Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A visit to Sprout Creek Farm

While we were upstate for an Engagement party, (ask me about that later - it was great) the family and I decided to stop by Sprout Creek Farm in the idyllic town of Poughkeepsie.

The head cheese-maker, Colin McGrath, was about to work with 2500 Lbs of fresh cow's milk (and then 1000 Lbs of goat's milk) so only had a little time to give us. We tasted a few of the (delicious) things he was working on and had a brief tour of the (spotless) facility.
Here he is in front of one of the many aging rooms - you can see Barat on the racks on the left. The lovely Miss Audrey was our guide for the rest of the tour.
Cheese in the salt bath. Each of the cheeses is given a bath before it enters the aging area. The cheese-making facility produces both cow and goat milk cheeses, and each is placed in its own aging room.
Some of the finished product in the case, in the (beautiful) market. Along with cheeses, they had produce from the farm and other local delicacies.
Yearlings had just been added to the herd and the goats were nervous. The farmers milk around 18-20 of the herd of 60 goats every day. I also saw the area where the cows and goats were milked, but we were too late for the morning milking.
A closer look at the Barat aging on the racks. Colin makes about 8 - 10 aged cheeses. They also sell fresh goat cheeses and fresh ricotta.
The farm also sports chickens, ducks, Guinea fowl, pigs, sheep, and cats. These are mostly used as teaching tools for the many school groups that visit throughout the year.

The Park Slope Food Coop cheese department is currently selling Toussaint, a raw cow's milk cheese with a distinctive Alpine flavor and a smooth tight texture. We'll be carrying more of Sprout Creek Farm's cheeses in the fall. 

I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area. There are cabins to rent, and even just a walk around the Platonic ideal of a farm is refreshing and gives you hope for the new generation.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Seggiano products

Warm welcome to the Seggiano line of products now available on the rear end-cap across from the chicken case.
  • Raw Basil Pesto Genovese 
  • Ligurian Red Pesto 
  • Roasted Garlic Cloves 
  • Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes 
  • Tuscan Extra Virgin Olives Oil 
  • Organic IGP Balsamic Vinegar of Modena 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Apple Forecast

  • Fuji - September 17th
  • Gala - August 23rd
  • Granny Smith - September 24th
  • Pink Lady - October 22nd
  • Red Delicious - September 10th
  • Cameo - October 18th
  • Cortland - August 31st
  • Empire - September 14th
  • Fuji - October 18th
  • Gala - August 9th
  • Ginger Gold - July 30th
  • Gold Delicious - October 1st
  • Honeycrisp - August 20th
  • Jonagold - September 14th
  • Jonamac - August 30th
  • Macoun - September 20th
  • McIntosh - August 23rd
  • Mutsu - October 3rd
  • Pink Lady - October 24th
  • Stayman - October 3rd

Produce notes from Allen....121 Local Items!

Here is a forecast for new items from Hepworth Farms, coming soon to a coop near you.  Beginning Friday 7/20 we are offering two new Tomatoes, both in 20 oz. clamshells.  One is the "Mountain Magic" which may be compared to Campari or other cocktail Tomatoes.  Sarah Z says "they are the best Tomato ever".  The other offering contains a selection of mini Heirlooms.  On Tuesday 7/24 we expect the first of this year's Hard Neck Garlic and Sweet Frying Peppers.  Soon after we will receive Celery, other Peppers, and the final harvest of Apricots.  Also various Heirloom Cucumbers, including Suyo, Tasty Jade, and Striped Armenian.

We will continue to have sporadic deliveries of Local Black and Red Raspberries and Blackberries, but we have already seen the last of the Local Cherries.  We'll see our first "out of the ordinary" Beans, coming from Lancaster Family Farms Cooperative on 7/20, with the arrival of Lima, Rattlesnake and Yellow Romano Beans.

I was stopped by a member while I was walking home during the Wednesday afternoon cloudburst, who asked "Where are the Apples?"  I told her that it is not yet the Apple season, and supplies from last year have been nearly exhausted.  Had it not been raining I would have added that a poor harvest last fall led to shortages this spring and summer.  The packers who had any Apples at all in Washington state, Chile, or Argentina understand the law of supply and demand which is, "We have all of the supply, and we can demand whatever the ____ we want!"  The prices have been dreadful, beyond any we have ever seen or even imagined.  This weekend, one of our suppliers is getting an influx from New Zealand, and even if the prices remain high, we may be able to buy unbagged apples, if the prices are at least reasonable.  The reason we buy organic in bags so often is that on average the per pound price will be 20 to 30% cheaper.

Most of us are aware that there is a drought, as well as killing heat wave, affecting most of the United States.  Early reports are that this will result in produce shortages.   The first crop that is being severely affected is Corn, which will lead to higher energy costs, higher costs on all Corn sweetened junk and corn fed meats.  In other words, this will affect the cost of just about everything.  It looks like our local growers of organic and "integrated pest management" (IPM) Corn are OK.  By the way, none of the Corn that we carry is genetically modified.  We are committed to not buying genetically modified fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Here are a couple of quotes from local farmers concerning the drought.  "I don't have much of anything to send.  The drought and heat are taking a toll", said Robin Ostfeld of Blue Heron Farm near the Finger Lakes.  She in fact was unable to offer us any produce at all this week. Hepworth Farms in Milton, NY expected rain on Wednesday.  "There wasn't much rain, just enough to let the dust settle and make the weeds grow, but not enough to help", said Amy Hepworth.

Our supplier expecting the influx of New Zealand apples is not receiving the amounts we hoped for.  So Fuji from Chili is all we will be offering until further notice.

Despite all of their hardships,  our local farmers came through for us with 121 local items this week.

Allen Zimmerman - Produce Buyer - General Coordinator

Tour of Brooklyn Brine

So, yesterday I heard that Brooklyn Brine had moved their facility into our backyard - 4th and President St. - so I thought I'd take a ride over and see what's going on. Seamus Jones, the brineologist, was gone for the day so I chatted with Roxanne as she stuffed beets into jars. Everything is still done by hand right there in the small warehouse.
Pickles fresh from the water bath left to cool. All of the cucumbers are locally sourced (hence the great push to get things in jars right now).
You can pick up your favorite pickles right there . . . plus some in store only specials. There was maple bourbon pickle relish while I was there. Looked great.
Maple Bourbon pickles waiting for the brine.

So yeah, Brooklyn Brine pickles are available here on the rear endcap across from the chicken or go check out the store/brinery on President between 3rd and 4th.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

All about Flora Nelle

Culture Cheese article on Flora Nelle, now at the Coop $14.52/Lb - get some while you can!
When you first meet her, you will be charmed by Flora Nelle’s many-hued natural rind and Jersey cream–colored paste evenly freckled with tiny caves of blue. Further inspection by nose and palate will tell you that, while this cheese may be young, it’s no ingenue.

Monday, July 09, 2012

This week Barber's Cheddar is on sale for the amazing low, low price of $5.51/Lb. Don't miss out on this classic Farmhouse Cheese from Somerset in the U.K.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Roquefort from Le Meunier

Here's how Roquefort was made in 1927. Aside from the fashions and the milking procedure, Rodolphe Le Meunier, where we are getting our Roqufort, is still the same - a moment frozen in time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

SkyIce Sweet and Savory

Quick, what do these make you think of:
Thai Ice Tea.  Black Sesame Seaweed.  Cucumber Lime.

If you answered "appetizers at my favorite Thai restaurant," you are close but the real answer is so much better than that.  People, these are frozen desserts! From a local restaurant, SkyIce! Thai Tea Ice Cream!  Black Sesame Seaweed Ice Cream.  Cucumber Lime Sorbet! These are AMAZING.  Seriously.  Raspberry Cilantro.  What!?!

Thai Tea Ice Cream is possibly the best thing we've ever tasted.  And we're not young. 
Go to our ice cream case and buy some right now.  You won't regret it.  Did we mention the Thai Tea Ice Cream???

Local... Organic... Flash-Frozen... Edamame? Gimme!

For several years members have been requesting organic frozen edamame.  For years we have not been able to find any from a reliably organic source.  Until NOW.  All that has changed.  A new company called Hudson Valley Harvest features food from a collection of sustainable, small-scale farms in New York state.  So now we finally have edamame (in the pods) that is local and organic. It's almost too good to be true!  We're so excited! You should be too!  In addition to edamame we have: 
  • Collards
  • Corn
  • Squash & Zucchini Mix
All the HVH vegetables are harvested in the Hudson Valley and immediately frozen in small batches in the Hudson Valley. They’re not trucked across the country or flown across the globe, and don’t wait weeks to be frozen.  Sweeeeeet.

freezer gal (with a little help from tofu girl)

Raw Organic Coconut Water

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water is here. 
  • Refrigerated (in the milk/juice cooler at the end of the Produce aisle)
  • 8 ounce and 16 ounce sizes (when available)
  • Delivered to the Coop 5 days a week.  
  • Owner is a PSFC member
  • Nifty website where you can learn more about the company and it's ambitions.
  • Already absurdly popular so we don't need to say anything more.