Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Only at a third

According to the head field worker Khalid, we are currently producing only 1/3 of what the farm has planted. This seems astounding to me since we move so much food on a weekly basis. That means we haven't even reached our peak yet!! We're gonna be past our eyeballs in produce very shortly!

One thing I've learned to deal with is the amount of food that goes uneaten. Much of the food that cannot go to CSA or market is still perfectly edible and delicious, it's just not perfect. We, as consumers have gotten so used to demanding produce that is in pristine condition without thinking about where that food might end up if it's not purchased. I think about the food we throw away here, at the beginning of the production chain. Then more at the wholesaler, then more again at the retailer, then much of it going rotten at the bottom of the fridge. I've learned here on the farm that you can't possibly save every bit of food and that I just don't have the time to prepare all the food I would like. So the chickens here get it all.

I can't say the food goes to waste since it either ends up in compost or to chickens. They are a finicky bunch since they don't eat certain things like fennel or garlic. Those spoiled chickens! Since I'm on the topic of chickens, I will start with my most recent meal and catch you all up a bit on some meals I had this past week.

Tonight's Feast: Roasted chicken with veggies
I roasted a chicken last night with some potatoes, carrots, sweet onions, fresh garlic cloves and a combination of fresh herbs; thyme, marjoram and flat leaf parsley, seasoned simply with salt and pepper. I cooked it in a ceramic dish with a glass lid for 2 hours until the chicken stopped bleeding and the whole house smelled like roasted garlic and herbs, yumm. As you can see in the photo, I added some previously prepared collard greens with garlic and lemon juice. I used to think good collards had to be cooked with a "leg" but I've changed my ways and I think collards are equally good with lots of garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice to finish. It also gets better after a few days.

I didn't cook an entire chicken, but half of the most gigantic chicken I have ever cooked in my life, probably that I've ever seen! Don't know if you can tell from the photo, but that's a wing and a small piece of the upper thigh that is attached to the back. Let's just say I'm going to be eating chicken every meal for at least a week!

About garlic: if you ever want to be in taste bud heaven do yourself a favor and roast some fresh garlic. Garlic transforms itself from a stinky, pungent and spicy kick in the butt to a sweet, sexy and creamy wonder that is so unique and seductive. You don't even have to peel it since it can be easily squeezed out of the skin when roasted and you can spread like butter on a naked piece of crusty bread. Your mouth will thank you.

Breakfast of Champs: Granola, yogurt and fresh strawberries

Strawberries are among my favorite fruits. I don't eat Driscolls and I don't eat strawberries out of season period so when summer rolls around I try to get my fill of strawberries to hold out for the rest of the year. Thank goodness Zaid produces some of the absolute tastiest strawberries hands down. They're small and bursting with sweetness with that hint of tartness and concentrated flavor that makes for an awesome berry. Add some excellent local yogurt and handmade granola and you have a winner. Keeps me going all morning.

Quickie Dinner not so quick

I meant to have just some salad but I had some shell peas I wanted to eat and a stale old piece of bread that I didn't have the heart to toss so I prepared them as well. I made a makeshift pain perdu by soaking the bread in a fabulous egg, again from our wonder chickens. This is what an egg should look like: bright orange yolk full of omega 3's, standing high and looking you in the eye; nice clear white, not cloudy or runny. These eggs are the real thing. In the meantime I threw some butter in a pan and tossed in some sweet onion until it smelled delicious and then the fresh peas. Sautee a few minutes, add salt and pepper. Fresh peas are such a treat straight from the pod, all sweet and crunchy. > Just look at them all cute and cozy in their pod, can't help but gobble them up. Butter and fresh peas also make a fabulous combination. The salad is simply baby greens with strawberries with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The heaviness of my pain perdu, yes i finished it in the toaster oven with some Parmesan cheese, along with the peas, were a perfect match for the bright, tart, sweet, cool, lightness of the salad. Very satisfying.

Pickles: Japanese style turnips
These were going to the chickens too so I salvaged a few to make some pickles. I rarely make vinegar pickles but these are so good, I couldn't resist. I added two radishes just for color. They'll be good in just a few more days.

I've been documenting most of what has been harvested in the past week and the variety is awesome. Several kinds of peppers, eggplants, beans and squash, all different colors, shapes and sizes. I'm happy to report that diversity is alive and well here. I will be sharing these photos as soon as I figure out the best way to do it. Perhaps my next blog entry will be a photo log.

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