Just after Saltscapes last week I picked up a friend I met at the Slow Food Int'l Terra Madre in 2012. Cynthia joined us at TapRoot from Slow Food Edmonton. Just in the few days we spent together here at home, I was reminded again how incredible our Annapolis Valley is. In three days she was able to visit the Bay of Fundy, help out on the farm, have a winery tour, eat at fine restaurants, enjoy and be moved by local theatre, and stand by watching the movement of the tides in the Cornwallis River.
On Thursday we headed to Tatamagouche to participate in the Slow Food Canada national meetings. It is a wonderful feeling to be in a room with people from across Canada who are passionate and committed and working so hard for Good Clean Fair food for everyone.
Then on Saturday we continued the meetings (not really the fun part, but necessary) and ended the day with the most amazing event. Lia Rinaldo a Slow Food Nova Scotia member expresses her volunteerism through making this wonderful fundraiser happen called Slow Food Spring Supper. (she and teams of other volunteers) Lia is also the Managing Director of Devour: The Food Film Festival. I think she is pretty great and makes events happen that are a part of the AMAZING of NS!
Josh and I were touched and honoured to receive recognition as one of Slow Food Canada's Slow Food Heroes. We feel so full of gratitude for everyone around us who are making TapRoot Farms what it is....a farm, a community, a system of agriculture that takes care of the planet and people and spirit.
If you haven't checked out Slow Food International I recommend taking a few minutes to look over the webpage. Slow Food is a grass roots movement toward change that celebrates culture, community, food, farmers, fishers, all those in the food system who work to make our food possible in a way that is Good Clean and Fair.
The usual maple glazed roasted carrots were not on the menu this week. Instead, it was the favourite carrot-based smoothie with apple, orange, banana, mango, ginger, and kale with some added chia and flaxmeal. It was quite good!
Jill is this week's recent addition to the TapRoot crew. She is an avid organic gardener in her own right and has joined us this summer to work with the Herb/Flax Team and the Vegetable Production Crew. She'll be spending the summer out in the dirt, building beds, sowing, WEEDING and harvesting. She's jumped right into things on her first day, and is seeding onions and celeriac in the greenhouse. Great to have you with us Jill!
Welcome to the third week of the 2014-2015 TapRoot meat share!
This week your share contains:
A whole Free Range Chicken from Longspell Point Farm.
A pack of 2 pork chops from here at the farm.
A pack of 2 lamb chops from Centerville Hutten Farm. Check out their Facebook page here
Cost breakdown of your share:
Whole chicken @ $5.35/lb, average weight 5.4lbs, $28.89
Pork Chops @ $6.25/lb average weight 1 lb, $6.25
Lamb Chops @ $10.00/lb, .65lb pack average $6.50
This week and last we were a bit over so next week I'm going to try and be a little under to even things out. This is our third whole chicken in a row, so if you're getting tired of cooking a whole chicken, don't forget that you can easily thaw and cut the bird into pieces. Then one night you can have a stir fry with chicken breasts, then another night have drumsticks, thighs, and wings in the oven or BBQ. And make sure you make broth out of that carcass, or freeze it for making broth another day. I've been tending lately to put it right in the slow cooker after I'm done picking off all the meat. You just fill the slow cooker up with water and turn it on, you can also add spices and vegetable scraps. Especially in the summer (or spring) when you don't feel like having a boiling pot of stock on the stove for hours, the slow cooker is a great way to go. We freeze some in one cup amounts and some in ice cube trays, then when you need a few tablespoons to put into rice or a sauce you don't have to chip it off the frozen block. Check out this article for perpetual broth here, and read all about the health benefits of a good homemade broth.
TapRoot animal update:
Some of the pigs were all moved into their summer homes last week. Josh moved some on to a patch over in Canard that had winter rye on it, which has started to come up and the pigs just love it. They plow with their noses just under the soil, rooting up the bit of grain still under there and the green shoots as well. Here's a picture of them that Josh took, you can just see them across the road in their new pasture. The gilts over by swallows nest are going to have piglets soon, so we'll have piglet pictures as soon as that happens I'm sure.
Last Friday we got our second flock of free range chicks. The first flock is now out of their brooder (the area they're in at first until they are feathered enough to be without extra heat and protection) and into their free range area where they'll stay until they are grown and ready to be part of our meat share.
We are also getting two hundred new layer chicks this week, when they are grown and ready to lay eggs they will replace the older birds that are laying eggs for us now. Chickens only have so long as a productive egg layer, but after that they make great stewing hens. Stewing hens have more flavour and are tender when they are cooked at a low heat for a long time, like in a slow cooker, or the French dish coq au vin (rooster in wine!)
The barn in Canard is just chock full of poultry of one sort or another! At least there are no mature roosters to keep the neighbours up!
Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, have a crisp, clean flavor reminiscent of water chestnuts. This native North American tuber is a member of the sunflower family and looks like a cross between ginger root and a potato.
Sunchokes don’t need to be peeled; their thin skin is packed with nutrients. Clean them by scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Trim to a similar size for even cooking. Once cut, use immediately; the flesh browns when exposed to air. Do not prepare in aluminum or iron cookware, as the flesh will turn gray.
Among the most versatile of tubers, sunchokes are terrific raw, adding crisp flavor and crunch to salads. Slice and sauté for a crunchy snack. When baked, steamed, or stir-fried, the sunchoke takes on a rich, buttery texture and makes for a filling side dish. They’re frequently pickled in the southern United States. Bonus: Sunchokes are loaded with fiber, iron, and potassium.
Sunchoke and Parsnip Soup topped with Crispy Mushrooms
For the mushrooms: Preheat oven to 400. Gently toss mushrooms in oil, until lightly coated. Spread onto baking sheet in single layer. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are crispy. Check occasionally to prevent over-crisping.
For the soup: Sautée onions in olive oil until translucent. Stir in celery and garlic. Cook until vegetables soften.
Add parsnips, sunchokes and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes.
In batches, blend soup until it's as smooth as possible.
Add salt and pepper to taste, top with chives and crispy mushrooms.