Saturday, March 27, 2010

Distribution - March 28, 2010

A nice surprise for a couple of you who thought this was our last share of the season: we have one more month to go! I'm in the NE of Brazil, busy sunning, but I'm sure you're as hungry as you always are. Thanks to our fabulous volunteers for managing the table this week! If you're feeling friendly, you'll come to market earlier in the day rather than later, so they don't have stay until the bitter end, hint, hint, HINT.

Here's what'll be there waiting for you:
- More potatoes from Huguenot Street Farm (cuz you can't get enough!)
- More onions from Morgiewicz Farm
- Dried popcorn on the cob from Madura Farm
- Frozen carrot juice from Huguenot Street Farm
- Frozen tomato sauce from Huguenot Street Farm
- and, a jar of spicy beer mustard.

We weren't joking about the heat ^%#!ing up the root cellar. Potatoes this time, potatoes next time..... It would be too much of a shame to let any of this clean, local produce go, so grin and bear it. Did you already make colcannon? What about a nice italian potato salad? Shepherd's pie? Hash browns? A nice soup to combat rainy day chill?

The unexpected heat is also why you're planning meals around sprouting onions, and drinking gobs of carrot juice.

There are different jars of tomato, again, some chunky and some perfectly smooth. Grab whichever you prefer. The chunkies retained skin and seeds, and have eggplant and bell peppers added. Neither have spices, so you can use them as part of a recipe, or just spice them up as sauce. Local tomatoes in March are not a terrible thing.

The mustard seeds weren't grown locally, or anywhere near here, and I have to admit, the beer wasn't brewed here, and neither was the vinegar (much to my chagrin). But, as the season ends and we end our reliance on the root cellar, we'll have some items from local and small businesses who are doing good work. We start [really] close to home, with spicy mustard made by wintergreens. Stay tuned for next time with video and gorgeous pictures and tales of danger. None of this has anything to do with mustard, but with a food I'm proud to include in your next share. Exciting!

An exciting experiment in the meantime (invite the kids!) is to try out this popcorn. I hear rumors you can stick the cobs in a paper bag and pop them whole in the microwave. For those of us who pop corn the old fashioned way, rub the cobs together to release the kernels, and put them in a lidded pot with oil. Then put on all manner of salts and yeasts and peppers and other spices. I think that a decade ago my popcorn loving self would not imagine that I'd be rubbing local corn kernels off a cob before popping. It looks a little like inventing fire.

Enjoy the great spring weather, and I'll see you in April!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You know it's spring when...

your cat comes home and barfs up chunks of garter snake in the kitchen. Happy spring!

Purple Chocolate Skaters

Bakesalers, Chapter Three
Marsha Aliaga is an artist, vegan chef, educator, and roller skater extraordinaire. She's got her fingers in the pot of every good thing percolating in Beacon, so, even setting her yummy cookies aside, is clearly a good person to know. She brought us Elia Gurna and her lovely handmade cards, just the right thing for the Valentine holiday! (Elia has some skills on wheels, too.) You can see artwork by Marsha, Elia, Theresa, and other bakesalers here.
Chelsea and Catherine and their bright purple frosted hearts were what everyone wanted to see at the sale. Not only did their cookie artistry steal the show, but Chelsea and Cat womaned the sale during the rushiest hours with big smiles for everyone. Hats off to Chelsea of Cold Spring and Catherine of Brooklyn!
Hudson Valley Compassion supported the sale with chocolate cookies galore. Thanks to Shanti for her chocolate chocolate chip numbers, and Lauren for her chocolate chip cookies. You can help HVC's efforts to support sustainable farming and fight factory farming abuses: learn more here.
Lynn from Go-Go Pops loaned us the hot water thermos that allowed us to warm up the cold night with hot tea. Dana Devine O'Malley, whose Day of the Dead artwork is in the window of Zora Dora's, baked for the sale and donated a beautiful photograph: she also runs Cross St. Cupcakes Co. Carley of Ella's Bellas baked. You can try some of her creations at at Bank Square Coffeehouse). Franny, who volunteers at Mid-Hudson Animal Aid, made her very first vegan recipe for the sale, with ginger snaps in the prettiest little boxes. (I know one toddler who still cherishes the box her valentines cookies came in.)

A LOT of people brought food, helped out, and showed up to support the people of Haiti. There were a lot of generous people involved, and I am certainly failing to include everyone on this list. A profound thank you to every last one.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Berry News

We're fans of C.S.A.s. They make sense for people who eat; they make sense for people who farm; they cut out corporate giants; travel on planes, boats, and in trucks; packaging; chemicals; and the $$ associated with all of these things.

If you haven't joined Common Ground yet for the upcoming season, you better hurry!

And now, Fishkill Farms is getting in on the action with a C.S.A. of their own, with veggies grown by Julia (you know her from the market) and fruit from the Morgenthaus. I'm tight with Julia (love ya!), but....

Me and the Morgenthaus have a spotty history, with good old Robert Morris M. having been the Manhattan D.A. during the years I lived in the city, and me being a street activist who often found my way into jail and criminal courts for exercising the First Amendment. There were many campaigns to get RMM to drop unsubstantiated and trumped up charges against activists. I might have some old postcards to him lying around here somewhere....

Away from the city, it has been Robert's grandson, Josh, who I've dealt with on the farm. I haven't brought up my political differences with his grandfather, and everything has gone smoothly.

It feels a little funny and it's kind of a big deal when I say this: You should join the Morgenthau's C.S.A. There's the fruit and veg one, which includes Julia's beautiful produce. Or, if you're doing Common Ground, there's a fruit only option. July alone makes it 100% worth it: 15 pounds of cherries, 8 pounds of black currants, 5 pounds of plums, 3 pounds of blueberries, and 10 pounds of yellow peaches.

I say to RMM, we're neighbors again, we're in a different setting, I can't hold your mistakes against your kids and grandkids, and we've got to make peace. Especially if there's fruit involved.

Root Cellar Quits, Outside Roots Blossom

One week ago, people were planting poppy seeds on top of some of the remaining snow, and now it's sixty-four degrees, on its way to the seventies. Getting off the train from the city last night I smelled the river for the first time this year. This morning, when I was dragging broken branches from the storm to the curb for city pick up, the whole yard smelled like wild onions, and other smells I can't yet identify. Crocuses are blooming, daffodils and tulips are coming up, and many of these cracked branches have buds, not knowing yet that they're dying. And I was sweating.

I adore warm weather, so all of this is very nice. I love having all the doors flung open, and the cats are in bliss about it, too. But it is early. Three weeks ago we had no power, and carved little passageways for ourselves to move around in the canyons of ice and snow. Last week, flooding threatened to wash the market out. At least all the rain took all the snow with it. (Don't the streets and sidewalks seem so wide now?)

This typical-for-May weather is the end of root cellar storage, for sure, with everything either rotting or sprouting or both. I worry after the sunchokes in the garden, and whether they'll last three more weeks without sprouting. I'm juicing last carrots like a maniac, and relocating potatoes to the coolest, darkest spots I can find. And pulling up my sleeves so that my shoulders can get some sun.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Forward - Distribution March 14, 2010

The weather brought us another exciting distribution day! When we arrived at the sloop club this morning, the parking lot was littered with driftwood (drift logs, really), and there were a few inches of water filling the building. After an hour of so of mopping mud and having a fire going in the fireplace to dry things out, it was pretty functional as a market. But, the excitement wasn't over yet!

With all the melting snow and all the rain on top of it, the river is incredibly swollen, and only about three feet from the back of the sloop club building. High hide was at noon, and by that time, the parking lot was flooded again, with water lapping right at the door. It didn't flood inside again, but, boy, the weather is exciting lately, and keeping us on our toes (and in muck boots). We joked about being the first farmers market literally in the Hudson River.
You've obviously already got your goods, but here's the list for records sake, and in case you have questions. Today's distribution included:
  • pickled pumpkin from Huguenot Street Farm
  • apple granola, with the end of the apples from Liberty View Farm
  • frozen green beans, Huguenot Street Farm
  • frozen zucchini, Huguenot Street Farm
  • crazy mixed mushroom buffet, Madura Farm a.k.a. Mycomedicinals
  • mesclun mix from Madura Farm
These pumpkins lasted sooooo long and sooooo perfectly. We plucked them out of the field last October, and I couldn't tell the difference between these and those I used back then: nothing about them had changed or degraded or even gotten softer. Let me know what you think of them pickled!
Sorry to take it out on you, but I'm in the middle of my sweetener freak out, so, this granola doesn't have the usual dose of maple syrup added. What it does have is oats, flax seeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, the very last apples of the year, dates, and prunes. If you like sweet, eat it with fruit, or go ahead and squirt on some maple yourself. I won't be offended.

The mushrooms were gorgeous, and we were thrilled to be able to offer them. I asked for a couple varieties, and my friends at Madura did me up right. So right that I don't know what they all were. There were maitake, king oyster, enoki, shitake, white portabello, blue oyster, something I was calling a beech nut but was totally wrong (maybe they grow on beech nuts?), and some brown button mushroom that has an Italian sounding name starting with "p." No, not porcinis. You know me, I only had eyes for the maitake....but I wouldn't throw any of them out of a tofu scramble!
Finally, I hope this whole daylight savings blah blah doesn't throw you off. When I googled it to make sure it was really happening today, I found this happy version. Happy hoppy weather crazy spring!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Accordions, Trash, Artshows, and Scraps

Bakesalers, Chapter Two!

Storms, power outages, no internet, oh my! We're behind in honoring those who made the Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti a success. Here are a handful of fantastic participants you should know about, thank, and support.
Lena DeLeo's artistry fit in with the variety of the Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti. She baked black bean flax brownies (wow!) and burned CDs of her band the Dandy Lions. If you didn't get a CD at the sale, have a listen here.
Joanne Boniello was moon gazing, and remembered the Chinese New Year, honored by her almond New Year cookies. She used to own a bakery in Peekskill, so has mad baking skillz (ha ha), but I'm even more taken by the bags she donated made out of reused materials. My dog chow computer bag gets compliments every day! (Reducing waste is important to Joann, as evidenced by her article on how to make rainbarrels in the Peekskill Daily, and her blog, Saved From the Landfill.)

Artists Theresa Gooby and Erica Hauser managed to whip up "Hummus for Haiti" and famed cupcakes, respectively, even though their group show was opening at Beacon Artists Union down the block on the same evening. The opening had even more of packed crowd that night than the bake sale for Haiti, so that's saying something!
My super talented mom donated fabric bowls she makes from her quilting scraps. Not only do her quilts keep wintergreens workers warm all winter long, but now she's ventured out into new territory with these fabulous bowls. Another reused materials artist at the sale (and I'm not naming names) was quite taken with them, and made me explain three times how they're made. Look at this, now we're an arts matchmaking service....

Anyway, the point is that we're proud to have had so many talented people involved in the sale. The community action can warm your little heart on the coldest night of the year.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tour de Prison

The new google maps for bicycles has me riding through the prison to get to Main Street Beacon. Do you think the guards will honor my bike map?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Too Sweet

Starting with a mention in E Magazine, I've gone down the trail of learning how agave nectar is bad for your health. I like agave as a sweetner. I like how similar it is to honey, how the agave plants are slow growing and without pesticides, harvested without fancy farming machinery, and I like how it ties me to home, to a plant that always grew in my yard.

But apparently it is just as bad for me as all other sugar. It's a bummer, I'd even pushed the idea of it and its low glycemic index on my pre-diabetic mom.
It shouldn't surprise me. Things (like fructose) that don't hurt you in their natural form (fruit) aren't so great once isolated, concentrated, and processed. But I want to believe. That's the trick—the stuff is so addictive that we all want to find the magic healthy sugar that will make our sweets obsession okay.

I'm trying to adjust my thinking. Can I get one bottle of the best agave nectar I can find and treat it the same way I do tequila? Buy the best I can afford and take a year or two to consume it, in tiny portions?

I don't know if I can shake this addiction just yet. Later this month I'm headed for Brazil, where I'll surely buy beautiful rapadura bricks wrapped in banana leaves, drink pure sugarcane juice fresh squeezed at the market, and visit our cousins and drink the cachaça they make. The cachaça is, of course, also made from sugarcane.

I'll consider this whole sugar-is-bad-for-you-in-all-forms thing. In the meantime, shoot me up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Redux: Distribution - February 28, 2010

We've just gotten the internet back after the big storm! I hope that all of you have power and water restored, and didn't lose all your beautiful trees. The storm was interesting in a lot of ways, testing how everyone would fare if the services we take for granted slowed or ceased. We were lucky to have our wood burning stove to keep us warm, and to cook biscuits on. It did make me realize we need to bust a move on our rainwater collection system.

I did get to try out some natural cooling methods I'd been thinking about not so long ago. wintergreens did not lose any produce during the four days without power—burying coolers in snowbanks kept everything intact! We were actually appreciative of our deep and tall snowbanks since we had lost produce in summer power outages.

Back to business as usual: Some of you have contacted us to ask, "What are those white things in the jar?" Here's what your last distribution contained:
- Dried red beans from Cayuga Pure Organics
- Dried white whole wheat berries from Wild Hive Farm a.k.a little white things in the jar
- Canned applesauce, made with apples from Liberty View Farm (no sugar added!)
- Root cellared potatoes from Huguenot Street Farm
- Root cellared red onions from Morgiewicz Farm
- Frozen sweet peppers from Huguenot Street Farm
- Frozen peaches from Glorie Farms
- Fresh sprouted black French lentils
- Some of you randomly scored raspberries, red currants, or concord grapes, for a sweet kick

Wheat berries can be cooked and eaten in place of grains you regularly use, but use twice the water and cook for a full hour. They can also be sprouted, or ground and included in recipes. When things are made with "whole wheat," this is what they're talking about.