Tag Archives: nature

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!

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!

Fresh Spinach Dip

1 May

 

Harvest Hill Farm Member Event

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Harvest Hill Farm Member Event this past Saturday. It was a wonderful way to get out in the country, enjoy a piece of the farm life, nosh on some great food, and watch the pigs do what they do best…eat!

The Farm Table prides itself on the community you have helped to build over the last few years, and we look forward to being able to get together over the course of the 2013 season to celebrate good farming, good food, and  good people. 

If you were unable to make it out to the farm last weekend, then you missed out on the fresh spinach dip that Richmond Area Manager, Patty Loyde brought. We’d like to introduce you to Patty, and share her spinach dip recipe using Farm Table ingredients:

Patty Loyde, Farm Table Area Manager

Originally a product of the suburbs in both New Jersey, where she grew up, and Henrico County, where she lived after graduating from the University of Richmond, Patty Loyde and her husband John are now Fan dwellers in the city of Richmond – and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Patty started as a Neighborhood Coordinator in the summer of 2012 for the Fan,and has now added the positions of Central Richmond Area Manager and Bookkeeper, aka Chief Number Cruncher, to her duties this year.

Patty loves to travel and watch movies, plays tennis year-round, tends her small city garden, and cooks from scratch, when not checking out the local Fan restaurant scene (Olio, Fresca, and Mint are some of her favorites). She attempts to eat a diet of unprocessed food whenever possible, striving for progress, not perfection. The  Farm Table makes that goal so much easier!

Fresh Spinach Dip, The Farm Table

Fresh Spinach Dip, By Patty Loyde (Print Full Recipe Here)

I made this spinach dip for the Harvest Hill Farm Member Event and served it with tortilla scoops. I love that I was able to use the spinach, onions
and garlic from that week’s box and that I didn’t need to use the package of highly processed soup mix I usually do to make it. It turned out just as good, if not better than the ole’ standby, often served in a bread bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded or finely diced carrot
  • ½ cup finely diced spring onions, white and light green parts
  • ¼ cup finely diced spring garlic, white and light green parts
  • 1 full bag of spinach
  • salt & fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup diced spring onions, dark green parts
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, if you prefer
  • ½ cup Miracle Whip or mayo, if you prefer
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Finish with: salt & pepper and onion & garlic powders, to taste

Directions:

  • Clean and dry the spinach well.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the carrots, onions, garlic, salt and pepper until softened. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Using the same pan, sauté the spinach in a little more salt and pepper, tossing occasionally, until all the spinach is wilted. You may need to do it in batches, depending on the size of your pan.
  • Transfer the cooked spinach to a strainer and remove as much liquid as you can by pressing with a spoon or ladle. Place on a few layers of paper towels, top with more paper towels and press to remove additional liquid.
  • Finely chop the spinach and add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Stir well and chill for at least 2 hours to combine flavors.
  • After being chilled, finish with salt & pepper and onion & garlic powders to taste. If you’re serving with salty chips, the dip won’t need as much salt.

Spring Pop-Up Market at Hardywood

7 Apr

The Farm Table 2013 Spring Produce

The countdown has begun for fresh, seasonal food straight from the farmer to your doorstep! If you are getting impatient for The Farm Table’s anticipated April 18th start date, and you missed out on our last Spring Pop-Up Market join us for another fun evening at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery for our 2nd Spring Pop-Up MarketWith the weather forecast showing temps in the 80’s, join us while we celebrate the beginning of the new season,  renew your membership, or become a new member. 

The Farm Table Spring Pop-Up Market

The Farm Table Pop-up Market at Hardywood
Wednesday, April 10 at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery from 4-9 pm. 2408 Ownby Lane, Richmond VA 23220. Click here for directions.

We will have eggs, honey, greens, lettuce, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pastries, bread, Amish sweet butter, Harvest Hill Farm meat, and Quail Cove Farm cheese available, while you enjoy your choice of Hardywood’s excellent selection of craft brews in a laid back venue.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Hardywood Park Craft Brews

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
If you missed out on The Hardywood Community Hopping Project for 2013, be sure to check back next year to get in on the local action while you grow hops for their RVA IPA. Some of The Farm Table staff and members got in on the action this year — we will keep you updated on how the hops grow in our backyards!
Hops for RVA IPA
The Farm Table Pop-up Market at Hardywood 
 
Join us Wednesday, April 10 at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery from 4-9 pm. 
 
Hardywood Park is located at 2408 Ownby Lane, Richmond VA 23220.

New Beginnings

21 Feb

Signs of new life waiting to take over the 2013 season.

The 2013 season is almost here!

Home Garden

We can almost taste it.

Blue Bee Cider

16 Dec

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 the process of making cider

Blue Bee Cider

Apples just waiting for the magic to happen

Apples just waiting for the magic to happen

Courtney, who was in constant motion during my visit, displayed an impressive combination of dedicated work ethic, good humor, and expertise. Her staff were at ease, and fully engaged in the process of making cider — they all seemed to be having fun, despite a few setbacks when the equipment jammed, or hoses came lose. Courtney, who kept her cool, got everything back on track with a quick sleight of hand.

Courtney Mailey Blue Bee Cider

I lingered a little longer than I intended to — it was satisfying to watch someone in the process of their craft, and Courtney, a true artisan, practices her craft with a relaxed confidence that is exciting to watch.

Courtney, in the process of training staff on identifying the parts of the apple that should be cut out, was giving a tutorial on "stink bugs" and the markings they leave on apples.

Courtney, in the process of training staff on identifying the parts of the apple that should be cut out, was giving a tutorial on the markings left by “stink bugs”.

Courtney with her father, Mel, and staff, tightening a hose that transfers expressed juice into a highly sterile and sealed off bag that is "boxed" for a few weeks before filtering it.

Courtney with her father, Mel, and staff, tightening a hose that pumps extracted juice into a highly sterile and impermeable plastic bag where the juice is “boxed” prior to fermenting it.

Blue Bee Cider

Every part of the apple is used. What's left of the apple goes back to the farmer to feed the goats.

Blue Bee puts every part of the apple to good use. Russell Bell of Ringer Farms shovels what’s left of the apple into a trailer, which goes back to the farm to feed the goats.

The name, Blue Bee Cider came from Courtney’s appreciation for the Blue Orchard Bee, native to Virginia. Blue Orchard Bees are not very social, and do not make honey, but are extremely efficient pollinators of apple blossoms.  Courtney, who noted how hardworking and solitary this type of bee was, decided to brand her budding business after them.

Courtney, whose work is not solitary, but certainly determined, is bottling up her sense of good humor, and the delicious bounty of Virginia for the rest of us to enjoy.

We can certainly raise a glass to that!

IMG_4178

Courtney and her staff  have planted an urban orchard outside her urban cidery, with hopes that it may produce fruit for a future batch of cider.

You can follow Blue Bee Cider on Facebook and Twitter, where Courtney has chronicled the process of opening her cidery. She and her staff have started pressing, and selling the raw juice at her tasting room at 212 W. 6th Street, behind Scoot Richmond. The first two hard ciders will be available in the Spring of 2013, and a third in the Fall of 2013.

We hope to see you there this spring when Blue Bee Cider opens for hard cider tastings and tours.

Friday Night Is Pizza Night

16 Nov

The Farm Table would like to introduce to you to one of its members, Jennifer Burns, a mother of three: Asher (2nd grade), Grace (1st grade), and Calvin (16-month old). While she is a new member this year, the fresh and local food movement has long been  a commitment  of her’s, a commitment built on a concern for her family’s health and environmental sustainability . What draws us to Jenn are the established food traditions in her family, and the somewhat laborious tasks she takes on in the kitchen (i.e. grinding her own wheat!), both of which we have great respect for.

Allow us to introduce you to this self-proclaimed ‘army brat’ who met her husband while they both attended Georgia Southern University:

After Ryan and I moved to Richmond and had our first two children, I fell down the rabbit hole of whole foods and “natural” living, and developed roots in this city without realizing it. After an almost 3 year stint away from RVA — Redemption Hill offered Ryan a position as Director of Operations — we jumped at the chance to move back to Richmond, a place we officially call “home” now. A few months after moving back to Richmond we discovered baby Calvin would be making an appearance the next summer (Virginia is for lovers, right?). Some time during all those travels I decided that being a Christian, stay-at-home health nut mom that grinds her own wheat and makes her own deodorant and lip balm wasn’t weird enough, so we home school too. 

When we decided I would stay home after our first child was born, I began reading and learning about nutrition and natural living (he was a very mellow baby — I had time to read that year). At first  I was pretty hardcore (making deodorant? Really? Yes.). However, over the years, with the addition of children and homeschooling, I’ve had to cut back on many extracurricular “natural living” type projects in order to maintain a somewhat orderly household AND my sanity. “Different people can handle different things” has been my mantra! I was so intense about food preparation, and making as much as possible from scratch to save money so that I could use high quality food, that it’s hard for me to think of the way I cook now as being labor intensive. I admit I do still grind my own wheat berries for flour, but that’s mostly for pizza dough these days. I have been buying bread (gasp!), and I make most of our pancakes and muffins with almond meal or coconut flour. I do like to make sauces and baked goods from scratch, not just for my vampire (garlic intolerant) child, but I like having control over all the little ingredients and sneaking in veggies, like beets and kale, when I get the chance.

The biggest food tradition we have (which never occurred to me as a “food tradition” before) is Pizza Night, a tradition carried on from my childhood. Nearly every Friday we make pizza and watch a movie. When other things come up and Pizza Night cannot be bumped to Saturday, my kids tend to have a hard time. It is THAT big of a deal. I’d like to say it’s because my pizza is amazing, but it’s more likely the fact that we get to eat and watch a movie…Ok, mostly the movie. They’re rarely excited about the leftover pizza for lunch on Sunday as it is not served with television. 

Pizza dough recipe found here

I decided to give The Farm Table a go this year because it sounded like what I needed. In an ideal world we would eat primarily local, organic fruits and vegetables, and pastured animal products. Unfortunately I don’t live in that world, so we do what we can, which varies day-to-day. I like the idea of farmers markets, but I get tense and flustered in crowds. Trying to make menu, budget, and grocery decisions in that sort of environment, oh! Last year we joined a traditional CSA, which I thought was my solution. I did enjoy the idea (again with the ideas) of supporting “A Farm,” thus a specific connection to “A Food” source, but unfortunately the downside of one source is that it wasn’t feasible to supply the variety that my family would be more likely to eat with a good attitude. Also, sad though it may be, running out to the pickup location with three children very close to dinner time, wasn’t exactly roses (maybe the stems…). Enter The Farm Table. I’m told what to expect the week before (so I can plan), there’s a nice variety each week, and (drumroll please) I never have to leave my house. I would say it’s been all I hoped for, but that sounds like something my overly dramatic daughter would say (but really, it has been!). There has been much less gnashing of teeth from the vegetable-challenged members of my peanut gallery than last year. 

So far the only thing I couldn’t tackle this season was the daikon radish. There’s a good bit of food that only I enjoy (cabbage, most greens….) and I deal with that by serving it once as a dinner side that week and eating the rest for my lunches. The enormous radish just didn’t work out that way. Even I, the human garbage disposal, can only eat so much radish!

As we approach the holidays, is there a family food tradition that has been passed down in your family, a sneaky way you feed veggies to your children, or another inspiring story you have to tell?  Do you have a recipe you would like to share with The Farm Table community? We want to know?  Contact us at support@thefarmtable.org with your recipes, tips, and traditions.

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing  your food and family life with us! 

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.

A Horticultural Victory

28 Aug

Long Island Cheese Squash.

My husband’s pride and joy from our garden this year.

Long Island Cheese Squash

We picked up the seed packet during a visit to Monticello (part of The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants collection) and planted some for the first time last year. Unfortunately, we grew only one lonesome “Cheese Wheel,” most of which was enjoyed by our backyard squirrels. This year was different, though. To our delight, this old, Long Island Heirloom has been prolific and grew ten plump, delicious, and versatile winter squash that made my husband’s gardening efforts more than worthwhile this year.

We look forward to making soups and pies, and sneaking the puree of this vegetable into our children’s macaroni and cheese, muffins, and anything else we can imagine.

You can pick up your own packet of this heirloom variety at Monticello’s Heritage Harvest Festival coming up on September 14th and 15th. 

What is the pride and joy of your garden? Post a picture for us on Facebook and tell us about it!

Buried Treasure

3 Jun

We hope you will join us today at Echo Lake Park for The Farm Table Ice Cream Social, 3pm until dusk.  Please bring your favorite ice cream, we will provide toppings. There will also be some hand cranks available so people can make ice cream at the park.  Anyone who has a hand crank ice cream maker is welcome to bring them. See you there!