Best Time of Year

Peacemeal Farm Sign

The apprentices at Peacemeal Farm have been putting up some fun signs this season. I believe this sign could be speaking for every member. Thanks to customers both local and from away, members report a great summer season.

Corn to sweet-peas. Beets to oysters. Labor Day has come and gone but the Belfast Farmers’ Market is still going strong and will be for months to come.

Late summer into fall market offers the widest selection of fruit and vegetables, along with all those local farm crafts and value added foodstuffs. Potatoes are in from a variety of farms, apples from Mildel Orchard, Albion strawberries from Treble Ridge Farm, Organic Maine Blueberries from Burke Hill, and probably pears from somewhere. There are tasty oysters from Pemaquid Seafood and corn from Hubbard Brook and Freyenhagen Family Farms.

Hubbard Brook Farm

Hubbard Brook Farm has corn.

New Beat Farm

Adrienne poses for me with carrots and sweet-peas from New Beat Farm in Thorndike. At Belfast Farmers’ Market

September corn is the sweetest of the season. Greens are going strong and beets come in all sizes and colors, along with tomatoes and oh so good red peppers both hot and sweet. I’m just warming up here. Add in some wine, beef, pork, veal, lamb and water buffalo, fresh eggs, yogurt, cheese and bread or bagels, jams, chutney and something yummy for desert and you have all your meals covered right here. Don’t forget to start dinner with soup from Maine Meal.  Maybe we’re missing butter…you can get that at the Belfast Coop, if you want to keep it really local. This is by no means everything available at market, but I think you’ll get the idea that the Belfast Farmers’ Market is going strong. Help Maine farms stay financially viable while supporting the local economy. Get in the Farmers’ Market habit and by all means–Shop On!

Click on any photo to start a tour of last week’s market. Be patient. There is a lot to see!

Posted in At Market, Baked Goods, Dairy, Farm Crafts, Fruits & Berries, Gluten Free, Honey & Syrup, Meats, Plants, Produce, Products, Uncategorized, Value Added Goods, Vegetable, Wine | Leave a comment

Yogurt – Best Selection Around

Toddy Pond Farm dairy productsAccording to Wikipedia:
“By most accounts yogurt was created by Central Asian people in the Neolithic.”  The article goes on to state “Worldwide, cow’s milk, the protein of which is mainly casein, is most commonly used to make yogurt. Milk from water buffalo, goats, ewes, mares, camels, and yaks however, is also used to produce yogurt in various parts of the world.”

In the twenty-first century,  you can find the first four types of yogurt–cow, goat, ewe and water buffalo– right here in Maine at the Belfast Farmers’ Market.  The Market’s yogurt offering may just be the best farm-fresh  selection in the state!

Appleton Creamery – Greek style goat milk yogurt
ME Water Buffalo Co – Water buffalo milk yogurt in various flavors
Monroe Cheese Studio – Cow milk yogurt
Toddy Pond Farm – Ewe and cow milk yogurts in plain and vanilla flavors

Appleton Creamery Yogurt

Appleton Creamery, Greek-style yogurtThis topic was suggested by Caitlin Hunter,  Appleton Creamery. She makes Greek-style yogurt from goat milk. According to Caitlin:

 Many people have mentioned that they marinate in yogurt before roasting or braising meat.

Also, yogurt whey is the newest thing with super-local restaurants — they can use it instead of lemon juice. [Read Bostonmagazine.com article.]

I use greek-style yogurt instead of sour cream in recipes, or instead of whipped cream on top of pie.

mo-betta-acWe’ve been using our mo’ betta feta spread (which is half yogurt) instead of mayonnaise in potato salad, on top of burgers, and grilled fish.

Appleton Creamery tatzikiAnd there’s always tzatziki to use up the season’s bounty of cucumbers… yogurt, grated cukes, garlic, and dill &/or mint.

Check Appleton Creamery’s Facebook page for regular updates about product suggestions and to keep tabs on life on the farm [you will need to log in to view their page].

ME Water Buffalo Co Yogurt

ME Water Buffalo Co signAlso hailing from Appleton Maine, ME Water Buffalo Co offers yogurt in two sizes and many flavors, according to their website:. It is, of course, made from water buffalo milk:

ME Water Buffalo Co Yogurt

A sampler of ME Water Buffalo yogurt from the winter market, early 2014. Current pricing and selection may vary.

Creamtop Yogurt Jars (ohhh, so good!) in two sizes, 8 & 16 oz, blueberry, raspberry and 8oz. Convenience Yogurt Containers (ohhh, so good-to-go!) plain, blueberry,raspberry,  cranberry,pumpkin pie, and strawberry

Not every flavor may be available every market day. Check their Facebook page for regular updates.

Monroe Cheese Studio

Monroe Cheese Studio at Belfast Farmers' MarketEric Rector makes both yogurt and aged blue style cheese from White’s Orchard milk. Eric’s display at market is understated. Look for the cheese press and basket of sour dough bread and the large Good Food sign.

Toddy Pond Farm Yogurt

Toddy Pond Farm Yogurt Jars

Empty jars await packing with Toddy Pond Farm Artisan  Yogurt

If Toddy Pond Farm’s pleas for return of their glass jars is any gauge, their yogurt is quite popular.Toddy Pond Farm Yogurt

Toddy Pond Farm Artisan Yogurt is offered in bulk size reusable glass jars in plain and vanilla flavors [and possibly others I don't know about]. They produce both cow and ewe milk yogurts. Check their Facebook page for regular updates about flavors and products available at market [and for a look at farm life in Monroe, Maine.]

 Healthy For You

Toddy Pond Farm Yogurt breakfast

I snagged this from Toddy Pond Farm’s Facebook page. The caption reads “Best breakfast ever! Sheep milk yogurt, fresh picked black raspberries, and raw honey. Yum. We’ve had a lot of folks stopping by our booth at the Belfast Farmers’ Market who are unfamiliar with sheep milk so we thought we’d give a quick review of why we love sheep milk as much as we do!…” You can read the whole post here.

There is a lot of press regarding the health aspects of eating yogurt every day. I can’t think of anything that goes better with local fruit and berries. It’s so easy to add a bit into your diet. Like Cait Hunter, I substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream, and it just feels less artery clogging. I don’t know if it is. According to WebMD

 First off, your body needs to have a healthy amount of ”good” bacteria in the digestive tract, and many yogurts are made using active, good bacteria. One of the words you’ll be hearing more of in relation to yogurt is ”probiotics.” Probiotic, which literally means ”for life,” refers to living organisms that can result in a health benefit when eaten in adequate amounts…

They go on to address the protein and vitamin aspect:

And let us not forget that yogurt comes from milk. So yogurt eaters will also get a dose of animal protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium, and magnesium.

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Quiche & Peaches

Hubbard Brook Farm PeachesHubbard Brook Farm is the place for peaches. Kevin has a knack for growing this challenging fruit. In spite of the hard spring this year, he has a decent crop. Last week these endearing fuzzy orbs caught my eye and taste buds. Kevin’s peaches will send you right back to your youth if you’re old enough to remember when peaches still had fuzz and were juicy. For me they’re nothing short of the taste of late summer.

Have I said before how great Maine blueberries and peaches are for breakfast–-with a dollop of local yogurt? You could really treat yourself and add some indeterminate Albion strawberries from Treble Ridge Farm (if you can get to market before they sell out)!

Hubbard Brook Farm PeachesSpeaking of peaches, if you want to try something really different, plan to eat at market and order up one of Billie’s peach and ginger crêpes this week. Here’s the news from the Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm.

Here at the Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm we have been harvesting the certified organic garlic we grow to make our hummus and other savory treats and picking beautiful Blueberries. The tomatoes and peppers are coming in strong also. We will be having some wonderful *new* offerings for crêpes this week with all the fresh vegetables and fruit available at the market~
Fresh peach with ginger and yogurt crêpe and a Caprese crêpe to name a few…..
See you at market!!

This News from Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery

We will not be at this week’s farmers market. We have volunteered to run the Maine Wine Pavilion at the Union Fair. We’d love for you to come visit us. The Union Fair’s Wine Pavilion features Maine made wines, beers and spirits as well as bread, cheeses and chocolates. It’s the best spot on the grounds!

 

Eggplants, Peppers and Tomatoes, Onions, Carrots, Beets, Greens, Kohlrabi, Kale, Cabbage, Corn, Garlic…the list goes on.

Colorful PeppersMarket is bursting with produce, meat, seafood, baked goods, value added foodstuffs like honey and maple syrup, pickles, jams and jellies, chutney, humus, and eggs, dairy products, cheese, plants, cut flowers and a smattering of farm crafts. It’s all local, raised and made right here in the Midcoast Maine area and sold to you by local folks. There is no better place to celebrate life, health, and Maine.

Hubbard Brook tomatoesTomatoes seem to be a bit late this year, but I’ve seen a few at market. Those in the image are from Hubbard Brook Farm. Eggplants on the other hand are present and plentiful both in volume and variety. Eggplant is so simple to serve hot off the grill. I find that folks who tell me they don’t like eggplant discover that they love it grilled. I think many people have only eaten dried up old eggplant from the supermarket which, in my experience, is nearly always overgrown and seedy. There are so many delicious new varieties on the market now, there’s sure to be one to suit nearly any palate.Sol Farm Eggplant

Just slice, salt and drain eggplant about a half hour before cooking. Pat dry (rinse if you don’t want the salt) and set over a hot grill or under a heated broiler. Sear, flip and sear the other side, then baste on each side until lightly browned using garlic infused olive oil. Cooking time will depend on thickness.

I like to grill extra and julienne them for my salad the next day, or put one in a sandwich with a thick slab of tomato, Chevre and freshly chopped basil and dried oregano drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil. Try this on a baguette from Enchanted Kitchen or a sourdough from Good Food (aka Monroe Cheese Studio). Yum.

Summer QuicheVERSATILE QUICHE

Quiche is my favorite stand by when I’m expecting company. I can make it a day before and can serve it for any meal. This is particularly handy with the fluid nature of visits from my family, who never have a set agenda and always visit on the fly. Preparing ahead of time leaves more time to cruise the market or taking them on the Harbor Walk. I also find that inventing a new quiche on a whim with whatever I have handy is real boon, because I hate the restriction of cookbooks and ingredient lists. And I get tired of eating squash and cucumbers.

I think of quiche in three parts: the crust, the custard, the filling. If you’re prepared, it’s simple to whip one up.

Crust Options: 1. Make your own ahead of time and form and freeze a few separated by waxed paper. 2. Make pastry the night before and let it chill over night. 3. Cheat and buy a ready made one. 4. I hear it’s trendy to use a tart or flan pan (or pie plate) and make no crust at all. Oil it well if you choose this option.

I vacillate between cheating and making one the night before from scratch if I have lard and butter on hand. But I admit, I always keep a store bought crust in the freezer for those days when I just can’t face flour all over my shirt and the kitchen.

Here’s the recipe for pie crust handed down from Nana, my maternal grandmother, who was an excellent (and persnickety) cook. I believe it may be the same as in the original Fannie Farmer Cookbook:

2 Crusts for 9 inch Pie Plate

1 3/4 c. all purpose flour (unbleached white or any combo of white and whole-wheat works fine. King Arthur Unbleached is a religion in my family) or 2 c. pastry flour
1 tsp. salt
Cut in with a fork, knife or pastry cutter
1/3 c. lard (not Crisco!) & 1/3 c. butter ( I use Kates or other local Maine butter)
Mix fast and lightly until it forms a good texture using 1/3 c. ice cold water to bind
Form a ball and chill in waxed paper for at least a half hour, overnight is fine

This will make a two crust pie for a standard 9 inch plate with some left over for cinnamon swirls if you roll it thin. I  freeze the second crust all formed in an aluminum pie plate if I’m only making one quiche.

Basic Quiche Custard Mixture

This one comes from my sister who is a Francophile who was married to a Frenchman, has taught French for forty years and has traveled in France regularly. I don’t know how authentic it is. She may have copied it from the Joy of Cooking for all I know. It’s the standard for Quiche Lorraine. I always get rave reviews when serving it and use Gruyere in my version. I’m only including the custard here (not the Lorraine part) because this post is about using whatever you have on hand for filling.

Basic Custard for Quiche
4 eggs – 3 if using a store bought crust (You can get fresh eggs from the Belfast Farmers’ Market–Maine-ly Poultry always has them)
1 c each heavy cream & milk, or 2c medium cream (or 1 c. each of any other combo. I use all whipping cream.)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

In fact, you can vary the egg and cream/milk to suit the volume of your quiche. When making a traditional Quiche Lorraine, this will yield a rich pie in a store bought deep dish Oronoke Orchard crust with some custard left over to cook simultaneously in a standard earthenware custard cup.

The Filling

I’m not a purist, and I don’t really eat meat, so I often make a very simple quiche by slicing and sauteing a large sweet onion (Vidallia) in olive oil and place that on the bottom followed by 6oz. cubed Gruyere and then the custard. But this gets boring, and I’m prone to experiment when adventurous company is expected. This week I wanted to use some of what’s fresh from my garden. Here’s what I came up with:

Italian Style Quiche

Slice up a medium sized sweet onion and saute it in extra virigin olive oil ’till it’s transparent, then set aside. In the same pan, saute a couple of handsful of fresh kinfe-shredded kale in a bit more oil. Salt lightly. You want the kale to soften but not cook completely. At the last minute, toss in a bit more oil and a large clove of finely minced garlic  (available at market if you don’t grow your own),. Stir briefly and remove from heat, stir in the cooked onions and let it stand to blend the garlic with the kale. Don’t let that garlic brown.

While this is resting…

Remove the seeds and dice a medium sized tomato. Cut a few baby portobello (or other) mushrooms into small pieces, cube or crumble some feta cheese, preferably from Appleton Creamery. It’s salty. Adjust all your other salts to accommodate that fact. Slice up a handful of fresh basil leaves into slender ribbons. Shred up or cube about 6 oz. ( 1 to 1 1/2 c) of your favorite cheese (less volume is needed if shredded). For this recipe I used about 6oz of a commercial shredded Italian cheese mixture, but you could use cheddar, Gruyere, Jarlsburg or any other combo that your taste buds dictate. Gruyere is my favorite for quiche, but I was going for an Italian tilt here. Next time I’m going to try Appleton Creamery’s goat manchego cheese.

While you do all this, the oven should be set to 425°F and the crust should go straight from the freezer to the oven and get crisped up for a few minutes. This helps keep it from becoming soggy. Mine always gets soggy anyway. I won’t go into all the other tricks about this subject here because I’m just a quick and dirty cook who doesn’t really care about perfection.

Build the Quiche

Layer the ingredients as follows:
Onion/kale mixture
Mushrooms
Tomatoes
Feta
Basil
Cheese
Custard mixture

Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350°F and bake another 30 minutes or so. Quiche is done when a prick with a wooden toothpick or thin knife comes out clean.

Depending on who you are serving, quiche is good hot or cold. I served this heated accompanied by some cucumber spears and cucumber slices in Greek yogurt and dill, and it was well received. If I’d had enough large slicing tomatoes, I’d have thrown a thick slice on each plate with a little diced flat parsley and basil on top.

Posted in At Market, Dairy, Fruits & Berries, Produce, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Wine | Leave a comment