Hi Everyone! This is the first week of our program, and we’re excited with the great variety of produce we are able to provide! Lots of yummy newly-picked green veggies! Enjoy!
For Veggie and Artisan Boxes, here’s a list of some delicious veggies you may receive. Expect to get 7 or 8 of these yummy items!!
- Green Leaf Lettuce
- Mini Romaine
- Hot House Tomatoes
- Green Kale
- Seedless Cukes
- Green Onions
- Green Garlic
- Rhubarb–See Feature Below!
Artisan Box–You’ll also be getting these items:
- Chocolate Plum Tomatoes
- Rainbow Sweet Potatoes
- Beet Thinnings -beets like carrots need to be “thinned” out of the garden. In early spring beet seeds are planted and as they grow they tend to overcrowd one another. In order to get nice sized beets throughout the season every other beet or so must be removed once the leaves start to sprout up. So essentially these are beet leaves with wee-tiny beets on the end of them. Don’t worry about the bulbs, just steam or pan fry the beet leaves as you would spinach.
- apples – summer fruit is still ripening (besides rhubarb), but we’re sure you’ll enjoy these fall apples and pears. Because they are stored in a specialized controlled environment, these fruits taste like they were just picked yesterday! Sweet, crisp and delicious!!
- frozen berries
Raw Goats Milk Feta: we’ve been searching Ontario for a good traditional Greek style feta and this is the best we’ve found. Creamy on the tongue but still crumbly, not too firm and a taste that is out of this world. River’s Edge Goat Dairy has done a fine job at showcasing their farm fresh milk in this cheese.
Breadcrumbs! Made in-house at Culinarium from tasty St. John’s Bread. These are plain bread crumbs made with a combo of red fife, white and rye breads. No additional seasonings have been added.
Here are some ideas for using breadcrumbs:
- crusting meat, fish and veggies
- on top of Mac and Cheese or other baked pasta
- on pasta instead of cheese (melt some butter, then add bread crumbs and some chopped fresh herbs, salt and pepper–let the toast for a minute then sprinkle on top!)
- to bind a veggie burger, like in this recipe, or meatballs or meatloaf
- for stuffed veggie recipes, like this Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms with Bread Crumbs recipe
Featured Producer! The Triple Cord CSA (community supported agriculture).
When you’re shopping at a grocery store, do you ever wonder who (or what machine!) picked your veggies? boxed or packaged them? where, and how long were they stored? who drove the truck(s) or flew the plane to get them here? Many of us don’t think of this, ever! We may marvel at the produce, but rarely wonder about the people and hard work that went into getting them to us.
That’s the great thing about being part of a food box program! We know where our food has come from, and know the people behind the effort!
The Triple Cord Community
All of our main veggies (besides the extra fruit/veg in the Artisan Box) come from the Triple Cord CSA, run by the Mervin Miller family. Mervin and his wife have seven children and are part of an Old World Amish community, located in Aylmer Ontario. This community consists of 22 families who all farm for a living. They grow different crops and join together to operate HOPE Eco Farms. HOPE Eco Farms is a wholesale produce business that sells to Toronto’s top chefs and specialty retailers, such as Culinarium and the Big Carrot. They also raise free range chickens for eggs (also available at Culinarium) and have a meat business raising pork and beef.
Mervin and his oldest son, Jacob, run the CSA growing most of the produce for us. On occasion, they will reach out to the community to fill in any gaps and to provide a greater variety for you.
Old World Ways
The entire community does not use electricity! They plow their fields by oxen and transport their food to their distribution centre by horse and buggy. Their distribution centre is cooled with ice–this ice is sourced from the ice they cut themselves from a nearby pond in the winter! In order to get their produce to us in Toronto, they hire a truck and driver.
These old world ways can be a challenge for us, especially when it comes to communication! There is only one phone, located in their school house, that the entire community uses, with several voicemail boxes–Mervin is allotted 2 hours a day to use this phone for his business. So no last minute phoning, emailing or texting for us! We can’t even send him a fax! I wonder if 2 Dixie cups and miles of string would be easier for us!?
Just something for you to think about while you’re enjoying your organic produce. It’s an amazing privilege to be working with Mervin and Jacob and all of the farmers that make up Hope Eco Farms.
I’ll be writing more about the Mervin Miller Family in future blog posts. Stay tuned!
Featured Ingredient: Rhubarb!
What is rhubarb? Although commonly regarded as a fruit, it is actually a vegetable from the buck-wheat family. It has celery-like stalks that can grow up to 2 feet long. They have broad leaves that are not edible due to their toxic levels of oxalic acid. Its peak season in Ontario is between late April through to the first week or so of July.
- Remove leaves from rhubarb stalks
- Wrap unwashed in an airtight plastic bag and refrigerate for up to a week
- Store as whole stalks, not cut pieces (prevents dehydration)
- Rhubarb freezes well! – chop into 1 inch pieces and store in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to a year.
- trim off leaf ends and roots, discard
- wash stalks and if making compote, slice into 1 inch pieces. For other recipes, such as pies, pieces may need to be smaller (1/4 inch or 1/2 inch)
Cooking with Rhubarb
Rhubarb is the tartest of all vegetables so to prevent your face from puckering inwards you may want to add some sweeteners, such as honey, sugar or maple syrup while cooking with rhubarb. Another method to reducing the tartness but not adding copious amounts of sugar is by adding sweet fruits, such as strawberries or apples. Lemon and orange juices, freshly grated ginger and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg also complement well with rhubarb.
Roasted Rhubarb Salad
Your salad greens will love being paired with roasted rhubarb.
Good old stewed rhubarb! You can add a splash of Grand Marnier or kirsch to this for extra zip.
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
Pineapple is so passe as an upside down cake fruit (plus it’s not grown in Ontario, yet!) Try this yummy rhubarb version!
Not all rhubarb recipes are sweet…here’s a recipe for a Middle Eastern Stew.
Mark Bittman’s Salad Matrix
Since we’ll be getting lots of greens in weeks to come, here’s a tool you can use to mix and match your leafy greens!
20-Plus Salad Dressing Recipes
From Canadian Living…will you ever need more than 20??