Feast & Field Market Will Be Rockin’ This Summer!

Barnard’s Feast and Field Market just released it’s summer market schedule – and it’s full of great food and music.
Markets are Thursdays from June 9th through October 20th in Barnard at 1544 Royalton Turnpike, and is hosted by the Fable Collective. Markets run from 4:30-7:30, and feature children’s activities from 4:30-6,  and music from 5:30-8.
Regular Vendors
Heartwood Farm (Vegetable CSA’s and veggies a la carte)
Merrybones Taco Stand
Kiss the Cow (Ice Cream, milk, poultry, eggs)
Abracadabra coffee, locally roasted
Stitchdown Farm ,  flowers
Spirit Bear Farm,  Spiritfire,  and Springbrook Cheese
Chloe Powell art

Feast & Field Summer Line Up
June 9: Carter Glass, rock

June  16: Myra Flynn, soul

June 23: Susan and Dana Robinson, folk

June 30: Lakou Mizik, Haitian world music

July 7:   Spencer Lewis and the Folk Rock Project

July 14: Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why, funk/soul

July 21: Daby Toure’ for Art on the Farm Sculpture Show Opening, (World Music, West-Africa)

July 28:  Starcrossed Losers, alt/folk rock

August 4:  Pete’s Posse, old-timey fiddle

August 11: Haywire, bluegrass

August 18:  Bessette Quartet with Doug Perkins, jazz

August 25: Riddim vigil, reggae

September 1: Francesca Blanchard, French singer/songwriter

September 8:    Bow Thayer, americana

September 15:  Bull and Prairie, americana

September 22:  TOAST, funk

September 29: Leyeux, Jack Snyder

October dates: TBD

Visit www.feastandfield.com for more information

Photos by Molly Drummond

Mastering Perfect Spinach

When my friend Justin opened a restaurant in Maine, I fixated on his strategy to train kitchen staff: cooks would learn the best one or two ways to prepare each vegetable, so they’d be optimally equipped to deal on the fly with unpredictable supplies of local vegetables and a daily changing menu.

Let’s try this method together – and make perfect creamed spinach like skilled professionals.

Spinach can deserve its reputation, but it’s delicious when done right. Plus, it’s a nutritional powerhouse.

Why creamed spinach, specifically? Because it’s emerald green and perfect with a steak. And because like the names of our great-grandparents, food like this is coming into style again.

Thank you to the New York Times Cooking section for providing me the hankering and the recipe for creamed spinach. And to Justin for helping me make that original recipe more awesome and for taste testing.

–Bethany Fleishman,Vital Communities’ Transportation Program Assistant and former pastry chef, is contributing recipes this spring for our Valley Food & Farm program.

Creamed Spinach
Recipe adapted from The New York Times Cooking section

Ingredients

About 2 pounds spinach (from a local farm or garden – that’s the whole point!)Raw Spinach
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour (gluten free flour is fine as long as it has some thickening power)
1 cup milk (ideally whole, but use what you have)
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Bay leaf (OPTIONAL)
1 clove of garlic (OPTIONAL)
A healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan or other sharp cheese (OPTIONAL)

Directions

1. Pick over the spinach to remove any debris, tough stems, and blemished leaves.

2. Rinse the spinach and shake dry.

3. Stuff the spinach into a saucepan with a quarter cup or so of water and cook on medium heat, stirring, until the spinach has wilted and turned bright green. You’re doing a combination sauté and steam here. (I like this method because it’s quick, and I have a completely unfounded suspicion that it preserves the most nutrients.)

4. Run the spinach under cold running water until chilled.

5. Grab the spinach by the handful and squeeze out the liquid. This is important to prevent watery creamed spinach.

6. Thoroughly blend the spinach in a food processor or blender. Set aside.Roux

7. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring with a whisk.

8. Add the milk, stirring rapidly with the whisk. For extra flavor, add a whole clove of garlic (or minced if you like a lot of garlic flavor) and a Bay leaf.

9. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes until it thickens.

2Bowls10. If you used them, fish out the Bay leaf and garlic clove (unless you minced it), and add the cheese (if using).

11. Add the spinach. Stir to blend. Heat
and serve with more ground black pepper.

You’re building your skills: Did you know that the sauce you just made for the spinach is called Béchamel sauce, and is one of the five “mother sauces” in French cuisine? You can use this for the base for cheese sauce and so much more.

Another Great Flavors of the Valley!

The 45+ Upper Valley farms, food businesses, and non profits shared tasty treats, seedlings, and information with more than 1000 people Sunday (April 10, 2016) at the 15th annual Flavors of the Valley. The crowd enjoyed maple candies, artisan cheeses, crepes, farm fresh meat, fermented veggies, and so much more. Flavors celebrates our vibrant local food economy and is a great place to connect with farms and local food.

Skinny Pancake crew

Root 5 Danielle Ben Powerkraut

Field Acres Farm

Sweetland Farm Norah Flavors crowd attendees Thistel Hill cheese Putnam

Complete list of 2016 vendors.

 

Thank you to our event sponsors!

The Co-op Food Stores, Mascoma Savings Bank, Skinny Pancake, Yankee Farm Credit, King Arthur Flour, and New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food.

 

What’s Hot in Local Food? Find Out on April 10.

Long-time Flavors of the Valley attendees know that Flavors is a preview of food trends as they emerge in the Upper Valley.

Local food businesses come to Flavors to introduce incredible products to their loyal and new customers. In years past we’ve seen the growth in locally sourced restaurants, which are now a fixture of Flavors. We’ve also noticed growth in candies and baked goods made with local ingredients.

This year we are seeing rising amounts of meats, maple, and a new trend in local teas. New-to-Flavors beef and pork producers will join familiar pastured meat farms to entice you to add local to your meat preparation—in fact, Valley Food & Farm will be sharing samples of easy local meat recipes.

We’ve never had so many maple treats, and we look forward to sampling maple cotton candy, maple covered almonds, and maple cookies. The sudden appearance of teas at Flavors is a good example of a food trend popping up, and we’re looking forward to learning what teas can be locally grown.

Of course long-term trends are also represented, including a wide array of local vegetable farms showing season extension with April veggies, delicious restaurant creations from old and new businesses, award-winning artisan cheeses, and more. You can see all our vendor updates on Facebook, and the full vendor list here. See you on April 10 from 11-3 at Hartford High School.

Save the Date for Flavors of the Valley!

Save the Date for
Flavors of the Valley!

Visit the Upper Valley’s Premier Local Foods Expo
Eat Tasty Samples
Visit Farmers & Chefs
Buy Local Food
Enjoy Fun Kids’ Activities
Learn How to Cook with Local Foods
Live Valley Farm Fresh!

Flavors of the Valley 2014 (4)

The 15th Annual Flavors of the Valley will be a day of delicious family fun!

April 10, 2016
11 am-3 pm
at Hartford High School

$10/person or $30/family
(children 6 and under are free)
Remember to bring your plate, cup, utensils, shopping bags, cooler, and cash!

Flavors Bean Table 2015

Come meet, eat, and buy from these 2016 vendors:
Alice’s Kitchen
Angry Goat Pepper Co.
Co-op Food Stores
D Acres
Farms for City Kids Foundation
Field Acres Farm
Flora Fauna Farm
Free Verse Farm
GMO Awareness
Great Eastern Radio
Halvah Heaven
Hartford Area Career and Technology Center
Hartford Garden Friends
Henderson’s Nursery
Killdeer Farm and Farmstand
King Arthur Flour
Mac’s Maple
NH Dept. of Agriculture
NOFA Vermont
ONRCD
Pampered Chef
Peachblow Farm
Piermont Plant Pantry
Root 5 Farm
Shire Beef
Silloway Maple
Sunrise Farm
Sunset Rock Farm
Sweetland Farm
Terry’s Health Food, LLC
Thistle Hill Farm
Thompson Goat Farm
 
Upper Valley Farm to School
Upper Valley Food Co-op
Valley Food & Farm
Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company
Vermont Savory Syrup
Vital Communities
Yankee Farm Credit

 

Feast Valley Farm Fresh for the Holidays!

Feast Valley Farm Fresh! Make your family holiday special by visiting your local December farmers’ market. Bring the kids to enjoy free activities, and they can also help choose local foods for your table or easy gifts for the season. Greens, carrots, jams, honey, wreaths, yogurt, pies, meat, ice cream, hats, bowls, and cookies are just some of the farm products you can find at the December winter markets. Every market will have a kids activity, staffed by community members and local organizations- kids can enjoy holiday crafts, scavenger hunts, and natural history at markets around the Upper Valley.

Credit Molly Drummond (21)

Spend over $5 and enter to win a $50 gift certificate to a future farmers’ market at the Vital Communities raffle table. Lebanon, Barnard, Woodstock, and New London also have market specific raffle events happening, too. Visit Valley Farm Fresh for details of all the market fun happening this month.

Share the joy of the season- bring your family and meet your friends for a fun holiday event while you stock up for the holiday feast and do some holiday shopping. Celebrate the season by shopping fresh and local at your winter market!

honey candle vendor credit Molly Drummond (11)
Markets are happening in Barnard, Bellows Falls, Hartland, Lebanon, New London, Norwich, and Woodstock. Print the winter market calendar and find the market that works for your family!

Credit Molly Drummond Norwich Mkt 11.21 (8)

Many thanks to Molly Drummond for all the great market photos in this post.

Bartlett’s Blueberries

Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm opened last weekend for their 31st year of pick-your-own. Heidi Bartlett said that their bushes made it thorough the harsh winter and the berries are looking great! Blueberry season in the Upper Valley is short (lasts about a month), so take the family on an adventure and visit Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm this weekend. Heidi also said I could shared her secret berry cobbler recipe (see below).

While in the Newport area, take a walk along the scenic Sugar River Rail Trail and visit Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream for a cone. And, if you go on Friday you can visit the Newport Farmers’ Market (3-6 pm) with live music, story time for kids, and dozens of local food and craft vendors (including my favorite popcorn – Howln’ Good Kettle Corn).

 

Bartlett's blueberry picking.header

We are happy to share the following profile of the Bartlett’s Farm written for the New Hampshire Farms Network by Helen Brody in August of 2013. Many thanks to Helen Brody and the New Hampshire Farm Network for spreading the word about all the great local food being grown in New Hampshire!

 

In the early 1970s Bill Bartlett would often pass the Calkin Farm on Bradford Road in Newport and see Tom Calkin, not a young man at the time, painstakingly planting infant blueberry bushes and wondered, “When would he ever make a profit?” Blueberries take about eight years to mature.  Bill never imagined that one day he would be the owner of those blueberry bushes.

Ten or so years later, Bill asked Tom if he would ever consider selling the farm and “after receiving a firm ‘no’ for an answer, he went on to throw out a figure to Bill and wife Heidi. Bill was self-employed (more on that later) and felt that the times of year when a blueberry crop required the most effort would fit into his work schedule well. Besides, the family needed a larger house for their two boys, and he and Heidi needed to begin a plan for their own retirement.  Being of good frugal New Hampshire stock, they put their thoughts together and felt with belt tightening they could make the purchase price. And not only did they get five acres of twelve year old  blueberry bushes in the deal, they got the undying support of Tom Calkin with his encyclopedic knowledge of the fruit and his fanatical system for their care.

The spectacular location of the farm house looking toward Mt. Sunapee at the top of the hill of blueberries was a bonus in the deal. In 2001 the farm was named a Farm of Distinction by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food.

With the land, came 5000 mature blueberry bushes planted in rows, 300 feet long, eight feet apart, and 60 plants per row. Critical to a healthy and productive blueberry bush is fastidious pruning and, says Bill, “our detailed style of pruning is a holdover from Tom who gave us hands-on training in Spring 1985 after we bought the place. We try and prune to heights where the average picker can reach the top berries.”

Today many large blueberry farms use a pneumatic pruner, but in April, Bill, Heidi, son Ben,  can be found lost amongst the bushes pruning by hand. Careful clipping assures better air circulation and reduces conditions for disease. The foursome begin by knocking off twiggy branches with a glove and then prune winter damaged and diseased larger branches and, since they can see fruit buds even before the leaves come out, they cut off interior buds to force fruit to the outside of the bushes for fatter berries and easier picking. “We figure it takes 250 man-hours to prune 5000 plants which means three minutes a plant.”

A blueberry farm has worked well for Bill over the years because before his retirement he was self-employed as a “hoof trimmer,” primarily of cattle. (He appeared on the TV show “What’s My Line?” in 1970). When asked how he chose his profession he said matter of factly “No one else was doing it.”  So he went right to work to devise a tilt-table mechanism for the cows to lie down in with their hooves held still using old seat belts.  “Cows are stubborn but I really enjoy them, so I got along well and never really had any trouble. I loved my job and the farmers.” He boasts that he never received a bad check in 35 years of work. “People in the farming world are in a different world from everyone else.” But in 2005 he noticed he was losing interest and felt that he was not doing the job that he was capable of doing so he retired and returned to his farm and blueberries full time.

In early July before picking begins, the Bartletts, with help from friends and neighbors, put up the netting which prevents the birds from eating about 30 percent of the crop. As with the cow tilt-table, Bill used his ingenuity to spread the netting. He adapted an old corn sprayer that was built to straddle the rows of corn. By adjusting its height to be above the berries and attaching a roll of netting onto a Gerry rigged mechanism, he unrolls the netting over the bushes and the crew on the ground ties it down. After the picking season, he also uses the machine to roll up the netting.

In mid-July when the visitors appear, Bill, Heidi, Ben and now grandsons Will and Luke (not pictured) personally show the pickers the rows marked with each berry variety and which rows are the current best for picking. “Tom Calkin, could not stand people “tasting” berries and it’s true, some people just come to eat,” says Bill. So the Bartletts established the “Sin Bin,” an idea they read about in the paper that was used by Guilford, Connecticut based Bishop’s Orchard. “If the wife picks while the husband eats, I have even seen the wife tell her husband to put money in the Sin Bin,” reports Heidi. At the end of the season the funds collected go to a designated group or organization in the area.

 

Heidi’s Blueberry Cobbler

2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour

Lightly toss above ingredients together. Spread in a greased 8″ x 8″ pan, dot with butter.

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup milk

Blend together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Stir together next four ingredients and stir into egg mixture alternately with milk. Drop spoonfuls over blueberry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Scape Season

When a garlic bulb matures and sends up a stalk for a flower with the goal of reproducing, the flavorful shoot is called the scape. Garlic scapes are abundant this time of year, but have a very short season. So when you’ve had enough of adding them to your stir-fries, a quick way to preserve the scape season is to freeze pureed scapes. The frozen paste can be thawed to make a delicious scape pesto, used as a rub for a roast, or as the base for a sauce for pasta or potatoes. Substituting garlic scape puree for garlic can add a little zing to any dish.

Puree scapes in food processor

Making the puree is super easy. Chop of the flower head from the scapes and puree the stalks in a food processor until smooth. Spoon puree into small to medium size containers. Fill containers to the top because you don’t want any air to cause freezer-burn. Date and freeze.

Last week when I was in a rush to get dinner on the table, I substituted the scape puree for basil pesto on a pizza. I drizzled the pre-cooked pizza crust with olive oil and spread the puree over the crust. Then I added chopped sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese and heated it up for about 10 minutes. Everyone loved the unique flavor combination, and the garlic had enough zip to be interesting.

final scape2

You can take it one step further and make pesto by adding nuts and cheese to the food processor. You can find an Everyday Chef post about Garlic Scape Pesto here.

 

Beet Burgers

That’s no typo. Beet (not beef) burgers are awesome. But I’m going to go ahead and guess you aren’t already enjoying these at your typical summer cookout. Though there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. If you give these guys a chance you might be surprised – even you non beet lovers out there. A couple of attendees at a demo yesterday afternoon certainly agreed. They’re crunchy, sweet and moist. On a slice of toasted bread with some fresh greens and cheese, they quickly surpass the usual overcooked, dried out burgers that I often dread at gatherings. I want flavor! And these deliver.

The keys to a good veggie burger, aside from something like a portobello mushroom burger, are a balance of beans, grains, veggies and seasonings. What’s cool is that you can use whatever kinds you like. Pinto beans? Sure. Quinoa? Why not? Sweet potato? Definitely. But it’s certainly a balance. I’d say ia 1:1:2 ratio of beans to grains to veggies is ideal. Then flavor with the herbs and spices you prefer. Though, firmer vegetables are pretty much a necessity if that’s your burger’s focus. The root vegetable avenue is probably the way to go. And maybe some winter squash too.

On the other hand, an even balance of beans and grains, supplemented with some vegetables, works fine too. Though, technically, something like that might be classified as a bean or grain burger rather than veggie. Keep in mind that the beans and grains contribute proteins and amino acids that make a non-meat burger nutritionally balanced, so they’re certainly an important component no matter which kind you make.

Good characteristics of a veggie burger are: 1) that it stays together and 2) that it has some texture (not mush). If you find your burger heading in either of those directions, throwing in the chopped or ground nuts will help improve things immensely. I find that adding too much flour results in (logically) an overwhelming flour taste.

If you’re new to veggie burgers, this is a good place to start. And beets aren’t all that messy to work with – despite popular belief. I’ve never had an issue. And you could always use a food processor. So, have fun with this one and then try some of your own combinations!
 Beet Burgers

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 9 burgers

 Save yourself some time: Use leftover cooked rice and beans. When cooking grains and beans – always try and make some extra and freeze in cup sized portions for quicker cooking in recipes (like this) later on. Don’t feel like chopping? Throw the beets, onions, peppers and garlic in a food processor, instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced and seeds removed
  • 3 large red beets, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (or 1 can)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped/ground nuts (optional; walnuts or almonds work well)
  • Olive oil
  • Bread, cheese and other burger fixings

Instructions

  1. Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and peppers and cook until softened. Stir in the beets. Cover and cook until the beets are tender, stirring occasionally – about 10-15 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar and lemon juice.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the black beans up a bit. Add the rice, the beet mixture and herbs and spices. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. Slowly mix in a little flour and nuts (if using) until it’s a thick enough consistency for forming patties.
  3. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When you see the oil shimmer, the pan is ready.
  4. With your hands, scoop up about a cup of the burger mix and shape it into a patty between your palms. Set it in the pan, where it should begin to sizzle immediately. Shape and add as many more patties as will fit in your pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
  5. Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If adding cheese, do so now. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes.
  6. Serve the burgers on buns or lightly toasted bread along with some fresh greens.
  7. Cooked burgers should be eaten the same day. Leftover mix can be saved for up to a week. OR, form your patties, place on parchment or wax paper and freeze for a few hours before transferring to a large freezer bag.

Recipe adapted from Nick Evans at www.macheesmo.com.

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