Friday, March 27, 2009

Candy & Cigarettes

When times are hard economically, we turn to sweets and cigarettes for comfort. Neither is good for the pocketbook, and neither is particularly good for our bodies, either.No time like the present to ally with local food growers so that we can all save money, and have some healthful veggies to eat when we're burnt out on candy.
In the meantime, I'll take a candy cigarette.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Onions

Yum! It's time for tender spring onions! Spring onions are just tender baby onions (or scallions) used before the bulb has time to grow. In the Hudson Vally, these spring up all over the place, wild, before other plants, then often don't mature, squeezed out when other plants flourish. They look like unruly spurts of grass.
They are everywhere I look. In grassy areas, wooded areas, my garden plot. Look, literally everywhere.
So the good news. These tasty little guys can be used any way onions can. In the past couple days I've had them in salad; in tofu scramble; on a flatbread/pizza with olive oil, salt, tarragon, and sundried tomatoes, and I found this recipe for potato and spring onion bhaji, or aalay pyaz aaloo.

Free fresh food. Delightful. Hopefully you have some dried mint to help with the resulting onion breath.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SAD: The Standard American Diet

A seventy-five pound box of food was dropped on my porch recently. It must have been a food bank distribution, dropped on the wrong porch by accident. It was a lot of food, which is great, of course, for people who are having trouble paying their food bill. However, the great bulk of the food was pasta, sugar (confectioner), and corn starch. There was also baking soda, tea bags, soy sauce, barley, and one can of beans. But more than fifty pounds of pasta and sugar.

I had a boss once who ate what she called "white food" when she was depressed. White bread, egg or tuna salad, cream soup, crackers. Chicken or the egg? Was her diet making her more depressed? Would she have felt better sooner if she'd chosen broccoli and brightly colored fruit?

There are plenty of nutrition studies that show that colorful, fresh food is better for you. But it's true that it many cases, it is also more expensive. That is one reason that buying from local farmers, leaving Whole Foods out of the equation, can both save you money and keep you eating healthier.We'll be doing some shopping trips soon to compare the prices between a bag of food from wintergreens, and a bag of food from local groceries. I'll make you a wager we come out significantly cheaper. (No shipping! Minimal or no packaging!)

I overheard a teen today saying "There's nothing to eat near my house, there are only grocery stores." I think she meant that there aren't any pizza joints or chinese take-outs where she lives. Many people have a similar problem, but different: only grocery stores, no FARMS. Fortunately, in the Hudson Valley, we don't have this problem.

*wintergreens is applying to be able to accept Food Stamps. Everyone should have access to great food, and the health and happiness it can bring.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


The sunchoke, or jerusalem artichoke, is an early spring vegetable that is easy to grow at home. They're in the sunflower family, so are tall with cheery yellow flowers in summer. Perfect for a fence or border.

Sunchokes are root vegetables, in the same family as potatoes, yams, and oca. Roots can be dug up and used in autumn, or in early spring when the soil becomes workable again. Overwintering under a protective layer of soil makes them even nuttier and sweeter. (You'll want to leave those you don't use in the fall in the ground: they do not store well once harvested.)

These roots can be eaten raw, like a flavorful water chestnut. They can also be steamed, fried, or baked, but cook them for a short amount of time to avoid mushiness.

The very best thing about sunchokes is that they are perennial vegetables. That means they'll come back year after year. With a little care, you'll have tender, crisp roots to eat before any plants are budding in spring.
I just had some from my yard for dinner, in my own version of colcannon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maple Syrup & Ramps

Sugar maples are everywhere in the Hudson Valley, literally an "untapped" source of nourishment. It's the season right now. The taps flow best when nights are freezing and days warm up above freezing, getting the sap flowing up to a gallon a day. The pure sap boils down to about 1/40th that amount in maple syrup.
Ramps come in April, also in the forest, and are the first wild green food of the season. They are a wild onion (or wild leek), identifiable by their smell and by their broad lily-of-the-valley like leaves.

Get in touch with your surroundings, eat wild!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Distribution for the 2009-2010 Season

Distribution for the 2009-2010 season will take place twice a month, from November through April, in Beacon. That's a total of 12 pickups.

Share distribution takes place at the Sunday farm market in the sloop club. (You've noticed that building by the river with a tree growing out of it, right?) There, you can buy produce from other farmers, fresh bread, local wines, etc. while picking up your share. It's chilly in the sloop club, but there is usually a raging fire in the fireplace to warm up next to.

*UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2009: It's official, we'll be at the Beacon Winter Farm Market, the 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month. See you there!

**Check here for details of the contents of each distribution.

Farmer Focus: Huguenot Street Farm

Though wintergreens is working with several farms and producers, a great deal of our produce comes from trusty Huguenot Street Farm in New Paltz. We've been a part of the Huguenot Street CSA for years, and have never eaten more wonderful vegetables. Ron and Kate Khosla had a leading role in developing Certified Naturally Grown and practice veganic farming methods. They have been featured in several articles. Until you've had the luxury of eating their food, here's a goofy video to make you love them:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What's in my share?

The below samples are meant to give you a quick idea of some of the things you'd be receiving in any given month. For the contents of actual distributions, click here.

Sample December share:
  • fresh apples
  • fresh carrots
  • fresh winter squash
  • dried sage
  • dried tarragon
  • dried wheat berries
  • jar of pesto
  • frozen vitamin greens
  • frozen zucchini
  • frozen wild mulberries

Sample February share:
  • fresh sprouts
  • fresh onions
  • fresh garlic
  • fresh potatoes
  • fresh oyster mushrooms
  • dried mint
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • jar of salsa
  • jar of apple sauce
  • frozen mixed asian leafy greens
  • frozen bell peppers
Sample April share:
  • fresh salad micro greens
  • fresh potatoes
  • dried parsley
  • jar of miso paste
  • jar of marinara sauce
  • jar of ginger kraut
  • jar of hot peppers
  • frozen kale
  • frozen green beans
  • frozen squash
  • tomato and herb seedlings
  • compost

New Crock

wintergreens scored a new 6 gallon acorn crock at a junk store in Brooklyn! We're having a wooden top made for this beauty, and it'll hopefully be holding your miso paste soon.