I'm not a meal planner. I mean, I could be. I probably should be. And I do like to think ahead about the possibilities. But I'm not someone who decides what to make and then goes shopping. Instead, I'm someone who picks up our farm share, and then decides what to make.
So, okay, I plan. I get this great food surprise every week, and then I plan. And really, I usually plan around two things: what we have in our share, and what I'm hungry for. So a lot of the meals you're going to see this month, as I challenge myself to post every single day, are based around our farm share. So let me tell you a little bit more about that.
We're part of a milk co-op, and provided I remember to place my order, every other week we pick up fresh milk, buttermilk and cheese. The milk is raw and delicious, and I can do things with the cream on top. And the buttermilk? Oh, I love it. I buy it just for baking and it sings to me. It sits in the 'fridge and it whispers seductive baking suggestions to me. It finds its way into my mind, then a bowl, then my oven, and then things like yesterday's scones. But of course, the milk is just a fringe benefit.
Skip and Erin from Green Gate Farms - used with permission from their Flickr stream
I love saying, "our farm" or, "my farmers" when I'm talking. Because I'm a big ol' nerd. And because Skip and Erin, the farmers, are truly delightful and inspirational people. They welcome people to the farm. They encourage us to look around and explore the grounds. For them, the best part seems to be all of it. Erin loves the joy and surprise when a child discovers a warm chicken egg. Skip believes passionately in what they are doing for our bellies, our local economy and our planet. Well of course, everyone there does.
Oh, the bounty! Also used with permission from the Green Gate Flickr stream
I especially love our Fall farm share. This isn't even a little bit unique among food fans, of course, but it's very true. Our lettuce has a flavor. A strong, green, fresh flavor. And I love cabbage. Who knew? Braised cabbage is one of my favorites. You would not believe the cancer fighting greens - kale, beet greens and frankly, things I would have thought were weeds if I didn't know better. (They're totally not, of course. They're incredibly delicious heirloom greens.) And after years and years of buying produce in markets all over the place, our farm surprised me with a veggie I'd never tried. Kohlrabi. You'll see it in a recipe later this month. The farm has also challenged me to try new things with old favorites.
I've told this to the farmers, and now I'll share my secret with you. It's not really about the food. Sure, the fresh produce is beyond yummy. Sure, I have a nearly pathological belief that our bodies actually really enjoy seasonal food more. And yes, I'm a firm believer that fresh seasonal food is the healthiest thing I can do for both the planet, and my family. But that's not really why I love our share. There are babies, people, babies. Chicks, ducks, goats, pigs - babies! And we're allowed to wander around and exclaim at their cuteness as much as we want. Seriously.
This is for Pine Curtain Gal, and was also used with permission from the Green Gate Flickr stream.
My camera and I are sill fighting, okay?
This week, I'm going to try something new. On a recent trip to North Carolina we ate at a great place in Asheville which featured seasonal food. We started our meal with a plate of house made pickles. The surprise hit of the plate? Pickled radishes. The radishes from the farm are about to be introduced to some brine. I'll keep you posted...
And one other thing? If I ever get one of these, I'm totally taking it to the farm just to enjoy the SMUG. By posting this cute link, I've entered a contest to win a Madsen bike. And my dog? Dude, he really wants me to win. How fantastic is that giant bucket?