Archive | October, 2012

Sun & Sangria at Grayhaven Winery, and an Apple Butter Recipe

26 Oct

Many thanks to everyone who joined us at our 2nd annual Farm Table event at Grayhaven Winery last Sunday. We loved the food, the wine, and the company!

Here are some highlights:

Grayhaven Winery

The corn pool was a hit with the kids

The food was a hit with the adults

Face painting by Ingrid

Small batch cooking of apple butter by Heather

Farm Table produce shared among friends

Farm Table members, check your newsletter for recipes of some of the tasty dips we enjoyed. If you joined us on Sunday, you undoubtedly took home some of The Farm Table’s slow batch apple butter — delicious! If you missed out, here is Area Manager, Heather Jeffrey’s recipe, handed down from her Grandmother “Baba”, so you can make your own! When asked if she made any adaptations to this recipe recipe she responded, “use a food processor rather than a sieve or mill, use Virginia apples rather than Vermont, and use a chilled plate rather than a dish of snow.”

Enjoy!

BABA’S APPLE BUTTER

INGREDIENTS & EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • 4 lbs of good cooking apples 
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Honey (about 4 cups)
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 wide 8-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining)
  • A food mill/processor

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepping your fruit

  •  Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them.

2. First Stage of Cooking

  • Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Ladle apple mixture into your food processor. 
  • Measure out purée adding 1/2 cup of honey for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve the honey.
  • Add a dash of salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and allspice.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

3. Second Stage of Cooking

  • Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir, making sure nothing is crusting to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook until thick and smooth, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation.

Get To Know: The Farm Table, Part III

18 Oct

We love the community you have helped The Farm Table build. Our Members, Area ManagersFarmers, and our Neighborhood Coordinators, together, make a difference in supporting our local economy, and building a food community that brings farmers and families together. Eating local food creates jobs, boosts the economy, promotes health and well-being, and supports a healthy environment with thriving communities.

We are thrilled with the outpouring of support our members have shown toward helping the Flores Farm expand their irrigation system. Through your generous help, Flores Farms will be able to double the amount of irrigated fields on their 50-acre farm, ultimately allowing them to increase the variety of produce they provide next season. The Farm Table and the Flores Farm are grateful for the generosity our members have shown thus far — please keep it coming. What a difference you are making! 

In our Get to Know series, we’d like to share more about the Flores Farm, and introduce you to a few more of the Farm Table team who link you to your local farmers. Thank you for reading and keeping it local!

Since immigrating to this country two decades ago, Virginia farmer Gerardo Flores has become known for his ability to grow such rare vegetables as sorrel, purslane, Japanese daikon radishes, and more than fifteen types of hot peppers. Gerardo and his son Omar farm fifty acres of produce on the Northern Neck and count Hispanic and Asian produce buyers in the Washington, DC, area among their customers. Even so, according to Omar, “With the agriculture economy the way it is, we weren’t sure we were going to make it.” Having a network of families supporting local farmers has helped to add as much as $1,000 a week to a farmer’s income,  “Some weeks that’s what keeps us in business,” says Omar. “For us, this is the future.”

Peter Pickering is a former Neighborhood Coordinator turned Area Manager.

“I manage driving the truck.

They call me The Pirate and the truck is my ship.

I plunder the 7 seas for the finest produce, and deliver only the most excellent treasures to the people.

I am a graduate student at VCU studying counselor education.

I have a small farm with my wife.

We have chickens and guineas, bunnies and ducks.”

Shari Fowler joined The Farm Table and began making deliveries early last year, shortly after The Farm Table began operations. She added newsletter duties a few weeks later and has been doing it ever since.

She is originally from Dayton, Ohio where she met her husband Chris of 23 years. She lived in Central PA, and Apex, NC before moving to Richmond two years ago with her children Dana (13), and Curtis (11), and their 14-year-old German Wirehaired Pointer, Emma.

Shari used to have her own garden, but since her current property isn’t ideally suited for it, she decided to do the “next best thing” and become a Farm Table member. A self described “foodie”, Shari likes to entice her family with fun and creative ways to eat nutritious, tasty cuisine. Her favorite new food this season were the oyster mushrooms, “They looked freakish but were oh-so-delicious simply grilled over an open flame with olive oil.”

Shari is the owner and creator of Iberian Inspirations Natural and Organic Body Polishes and Body Butters. In her spare time, Shari grows exotic plants and orchids, hikes, kayaks, practices yoga, and listens to music.

To help us celebrate our local food community, and meet The Farm Table team, join us at Grayhaven Winery on Sunday, October 21st at 1:00pm. Bring a picnic blanket, the kids, and a batch of dip to share for our second annual fall dip-off! Kick off your shoes and enjoy a glass of small-batch crafted wine by the masters at Grayhaven. Observe or participate as we create our own batch of homemade apple butter to jar and send home with our members. Kids can enjoy face painting, a corn pool, nature trails, and the animals at Grayhaven. Check your official Evite to RSVP.

Baba Ghanoush

14 Oct

Guest Blogger and Farm Table member, Christen Miller, is back to follow up her Dirty Rice recipe with this healthy, simple, and tasty dish that you can whip up easily and enjoy today:

Baba Ghanoush – it’s fun to say,  and good to eat.

There are some foods that you want to serve because they sound just as good rolling off the tongue as they taste on it. When I opened my Farm Table box this week I was so excited to find eggplant and the prettiest parsley I have ever seen. My thoughts went to one of my favorite dishes – Baba Ghanoush.

This flavorful dish, with its wonderful blend of rich flavors, is not only complex and delicious, but is also a good source of antioxidants, potassium, fiber, calcium,phosphorus, selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, and manganese. To top it off — it’s ridiculously easy to make!

My earliest memories of it stem from a New Year’s eve party I attended as a child in the home of some of my parents’ artist-friends in Austin. Texas. While eggplant was a staple in our kitchen garden, I’d never eaten it prepared like that. The rich, smoky flavor of the eggplant, sharp bite of fresh garlic, bright, fresh parsley, and tart lemon blended so well with creamy tahini and salt. I loved it so much I ate an impolite amount which amused our hosts, and embarrassed my parents.

Serve this dish as an appetizer, side or salad. I like it with pita chips or naan, or if I’m feeling like I want to go lighter, then I use cucumbers or celery to scoop up the dip.

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 smaller eggplants
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Place the eggplants whole on the grill and roast until the skin is blackened and the insides are mushy to the touch.
  • When they are cool enough to handle, break into them and scoop out the inside.
  • Add all the other ingredients, reserving some parsley and olive oil as a garnish. I use an immersion blender to smooth everything out. You can just mash with a fork, but I like the creamy texture of it blended.
  • Garnish with the reserved olive oil and parsley.
  • Add-ons can include chopped kalamata olives, cayenne pepper or hot sauce, pine nuts or feta cheese.

Try your hand at this recipe, or create your own dip and bring to Grayhaven Winery on Sunday, October 21st at 1:00pm, for our second annual dip-off! Bring a picnic blanket and the kids while you enjoy  food, stories, wine, recipes – and more food! Observe or participate as we create our own batch of homemade apple butter to jar and send home with our members. Kids will enjoy face painting, a corn pool, nature trails, and will get to interact with the farm animals. Adults, you can kick off your shoes while sipping a glass of small-batch crafted wine by the masters at Grayhaven.  Dogs are welcome. RSVP here.

Dinner Time Woes? 14 Free Printables For Your Kids

9 Oct

You’ve received your weekly Farm Table box.

You’ve written your weekly meal plan.

You’ve washed, sorted, and properly stored your produce . 

Now it’s time to actually prepare dinner and you find that adults and kids alike are running on empty. Everyone is a tad cranky, the kids are bouncing off of the walls, and you are gritting your teeth trying to get something that resembles a meal on the table for your family to enjoy and not lose your mind.

We think getting children involved in the meal and table preparation is a great way to teach them new skills, foster independence and confidence, and create lasting memories for everyone. We also know that sometimes that task is unrealistic, especially with more complicated meals, and those nights when you are short on patience and time.

Check out these 14 fun printables that you can print now, prep, and pull out when you need the extra help — that’s 2 weeks worth of extra help! They are fun, seasonal, and educational. You’re welcome!

We still think they should help set the table though!

You can make an appetizer plate to stave off hunger with sliced fruit, veggies, and dip. Don’t worry about it spoiling dinner. Who cares as long as you are eating fruits and vegetables!

What dinner time tricks do you have up your sleeve?