Posts Tagged ‘smith meadows farm’

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.

One Local Cherry Spare Ribs and Squash

Monday, July 6th, 2009

one local summer 2009We had a July 4th engagement party/barbecue to attend this year {congrats R & A!}, so the menu was out of our hands. The boy and I did make a cherry cobbler to take, though (recipe coming soon). And then we grilled Sunday night instead, a batch of Cheerwine-marinated spare ribs with eggplant and summer squash.

Cheerwine, for those who’ve never had it, is a cherry soda produced in North Carolina. We enjoyed routine deliveries while my little brother was stationed at Ft. Bragg, but have had it less frequently since he relocated.  While made outside the One Local Summer (OLS) 100ish-mile challenge border, we found it while stopping in a Food Lion on Virginia’s Northern Neck to stock up on another regional favorite, Northern Neck ginger ale. I don’t usually drink soda, let alone douse my dinner in high-fructose corn syrup*, but once a year or so we embrace our adopted Southern home and make Cheerwine ribs. This version used small pork spare ribs that were quickly grilled; lower and slower grilling will produce more tender ribs, but this was just fine for an easy meal to wrap up the long weekend. To up the health/OLS factor, we brushed the ribs with a fresh cherry glaze. I prefer a semi-tart cherry like Rainier or Queen Anne, but be warned that those produce a yellow sauce — so go with classic red cherries if you want that red color.

Recipe: Cheerwine Spare Ribs with Cherry Glaze

cheerwine marinated spare ribsIngredients:

Marinade:

  • 1.5 lb. pork spare ribs
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
  • 1 can Cheerwine (or other cherry cola)

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 spring onion, white portion, minced
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

cherry glazeIngredients: Season spare ribs with salt and pepper and place in shallow glass pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with scapes and pour Cheerwine over. Cover and let sit in refrigerator (turning if Cheerwine does not completely cover ribs) at least one hour, preferably half a day or longer. To make the glaze, put all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer on low until cherries are falling apart, about 20 minutes. Smash cherries with a fork or blend glaze in a food processor or blender until combined.

To cook the ribs, heat the grill to medium high. Reduce to medium and cook ribs for 3 minutes per side. Brush with cherry glaze and cook an additional minute per side. Serve with additional glaze (“cherry ketchup” for dipping if that appeals to your kids.) Serves 4. Enjoy!

cherry glazed ribs and grilled squash

Farms of Origin: Smith Meadows Farm (VA, spare ribs), Kuhn Orchard (PA, Queen Anne cherries), Potomac Vegetable Farms (VA, scapes, spring onion, zucchini), Three Way Farm (VA, eggplant, pattypan squash), VA honey. (*You can find glass-bottled Cheerwine made with the original cane sugar formula, but they’re even harder to come by this far north.)