Saturday, May 17, 2008

Farmers Market Saturday - May 17, 2008

I'm starting a new feature here today.

As an experiment, I'd like to keep a record of our Farmers Market shopping each week and what we might do with our bounty. I'm hoping that by doing this, maybe some others will be similarly inspired. As it turns out, The Farmer's Marketer has already been doing something similar for quite a while, and we'll link together. Her wonderful post for this week is here. Once Tantre starts, I'll probably start posting this feature on Thursdays, since my CSA pick-up day is Wednesday. The Farmer's Marketer has wonderful interviews with local food producers, observations about food and the politics of food, and a great recent diary of time spent in Paris. I'd highly recommend going over there and checking it out!

This was an unusual week for us in several ways. One, it's our chicken pick-up week. We get three, fresh chickens once every six weeks or so from Ernst Farm. We write our orders down in Joan Ernst's ledger, and she phones us when our chickens are ready. These chickens are free range and mostly yard-fed. They aren't given antibiotics or anything else of that ilk. We get most of our meat and eggs from Joan and her husband, Alvin. Their farm is about 8 miles from my house and they raise their animals in a humane fashion and use their fields as feed for the most part.

The second reason this was an unusual week is that our CSA pick-up hasn't started yet. We are members of Tantre Farm , an organic farm in Chelsea, MI, about 20 miles away. We actually do our pick-ups on Wednesdays. They will start on May 28th.

Well, this is what we picked up this week:


chickens, eggs, stone ground cornmeal from Ernst Farm, rhubarb, zucchini


asparagus, spinach, spring greens

We also bought apple cider (pressed from last seasons apples in cold storage), but somehow I didn't get that into the pictures.


We could not find organic rhubarb or spinach today, so we went with conventional. The zucchini is organic greenhouse zucchini and was a splurge, but I'm dying to make a pasta dish that calls for it, and I felt lucky to find it.

So what are we eating this week?

Tomorrow we are having roast chicken with roasted asparagus and potatoes (the other two chickens have already gone into the freezer). The potatoes were a concession - it is not potato season yet, so they are a supplement.

I'll make the pasta-zucchini dish. It's very simple and the only other ingredients are olive oil and parmesan (I'm using a Wisconsin type here).

With the spring greens, I'll continue to have lunches like this one:



This has been my standard lunch almost daily, lately. Grab and wash spring greens, supplement with whatever pickled or other things I need to use up, and throw on a protein source - in this case hummus. These salads have gone wonderfully with the simple breads I've been making.

D has requested rhubarb cobbler. The rest of the rhubarb and asparagus will be frozen - we've been buying double batches each week since they're both in season right now, and freezing one batch and using the other.

The cornmeal will be used for fresh cornbread, and possibly some polenta-type dish with the leftover chicken. We'll also probably have cornmeal pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. The spinach will mostly be used as greens for the piggies.

We'll also have some borsch from last summer, as I continue to use up the last of my stores from the winter. It's thawing in the fridge as I write this.

Bon Appetit! What are you cooking this week?

40 comments:

Mae Travels said...

That sounds good and truly organized. Your family is really lucky that you are willing to do that!

glamah16 said...

Shopping this way always excites me. You have some great food lined up for the week.Rhubarb! If only CS liked it.:-(.

Marianne Arkins said...

Wow, I wish you lived closer. I just so happen to HAVE organic rhubarb -- more of it than I can possibly use -- growing in my garden.

I'd love the recipe for rhubarb cobbler, plz.

:-)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Well, Mae, my DH helps me with the shopping, and I sort of make up what I'm planning to make based on what I find.

And I love that way of shopping, too, Courtney. And maybe we can bring out something rhubarb when you and CS come out here this summer! (I'll e-mail you soon).

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'll send you the rhubarb cobbler recipe, Marianne - it's a bastardization of an Emeril recipe and it rocks!

Wholly Burble said...

It all looks and sounds great!

This year I've decided not to put in a big garden, but to shop all our local farmers' markets. Almost every town around us has them--some of the larger communities even have two a week, mid-week and one on the weekend.

Buying organic I often shop my local cooperative. I find when speaking with those at farmers' markets, most of them use some pesticides, some fertilizers, etc.--so the cooperative is my only "sure bet" for organic.

I'm looking forward to reading more with your new "tradition" of Farmers Market Saturday!

Andrew said...

I wish I would have taken advantage of the farmer's market before I move away from Ann Arbor. I just need to find a way to get back...
The New Cook

Goofball said...

wow that's a lot of fresh veggies to get at the same time...can you eat them all while they are fresh? How often do you need to shop like this in a week? Do you put anything in the freezer?

those chickens...they have been slaughtered I assume? I can't see you running around fetching live chickens every 3 weeks!! hihi.


I'm afraid we took the easy unhealthy road today; We've not put fries on the menu for 3 weeks, but now we went to get take-out fries. Yummmmm! ;).
Tomorrow will be mussels.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

WB, that's probably a great decision both for your new health regimen and the planet. You're in a great farm belt, too!

Andrew, thanks for stopping by! Where did you move to? Maybe there's a farmers market where you are?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Goofball, we mostly eat veggies, and that's our week's shopping. I'll freeze half of the rhubarb and asparagus. C now loves the Belgian treat of fries with mayonnaise. ;-)

Peter G said...

A very inspiring post and it's always nice to peek into other people's shopping bounties...How wonderful to be able to order chickens fresh from a farm!...without forking out premium $$$..

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

The Ernst chickens aren't cheap, Peter, but they're completely comparable in price to similar factory farm birds that are not local. Another bonus is that they taste oh-so-much better!

TeacherPatti said...

Oooh, I got my chickens, too! We are making seasonal pizza tonight (yes, yes, yes, I stole that idea from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle :) ) with asparagus and onions on top. Chicken and potatoes tomorrow, with other chicken variations during the week.
And of course, TMZ beef on the grill sometime!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

TeacherPatti, apparently Kim did, too... we're all pretty in synch on this. It's early season bounty! I have a bad, bad cold so I had some cornmeal pancakes that we'd had in the freezer for dinner, but tomorrow night it's roast chicken and asparagus and potatoes. And the rhubarb cobbler if I'm up to it.

anno said...

What a brilliant idea... and a wonderful post! I really miss getting to the farmer's market -- it's not the same if you get there after 10 a.m. (the earliest we're ever able to make it). Your meals for this next week sound fabulous. That picture of your salad might just inspire me to start eating a few more greens of my own. Yum!

Jolly Green Dad said...

Aren't farmers markets the best! I think you get much better food there, and usually it is grown locally!

Leslie said...

This is a cool new feature!

We've already begun pulling items from our garden - mostly radishes and green onions. We're giving potatoes a go this year and I'm hoping they do well.

Sounds like you have a great thing going with your Farmers Market.

Leslie said...

P.S.

I noticed in one of your previous posts that you geocache. So do we! We haven't in a while...due to being pregnant and all. But, we're Julia's Cache Crew on the geocaching site. We even have a few caches placed in West Virginia!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Anno, I think that someone else had the brilliant idea first, although her take is a little different, but she does brilliant posts and you'd love her blog. I don't know where my brain was:

http://www.thefarmersmarketer.com/
farmers_marketing_may_17_20.html

Read her post on Frog Holler - you'd love it!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Jolly Green Dad - they certainly are. There are few activities I enjoy more than walking through the area, smelling the scents of the bounty of that week, seeing familiar faces and old friends and enjoying some coffee with my DH after. And thanks for stopping by!

Leslie - I'm hoping I'll continue something like this, but I want to hear from Kim first (see my response to Anno, above).

Also - we don't have a geocaching "tag" yet - we're still neophytes, but it's fun!

insane mama said...

mmm love the farmers market

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Thanks for dropping by, Insane Mama!

Sandy C. said...

That sounds delicious! I may have to try some that salad this week. I have the mixed greens and hummus :) Now if only I can bake bread as well as you do :)

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Wow! What a good planner you are. I'm not nearly as organized. I usually stop by the market on the way home each day and see what inspires me. I find that if I buy too much at once, it sometimes doesn't get used.

anno said...

Oh, and I forgot to ask: How do you freeze asparagus? Doesn't it get mushy?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Sandy, trust me, I am not a bread baker - this has only come about by using those easy recipes!

Maryann - the only reason that I can buy like this is because our Farmers Market is only on Weds. and Sat., and I try to stick to purchases on those days. The chickens are a once every other month or so pick up.

Anno, I'm not sure myself. Here's what the farmer at Carpenter's produce told me (I've been buying his asparagus this year and it's heavenly) - blanch for 2 mins in boiling water (but I think I'm going to cut it to 1 min.) and then rinse in cold water, dry, and spread on baking sheets to freeze. Once hard frozen put in bags. It sounds like a lot of work, but it took me maybe 10 mins of active prep time last weekend.

Dru said...

I tried a new recipe yesterday and it came out delicious.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I saw your recipe, Dru - it looked wonderful! I'll have to try it some time - I've always shied away from vodka sauce for some reason.

Mom said...

Hi - love your blog...have you joined annarborfood yet? It's a yahoo group that talks about food in the area:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/annarborfood/

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

No, Mom, I haven't - thanks so much for the suggestion, and thanks for stopping by! I'll head over there now.

Heather said...

Since it's supposed to cool off tomorrow, I was thinking of a risotto with the last of my pea shoots (and the maitake mushroom I picked up today), and maybe some shepherd's pie later.

Great scores at the market, Jen!

Flower Child said...

you make me mad that I missed the farmers market this week! looks delicious!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Flower Child - it was a good week, and it's still early!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This looks geat Jen! You know how much I love Farmers Markets! I am so glad you are going to be posting about them more! I love to see everyone's loot! ;)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Hey Jenn! I think the more we all post on these things, the more inspired we'll all be. I'm so happy our market is really up and running again.

Betsy said...

I LOVE THIS!!!! You are my hero, Jen! I've gone organic too, and am trying to buy more locally but it's not as well organized as yours is.

You go, girl!

Núria said...

Jen, this looks like a lovely green spread and your menus are very apetitosos :D I like the idea of consuming chicken that's been raised with a bit of vital space, no antibiotics and grain. I should start looking for these in my area!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Betsy, it's thanks to you, in part, that I got going on this after reading your post on eating vegetarian, and it got me thinking about many of our food production issues in general.

Nuria - the taste is magnificent. It's just so far removed. And then, more importantly, you know the chickens had a good life.

Paola said...

Lovely!!!! I am a farmers'market junkie, so this is really my type of post! I love what you got- that rhubarb especially- so pink and perfect!

paola

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Paola, I loved your rhubarb post! And when I get back from some meetings this morning, I'll be posting a rhubarb cobbler for What's Cooking Wednesday, but I may have already told you that. ;-)