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Archive for July, 2009

DSC_5253This summer, we had more sweet corn than any previous year. Gillen did most of the work to make it happen. He made some money on it too! But it is never enough corn. We love it so. In the end, the worms took over and we didn’t have as much as we had hoped. Next year, we plan to grow three rounds of it, at least.

It is delicious, of course, simply boiled and slathered with butter and sea salt. Jesse actually prefers it raw. But I found this recipe from an old issue of Bon Appetit and we really liked it this way too.

From the August, 2003 issue of Bon Appetit. This recipe was created by a reader from Atlanta, Tracey Medeiros:

4 servings: 4 ears of fresh corn                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 tbls. olive oil                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese                                                                                                                                                                                 1 garlic clove, minced                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tbls. fresh lime juice                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1 teaspoon ground cumin                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (we like the local Italian guy’s (Zio Micu’s) organic sauce at the Morningside Market a lot! But the kids didn’t want this in the corn)                                                                                                                                                                                                     1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (sorry for the crazy formatting; I’m tired of fighting it, so have decided it works : )

Cook corn in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Whisk 5 tbls. oil, cheese, garlic, lime juice, cumin, and pepper sauce in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add corn and saute until heated through, turning frequently, about 2 minutes. Brush corn with some of Parmesan cheese mixture.  Turn corn and brush with more cheese mixture. Cook until coating begins to color, about three minutes.  Transfer corn to platter. Mix cilantro into any remaining Parmesan mixture and brush over corn.

We ate it with Helen’s beautiful eggs, tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese.

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Our farm booth at the Morningside Market:AJC cover004gside Market:

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Saving Tomato Seeds

Nicolas used to save many seeds. But when his variety got really big, several of these seeds grew into plants that were clearly no longer the pure heirloom breed but rather had been cross-pollinated. So, for the past few years, he had stopped saving seeds and bought from great companies like High Mowing Seeds.

His mother, Helen, continued to save a bit. And he is happy to have them. He’s going to use the tomato seeds she saved from last year. Nicolas is also going to grow a few plants in isolation in order to save their seeds.

For some breeds, like squash, different families have to be planted really far apart or to be isolated with nets. Tom, at High Mowing Seeds, does a lot of this. More and more new technologies are being developed to address this issue.

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Food, Inc.

O.K. I lied. I do not have a smart picture of farmer Nicolas speaking on a panel (though he did speak and did look mighty smart) and I do have lots to say about the film that proceeded the panel. I brought my camera, but without a memory card. My brain needs someone replacing its memory card. ; )

If you haven’t seen this film, Food, Inc., you can see a preview at their website. It is really powerful – enough to convince the kids that they never want to eat meat out again (unless at a restaurant where they use meat from farmers they know). They were eating twizzlers and popcorn and drinking lemonade while they watched but didn’t feel so great about this choice by the end of the film. I was glad about my choice to drink a beer (yes! an old historic movie theater that served good beer) as it helped to keep me from yelling out loud while viewing some of the atrocities wrought by Monsanto.

This brings me to one of the most horrifying revelations in the film. Those who are victims of Monsanto’s ownership of their seed (even if that seed has drifted on to their property from neighboring farms) and who have lost their livelihood as a result; AND those who have had a child die as a result of a food-borne illness due to industrially farmed cattle (all the meat out there that isn’t farmed by small or certified farmers) have even lost their ability to speak freely about their plight. They have learned the hard way that you don’t want to get sued by Monsanto or the big meat corporations. Those who have tried fighting for their right to save seeds or get out of Mansanto’s clutches have mostly gone bankrupt due to lawyer fees, before they even get to court.

There is so much more to this movie. This is just the part that gets me ranting. As Michael Pollan said in the film, our country’s present food policies are the most important thing we can become informed about today. Our food is now engineered. It has changed more in the last fifty years than it did for thousands of years before this. McDonald’s is the largest purchaser of ground beef, potatoes, chicken, tomatoes and lettuce. The top four meat packers control 80% of the meat system. Meat companies were never this powerful. We are eating chicken and turkey that has been redesigned to have large breasts and can’t even walk anymore so has to be artificially inseminated. Most of what we eat is largely made up of industrial gmo corn (including everything from fish to vanilla extract) but there is no labelling in place to tell us what has gmo ingredients. The film points out that for the past two decades, our government has been controlled by those they are supposed to be regulating.

I know. I said I wouldn’t rant. I need to go to the flowers now and leave my soap box to the professionals.

I hope you get a chance to see this film.

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Passion Fruit

Here are a few of the flowers that you can find at the market or Local Farmstand store this summer.

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DSC_5275These are the fruit of Helen’s passion for beautiful flowers.

Of course,  she is also growing Passion Fruit:

DSC_5118Helen has many talents. One of them is seed saving. I took several pictures of her process with the tomato seeds over the past several days and will post that tutorial soon. Right now, we are getting ready, the kids and Nicolas and I, to go to a showing of Food, Inc. in Atlanta. It will be followed by a Q & A with Nicolas and some other organic farmers. I’ll try not to come back raving about food policies here ( just with a photo of Nicolas looking smart: ). I’m sure I’ll be recommending the movie. It’s supposed to be great.

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We eat seasonally and don’t put up a lot of food, so by the time a vegetable or fruit’s season rolls round again, we are very anxious to reconnect. This is why we can stand to eat so many tomatoes for months in the summer. Plus, they are just that good.

There’s simple gazpacho, with peppers, tomatoes and garlic (yet to be blended):DSC_5655

Sometimes, we get crazy and add cucumbers and red onions:DSC_5656Then, there’s the many kinds of tomato sauce. Here, I was preparing a lot in order to freeze some for the winter. I boiled a big pot of water and submerged the cored tomatoes for about thirty seconds in order to easily peel off the skins. But this was before I got a powerhouse blender. I am curious to see how we like it with the peel left on. I hope we like it. It sure would simplify the process.

DSC_5014Sliced with “stuffed burgers” (stuffed with chopped herbs, english peas and carrots; invented and built by Jesse):DSC_4055Salsa! Here, just with cilantro (not from the farm, unfortunately) and garlic:

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Much of the time, we just eat them sliced with coarse salt. Sometimes we’ll add Buffalo Mozzarella and basil or some bread and mayonnaise, or a pizza crust and mozzarella cheese. It will be the end of August before we get tired of them.

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DSC_5161The guys were off the farm and joyfully waiting to be served many courses of good local food. It was a good time. Last night, Nicolas was invited to speak at Duck’s Cosmic Kitchen as part of a series of local-only meals that locavore, Virginia Dupree, has been organizing for three years, with Duck’s help. There is always a waiting list. It all started with an email to her friends to gage interest in eating an all-local meal at a local restaurant. The response was huge and immediately grew to include many more people than just those she knew. Now, these dinners always have a long waiting list. This is so much a reflection of Virginia’s enthusiasm but also of this particular town. Decatur, GA is pretty wonderful. Our meal was too – tomato pie, Nicolas’ greens in a salad with local cheese, local, humane-certified steak with Vidalia onion rings, orange and red watermelon with blueberry sorbet.

I feel inspired to share more of my own local meals here. We had a great one tonight (though with many fewer courses). A medley of many to come soon, as well as a tutorial with Helen about seed-saving.

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