Ashley’s Post: ‘Tis the Season for Garlic Scapes!

Garlic scapes are on the minds of many, it seems! Our own summer market intern, Ashley, has shared her favorite scape-inspired recipe.

garlic scapeGarlic scapes are the curly flower stalks that emerge from varieties of garlic. Snipping the scapes before the flower heads mature allows the plant to direct more energy/nutrients into the garlic bulb, which is still developing. This generally takes place in mid-June. There are many ways to enjoy garlic scapes, ranging from grilling, in a stir fry, raw in salads, soups, and an all-time favorite: pesto. Pesto is simple to make and is able to be stored in the freezer for a super easy last-minute meal (I suggest freezing the pesto in ice cube trays for easy portioning!)

Garlic Scape Pesto

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup chopped garlic scapes
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts (or any nut you prefer)
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pulse garlic scapes, basil, lemon juice, and nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. While processing, add oil slowly until a smooth paste has been achieved.
  3. Add in the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Process for another 5 seconds or so.
  4. Enjoy!

 

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Try Ice Chai at Home for a Cool Summer Treat

IMG_6014One of my favorite market splurges is an ice chai to sip while I shop. They are cool and delicious and full of just the right zing. This summer, I’ve upped my game and brought the joy of the market to my porch at home. Let me tell you all, steamy early summer afternoons have improved mightily!

Start with a loose chai mix. I have been preferring White Heron Tea’s Daybreak Chai for my recipes, but any would work.

At home I make enough at one time for several servings and keep in the fridge in a closed container (I use the extra large mason jars). It will stay good for 3-5 days, but may need to be stirred before pouring.

 

Combine 1 cup chai mix to one half gallon water (or any amounts maintaining that ratio) in a stock or pasta pot. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 45 minutes. Careful– if the pot gets boiling when you walk away, it will overflow! Strain out the chai mix using layered cheesecloth and refrigerate. To drink, pour over ice with sugar and milk, if desired.

 

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Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on the Root Seller

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.00.33 AMWith the marking of the summer solstice earlier this week, a new season has begun! While still awaiting some of our summertime favorites, the abundance of fruits and sun loving veggies, there are still a variety of other goodies to choose from at the markets. One farm that offers goodness currently and all year round is the Root Seller. With products such as maple syrup and sugar, an assortment of beans, wheat berries, potatoes, and onions, the Root Seller offers wholesome ingredients for a range of delicious dishes. (New potatoes will be available by the Fourth of July, just in time for the perfect potato salad to bring to the cookout! Onions can be expected to seen being sold at the stall in August.)

The Root Seller is located in Nottingham, NH on 130 acres of conserved land owned by Susan and Dan Comte. When asked how the Root Seller decided on cultivating and selling dried beans and their other assortments, Susan replied that they wanted other types of non-perishables to accompany the maple syrup they were selling. The Root Seller uses a three-year crop rotation of potatoes, wheat, and beans, to aid in pest management and soil fertility. Of the beans, black turtle and pinto are the easiest to grow, while flageolet, as Susan puts it, is “finicky but a great seller.”

The Root Seller started back when Susan and Dan were active wood-fire potters and started gardening and tapping maple trees in the backyard with their three boys, Tyler, Andrew, and Anthony, whom have been helping out on the farm ever since. Susan reminisced that sugaring has always been a family favorite, with being able to spend time outside during the cold months and making sugar on snow with the kids. The Root Seller has grown since then, with now approximately 1300 maple trees in production this past sugaring season!

I used their maple syrup and hard red winter wheat berries to make a delightful grain salad with grapes, almonds, and McKenzie’s Farm cucumber. Wheat berries are similar to what you can buy at the grocery store as “farro” (the connection between the two is complicated – see the link below if you’re interested in learning more). Also attached below are the directions on how to cook the wheat berries, and the recipe for the maple vinaigrette.

To prepare the grain salad, combine the cooked wheat berries (1 cup uncooked), with 1 ½ -2 cups of washed red grapes, ½ a cucumber diced, and toss with enough dressing to coat and to your liking (I ended up doubling the vinaigrette recipe and using about 3/4th of it). Toast 1/4 cup sliced almonds over medium heat in a dry pan until slightly brown and aromatic. Serve the salad with a sprinkling of the toasted almonds. Bon appetit!

For more recipe ideas on how to prepare The Root Seller’s scrumptious ingredients, ask Susan at the market for her favorite recipes to take home such as white bean hummus, maple barbecued ribs, and old-fashioned rhubarb shortcake. Catch Susan on Tuesdays at the Rochester market from 3:30-6:30, and Thursdays at the Somersworth market from 3:00-6:00.

 

Learning more about wheat berries vs. farro:

http://motherwouldknow.com/what-is-the-difference-between-farro-freekeh-and-wheatberries/

How to prepare wheat berries:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-tender-chewy-wheat-berries-and-farro-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-189553

Maple vinaigrette:

http://www.marthastewart.com/314709/fall-salad-with-maple-vinaigrette

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What’s In Season: Shelling Peas

IMG_5988I’ve been waiting and hoping. I started checking at the first markets in May, reminding myself (in vain) that they are never available as early as I think they are.

But, they are here! Shelling peas are ready! I snapped up a quart from Wake Robin Farm at the Dover Farmers’ Market last Wednesday!

Shelling peas are both a meal and an activity. I shelled mine on the porch with a chilled rosé and would recommend the same to anyone. They are a versatile food– good for salads, pastas, egg dishes, sides and more. Shell them all at once and they keep well if they are covered and refrigerated. That way you can use them throughout the week as it strikes your fancy.

The signature dish this week was pasta with peas, goat cheese and chive blossoms

  • IMG_5991Enough pasta for your crowd (this recipe is based on 2 people)
  • 1/2 qt peas, shelled and rinsed
  • 2-4 tablespoons of milk (whole, or you could sub cream, half and half, greek yogurt or regular yogurt here)
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
  • goat cheese (I used “half a disc” but realize this isn’t exactly standard measurement)
  • a handful of chives, chopped with blossoms reserved
  • pepper to taste

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain when done and toss with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Peas can either be added to the pasta water during the last 2-3 minutes of boiling, or cooked in a small pan with a touch of olive oil.

Over low heat, gently whisk milk, goat and parmesan cheeses until combined. Add pepper to taste and the chopped chives. Combine with pasta (I add the pasta to the pan to reheat if needed) and garnish with chive blossoms.

This recipe is easily altered — basil could be used instead of or in addition to the chives. A little lemon zest and juice never hurt a thing, either. Rather than rely on measurements, go with the amounts that look right. You won’t be disappointed!

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Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on Spiritwind Farm

It’s past 10:00 pm when the pizza finally comes out of the oven. While this maybe a delayed dinner, it is well worth the wait. My mom and I decided to make the pizza earlier that day once I got back from a busy day, which happened to be around 9 o’clock. We had cooked it just right, with the crust crunchy on the outside but perfectly chewy on the inside. The main ingredient of the pizza that made it one of the best we’ve made wasn’t the crust however, but the creamy pieces of goat cheese sprinkled on top, courtesy of local Spiritwind Farm. The tangy delicacy of the cheese was the perfect companion to the pesto and thinly sliced sautéed onions. Simple, but oh so good!

ResidScreen Shot 2016-06-15 at 4.48.01 PMing at Spiritwind Farm in Lebanon, Maine are a host of goats with names such as Pippi Longstocking, a Nubian with long floppy ears earning her name, and siblings Coco and Chevy. They are just a few of the twenty goat residents that we have to thank for such scrumptious cheese (and therefore, such scrumptious pizza). Pizza is not the only delectable fare Spiritwind goat cheese is good for – Kathy Ossinger, the owner of Spiritwind, replied “I use it in everything!” when asked what her favorite way to eat her goat cheese is. Some of these ways include in stuffed shells in replacement of ricotta, as an addition to salads, on crackers, or “just a scoop” all by itself.

Kathy not only creates cheese from the goat milk, but also makes yogurt, soaps with scents such as her best seller “Black Amber and Lavender,” and my personal favorite “Patchouli Spice,” and a moisturizer that is especially soothing to those with eczema and psoriasis. Other Spiritwind products include natural bug spray, shaving cream, after shave, and toner, which Kathy keeps on a rotating basis. Spiritwind is also open for farm stays, events, and weddings for those looking for a “pretty and private” space in Lebanon, Maine. To find out more about renting, staying at, or visiting Spiritwind Farm, visit the website spiritwindfarmllc.com.

Spiritwind came into being after Kathy got goats as pets and then “discovered all you can do with the milk.” Kathy’s love for animals originated when she was a little girl, especially for horses (she now has English Shires that give carriage and sleigh rides at the farm). After retiring from being an ICU nurse five years ago, she focused more on farming and Spiritwind was born. The name Spiritwind was thought up by her father whom combined two talked about aspects of the house – that it had been deemed haunted by the neighbors prior to Kathy moving into the location, and that since the property sits upon a hill, it is very windy.

Spiritwind Farm sells a range of products and services from goat cheese to beauty products to farm stays and more. Check out Kathy’s stall at the Rochester market (Tuesdays from 3:30-6:30 at the Commons) and the Somersworth market (Thursdays from 3:00-6:00 at Goodwin Community Health). I suggest getting the goat cheese!

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Ashley’s Post: Starting the Summer with SEL

Editor’s Note: Ashley, we are so excited and feel lucky to have you with us this summer! We learn a lot from our interns and know that you will have your own wonderful skill set to bring to the table (or market, as it may be!). 

solarfestHi, my name’s Ashley and I will be interning at Seacoast Eat Local this summer! I am excited to be working with the organization to help bring access of fresh foods to those who may not otherwise be able to get them, as well as having the chance to meet and get to know local farmers (and hopefully learn a thing or two!).

I am a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire (yay!) with a degree in Nutrition: Dietetic Technology. I have had the pleasure of having practical experience during my time at UNH, including interning at Cornucopia Food Pantry, NH Food Bank: Cooking Matters, as well as working on a project for the NH Farm to School Program. I plan to return to school in the future for Sustainable Agriculture, and hope to continue working in a similar environment. Integrating agriculture and nutrition is a vital way to achieve optimal health as well as a way to decrease the prevalence of food insecurity within our communities, and doing so has become a passion of mine.

Along with interning at SEL, I work as a Clinical Diet Tech at a local rehab hospital and at a restaurant close to my house. In my spare time I enjoy spending my time hiking, climbing, kayaking, reading, as well as various forms of art.

I look forward to meeting you all and spending the summer with you at the Dover and Exeter Farmer’s Markets!

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Margo’s Post: A Little Introduction

Editor’s Note: Phew, we are SO glad that the season for summer interns has finally arrived! As with the interns that we have with us during the school year, these students provide a huge amount of help and support to our programs while learning the ropes of markets and food access in our community. We are so grateful for them and they quickly become part of the SEL family. I know you will all enjoy getting to know them as much as we have! If you know a student looking for a fall internship, encourage them to get in touch with us today!

HelScreen Shot 2016-06-08 at 4.08.49 PMlo! My name is Margo and I am a new intern at Seacoast Eat Local. I am so thrilled to be a part of this wonderful organization this summer and get the chance to get to know the people behind Seacoast Eat Local, the farmers, and of course our market visitors! As a farmers’ market enthusiast and frequenter myself, I look forward to chatting with those manning their stalls about things like how to best prepare unique vegetables, bumping into friends (old and new), and of course, picking up delicious goodies such as soft baked pretzels, and peaches! I am excited to become more involved with the markets, and to also help create greater access to local food through programs such as Close the Gap, and the SNAP token program.

 

Before this summer, I spent last summer working on a farm in Barrington, NH called Brasen Hill Farm, under the guidance of Eleanor Kane and Theo Wiegand. At the farm we grew an array of veggies and fruits including kale, brussels sprouts, squash, cucumbers, raspberries, and peaches, and also raised chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, goats, and sheep for meat. Brasen Hill is the place where I not only gained farming skills such as setting up irrigation pipes and moving a mob consisting of roughly 40 sheep and goats pasture to pasture, but I also gained a greater understanding of the hard work and care that goes into creating delicious local food. This is a lesson that still sticks with me today.

My appreciation for delicious food that is grown responsibly and helps to support to the local economy has been a long-term passion of mine, is what has inspired me to become involved in the local food movement, and to study Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire. Heading into my junior year this coming fall, I have taken a range of plant based courses, become a part of the group Slow Food UNH, which promotes “good, clean, fair food,” and also started working at the Agroecology Lab on campus studying how species’ interactions in the field may be used in promoting sustainable agriculture techniques. With my interests ranging from food access to biodiversity to food writing to studying cultural cuisines, I desire to combine some of these elements in my future endeavors to have a positive impact on the local food movement. This summer I am excited to learn more about markets and food access, and to see you at the Somersworth and Rochester summer markets!

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Seacoast Eat Local Collaborates with Community Partners on Farmers’ Market Transportation Project

small coast tixThis summer, Seacoast Eat Local and several of its community partners will be offering transportation assistance for low income individuals and families to travel to area farmers’ markets. This effort will be made possible through a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the help of five participating partners: Strafford County Community Action Program, UNH Cooperative Extension Nutrition Connections, Seacoast Family Food Pantries, Seymour Osman Community Center of Dover and COAST Bus.

In the last year, Seacoast Eat Local and its partners have received feedback that traveling to farmers’ markets can be a costly barrier to purchasing local fruits and vegetables. Some families would need to spend nearly as much to travel to farmers’ markets by bus as they have to spend on local fruits and vegetables once they arrive there. After some initial trial transportation projects, Seacoast Eat Local worked with its partners to develop a program and seek funds from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. Thanks to NHCF funding and the non-profit discount provided by COAST Bus, over 700 individuals will be provided bus passes between June and November.

“This is a win for everyone,” said Seacoast Eat Local Director of Programs, Jillian Hall. “When more individuals and families have the opportunity to come to farmers’ markets, we know that their health and diets are benefiting and that our local farmers and food economy are also benefiting. This is a huge step forward in our mission to help all residents access local foods and we are proud to be able to partner with local service providers in this way.”

Once at the farmers’ market, families and individuals receiving SNAP assistance can use their benefits at the farmers’ market and receive incentives to help stretch their dollars. There are also staff members and volunteers available to help first-time market goers navigate the farmers’ market and learn to use the foods they purchase. These services are provided by Seacoast Eat Local and the financial assistance of the federal FINI Program (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives) through Wholesome Wave and the New Hampshire Food Bank, as well as support from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Thomas W. Haas Fund, The Kittyhawk Revocable Trust and SATYA.  

To participate in the program, bus passes must be received from a partnering service provider. More information about SNAP Acceptance Services and Incentives can be found on our dedicated website, www.seacoasteatlocal.org/snap/shopwithsnap.

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Help Wanted: Three River Farmers Alliance

Three River Farmers Alliance is hiring!

3rfa

Job Description: Part-time Driver/Customer Service

Three River Farmers Alliance is seeking a motivated individual to play a key role in our local food collective marketing and delivery service.

 

Responsibilities:

  • Deliver a wide variety of product to different establishments. Attention to detail is a must.

  • Follow route and time schedule

  • Load, unload, prepare, inspect and operate delivery vehicle

  • Ask for feedback on provided services and resolve clients’ complaints

  • Collect payments

  • Inform on new products and services

  • Complete logs and reports

  • Follow DOT regulations and safety standards

 

Requirements

  • Ability to drive a 16ft box truck.

  • Ability to lift 50lbs

  • Valid Drivers License

  • Good/Clean driving record

  • Excellent organizational and time management skills

  • Excellent problem solving skills

  • Ability to obtain DOT health card

 

Commitment: 15-25 hours / week.  Wednesdays and Thursdays required. Requires driving box truck and the ability to lift fifty pounds.

 

Our ideal candidate has a strong interest in local food, has a background in food or agriculture, has excellent communication skills, is comfortable driving a truck, and has the ability to work independently.

 

Send cover letter and resume to erin@threeriverfa.com.

 

Three River Farmers Alliance is a farmer-owned local food delivery service based in the Seacoast area of NH. Learn more at www.threeriverfa.com

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What’s In Season: Asparagus!

image1It’s one of the first and most beloved signs that the growing season has begun– bright green spears of asparagus reaching up to the sky in triumph over the long winter. Their season is fleeting and the demand quite high, so how can you make the most of asparagus while it lasts?

Asparagus is a great source of vitamins A-C and also rich in minerals such as potassium and zinc. It is naturally fat-free with a low calorie count for those looking to reduce their intake. To store, wrap in a damp cloth in the vegetable drawer of the fridge, or stand in a vase with one-inch water, also refrigerated.

Usually, simpler is better with the asparagus spear! It can be steamed, grilled, roasted or sauteed (whole or cut) until bright green with minimal add-ons such as salt and pepper, butter, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, or cream/hollandaise inspired sauces. It makes a great stand-alone side or easily mixes in to pasta and grain dishes.

 

Here are my two favorite ways to use asparagus:

Asparagus Brunch

Assemble enough asparagus for your gathering- approximately 5 to 8 spears per person. Trim woody ends and prepare asparagus as you wish (steamed, roasted or sauteed until a bright and tender green). Top with poached or soft boiled eggs, two per person, and dust with salt and pepper. Consider adding toppings such as shallots, scallions, pickled red onion, parsley or basil. Break the yolks over asparagus just before serving.

Asparagus Pesto

My new obsession this asparagus season! I have used two different recipes, both with success. Originally, this pesto was meant as a sauce for pasta (reserve tips for including in pasta and dilute pesto with a touch of pasta water), but I have been enjoying it as a pizza sauce and on sliced fresh bread from McKenzie’s Farmstand.

  • Several spears asparagus (a good bunch, maybe 4- 8 spears depending on size)
  • one handful grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp (approx) olive oil
  • pine nuts (optional)
  • 2 scallions or one shallot (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice and zest
  • 2 garlic cloves

Roughly chop the asparagus, garlic and scallions/shallot. This is a good opportunity to use less desirable asparagus stalks– ones that are a bit large, slightly woody, becoming limp or are otherwise imperfect. Reserve the tips for another use, such as in pasta. Some recipes call for cooking the asparagus, but I used mine raw both for convenience and for maximum nutritional benefit. Combine in a food processor with the pine nuts until very fine. Add lemon juice and olive oil by sight, a little at a time, until the pesto is the consistency you prefer. Mix in the cheese and lemon zest, as well as a few sprinkles of salt and pepper to taste.

Pine nuts can be expensive and difficult to find, plus it can be limiting to an audience that has nut allergies. I happen to have preferred the nut-free version because it was a bit creamier and had a fresher taste. Including pine nuts means you will use somewhat more olive oil and lemon juice to get a good consistency. This pesto is open to experimentation– add and subtract ingredients at will to find your favorite rendition!

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