Sunday, June 28, 2009

Healthy Farm Management

A friend of mine just learned about the horror that is GMOs, and the government subsidies of this environmental and health disaster. It stands in dramatic contrast to what I just experienced at Huguenot Street Farm.

How do you know that your veganic farm is using healthful farming practices? When you're squatting picking peas, and a big black turtle strolls by and says "hello." Say no to GMO, say yes to local farms (and turtles and frogs and birds!).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eat Pickles, Be Healthy

Wintergreens is all about preserving local food when it's harvested, for use in the deepest depths of winter. We're currently selling frozen local baby food, pickled local veggies, and stuff like veggie burgers (made from guess what—local veggies) at the farmer's market to raise money for our walk-in freezer.

But somehow it's the pickles that stick for people. Someone with turrets said to me the other day, "You make those funny pickled things, don't you?" Guilty.

But E, The Environmental Magazine is here to tell you why eating pickles is a good thing: probiotics, immune support, etc. etc. Pickle Power!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


True story: At the farmer's market, the meat vendor and the mushroom vendor got in a fight over wintergreens' last serving of wasabi baked tofu.

It's a new world, people, a new world.


Today a mystery was solved.

I've lived in this house for six years, and for six years have wondered what a berry tree in the yard was. The combination of not knowing, and the fact of it being a tall tree located on a steep slope, have made it so I've never eaten the berries.

It's driven me a little crazy, though. How can you have berries in your yard and not eat them? Okay, maybe they'd be poisonous, but maybe not! I've always wanted to invite over someone who's a tree identification expert, and happen to bring up this particular tree in discussion.

When the Beacon train station was renovated, some of these same trees showed up in the parking lot there. The other day I threw caution to the wind and tasted the berries. Absolutely delicious.

And today, while visiting friends at the Beacon Farmer's Market, I noticed someone else picking the berries. I immediately ran over to talk with him. He thought I was coming over to tell him not to pick the berries, which is hilarious, because I always think people are going to challenge me, too, when I'm harvesting unused fruits and veggies. But I chatted with him, and he told me all about Juneberries. I ran home and verified everything he said online.

Not only is the mystery solved, but I get to enjoy a whole new fruit!!

Friday, June 19, 2009


Now you'll find spicy brown mustard (it's so good) and sweet relish at the wintergreens table. Coming soon: pink kraut!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sun Tea: Easiest Recipe in the World

Any nincompoop can cook with solar rays, and have a refreshing beverage to show for their effort. No building ovens out of tinfoil required. Just put tea bags in a jar of water, add your favorite herb (hint hint: mint), set in the sun, and go about your business. Come back half hour or many hours later, pull out the tea bags, and serve over ice.

You're a solar cooking genius.

Berry Season Begins

Mulberries are ripening, mulberries are ripening!

Most berries come later in the season. Strawberries came before mulberries, I concede, but mulberries are the first berries to show up without any effort at all. And there are gobs of them.

Cookbook queen Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a fab recipe in Vegan With a Vengeance for Sunny Blueberry-Corn Muffins
  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c corn or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp soy yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/4 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease muffin tin. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, soy milk, soy yogurt, vanilla, and lemon zest. With a wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold in the blueberries, being careful not to overmix. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Serve warm.Why do I tell you this in the middle of a love song to mulberries? Because, I've improved on Queen Isa's recipe. My zester doesn't work so well, so I replace the zest with a healthy tablespoon plus an extra sprinkle of candied lemon peel, and replace the blueberries with mulberries. You follow? I call these lovelies Wild Sunny Muffins.

Mulberries right now are perfect for picking to freeze, so that you can enjoy awesome muffins in the dead of winter. Pick now to freeze, wait a week or two for those berries you're going to put directly in your mouth. When freezing, spread the berries out on a cookie sheet and freeze first, then put into containers or baggies. That way they aren't all frozen in a lump. When picking, be prepared to get purple palms, foot bottoms, and mouth. Yum, BERRIES!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Plum Vinegar Radishes

People often taste these radishes, and act surprised that they like them. I think they're drawn to them just because of the electric pink. Every week at market, though, people are amazed at the flavor. People say they don't usually like radishes, but really like these. A shopper at the market this week wanted me to ship these lovelies to her in Texas. I said no, but that I'd post the recipe here.

Here's why I said no. The pickles wintergreens is selling at the market are quick pickles; fresh, not heat preserved, and not shelf stable. I have no idea what would happen in the mail, especially in this lovely warm weather. No worries, Ms. San Antonio, you can easily make your own!
Here's what you tasted at the market:
  • 2 cups sliced radishes rubbed with 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 3 umeboshi plums, finely diced
You can use ume vinegar instead and skip the plums if you like, or use both to pump up the plum.

Stir the sugar into the vinegar until dissolved, then stir in plums. Once the radishes have "sweated," add the vinegar mixture, stir well, and refrigerate for two days. Occasionally stir so that all the radishes spend time submerged in the liquid.
BUT THEN, a twist. I was cruising the internets looking for pretty radish pictures, and found a recipe at Just Bento that includes strawberry syrup. Because I have wonderful fresh strawberries on hand, I gave it a whirl.
Instead of using strawberry syrup, though, I just pureed 5 strawberries with the sweetened vinegar. I threw in a few tiny wild strawberries, too, just because they're everywhere in the yard. I cut the radishes into moon shapes, this time, to distinguish from the non-strawberry batches.

Besides having taken that gorgeous picture (the lead photo), Just Bento was right about the flavors. The strawberry flavor is very subtle, but delicious. Spring on your plate!

Take a Few, Leave the Rest

There's an interesting article in the Globe and Mail about fiddlehead ferns and wild ramps. The article says that increased interest in these wild foods is endangering them. For example, eating a mature ramp bulb is eating 18 to 20 years of growth. If too many people eat too many of them, there won't be any more. Likewise, so many people are eating so many fiddleheads from ferns, they are damaging the plants.

In my opinion, this isn't because of a growing interest in wild food, but because of greed. (Like the changing meaning of organic and local, as it becomes corporate lingo.)

As with everything else, in wild food we need to take a little and leave a lot to enjoy later.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I grew up in the southwest, and chilies are important to me. (Tortillas, too!) That's why I'm so excited that my cayennes and jalapenos are finally growing strong.

In California, my sister is representing by mixing up a batch of her famous Fuego. She won't give out the recipe, so I hope she comes to visit soon! (My theory is that pepitas are her secret ingredient.)I'm still getting by on last years' fermented hot peppers, and while I love them, I'm really looking forward to fresh. Speaking of fermented hot peppers and eating things inspired by the southwest: the next time you pull out your slow cooker to make a batch of pinto beans, try using the leftover brine from pickled peppers as the liquid. It gives the beans an amazing sweet and spicy kick.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hudson Valley Tofu Hippie

In the best way possible!

wintergreens' fresh, organic, bulk tofu supplier is 82 year old Sam Weinreb of Local Tofu in Nyack. He was born in Brooklyn, and has had nine lives, as a soldier, an actor, a dancer, and a printmaker. After he was fired from Parsons for organizing a faculty union, he left the city and started making tofu in 1980.
Back in my Brooklyn days, he used to deliver buckets of tofu in his hatchback to the neighborhood vegetarian restaurant. He personally delivered all up and down the Hudson Valley and all over the city.
Sam's tofu is my favorite of all I've tasted. Some people just want their tofu to be a carrier of other flavors, but I love its flavor, and the beanier the better. This tofu tastes great plain and cold, with nothing on it.
You can learn to make tofu from Sam at this years' NY Green Fest in Alfred, where he'll be giving his "Zen and the Art of Tofu Making" workshop. Or, you can hear him read his poetry for Poets Against the War, at the Nyack Center monthly.