Tiny farming: Cooking & Eating

Fresh as it gets!

Simply orange juice

Continuing snowy white and frigid outside, and if it weren’t for the handy neighborhood supermarket, the last thing you’d be thinking about around here right now is fresh orange juice. The reality is, there’s plenty of it, legally speaking, at least: aseptic storage and flavor packs aside, fresh not frozen, not from concentrate, pulpy or pulp free OJ is in abundance, now as ever, and often on special, too!

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May salad

May salad

[From 18-May-2013] No food styling, just salad! The first grown-this-season greens – romaine, butterhead, oakleaf/salad bowl letuces – picked by raiding half-grown plants for a few leaves apiece. Dinner.

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More lunch salad

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[From 10-Jun-2013] Yet another fresh farm lunch, from a long line I call the Endless Salad: harvested moments ago spinach, arugula, lettuces, topped with raw seeds and nuts, and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. Quick, simple, super tasty and energizing, all around amazing. Ashley does the honors…

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Basic BELT (bacon egg lettuce tomato)

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[From 8-Sep-2012] More incredibly simple and tasty local food: the basic BELT – bacon egg lettuce tomato – all local except for salt, pepper, butter, and mayo. Bacon from the farmers’ market. Eggs and veg – heirloom tom, second cut baby lettuces and a smattering of arugula – from here. Organic 7-grain bread from a mid-size local indie bakery available at both farmers’ market and supermarket. When you have INGREDIENTS, everyone’s an instant chef!

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Winter breakfast: Mmmm vs Grrrr

Supermarket breakfast

Winter breakfast: oatmeal, wild blueberries, banana, maple syrup, cream. Mmmm? Grrrr…. It’s all supermarket stuff, from thousands of miles away, from the bowels of factory farms and processing plants. “Wild blueberries” in President’s Choice designer ziploc bags—what does that even mean? I can’t remember exactly when food became such an uncertainty and a puzzle for me. Once, I didn’t give it much thought (too many distractions!). Now, it’s unsettling. Eating should be simple and fun, right?! Unfortunately, it’s not. And growing food makes thinking about it all so…unavoidable. Well, new season in the field coming up, remineralization on my mind…onwards! :)

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Kombucha watching

Kombucha tea mother (SCOBY)

Not much to look at, right? Wrong! I spent a good FIVE MINUTES staring at the kombucha tea mother, gently swirling and undulating right after being placed in its tea-and-sugar bath, the watching-chickens effect. I like the look of the mother, although some people find the whole thing kinda…icky. If you’re not familiar, this is a sparkling drink, tartly acidic and slightly sweet, made by floating the mother—it’s also called a SCOBY, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast—in a solution of tea (black or green or both) and sugar. Let it ferment for around a week and a fizzy beverage is the result. It’s quite impressive. Not surprising, there are all sorts of magical health benefits ascribed to kombucha tea, and from the bit of reading I’ve done, none of it is really “evidence-based,” to use the popular medical description for stuff that’s scientifically proven, whatever exactly that means. In any case, nobody really says it’s BAD for you, maybe it is magical, and I find it…refreshing.

Making it is easy: 4-5 tea bags in some water for a few minutes, top up the hot tea with cold water to about 3/4 gallon (around 3 liters) so it’s all cooled down, then plunk in your SCOBY—any size will do, it grows!—along with a cup or two of kombucha tea (you store the mother in the tea), and you’re done. Cover with a clean cloth to let in air but not dust, stash in a warm, dark place, and taste test in five days or so: if it’s too sweet, leave longer, if it’s too tart (the main bacterium makes acetic acid, which is basically vinegar), well, test earlier next time. It’s all pretty loose and easy, and each batch you get a new, extra mother that you can pass on. Do a search and you’ll find lots of details.

My first mother I was given in a jam jar at a raw food talk, and I made kombucha steadily for a couple of years, for no reason other than that I like it (many people refuse to even taste it?!)—after a couple years off, I’m back in production. Yet another thing to grow!

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TFB & the Web

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