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Collaborative Joy

dolphins

Definitely not local, clearly not regional, and perhaps not even hemispheric …

but a glistening example of collaborative joy.

And although far away in miles, this is happening now – somewhere on our planet – and perhaps also in our hearts?      That deep yearning for connection, collaboration, association, play.  Yes?

We consider Farmers To You to be this audacious.

Ours is collaborative joyful work that benefits everything and everyone.

Your role is integral in this riding-the-wave partnership!

 your endorsement is key to our long-term viability

 you kindly let us know when something isn’t working, so we can learn and improve

 our farmers feel the cheers from Boston, and yums from your kitchen

 

Thanks for playing this game.

~  Eva

 

 

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This Week’s Bounty: Making Plans for 2016, Spinach Special, Easy Butternut Soup, The Best Lamb, Apple Pie

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I spent yesterday with some of our partner farmers – specifically Vegetable Farmers. Just like you, they are looking for alternatives to the supermarket – only from the opposite perspective!

In particular I was heartened by the conversation I had with David Marchant at River Berry Farm (think delicious carrots and sweet corn). We were meeting because he called and wanted to better understand his role and part in Farmers To You ~ and, no coincidence, for the first time in years, he sees a very bright future for he and his family in farming. Since partnering with Farmers To You, he’s been able to stop going to Farmers Markets which he said was an enormous drain on his time and energy with small returns to the farm and he also has reduced his dependence on selling through a local distributor to supermarkets for a much lower price. THIS IS SO SIGNIFICANT.

So as we reviewed what he grew for us last year – he was full of excitement (and David is not a very excitable guy) about growing some new items and increasing some of your tried and true favorites. The wonderful moment came towards the end of the conversation when I told him how much you love his carrots and how when they are done for the season, there is a collective sigh in Boston. As David always does – he said “oh really they are nothing special”. I told him, I and You (our partner families) thought otherwise and said his carrots have become a signature product for us because they illustrate so perfectly how conscious and skilled farming creates truly outstanding flavor and that our partner families notice. In that moment, I think David fully received and absorbed the appreciation and gratitude for all the work and special effort he, and Jane, and his crew make at his Fairfax Vermont farm. One family at a time, one farmer at a time.

This week – leading up to Easter and Passover – we have Lamb coming in from Tamarack Vermont Sheep Farm. Just released in time for the Holidays, we have a wonderful new Farm Profile Video on Ben and Grace. I know you will fall in love with this committed, hard working couple. They have overseen the successful lambing of over 230 lambs this Spring (so far). Ben told me the other day – sleep has been slim! for the past month.

Spinach is still growing beautifully as the days and sun warm our chilled bones up here. I met with Lee Blackwell at Blackwell Roots Farm, and he said the Spinach is making up for lost time! We will continue to offer a special price … so you can eat more of this nutrient rich, vitamin-loaded green. It’s amazing how nature packs the early greens, like spinach and dandelions, with extra nutrients as she knows how starved we and our grazing animals are while the snow melts.

Lee is also able to offer us Savoy Cabbage that he had in storage for making his Lacto Fermented Vegetables – like Sauerkraut. He is currently working on a new Carrot Ginger Kraut and also making more of his famous Kim Chee for us, which up to now has only been available in Vermont.

Champlain Orchards continues to have a wonderful selection of apples this late in the storage season – and if you need a pie for your holiday table – try their Apple Pie – it is delightful and made from simple local ingredients. We had one for staff dinner and it was gone in a minute. I think the Strafford Ice Cream  dolloped on top helped too!

Our Winter fish selection continues this week with Flounder, and White Fish and Scallops. Jared and Jason at Red’s Best are hoping that warming air and water temperatures will results in better catches, and more boats able to get and stay out in the coming weeks. Last week we had Haddock and it was wonderful. It always reminds me of my Yaya (grandmother) who – always – fried Haddock up in a big cast iron skillet after dredging it in a flour mixture and then serving it simply with lemon wedges. One of those delicious childhood memories!

I see everyone loved the idea with the Frozen Sweet Peppers sauteed in olive oil. This week, give the Frozen Pureed Butternut Squash a try in a soup. When you are having one of those nights – when you’re low on energy and the dinner hour approaches – Saute some Yellow Onions in the bottom of a soup pot till transparent, then add one 2 pound package of Butternut Puree, and one 24 oz container of Vegetable Broth from Screamin’ Ridge Farm, and a healthy teaspoon of curry powder and a dash of salt to taste. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes and serve. If you want to get fancy, add three tablespoons of Coconut milk.

Wishing everyone a family and food filled holiday. Enjoy unfolding Spring too, feeling the ever growing warmth of the sun stirring our will forces into the action and motion.

Yours,

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Glory

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

  Rainer Maria Rilke

~

Last Friday, March 20, we marked the Spring Equinox at 6:45 pm eastern time.

Earlier that day, a glorious solar eclipse (the moon between us and the Sun) formed a deep shadow that first darkened the Northern Atlantic, then swept up to the Arctic, and ended at the North Pole.

It’s hard to take it in … the Sun directly above the Earth’s equator, a great swath of the Earth darkened, and lightened earlier that day, and a new moon too.

pause …

How lucky are we to be witness to this glory?

How do you take in the glory of food produced with the best methods humanly possible?

We suggest you periodically shut your eyes, chew slowly, make sounds of pleasure, and taste the land.

Wishing you moments of glory in your kitchen!

~ Eva

 

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This Week’s Bounty: Spinach and Egg Rebound, Sweetest Peppers, Tempeh Special, Peppered Cabbage Smoked Pork Soup

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Given the weather, it’s hard to believe today is the first day of Spring! However, the plants and animals (and children) know – and it’s clear to our farmers that Spring has begun.

In recent conversations with our farmers, here’s a small sample of what I’m hearing. Lee Blackwell of Blackwell Roots Farm told me yesterday how fast the Spinach is growing, and he’s hoping you’re ready to enjoy it! The temperature in his greenhouse is 80 degrees and the outside temp is 15. The power of the sun is unbelievable, already.

George Gross of Dog River Farm tells me his hens are laying Eggs now, really laying. We call this the Easter Bunny effect, and from one week to the next, egg production can double due to the sun and seasonal changes. Additionally unbelievable.

As the Spinach and Eggs rebound, the opposite occurs as well. With a grateful farewell, we announce that Eric from Rockville Market Farm will stop cutting up his delicious Butternut Squash after your orders this week, just to be on the safe side. Storage crops need to be watched especially carefully this time of year, as they either have the irresistible urge to sprout … or rot. Good storage is all about fooling fruits and vegetable into thinking it’s winter.

~

We have specials this week to encourage you to try foods you may not have tried before, or entice you to use some of our winter storage crops that, quite frankly, you may be getting a bit bored with.

Lee at Blackwell Roots is already overwhelmed with Spinach – so we are reducing the price from $6.50 per 8 oz bag to $5.85.   Popeye says eat more spinach!

Those Poor Neglected Roots Vegetables …

Parsnips – incredibly sweet when roasted or mashed with potatoes. Add them to soups and stew or see our Parsnip Hummus Recipe for a wonderful treat! Usually $6.25 for 2 pounds, now $5.90.

Celeriac – there is something indescribable about this root that adds a savoriness to all soups and stews. Its texture is lovely, and it’s great roasted in with other roots. This is a staple in our fridge. Usually $2.80 per pound, now $1.90 per pound.

Rutabaga – such a New England staple – roasted, boiled and combined with mashed potatoes, or added to stews and soups – this is a favorite for turnip and radish lovers and now with turnips starting to sprout and lose flavor – these big brothers are the ones to eat! Usually $6.75 for 2 pounds, now $5.90

Frozen Sweet Peppers – I can’t believe these aren’t selling out! So here is my recipe …
slowly pan saute thawed sweet peppers in lots of olive oil until they are very soft and sweet, and the oil has turned red. You can pour this all in a bottle and keep it for spreading on sandwiches (with chevre or cream cheese) or on pasta, or just plain. They are incredibly sweet and savory at the same time. Throwing these in soups right out of the freezer is also wonderful.
Usually $4.90 for 10 oz, now $4.25

Other Neglected food, beckoning with an invitation …

Lacto Fermented Beets and Carrots – each are usually $6.50, this week $5.90

Tempeh – Plain, BBQ and Teriyaki.
If you eat soy as a protein source – then this is one of the best ways it is prepared.
Tempeh is fermented and then pressed and ready to cook into your favorite dish. The Plain can be seasoned, and the BBQ and Teriyaki are delicious right out of the package, sliced into salads, or quickly grilled or warmed up. Our partners at Rhapsody Foods follow traditional and meticulous processes for making Vegan and Vegetarian Foods. Learn more by watching their Video Interview.

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Joe at Screamin Ridge Farm has his Corn Chowder as well as a Peppered Cabbage with Smoked Pork Soup.

Red’s Best continues to delight us with amazingly fresh fish. This week we will have Fresh White Fish, Fresh Flounder, and Sea Scallops.

We have two returning storage vegetables:

Napa Cabbageso easy to shred for an early Spring salad.

Russet Potatoes

David and Michelle from Valicenti Organico have a new line up of sensational pastas:

Eggs

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Spring Gifts to Give!

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 Spring is here ~ it’s time to sow seeds.

Do you know someone who’s ready to join Farmers To You, a family who is ready to make a powerful choice about where they get their food, making food a top priority in their lives?

We will be giving all current partners a $50 Gift To Give Certificate. We invite you to give it to a family or individual of your choice. It can be used towards a new family’s first order, and is redeemable until Sunday, May 3rd at midnight.

This is a substantial gift ~ please choose carefully.

Your personal recommendations are music to the ears of your partner farmers and producers, who want nothing better than to plant, grow, harvest, bake and prepare food for you and your family.

Your endorsement is also our greatest hope for the continued growth and development of this new food model…

One farmer at a time ~ one family at a time.

As always, thank you for your partnership!

 

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