Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on Berry Best Farm

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 8.46.30 AMIf someone were to ask me what my favorite season of the year is, I may be tempted to reply with “blueberry season.” Not only is this a beautiful time of year weather wise (hello sun and beach days!), but it is also when my favorite fruit ripens and is ready to pick. With one of my favorite childhood books being Blueberries for Sal, and having fond memories of picking berries since being in preschool, mid-July brings nostalgic excitement and latticed pies served warm with a side of vanilla bean ice cream.

Chris and John Bozak extend this wonderful season at their farm Berry Best Farm located in Lebanon, Maine with their eleven varieties that provide berries now through August. While varieties range from Early Bird to Atlantic to Patriot, the best tasting berries are, as Chris puts it, “the ripe ones.” It is obvious Chris knows how sweet and addictive berries are because once I got my hand on a green carton of her blueberries I couldn’t stop from continuously eating the perfectly ripe berries. (Be warned, it is very difficult to have the berries last the ride or walk back home – trust me.)

You can get your berry fix at the Rochester Farmers’ Market (Tuesdays from 3:30-6:30 pm), and can also have the classic New England experience of picking your our berries at the farm, which is open from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm on Tuesdays, and 8:00 am – 5:00 pmWednesdays-Sundays. The 75 acre farm was originally owned by Chris’s parents, Herb and Natalie Colburn, who bought the farm in 1948, and is the farm that Chris grew up on. Now Chris’s grandkids help work on the farm, making the farm a four generations farm. This family history will be preserved since the farm is under the Three Rivers Land Trust, ensuring the land will not be developed since it is under an agriculture and forestry conservation easement.

Herb started out with chickens, but after meeting a man from New Jersey who was working on developing cultivated blueberry varieties and was living across the street for the summer, Herb was inspired to later grow cultivated blueberries. (The man from New Jersey had also taken cuttings from the native high bush blueberries on the Colburn’s farm as part of his research.) Some of the original bushes that Herb first planted are still producing berries and being picked today. For picking the best berries off the bushes, Chris let me on to the secret that the biggest berries are often also the ripest.

Natalie Colburn use to take some of these big ripe berries and make muffins for all the customers so that they would have a special treat. Once that became too labor intensive, she made mini muffins for the weekend customers. Chris continues this delicious and adorable tradition and makes eight-dozen mini muffins every weekend during blueberry season to offer to berry pickers. You can find this recipe for Grandma Colburn’s Famous Blueberry Muffins posted on Berry Best Farm’s website so you may enjoy them at home as well. Other recipes on the website include blueberry bars, a salad with blueberries and arugula, blueberry scones, and blueberry cake. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy blueberries (if I don’t eat all of them first) is to make a blueberry sauce for pancakes, and to put them on vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Blueberries aren’t the only scrumptiousness Berry Best Farm has to offer. Along with blueberries there is also raspberry picking this year (there are also usually peaches to pick at the farm but due to recent weather conditions, there are no peaches this year). Items such as honey, jams, and selected baked goods may also be found at the farmers’ market. The jams are made with fruit harvested from the farm with flavors like blueberry, peach raspberry, and more.

This Sunday is a perfect day to visit Berry Best, who is participating in the Maine Open Farm Day. Events at the farm will include hayrides, making butter, giant bubbles, and other kids’ activities! I know I’ll be visiting Berry Best as soon as possible – meanwhile I am popping these juicy berries in my mouth that I was able to snatch up at the farmers’ market.

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An Embarrassment of Riches

It’s that time of year isn’t it? With just the little rain that we have gotten recently, home gardens and local farms have taken off and plants are bulging with the weight of their bounties. Farmers’ markets at this time of year are simply brimming with local foods. Friends and neighbors are throwing an abundance of dinner parties to use up all that they have — or stealthily leaving bags of cucumbers, squash and other goodies on front doorsteps. I had planted a little late this year and don’t have cucumbers yet. A neighbor offered me some (which I thought meant 2), and appeared moments later with a bag of 6 (!!) enormous cucumbers.

Sometimes, all of nature’s sweet excess can start to feel like somewhat of a burden. How to use all that food!? How to to use it, as importantly, in new and exciting ways?

In my own home, it’s been all about the squash and zucchini this week. To assist me in my quest to continue inventing new ways to use these overabundant summer staples, I purchased a mandoline and a “vegetti” spiralizer (approx. $10 each for simple, baseline tools).

Squash Fritters

  • 1 lb squash or zucchini, spiralized and chopped or shredded in a food processor cucumber
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 a lg onion, diced
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • other spices as desired

create a hash from the squash using either a food processor or spiralizer. Spread out on a pan to salt and then dry with towels, at least 10 minutes. The more dry you can get the squash the better. Combine with onions and then with other ingredients and spoon out like pancake batter into a frying pan with your choice of oil. Let brown before flipping. Fritters will be very fragile- flip and remove from pan carefully. Makes 5-6 tennis-ball sized fritters.

Zoodles

  • zucchini —  spiralize until you feel you have enough for your serving size, similar to pasta

Spiralize a zucchini or squash– tools differ, I have a vegetti, which works adequately enough but requires smaller size squash. Continue until you have equivalent to the amount of pasta needed for your serving size. “Zoodles” can be boiled for 2-3m, sauteed for 6-8m or baked at 375 for 10-15m.

I baked my zoodles– my recommendation is that it is a huge benefit to have them as dry as possible before baking. I greased the cookie sheet I laid them out on, but did not toss them in oil prior to baking. Once they have firmed up and browned a little in the oven, remove and toss in a bowl with olive oil. You can serve like this, adding salt, pepper or other spices as needed. I added some pesto to mine and spaghetti sauce would also work well.

Zucchini Chips

  • 1-2 zucchini, sliced thinly (1/4 in)
  • bread crumbs
  • garlic powder
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper

My absolute favorite! Preheat oven to 425 and slice zucchini with a knife or mandoline. Toss in a bowl with your choice of oil, salt and pepper to coat. Mix other ingredients in a small dish – I eyeball proportions. Then press zucchini chips in the dry ingredients until coated. Place in rows on a greased pan. Bake 10 minutes, flip chips, bake another 10 minutes. Cook time can vary, less cook time will make a softer chip, longer cook times will create a crispier chip. One medium sized zucchini is usually enough for one full sheet pan of chips.

 

Good luck on your quest to use up all the squash, zucchini, cucumbers and other riches of the garden or local farm. When they seem to literally be coming out of your ears, remember how very lucky we are to live in abundance, then gift some of it on your unsuspecting neighbors!

 

 

 

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Ashley’s Post: S is for Summer, and Squash!

Summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes make a perfect addition to any summertime meal. This summer vegetable pasta is a personal favorite go-to dish, regardless of the season (you can easily switch out the vegetables for whatever is in season!) It is super simple, easy to make, takes under 30 minutes from start to finish, and is full of nutrients!

The summer squashes and tomatoes contain large amounts of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and many other vitamins and minerals. This meal contains plenty of vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, vitamin C, among many others essentials for maintaining a healthy body! With relatively low calories, good sources of protein, dietary fiber and a delicious taste, this dish is definitely a must try!

Summer Vegetable Pasta

Prep: 15 mins          Cook: 10 mins          Total Time: 25 mins         Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. whole wheat penne (or whichever pasta you prefer)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepperzucchini
  • 1 large summer squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Slice the zucchini and the summer squash in half, lengthwise. Slice each half into ¼ inch slices.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat large skillet over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the zucchini and summer squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the remaining oil and turn heat down to medium.
  5. Add garlic, onion and red pepper flakes to skillet and sauté for 1 minute.
  6. Add in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add in the zucchini and summer squash, parsley and basil and toss together.
  8. Strain pasta and return to the pot. Add the sautéed vegetables to the pot and toss together.
  9. Enjoy!
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Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on Sanborn Hope Farm

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.31.40 AMThe Commons in Rochester is bustling with people purchasing bread, honey, blueberries, tomatoes, beef, and more this sunny Tuesday afternoon. Vendors are chatting with shoppers, some who are becoming regular faces at the market. Two vendors in particular who always seem to have smiles on their faces and to be talking with people at the market are Charlene and Joseph (“Molly”) Sanborn. The Sanborns are involved with the local community – they are residents of Rochester with their farm located on Peaslee Road, and Charlene is one of the market managers, helping to make this year’s market a success. When I asked Charlene why she became involved in establishing the market at the Commons, she replied that she saw the need for the market and that it was something that the community wanted.

The Sanborns not only sell at the Rochester market, but the Somersworth farmers’ market, and at their store located on the farm. They sell a range of products such as maple syrup, and an assortment of vegetables and fruit, such as lettuce and summer squash that willing be harvested and at the market shortly. What seems to be one of their biggest attractions, however, is their meat. Charlene and Joseph raise pasture raised pigs, grass fed and finished cows, and chickens, with a range of meat products such as pork chops, spare ribs, tenderloins, prime rib steak, ground beef, multiple types of sausages – the list goes on!

Raising cows, pigs, and chickens is nothing new for both Charlene and Joseph, who both grew up on farms with animals. When talking about raising their animals, the Sanborns’ love for them is evident, as well as the respect they have for their lives and what they will eventually provide. Joseph described this farmer-livestock relationship as, “We take care of them well for six months, and they take care of us well for six months.”

The care of the animals is also evident in the superb taste of Sanborn Hope Farm’s meat. I tried the Sweet Italian sausage, serving it how Charlene suggested – with peppers and onions. In addition, I cooked up some summer squash with hot pepper flakes and prepared a green salad to create a simple but delicious meal my family still talks about. With so many options of excellent products, I know my family with be enjoying more of what Sanborn Hope Farm has to offer!

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Ashley’s Post: Discovering Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is an annual vegetable of the cabbage family that can be eaten in its entirety, raw or cooked. Many people have compared the taste as a mix between a radish and broccoli stem.

The vegetable is rich in vitamins and dietary fiber, yet has very little calories (27kcal/100g) and barely any fat (somewhere around 0.10g).

Kohlrabi contains plenty Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium and B-complex vitamins. This vegetable also contains phytochemicals that help protect against certain cancers.

Now the real question is, what do we do with this vegetable?

Kohlrabi can be prepared using almost any method of preparation, both raw and cooked. Below are two very simple ways to prepare and to help you in your kohlrabi venture.

Kohlrabi Slawkohlrabi

Prep: 10 mins        Cook: 30 mins          Total Time: 40 mins

Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)

  • 2 small kohlrabi
  • 1 cup radish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Peel 2 small kohlrabi.
  2. Shred the kohlrabi and radishes.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley in bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Add shredded vegetables and toss.
  5. Chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Kohlrabi

Prep: 10 mins          Cook: 35 mins          Total Time: 45 mins

Ingredients:  (Makes 6 servings)

  • 2 lbs. kohlrabi, peeled and cut into large chunks.
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450*.
  2. Combine and toss all ingredients in bowl
  3. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast for 30-35 minutes (stir every 10 minutes to prevent burning).
  4. Enjoy!
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Margo’s Post: Jams, Jellies and Spreads, Oh My!

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 4.36.11 PM“Which one should I try next?” I contemplated. Pina Colada? Blueberry? Lemon Honey? Carrot cake? Strawberry rhubarb? With roughly ten types of jams, jellies, and spreads from Home Made by Rivka opened to taste test, I was left with the difficult situation – to choose one. Luckily Rivka Berman was there to make the suggestion of, “Try multiple.” While spreading the different delicacies with small serving spoons onto crackers, Rivka told me about how she first started making jams, jellies, and spreads as holiday gifts for family and friends due to being on a tight budget. The first type she ever made was an Apple Cider Jelly, which she now sells as one of her flavors, and is one I can personally recommend. Now Rivka has a Homestead license to craft her delights and sells at multiple farmers’ markets and locations, which have been listed below.

The next one I enjoyed was the Carrot Cake Jam, her best seller, and yes, I’m here to report it really does live up to its name. The other current top seller, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, is made with strawberries from Spiller Farm in Wells, Maine. Other local ingredients used in Rivka’s products include clover honey produced in Barrington, NH and raspberries from McKenzie’s Farm in Milton, NH.

With all this talk of jams, jellies, and spreads I wondered what the difference between them all was. Rivka explained to me that jam is made with whole fruit pieces and has big chunks of fruit, jellies are made with just liquids, and spreads are made with either fruit pieces or just liquid, but is defined by its lower sugar content. While her products may have different names to go by, most have only five ingredients or less.

While I was savoring the multiple types of jams, jellies, and spreads on crackers and imagining how amazing they would taste on buttered toast, Rivka let me in on her favorite ways to enjoy her products. With not being much of a bread person herself, Rivka likes glazing meats with her products (try pork glazed with the Apple Cider Jelly), using the Pina Colada Jam in equal parts to chicken stock to create a stir-fry sauce, and the various jams to make thumb print cookies. Another sweet idea is to use the jams as fillings for macaroons, just as Teatotaller Tea House in Somersworth, NH does with Rivka’s strawberry rhubarb jam (Rivka’s products are on a three set rotation at Teatotaller, where they are sold and served with breakfast.)

Taking note from Teatotaller, I decided to use Rivka’s Banana Foster Spread as a filling, not in a macaroon however, but in a cake. I made a vanilla cake, with the spread in the middle, a cream frosting drizzled on top along, and sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes and pecans. It was so yummy! Rivka also recommends using the Banana Foster Spread as an ice cream topping.

One problem did present itself though – after trying so many of Rivka’s products I wanted to buy them all! Thankfully her stall will be here every Thursday at the Somersworth farmers’ market throughout the summer.

 

Where to find Home Made by Rivka:

  • Somersworth Farmers’ Market (Thursdays from 3-6pm)
  • Hampton Falls Farmers’ Market (Mondays 2-6pm)
  • Barnstead Farmers’ Market (Saturdays 9am-noon)
  • Guest appearances at the Stratham and Rochester Farmers’ Markets
  • Barker’s Farm LLC, Stratham, NH
  • The Gathering Place Studio & Shop, Somersworth, NH
  • Teatotaller Tea House, Somersworth, NH
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2016-17 Seacoast Harvest is Here!

The 2016-17 Seacoast Harvest, our 10th anniversary edition, is now available!

SH2016cover-60

           photo by Kate Donald, Stout Oak Farm

Start looking for the new print copies (8,000 were published this year!) at farmers’ markets near you, as well as at your favorite local foods businesses around the Seacoast!

In our hallmark annual publication, Seacoast Harvest, our mission is to provide the information and resources necessary for consumers to access sources of local foods all year long in a variety of ways. Readers of this publication can find a listing of CSA programs, farm stands, farmers market programs and food businesses that source locally produced food items.

To see the online pdf version, or to search updated listings of farms and farmers’ markets online, full listings and CSA descriptions, please visit our website, www.seacoastharvest.org.

We are also proud to announce our new partnership with the printing company R.C. Brayshaw, who printed this year’s copies. R.C. Brayshaw is located in Warner, New Hampshire and has been hailed for their green and sustainable printing practices. Learn more about their work at www.rcbrayshaw.com.

A most sincere thank you to the many personal and business sponsors of this publication. Without your support this project truly would not have been possible. We ask our readers to please consider thanking and frequenting our sponsoring businesses across the Seacoast. For a full list of our sponsors, check your print copies or visit our online sponsor page. 

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Margo’s Post: Farm-a-Q Fun, Where Chefs Serve Up Fresh Ideas

Editor’s Note: Farm-a-Q is an amazing community event, which we are proud to support and proud to say supports the work of Seacoast Eat Local. We would like to thank the many organizers, volunteers, patrons and others who make this event possible each year. Nothing celebrates the power of local foods quite like a true community event– as this one is– and we wish it many more years of continued success.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.21.05 PM“Turn here and then the young ladies at the end will direct you where to park,” a man clad in a bright orange vest directed cheerfully.  We pulled into the grassy parking lot and sure enough two women dressed in matching bright vests pointed us to a spot along the tree line. Gearing up, my family lathered on sunblock and grabbed the essentials from the trunk – our blue-patterned fleece blanket, a folding chair, and our picnic basket filled with forks, knives, plates, and cups.

What kind of picnic does one attend when you are only expected to bring along dishware and utensils? A Farm-a-Q! By some miracle we all had the day off this year that the Slow Food Seacoast and Heirloom Heritage groups were putting the Farm-a-Q, an event where local chefs and local ingredients come together to create homegrown goodness. A range of restaurants and farms collaborate to create tastings of dishes in celebration of local food, with participants including When Pigs Fly, Leaven, Louie’s, and more.

This year the theme of the lunch was “perennial,” a word that describes something that continues to live on year after year, and the location was Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton. We set up camp behind some of the local brewers who were also at the event, and listened to the sweet sounds of the bands Fox & Fern and OldHat. Soon after getting settled, the awaited announcement came – food was ready! With plates in hand, people scurried to the assortment of tents where the delicacies awaited.

While dishes ranged from local beef sliders, to collard green roll-ups, to grilled monkfish, there was a reoccurring element in many of the dishes – pickled rhubarb. One of these dishes I devoured was by The Black Birch – pita with pea falafel, with goat milk yogurt, and rhubarb relish. I had never even heard of pickled rhubarb until tasting it in this wonderful dish – it was sweet, tangy, and salty all at once and utterly delicious.

Rhubarb pickles are a great example of how local chefs working with local ingredients provide fresh ways of how to extend our region’s short growing season, and how to create new flavors with what we have available. Inspired by what I tasted at the Farm-a-Q, I decided to try my hand at making rhubarb pickles at home. The super easy recipe I used to make the pickles is attached below, and includes spices such as star anise, clove red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. The pickles will be ready after two days of being in the frig, so the rhubarb has time to ferment. (These are refrigerator pickles, meaning that no special equipment or long waiting times are needed, but also means that these pickles must stay in the refrigerator and will need to be eaten within a month). I am anxiously waiting to taste them!

A small (and not exhaustive) list of restaurants that support our local farms can also be found below, places that offer delicious meals and inspiration for your own kitchen!

 

Restaurants:

  • 7th Settlement, Dover, NH
  • Anju, Kittery, ME
  • Joinery, Newmarket, NH
  • The Black Birch, Kittery, ME
  • Thistle Pig, South Berwick, NH
  • Earth’s Harvest, Dover, NH
  • Black Trumpet, Portsmouth, NH
  • Stages at One Washington, Dover, NH

Recipe:

https://fearlessfresh.com/springtime-swagger-pickled-rhubarb/

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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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