The Local Grocer

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Posted 7/1/2015 2:19pm by Erin Caudell.

The botanical name of Lamb’s Quarters is Chenopodium album, but it has a handful of other more interesting names: goosefoot, fat hen, wild spinach, and pigweed. According to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, “their ancient name was ‘all good’, and all good they are. They contain more iron and protein than raw cabbage or spinach, more calcium and vitamin B1 than raw cabbage, and more vitamin B2 than cabbage or spinach.” The wild spinach moniker is a clue as to how to use this food in your recipes, by replacing spinach for lamb’s quarters in casseroles, salads, quiches and dips or try it in your breakfast smoothie.    

Lambs Quarter Mango Green Smoothie 

1 mango 

1 banana 

2 handfuls of Lambs Quarters

 2 cups water

  Blend and enjoy! 

Posted 6/25/2015 6:59am by Erin Caudell.

Love garlic?  You’ll love garlic scapes.  These curvy green stalks are part of the hardneck garlic plant, and are usually cut off about a month after the plant starts sending out shoots in order for more energy to be sent to the growing garlic bulb below ground.  While we are waiting for those fresh new bulbs of garlic later in the summer, we get to enjoy some of that wonderful flavor now. The flavor of the scape is more subtle than the freshly chopped bulb.  For this reason you’ll find a plethora of recipes for garlic scape pestos and dips, and can be used like green garlic or green onions to top salads.  You can sauté them alone or in a stir fry, but their flavor is even more subtle when cooked. Depending on how strong you like that garlic flavor, this can be a good thing or maybe not.  Store garlic scapes in the refrigerator and use them within the week for best flavor.  

Garlic Scape Compound Butter - Beautiful green butter to finish meat dishes or spread on warm bread.  

½ cup coarse chopped garlic scapes

1 stick unsalted butter

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt  

Place ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend until thoroughly mixed.  Transfer butter to parchment paper and roll into a tube.  Store in fridge or freezer and slice off a coin or two as you need it.

Posted 6/17/2015 12:58pm by Erin Caudell.

 

Love those kale chips at the grocery, but don’t love the price tag?  Make your own!

1 bunch of kale

1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

1 teaspoon garlic powder (or spice of choice)

Salt and pepper to taste  

Preheat oven to 350° Pull kale from stem and rough chop it.  Place kale, coconut oil, and spices in bowl and massage until all the kale is coated with oil.  Arrange on baking sheet in single layer.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove crisp leaves, and if any aren’t done bake the rest for another 2 minutes or until done.  

Note:  You can use any oil or spice that you like to change up the flavor.  These chips don’t have nuts, tahini, or yeast, so they may look and taste different from what you’re used to at the grocery. We love them with our favorite no salt seasoning blend. After taste testing with different oils, coconut oil was the winner by holding more seasoning flavor onto the kale. Don’t worry; the coconut flavor won’t carry over to the kale.  

Also, the easiest way to get lovely crispy kale in the oven is to toss the baby leaves or chopped large leaves on your frozen pizza when you pop it in the oven. No need to coat in oil or season.  The pizza does that for you.

Posted 6/9/2015 3:53pm by Erin Caudell.

Aren’t these snap peas?  No they are not.  Instead of popping these pods, pull the stem along the seam to open the green peas. This variety has fibrous inedible pods (unless you want to save them with your other veggie scraps to make stock) but sweet plump peas inside.  Only 5% of English peas make it to market fresh.  Most are directly frozen for purchase year round, since their season is so fleeting, like spring in Michigan.  

These peas are easy to prep! Boil peas in 1/4 inch of simmering, generously salted water for two to four minutes until tender. Drain and serve with a large pat of butter.  If you would prefer to be dairy-free, toss with a splash of olive oil and a handful of your favorite fresh herbs. Mints compliment the peas nicely. You could also put these gently cooked peas in a pasta salad, tuna salad or rice dish.

Posted 3/13/2015 9:02am by Erin Caudell.

It’s amazing what a few degrees make. Our usual February 15 hoophouse planting date was delayed because of the subzero temperatures. As with most things on the farm we plan, plan, plan and then go with the flow.  So many of the transplants we grew for the early planting will go outside. Instead we are planting more leafy greens that will give us some great crops before they need to be removed the second week of April. For us its been just great to get our fingers in the dirt, clean up the hoophouse and feel like we are getting some seeds growing.   

Posted 2/20/2015 1:53pm by fwpleasant.

Part of the fulfillment that we get from farming comes from the theory that, if done properly, we can increase the diversity and vitality of our surroundings around you. One low maintenance way we chose early on was planting tons of native wildflowers. Another was to get some bees.

Mildly graphic imagery alert: For those of compassionate constitution this post contains a somewhat disheartening yet hopeful story of apian tragedy and triumph.

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During our first year of front yard farming we invited a family of honey bees to join our family on the south side of Flint. We were very vigilant at monitoring regularly, providing supplemental nutrition, and adding supers at the appropriate time, skills we learned in a beginning beekeepers class. Near the end of the summer, we noticed that a few of the bees had some wing and leg deformation and upon closer inspection, we saw tiny reddish brown mites on the backs and butts of some of the bees. There was also a weird smell thing going on, but everyone's house smells a little different right? We described our bees symptoms to a more experienced bee keeper who said they had probably gotten one or more of the things that bees get in our area and suggested several organically approved treatments to help reduce the impact. We chose one and completed a full course of treatment before the weather turned cold and hoped for the best. We had so much fun watching our hive over that first summer that we went back to the bee symposium at our local community college and invited two more families of bees and whole slue of native wildflowers to join us for at our farm in Beecher.

On the first warmish day between winter and spring, we put on our bee hats on inspected our hive . There were no signs of life. We said a few words, closed the hive and grieved for a few weeks. It's pretty rough for us losing that hive, because while we knew there is only so much we could have done, it still felt like it was our fault when they didn't make it. Like they were trusting us to get them ready to make it through the winter and we'd let them down.

We tried even harder during our second bee summer. We even went as far as to insulate their hives with straw bales against the ravages of winter. It didn't get any easier losing them either.

Because of all of the press that declining bee populations are getting many more of us know how important having hives in our cities and towns and at our homes has become. So this year we are going to try again. But we aren't going it alone this time, we're taking classes and getting some hands on help from a pro. We are also going to go a little farther with our insulation plan. With a little luck we will get them through the winter and beyond to the point where they start making enough honey to share with you!

Bees new home

This is the day we installed our first hive. There was only one stinging that day.

 

P.S.- One of the better documentaries about bees that helps inform our desire to keep trying is called More Than Honey. It freaked us out, inspired us, and gave us some additional filters to use when contemplating the ethical and ecological impacts of products that we want to offer you at The Local Grocer.

Tags: bees, honey
Posted 2/14/2015 8:45am by Erin Caudell.

Stop by the market til 1pmand get a taste of the most delicious shortbread around. Also today only Dotty brought her delectible bacon, egg and cheese bread and beer 

breads. Want a special treat but are gluten free? She also bakes a gluten free shortbread. 

We love working with Dotty from Scotty Dotty Shortbread and will have her products available on our online store soon! 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 2/13/2015 5:18pm by Erin Caudell.

The ginger seed is here! We are so excited to plant our little baby gingers up to sprout. These little beauties will be available late summer /early fall as young ginger. For right now they'll be planted up  in flats to sprout before they'll head to the hoophouses later this spring. 

 

 

Posted 2/12/2015 2:43pm by Erin Caudell.

Brrr! It seems like this week is colder than ever! We rely on the wonders of crockpot cooking and lots of soup recipes in the winter to keep warm. But sometimes we need to mix it up.  We've been carrying the Rosewood Tofu from Ann Arbor and I was exploring some recipes I could recommend to our customers. This one was quick and tasty and a great one for no meat monday!

 

Gluten Free Sesame Tofu

INGREDIENTS For the marinade

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari (soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 Tbs. peanut or sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

For the Sesame

  • Tofu 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot,
  • divided 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil,
  • divided 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 Tbs. mirin or rice wine
  • 2 Tbs. gluten-free tamari 
  • 2 Tbs. Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs. spicy chili sauce or thai chili or crushed red pepper
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2-3 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs. scallions, finely sliced

 

PREPARATION Cut tofu into cubes. Combine ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Toss the tofu cubes in the marinade and let sit for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Mix 2 Tbs. of the arrowroot with ¼ cup of cold water to create a slurry and set aside. Put the remaining arrowroot on a plate. Remove the tofu cubes from the marinade, shake off any excess and coat the tofu in the arrowroot. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Cook the tofu cubes in the oil until they are browned and crisp on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining Tbs. of oil to the pan. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the mirin, tamari, Hoisin, maple syrup, and chili sauce to the pan. Stir and bring to a simmer. Mix the arrowroot-water slurry into the sauce. Continue to cook the sauce until it thickens. While the sauce is cooking, toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over low heat. Move them around with a spatula every so often and make sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. When they get a bit brown and toasty, remove them from the heat. Add the tofu to the sauce and toss to coat and reheat the tofu. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon zest. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with brown rice and steamed vegetables. Adapted from One Green Planet

Posted 1/30/2015 10:34am by Erin Caudell.

I don't know if other farmers think winter is as short as we do. It seems like that list I made of projects that will finally get done in winter is a mile long! The fact you are reading this means I did finish at least one of the winter projects... our website!