Archive | April, 2012

Hodge-podge

28 Apr

This weekend brings us a hodge-podge of information, and we’re not talking about soup:

Remember the radishes that were growing? Well, they grew.

Home grown radishes

We are so grateful for the rain that came this past week. Our farmers, whose livelihood depends on equal amounts of  rain and sun, needed it. The produce is sure to flourish because of it.

And it’s not just the radishes that are thriving — the weeds are happy about the rain, too.

Got dandelions and purslane? Consider taming  those offending weeds into something edible.

If your weekend plans don’t include pulling weeds for your dinner, you might be interested in this local Richmond event hosted by Bon Air United Methodist Church. Tanya Denckla Cobb, UVA professor and author of Reclaiming Our Food: How the Grassroots Movement is Changing the Way We Eat will speak at Bon Air United Methodist Church on Sunday, April 29 at 9:45 a.m. in the sanctuary. The event is free and open to the public.

Or, you have two more nights to enjoy Richmond Restaurant Week. Did you dine at a participating restaurant this week? Tell us about it!

What’s For Dinner Tonight?

26 Apr

Whether planning meals and grocery shopping is something you enjoy or dread, it is a necessity. We all have to eat, right? All of us have busy lives: obligations, work, children, extended family, emergencies, food boxes to deliver…at the end of the day, when we are beat, hungry, and maybe even a little irritable, dinner is the last thing on our minds until it is time to eat, and then it can be so tempting to pick up the phone and order take-out. While take-out is delicious, this habit can be a drain on our pocket-books and unkind to our waist line.

If done right, meal planning will save you money, it will save you time, it will reduce the amount of food you discard or compost. We think saving money, time, and food is a good thing.

We recommend planning your meals out for a week or longer, then shop for everything you need in one trip. If you are a Farm Table member, you can easily plan your weekly dinner menu around what comes in your box, made even easier by the wonderful recipes that accompany your food each week.

However you get your food, here are a few tips to help make your food life a tad easier:

  1. Grab your pencil and paper. There is a lot of editing that goes into meal planning.
  2. Take note of what you already have in stock: a few extra eggs leftover from last week’s delivery or grocery shopping trip; Lettuce that maybe has one more day before it wilts into a shriveled, lifeless, lump; A couple pork-chops in the freezer; A cup of orzo in the pantry. All of these things could be incorporated into your weekly food plans to get them used up in the next week.
  3. Determine what is coming in your Farm Table food box for the week.  Take note of some of the handy recipe suggestions that are sent along in your weekly email notification, or in the newsletter. Mushroom tomato basil sauce over linguine? Yes, please. Fresh Salmon in Sorrel sauce? I’ve never tried that before. Sounds good.
  4. What other recipes have you been wanting to try? What are some staple meals in your home that you could use your produce as ingredients toward?
  5. Look at your calendar and determine what is going on in your life that week. Partner out of town? Soccer practice? Cooking dinner for a friend who just brought a new baby home (if you aren’t, then you should)? Ask all of these questions as you begin to outline your meal plan for the week, and subsequently, your grocery list.
  6. Now is time to jot down what you need to pick up at the grocery store, also thinking ahead to breakfast, and lunch.
  7. Determine the most ideal day to hit the grocery store or farmer’s market for items to supplement your weekly Farm Table Box.
  8. Once you have made decisions about what you plan to eat that week, you can jot it down on our handy-dandy meal planning template or make one for yourself that meets your needs and hang it on the fridge.  If you have to soak beans the night before, or do any prep work, write that down on your meal plan so you don’t forget.

Here are some other budget-saving, and time-saving tips to help you in your meal planning efforts:

  • Keep your pantry full of staples, and cook from scratch. While cooking from scratch can be extra work, it is cheaper and you know what is in your food.
  • Buy items in bulk. This will lower your trips to the grocery store, and if an item you use is on sale, you can stock up and it will save you money in the long run.
  • Cook in bulk, and freeze your food. You can also prep and cook some food items ahead for the week, which will save you time on busy days.
  • Curb the take-out/eat-out trap by keeping basic “go-to” meal staples on hand. This could be extra cans of salmon for salmon cakes, pasta and sauce for spaghetti, whatever the go-to meals are in your home. Buy extra and save money and time later.
  • If you are Mr. or Mrs. Fancy-pants, you can actually use one of these grocery list applications like SplashShopper, or ShopShop. We like this free iPhone or Android application from Kroger. Who knew grocery shopping could be so technologically advanced? See if your grocery store offers something similar.
  • Don’t forget to add variety to your meals.
  • Break out the beloved crock-pot from time to time.

Reducing waste and planning ahead is good for you, and for the food you eat. In our last post, we linked you to useful information to help you keep your produce fresher, longer. We also love what Mary Andrews and Tim Vidra are doing with their Farm Table Box to keep their produce fresh at 17 Apart, as well as Tim’s delicious Strawberry Bruschetta that he shared on his blog, E.A.T. Maybe you can add it to your meal plan this week.

Speaking of which, what is on your meal plan this week? What are the go-to meals in your home?

Happy Earth Day!

22 Apr

The rain must know that today is Earth Day, and that the earth desperately needs a good watering!

The Farm Table attended the Earth Day Festival in the Manchester District yesterday.

Area Manager, Heather Jeffrey brought field corn for the kids to play in — a popular and fabulous idea!

Speaking of Earth Day — many of you have asked about the best way to keep your produce fresh so that Mother Nature’s bounty will not spoil.

Here is a link for easy tips on produce storage. Be sure to wash all produce before you use it (but not necessarily before you store it, as this may speed up spoilage). Remember that your produce was picked not long before it we delivered it to your door, and may have traces of dirt and sand.

.

What are you doing on this rainy Earth Day?

@TheFarmTable

20 Apr

 Did you know you can follow The Farm Table on twitter?

Follow @TheFarmTable 

Hooray for delivery day!

19 Apr

The Farm Table Garden Box

We hope everyone arrives home this evening to happily find the first produce box of the season waiting at their front door (and that you left your coolers out to protect your precious produce, and eggs if you ordered them). 

Inside your box you will find a newsletter with delicious recipes to try out and add to your cooking repertoire. Last winter, the Farm Table hosted a cooking class at the Richmond Alternative Center (RAC), and among other things, we taught you how to make an aromatic and delicious Chili using sweet potatoes, black beans, and chorizo. We are sharing that recipe again, because even though the weather is warming up, chili is always in season.

We found a couple of recipes to inspire you to whip up something new with the strawberries that accompanied your vegetables today.

Both recipes are from the blog,  A Couple Cooks, and give you two options for your strawberry use — a delicious and seasonal salad, and a dessert. We highly recommend a good quality balsamic vinegar for both strawberry recipes.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Chorizo Chili

Ingredients:

  • 3 cans of black beans, drained
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • (1) 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 3 links of store-bought chorizo sausage
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • Cilantro for garnishing

Directions:

  • In a 2 qt pot, turn the heat onto medium, and once it has heated up, add the olive oil.
  • Cut the chorizo from the casing and put it into the pan. Break it apart with the spatula and saute until chorizo cooks and becomes fragrant. Remove from the pan (reserving the cooking liquids).
  • Add the cumin and let the spice bloom (quickly toast) before adding the garlic and cooking until fragrant (taking care not to burn it).
  • Next add the onion and cook until translucent – the can of tomato sauce comes next with salt, pepper and oregano, drained beans, sweet potatoes, chorizo, and chicken broth.
  • Bring everything to a boil before turning down the heat to a medium/low and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  • Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.
  • You can add a dollop of low-fat sour cream, chopped onions, cheddar jack cheese or jalapeno peppers.

You can also substitute the Chorizo with Andouille Sausage. We also added diced tomatoes to this variation.

After you finish nibbling on your tasty vegetable concoctions, come visit us this Saturday, April 21st at one of many events we will be attending:

Check out the Richmond Earth Day Festival, 320 Hull St (Manchester District); or visit us from 9:00-1:30pm at West Over Hills UMC for the MOPS Cookie & Craft Spring Bazaar, 1705 Westover Hills Blvd; or visit us at the Railroad Run in Ashland, 500 South Center Street. Please drop by and say hello — we would love to see you!

And last but not least, congratulations to Mara Servaites, our first blog giveaway winner! We hope you enjoy 2 weeks worth of complimentary produce on us! Keep updated on future posts, giveaway opportunities, and local events by clicking the “Follow the Tractor” button to receive instant email updates. Thank you for joining us!

How does your garden grow?

16 Apr

The radishes are growing.

Radishes

What are you growing in your garden?

“Like” us on Facebook and post one picture of  the edible treats you are growing this year.

A sneak peek…

12 Apr

Onions from the Flores Farm

We are anxious to get these beauties delivered from the Flores Farm to your doorstep next week (we expect deliveries to begin on April 18th for our corporate Anthem members,  and April 19th for all of our home delivery members).

While we wait for the first delivery, you still have until 9:00pm on April 13th to enter our first ever blog giveaway: 2 weeks worth of produce valued at $50 for one lucky member.

Click here to find out more information!

Bring it, Spring!

9 Apr

After a long winter break from fresh, local produce, The Farm Table is eager to begin our second season of bringing delicious vegetables, fruits, and herbs straight from the farmer to your doorstep! We have been busy checking in on our hard-working farmers, trying out new recipes, and coming up with exciting ideas to make our second year of The Farm Table even more enjoyable.

We expect deliveries to begin on April 18th for our corporate Anthem members,  and April 19th for all of our home delivery members.  We hope to bring you a combination of greens (collards, kale, spinach, maybe lettuce), turnips, possibly spring onions, strawberries, and if we can find it, asparagus. Finally, we can rejoice in the knowledge that we are beginning to locate egg farmers. Our first 80 dozen free range eggs are scheduled to be delivered to our packing facility this month.

We are thrilled to begin the new year by bringing you recipes, cooking tips, tools, and other useful information by way of our new blog. We will occasionally introduce you to our team and thought we’d begin by profiling the owners, Rick Grossberg and Duane Slyder, who launched The Farm Table in 2011:

Rick learning how to make tortillas

Rick refers to himself as a “Professional Foodie.” Rick, and his wife, Judith, have spent years pursuing their passion for preparing and serving foods of every type and sort. This includes growing some of their own fruits and vegetables – squash, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, figs (a lot of ’em), grapes, cherries, herbs – making homemade bread from wild yeast captured 5 years ago, homemade cheese, sour cream, crème fresh, smoked meats, jellies, jams, canned fruits, and more.

Rick was born in NYC in 1950 and received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Virginia in 1974. He founded Archadeck in 1980 in Richmond and remained with the company until its sale in 2008.

Duane (in red), at one of many Farm Table events

Duane (in red), at a Farm Table event

Duane grew up in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and Loudon County, Virginia. He spent his youth raising cattle and horses, and has a passion for locally grown, vine-ripened tomatoes. Duane spent the last 15 years working with his wife in a family business, designing and selling Christmas decor. He enjoys tutoring his two teenaged children in math and likes to make soup.

Rick and Duane are pleased to make Friday the 13th a lucky day for one Farm Table member by offering our very first blog giveaway: two (2) weeks worth of produce valued at $50!

To enter the giveaway you must renew your membership, or redeem your Living Social membership voucher, or become a new member, AND post a comment below stating what local produce you would like to see in our boxes this season by 9:00pm on Friday, April 13th, 2012. Congratulations to Mara Servaites – our first blog giveaway winner. Please follow our blog for immediate updates on posts, recipes, events, and giveaway opportunities.

The giveaway winner will be randomly chosen and announced on our blog by April 20th.

To learn more about becoming a member, visit www.thefarmtable.org and click on “How It Works” and then “Sign Up Now.”

Thank you for joining us and check back often!