Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Went...

Below you will find some notes on Irene's effects on a few of our local growers.
The map shows their locations.

Chesapeake Organic Farm Marion Station, MD
Underwater with no rain forecast. Things will dry out, but some crops may be lost. Late season watermelon and cantaloupe are gone. Hard squashes probably gone too. Fall greens (collards / kale) are ok.

One Straw Organic Farm
White Hall, MD
Stripping plants...may be back in biz this weekend.

Spiral Path Organic Farm Loysville, PA
Spiral Path only had inch of rain, and some gusts. They are pretty far out there and protected by a high ridgeline.

Lancaster Family Farms Cooperative Upper Leacock, PA
Pretty good so far. Our farms seem to be fine.

Grindstone Farm Pulaski, NY
Thanks for checking in. We were very lucky and only experienced rain. It was actually great for our fields. There was no damage, though the turkeys got a bit sick of it.

Blue Heron Farm
Lodi, NY
We were lucky this time; high wind and moderate rain but no damage to crops, trees, or buildings.

Finger Lakes Organic Growers Cooperative Rose, NY
We had winds that knocked down some trees, but not much rain. The Finger Lakes region did not see any really severe weather. It was just like any typical blustery, rainy October day.

Lucky Dog Farm Hamden NY
Irene did manage to flood the fields at Lucky Dog Farm, so their produce won't be available until they dry out a bit.

Happy Valley Organic Farm
South Deerfield, MA
Came through pretty unscathed. Couple of unavailable items are Baby Bok (Choy), Mustards & Lettuces.

View Local Farms in a larger map

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hepworth and the Hurricane

Things are remarkably well....AMY and a crew were out before the storm reinforcing tomatoes with additional stakes and cross wires. We farm on hills so most of our fields are doing fine...Some of the green fields are too wet to go on...but I think things are draining there.
WE just picked your Eggplant, Peppers, Zucchini and Cukes...they look great.
Tomatoes are doing just fine...
There are a few down apple trees but amazingly the apples held on and we are poised for a good apple crop (this was our biggest concern)
The wind was not a brutal as we expected and the rain was more...Amy was on the excavator repairing streams and flooded ponds yesterday... It's been intense but we fared well. There are disaster stories, but they are not ours, and our heart aches for many of our farmer friends.
Just wanted to send you a quick note..

All the best,
Hepworth Farms

Friday, August 26, 2011

Produce Notes From Allen .....138 Local Items!

Thai Coconuts will return Monday.

We declare this to be The Week Of The Bean! In addition to Green Beans, we have Cranberry (for shelling), Dragon Tongue , Red Swan, and Yellow. I have heard that beans, beans are good for the heart, and the more you eat...

Blueberries are ending soon. A 1 0r 2 day supply coming Monday.
We may not sell out of Cherries this weekend, but we may not get any more this year.

Non-organic Honeydew are grown by Turlock in California. They are the growers of the "Sycamore" label, which many aficionados consider to be the finest honeydews of the year. The "Sycamore" is actually their Number 2 label. Their premium label, the one that we have now, is "Best of the West", a Honeydew that is so limited that it almost never makes it to the East Coast. Enjoy this rare treat now!

Welcome back the first Asian pears of the season from Hepworth Farm, NY.
If you only try one Pluot this year, try the Dapple Dandy now.
Organic Lemons are so scarce (normal for this time of year) that price will keep rising every week, until strong harvest starts well into the fall. That's why Zeigler is no longer producing organic lemonade; they have no lemons!

An Arugula story that that unfolded in less than 10 minutes last Friday:
Five minutes after I produced last week's notes, which included the following "
We tried local bunched organic arugula, but it is still too hot in NY, and the attempt failed", our farmer, Amy Hepworth called to apologize for not sending bunch Arugula earlier that morning. I told her that I was glad, that I thought it was not good enough anyway. She called back 5 minutes later to say that she checked a different planting and we should try again. I said OK. She called back to say that she had been hit by a massive, brief storm, and the arugula was flattened, completely destroyed in less than 5 minutes. Just a little insight into the experience of a farmer.

Good strong supply of Organic Mints, the return of Tatsoi.

Vidalia Onions may have ended. We'll know more next week.

Hot Pepper Mix keeps coming in prettier and "mixier". Try the little purple one (if you dare).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Produce Items of Interest

White Sapote
Creamy white inside.
Let it ripen like an
Avocado and enjoy!

Carambola (Star Fruit)
Lightly sweet with a touch of sour.
When the green edges are a touch
brown they are considered ripe.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Produce Notes From Allen.....130 Local Items!

Last week for Blood Oranges!

Why is the Red Grapefruit not exactly red....well, barely red or practically yellow?
When the nights get cooler in their growing region (these are from Southern California) the color will turn pink to red. Try eating them with the lights out!

Steadier supply of Ginger Gold Apples coming 8/23
Prune Plums begin 8/23
Florida Avocados here today gone tomorrow!
Harrow's Delight organic heirloom Pear from Rose Valley Farm of Finger Lakes Organic Growers Cooperative coming 8/22
Comings and going in Plums and Pluots-
Sweet Jewel Pluot
ending and Flavor Queen beginning 8/22.
Simka Plums start 8/22, and Local Prunes start 8/23

All Berries are having troubles!
There is too much rain in their growing regions. We gave up on Blackberries and Raspberries this week, and will give it another go on raspberries 8/22. Strawberry prices are steadily rising, so we are trying smaller containers to make it easier to buy strawberries. Quality is still pretty good, but our own humidity isn't helping them very much

Local Arugula
has a fair amount of insect damage. We are trying to support the local grower and provide good product at same time. We don't expect much better overall quality out of California, where we would experience yellowing and wilting. Not much of a trade off, but fresher and from small local family farms swings the vote in favor of the arugula that is so favored by New York State bugs. We tried local bunched organic arugula, but it is still too hot in NY, and the attempt failed.

Nappa Cabbage is returning, hopefully with a steady supply.
Look for the next cooking workshop at the coop featuring Kimchee!

We will probably manage to convert to all Local Celery next week.

It's easy to buy Organic Corn, if you think that small ears or dried kernels, or lack of sweetness is OK. We don't, and have held out for great quality organic corn only. Big juicy sweet organic corn out of Massachusetts coming 8/23!

The attempt to carry Organic Sugar Snap and Snow Peas has failed. With high prices, fair quality and only sporadic availability, we give up. Conventionally grown peas from Guatemala and Peru return 8/23

Gorgeous Red and Yellow Organic Peppers this week!

To encourage greater sales of Frying Peppers (see post below), I am including my favorite recipe: Fry them and eat them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tortillas with a Purpose

The Coop has been selling Hot Bread Kitchen corn tortillas (white and yellow) for over a year, but we think they deserve a new shout-out for the purpose behind the product.

HBK is a social purpose bakery that preserves bread baking traditions from around the world while creating professional opportunities for foreign born and minority women. Their bakers receive paid, on-the-job training in commercial baking and kitchen management as well as English as a Second Language so they can become managers and business owners in the culinary industry.

While many commercial tortillas are made from a
processed, dehydrated corn flour, HBK tortillas are made in the traditional way by soaking and grinding whole-kernel corn, adding nothing but a little lime. Each tortilla is then pressed and cooked by hand. They use only 100% organic, non-GMO corn and add no preservatives. Also they recently improved the recipe, making the tortillas slightly thinner, softer, and more taco-friendly.

The Coop also carries HBK's My Mom’s Nutty Granola. It is a crunchy, not-too-sweet blend of rolled oats, lots of almonds and peanuts, unsulfured raisins, wheat germ, seeds, and pepitas, all mixed together and baked with organic honey. We think it is subtle and honest, a good choice for those who don't want huge chunks of chocolate or exotic ingredients in their morning...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Remember that great kielbasa? It's back.

Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop smoked kielbasa returns to the shelves this week. This is the kielbasa we loved so much we used to commit to an entire hog to obtain -- now we can get it for its own sake, and at a better price: $7.70/lb.

Fresh pork from Sweet Stem Farm, seasoned only with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic. No antibiotics, no added nitrates, no hormones, no junk. Though I hesitate to admit to prejudice, the Amish certainly know their sausage.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Fall Fruit!

This year's crop of apples and pears has begun to arrive!

Ginger Gold Apples, Red Clapp Pears, and Green Clapp Pears.

Have you given Frying Peppers a shot?

Hepworth Farms has been providing us with these beautiful peppers. They hold up very well to.....wait for it.....FRYING! Carmelized onions and peppers make a tasty addition to eggs, sausage, tofu, etc. One member loves to simply fry them in Olive Oil (on both sides), salt to taste, and put them on crunchy Italian bread.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Produce notes from Allen... 127 local items!

Watermelon: What a watermelon week! Orange seedless, orange with seeds, yellow seedless, sweet beauty (personal size), sugar baby, red with seeds (including sangria, red crimson, moon and stars), red seedless. That's 14, 00 pounds or about 19 bins for the week! 34 cases of personal size watermelons, about 3 pounds each, a one day supply, coming Monday.

After the heat, welcome back local organic bunches of arugula.

Price plunges on many local organic items, mostly thanks to Amy Hepworth. Look for new low prices on all summer squash, suyo and Jade cucumbers, eggplants, cherry tomatoes, organic red peppers, okra, and more

Red peppers contain many varieties, almost none of which are bell. Try some. If it helps, cut them first. Frying peppers now include a good deal of red ones in the mix. We call one of the peppers "yellowish". They didn't quite make it to yellow, but they are still a sweeter variety than the green

New items to try: "Wild Caribbean lemon grass" organic and a different variety; Red celery--limited item--add some color to your chicken salad.
Champagne grapes in on Monday. Rainier cherries out.

Surprise appearance: Blood oranges in August! Next thing you'll try to imagine is tangerines in August. (Coming Thursday 8/18)

127 local items, a new record!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking for hot peppers...

The Park Slope Food Coop has them--come get them. Gorgeous and hot, hot, hot.

Monday, August 08, 2011

In the news....

WSJ headline: Government Knew about Bacteria in Turkey--more on Cargill, Inc and salmonella in turkey processing plants. Bottom line: who is the USDA protecting?

Coconut water: ConsumerLab.com tests electrolyte content of three coconut waters: Zico, O.N.E. and VitaCoco. Zico comes out the winner as reported by Huffington Post.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

In the news... salmonella +++

Salmonella has been detected in ground turkey but this turkey is not being sold at the Coop. Although Shady Brook is one of the brand names that Cargill uses, our meat buyer has been assured that the pre-formed Shady Brook turkey patties we sell were packed in Virginia, and that the contaminated ones were processed in Alabama. However, upon discovering Cargill's and Shady Brook's ties, we have decided to no longer carry Shady Brook turkey products.

Our meat buyer notes that Shady Brook was the last of the "supermarket" brands in our meat and poultry section; the sort which met our standards back in 1987 when the GM voted to carry poultry. We've kept it around as a low-price alternative to Plainville and D'Artagnan turkey products, bearing in mind that turkey growers -- unlike chicken farmers -- are modest enough in their profit-making that they do not resort to drugging, hormone shots, and other factory-farm evils.

Mark Bittman has written several posts at the NYT on this issue. He links to a thorough post on salmonella contamination written by Mary McKenna on Superbug.

On a happier note, the Wall Street had several interesting articles this week:
  • appealing chilled summer soups (almond grape; cucumber honeydew sake..);
  • Who gets drunk and why? how alcohol is metabolized
  • linen- fascinating look at how plant is processed
  • nut oils- great to perk up salads or other dishes. We sell the La Tourangelle brand at the Coop. The lightly roasted hazel nut is a personal favorite.