enough to make, I tailored for my husband and I.

I know, I know, mother of the year award right here!

While I do plan to find something in the cookbook that I can coax my children into trying, sustaining myself in the process has proven to be delicious.

I love the basic ingredients, and that you can change the ingredients up to fit the season, or more importantly, your mood. The original recipe called for stale bread, your choice of cheese,  and 1/4 tsp sweet basil leaves.

I recommend using a loaf of cubed Flour Garden rustic bread, which Farm Table members can order as an add-on in their weekly box.

This recipe is great as a brunch item, or pair it with a salad and chilled white wine for a fabulous, easy, and light dinner.

If you have kids, I’m sure they would love it with some apple juice, and sliced fruit.

Farm Table Tomatoes

Tomato-Cheese Pie, Recipe inspired by Peter Rabbit’s Natural Food’s Cookbook by Arnold Dobrin

Ingredients: Print full recipe HERE

  • Small loaf rustic bread, cubed (might we suggest Farm Table bread from The Flour Garden?)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1-1 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt & Pepper

Farm Table Mushrooms

Farm Table Spring Cutting Celery

Directions:

  • Prepare mushrooms (clean with dry cloth).
  • Heat 1-2 Tbs of olive oil in a skillet. When the oil begins to soak, fry mushrooms for a few minutes.
  • Add onions and allow to caramelize. Set aside.
  • Place bread cubes in the bottom of a greased pie dish.
  • Place sliced tomatoes over the top of cubed bread, and season with Kosher salt.
  • Cover the tomatoes evenly with the mushroom and onion mixture.
  • Sprinkle Swiss cheese over the top.
  • Mix together milk, eggs, and ground pepper. Pour over the top of the pie.
  • Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Variations

Replace mushrooms, onions, and Swiss cheese with:

  1. Fresh basil and mozzarella, or
  2. Chop up spring cutting celery or celery leaves (about 1-2 Tbs), and add swiss or cheddar cheese

The Farm Table, Tomato-Cheese Pie

 

Grow. Eat. Share.

17 May

Food Revolution Day

If you are a Farm Table member and received a box yesterday, you learned that today is Food Revolution Day, a global day of action focusing on good food, and keeping cooking skills alive.

Now this is something we can get behind!

Lindwood-Holton outdoor classroom

Linwood-Holton garden

We had the opportunity to visit the students at Linwood-Holton Elementary school in North Richmond today, where program staff were engaging a group of students who visited Holton’s outdoor garden and learning classroom.

Spinach

Grow food with your children!

Students were able to tour the garden, learn about composting and growing their own food, and worked together to make lunch from scratch using basic ingredients from the garden. The results were delicious!

Lettuce

Strawberry Salad

Schools and organizations across the globe are participating in activities today, in an effort to promote cooking traditions by preparing good food, and teach children the importance of passing those traditions on. We were pleased to see these traditions taught in our own backyard, and were proud sponsors of the Food Revolution Day‘s Junior Chef Cooking Contest held at Kitchen Thyme and West Broad Street yesterday. To learn more about Food Revolution Day check out Jamie Oliver’s website where you will find recipes to share with your children.

Linwood-Holton Elementary School garden

What sorts of things are you doing to get the young people in your life cooking and eating fresh, whole food that is good for them? What kind of traditions are you passing down to them? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page! Please share!

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