We spent a long weekend away from the farm at our dear friends’ wedding in Vermont and returned to a giant, ominous rain cloud hanging over Gardiner. In a humorous display of impeccable timing, it drenched us as we walked the fields to inventory the veggies for your shares this week, and then the driving rain ceased literally as soon as we were finished. We couldn’t help but laugh. Before that, on the ride back to NY, we heard a blurb on the radio about Americans’ food spending–did you know that Americans spend less on food today (less than 10 per cent of our incomes) than the citizens of any other country? And food spending as a portion of our incomes is at an all-time low. On top of that, we end up throwing away an average of about 40 per cent of our food, in part because it was cheap to begin with, so perhaps seems less valuable, anyway. A major contributor to the low price of food in the USA was a regime of agricultural policies in the 1970s that expanded subsidies for corn, wheat and soy. This created an excess of those crops, especially corn, and the food industry found ways to incorporate them into other foods in order to pack in the cheap calories. You likely know that there is corn and/or soy in just about everything now, since high fructose corn syrup has generally booted regular ol’ sugar out of most processed foods and creative food scientists have managed to derive a thousand other slightly creepy uses for corn (milkshake thickener?). American food habits are endlessly interesting to study, so here are a few concise charts from NPR, if you’re interested. Lucky for you all, you’re enjoying a varied, local, sustainable diet of veggies to complement the secret corn, soy and wheat most of us eat the rest of the time!
***Quick note about the eggplant/pepper situation: Thanks to everyone for being patient about this. We can’t hand out eggplants all at once, since they are ripening slowly and at different times. So, please remember that if you have already taken an eggplant, please don’t take another at this time.
In your shares this week:
- Big Heirloom Tomatoes (which look to have made a comeback since last week)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Tri-color Beans
- Eggplant or Peppers
- Hot Peppers
- Spring Raab
- Butternut Squash
ROASTED BIG HEIRLOOM AND CHERRY TOMATO SOUP
Just read an article that expounds upon the virtues of roasting tomatoes, as it truly does concentrate the juices and release a flavor extravaganza. Here, here, we agree!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 small or medium onions, halved
- 2-1/4 pounds mixed cherry and big tomatoes
- 4 (or more!) cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- ground pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet on low-medium heat. Place onion halves cut-side down in skillet; cook until caramelized, about 4 minutes each side. Set aside 1/4 pound tomatoes (about 3/4 cup) for garnish.. Place remaining tomatoes, the caramelized onion and garlic on 2 rimmed baking sheets; drizzle with remaining olive oil, or more as needed. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven, 30 minutes.
2. Place roasted tomatoes, onions, stock, basil and chicken or veggie stock in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender (best thing ever) or in batches in a regular blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve in soup bowls, garnished with reserved tomatoes, goat cheese and splashes of balsamic vinegar.
CLASSIC ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
The first winter squash of the season! Everyone probably knows this recipe, but it’s a good ‘un, so it needs to be in the recipe list.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- salt and pepper (to taste)
Pre-heat oven to 400. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place the two halves face up on a baking sheet. Dab half the butter onto each half of squash, then sprinkle on the sugar, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until a fork easily penetrates the flesh.
Enjoy as is, or you can scoop out the cooked flesh and mash it with a immersion blender (or by hand if you’re feeling especially tough), adding up to 1/4 cup half-and-half (until you get a nice mashed-potatoes-type consistency), an additional few tablespoons of butter, and more salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.