Posts Tagged ‘md’

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Order Your Local Turkey Today!

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

@ South Mountain Creamery

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, it’s time to pre-order your local turkey! If you read a lot of food magazines (or blogs) to prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, you’ve probably seen a lot of talk about brining the turkey in recent years. Soaking the bird in a saltwater is supposed to add succulence to the meat. But here’s a secret: turkeys are naturally juicy. Conventional turkeys, like conventional chickens and other animals, are raised in confined quarters where they are stuffed full of grain (often genetically-modified, aka GMO) and antibiotics to grow rapidly. Turkeys who eat a natural diet of bugs, grubs and grasses will naturally produce meat that is juicier and more flavorful. And, birds who roam in fresh air lead happier, healthier lives.

What is a Heritage turkey? Today, 99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are the “Broadbreasted White” variety, which have been bred specifically to produce unnaturally large breasts. The breasts are so large, in fact, that these turkeys are unable to reproduce naturally! (Source: Sustainable Table/UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

free-ranging @ Fields of Athenry

free-ranging @ Fields of Athenry

Sustainable turkey farmers raise various traditional species of turkeys, Heritage breeds such as Narrangassett or Bourbon Red, to protect the genetic diversity and provide tastier options for your Thanksgiving table. Heritage birds take longer to reach market size — 24 to 30 weeks compared to 18 for supermarket turkeys — which is one reason why they more expensive. (Source: Heritage Turkey Foundation) The article on Sustainable Table has a more detailed explanation of the difference between heritage, organic and sustainable birds and questions to ask your farmers.

Wondering how to find a local, organic, free-range bird for your holiday meal? Here in the DC Metro area, organic turkeys are harder to find, but several local farmers and butchers provide heritage and/or free-range turkeys. Organic birds will be the most expensive, but they are fed only organic feed, not treated with antibiotics or hormones, and required to have access to the outdoors. Ask your farmer or butcher what their free-range turkeys are fed. Organic grain feed is less important if they are truly free-range, as turkeys prefer to eat bugs and grasses anyway. Where “all-natural” is used below, it means turkeys are not treated or fed with any antibiotics, steroids or hormones.

EcoFriendly Foods (Moneta, VA)
type: all-natural, free-range, Heritage and hybrid breeds, 12-20lbs.
price: n/a
order: order at Arlington Courthouse or Dupont Circle markets, $40 deposit required.

Fields of Athenry (Purcellville, VA)
type: all-natural, free-range, Heritage, 15-35lbs.
price: $7.25/lb.
order: download order form online and send $40 deposit; pick-up at farm only; likely to sell out early.

Let’s Meat on the Avenue (Alexandria, VA)
type: Amish-raised from Pennsylvania and Minnesota; organic from Fauquier County VA; all free-range, all-natural, fresh
price: $3.95/lb. for Amish turkeys
order: call 703-836-6328 or stop by the shop; orders will be accepted until about a week prior to Thanksgiving (or until sold out)

MOM’s Organic Market (VA and MD)
type: all-natural, free-range from Maple Lawn Farm (Fulton, MD) and Eberly’s Organic
price: $1.99/lb. Maple Lawn, $3.49/lb. Eberly Organic
order: call or visit store (locations in Alexandria, College Park, Columbia, Frederick and Rockville)

Smith Meadows Farm (Purcellville, VA)
type: all-natural, free-range turkeys, 10-12lbs. or 13-14lbs., frozen
price: $4.25/lb.
order: Place a $10 deposit at their markets, pick-up on Saturday 11/21 or Sunday 11/22 at the market where you place your order. Orders will be accepted until about mid-November. You can also call 877-955-4389 to place your order by phone.
markets: Arlington Courthouse, Del Ray, Falls Church and Chevy Chase on Saturdays; Takoma Park and Dupont Circle on Sundays

South Mountain Creamery / Hillside Farm (Thurmont, MD)
type: free-range, fresh
price: about $2.50/lb.
order: existing South Mountain delivery customers must reserve a turkey by Saturday, November 7; they will be delivered with your regular delivery the week prior to Thanksgiving.

If you don’t want to cook, The Butcher’s Block in Alexandria will have ready-to-go Thanksgiving meals available; visit the website for details.

To find a local, Heritage turkey in your area, search the listings at Local Harvest — or ask your favorite meat vendor at the farmers market!

Shared with Real Food Wednesday — visit the round-up @ Cheeseslave for more Real Food inspiration.

Bourbon Cherry Cobbler

Friday, July 10th, 2009

old wye mill mdA Southern Cherry Cobbler Recipe: The sour cherries we bought from Toigo last weekend went into a July 4th cobbler. I started with a recipe from 101 Cookbooks, the wonderful blog whose author is also responsible for the “Super Natural Recipe Search” button you may have noticed over on my left sidebar. I made a few additions — bourbon and corn meal — for a Southern twist. And the boy gets the credit for the blueberry polka dots, his contribution to create the requisite red, white and blue color scheme.

The corn meal, which is actual organic, local corn meal grown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and milled once a month at the Historic Wye Mill, is a fairly course grind so I pulsed it in a food processor with a pinch of tapioca starch to make more of a corn flour. I found the bourbon flavor more pronounced the next day, and you can certainly omit the bourbon for a more sober dessert.

Recipe: Bourbon Cherry Cobbler
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

toigo sour cherries

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch (or organic corn starch)
  • 1/3 cup corn meal, finely ground
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup organic buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon fair-trade bourbon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons organic butter, melted and cooled

Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie pan and set aside. Gently toss together cherries, bourbon, starch and sugar in a bowl and set aside. Whisk together remaining dry ingredients. Separately, gently beat egg and combine with vanilla, buttermilk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Pour cherries into pie pan and dot with dollops of batter by the tablespoon, leaving a few gaps in between. (Optional, dot topping with blueberries or additional cherries.) Bake 20-22 minutes, until cherry liquid bubbles up and topping is lightly golden. Enjoy!

foodietot makes cherry cobbler

Farms of Origin: Toigo Orchard, PA (cherries), Westmoreland Berry Farms, VA (blueberries, hand-picked), Wye Mill, MD (organic corn meal), and a local egg from Tom the Cheese Guy, PA.

At Market: Chive Blossoms and Spring Greens

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

This week’s Market Watch features the hunt for local rhubarb, and read on for a recipe for jazzing up greens to appeal to picky kids (or grown ups).

At the Alexandria & District Markets: While strawberries are in abundance at the Del Ray Farmers Market, the first spring peas from Three Way Farm were snatched up within the first hour. I had hoped for rhubarb from the Riva farmers, but they were missing this week, sending the boy and I into the District Sunday for rhubarb and some of my favorite and more exotic fresh herbs available at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market. I was also thrilled to find pesticide-free (Spring Valley) and organic (Next Step) strawberries at Dupont. Spring Valley had the final ramps of the season, too, and their colorful salad green mix studded with edible flowers which inspired the recipe below.

erba stella chive blossoms spring herbs

Next Step Produce, a certified-organic farm in Charles County, MD, is always the source of some interesting new ingredient. This time, I picked up Erba Stella, an Italian herb with a fresh grassy flavor that is full of vitamins A & C. Armed with pretty lavender chive blossoms and crisp Swiss chard from the Farm at Sunnyside (also organic, and my reliable source for rhubarb), I set about to make greens that would appeal to my anti-leafy green toddler. Sometimes, it’s truly amazing the subtle changes that cause a kid to switch from disgust or indifference to devouring a dish — a lesson learned most recently when I sauteed asparagus in butter rather then my usual method of roasting them with olive oil. Suddenly, the boy was devouring the stalks off my plate and demanding seconds! (Nevermind that he called them “string beans,” sometimes taste is more important than terminology.)

For this attempt at jazzing up some colorful Swiss chard, I added a touch of butter to the cooked chard to help counter any bitterness, and let the boy help me sprinkle the “special edible flowers” into the pan. I can’t say this preparation has moved Swiss chard onto his list of favorites, but he did eat two bites before declaring that he needed to save the rest to “share with Daddy.” I’ll call that a success.

Recipe: Swiss Chard with Chive Blossoms

swiss chard chive blossoms

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 handful Erba Stella (optional, could add baby spinach or stick to just chard)
  • 5 chives with blossoms
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • sea salt

Instructions: Warm olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Rinse chard and shake to remove excess water. (Even if you’ve pre-washed your chard, rinse it again as the water is needed to wilt the greens.) Tear into 1-inch strips. Tear Erba Stella and chive stems into smaller pieces, and pinch the base of the chive blossoms to release the buds. Add all ingredients to the pan, cover, and cook for 2 minutes or until chard has just wilted. Add the butter and salt to taste, tossing gently to combine. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Need more ideas for chive blossoms?
Try Asparagus Chive Quiche or Chive Blossom Baked Eggs

Eat Local, Tweet Global

Friday, May 1st, 2009

twitter birdThis is opening weekend at many local farmers markets — including Arlington’s Columbia Pike, Alexandria’s West End, Fairfax County markets and 14th & U in the District — and what better way to prepare than to point you to some online sources of locavore info and fellow local food enthusiasts. If you don’t have a Twitter account, what are you waiting for? Seriously though, if you don’t have an account you can still follow interesting Twitter users by clicking that orange RSS button at the right side of their page; this will subscribe you to their updates in your feed reader, just like you follow your favorite blogs. Over on Twitter, each week users share some of their favorite friends (“tweeps”) in an event called “Follow Friday.” Here’s my farmers market/local foods edition. This is far from an extensive list, so please feel free to identify yourself or add your favorites in the comments.

Farmers Markets & Local Food Resources on Twitter

Chesapeake Bay foodshed

Around the US

National Resources

District-area foodies who occasionally tweet from the markets:

Elsewhere on the web, Alexandria’s West End market has a new blog on Culinate. DC’s FreshFarm markets does not (yet?) have a blog but has an extensive database of their market vendors. The Washington Post food section’s newly-launched blog has a category titled “To Market, To Market,” so I hope that’s a sign they’re planning some farmers market coverage. (And WaPo food editor Joe Yonan is on twitter, too, @joeyonan.)

While we’re on the subject, I’m sure you’re already subscribed to the FoodieTots feed, but please note that you can now receive automatic email updates whenever we post something new. And if Twitter’s not your thing, you can also follow us on Facebook. Whatever method you choose, please touch base on Monday and let me know what you found at your local markets this weekend. Happy eating, locally!