As you probably know, NOFA-NY is doing a Locavore Challenge this month and we’re the official blog sponsors! I was really looking forward to this but the last week in August got more hectic than I anticipated and so I had shoved it to the back of my mind.
I’ve already been eating close to home for about 2 years now so I honestly just sort of thought I’d go about my days how I usually do and also participate in some fun events and focus on blogging a bit more about the local stuff I’m eating.
Well, the first few days I actually barely ate at home. I was feeling pretty guilty but was too worn out by the days to think much about it. I knew the Saturday market would give me just the boost I needed though.
Saturday I was at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market working with Kilpatrick Family Farm. The whole morning I kept looking at the table and wondering what I’d take home. I have lots of veggies growing in my garden so I knew there were a few things I certainly didn’t need more of.
I ended up with some daikon greens, a mix of golden and chioggia beets, cippolini onions, new potatoes, cucumbers, herb bundles, 2 small artichokes, and some peppers. Now I just had to make a mental plan for what I was going to make.
Something I really enjoy about the Locavore Challenge is you get an email each day with a different topic. There are some good tips and things to consider and also helpful links to local producers and local food events. At the very beginning they gave some important info on meal planning. Basically it said what most of us know but often forget- you’re more likely to eat better (however you choose to define that) if you plan out your meals for the week. So I got right to it…
The plan for later in the week is to make Liz’s garlic scape tzatsiki sauce and some homemade pita bread. I think Christine’s swiss chard quiche is also in order (it’s a staple around here now!) because the chard in my garden is out of control in a big way. I plan on using eggs, raw milk, and cheese in it from Willow Marsh Farm. The crust will be made with flour from Champlain Valley Milling and some lard we rendered from Lewis Waite pork fat.
I also made a stir fry (another favorite because you can switch them up each time and they are usually healthy) with the KFF peppers and daikon greens plus some of their garlic and onions that I already had. To it I added some broccoli and additional peppers from my garden. I cooked it all up with some Vermont Soy tofu. This stuff is seriously the best I’ve ever had plus I love that it’s made so close to here and that I can be sure it isn’t GMO soy.
And now I’ll tell you what I did Saturday night with my market bounty to officially kick off this Locavore Challenge. Sadly I didn’t take any pictures of it, but thankfully I remembered to take pictures of the stir fry goodness!
Roasted Veg with Homemade Beef Sausage (two ways)
You will need
-1 qt. new potatoes
-1 qt. small beets
-3-4 cioppolini onions
-a few small artichokes (I had 3 total)
-herbs (I used sage and oregano)
-beef stock (we get ours from Sanders Meat Market because they make their own and it’s outstanding)
-sea salt and pepper
-sausage (any type would be fine but we used some sausage that Chris recently made which was a combo of beef, mashed potatoes, garlic, and cayenne pepper)
What to do
-Wash all the veggies and peel away any blemished skin from potatoes and beets. Cut off tops and bottoms of beets, then do a rough dice of the beets and potatoes.
-Quarter the onions and the artichokes.
-Take a large baking dish and toss everything into it. Pour some of the stock into the bottom. Tear the herbs and add them, then drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top. Sprinkle on sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, cover with foil, and put in a 425 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Stir everything around at the halfway point.
-During the last few minutes of the veggies cooking you can cook up the sausage. It doesn’t matter if the sausage is in link form or just ground. Chris had some leftover ground sausage that didn’t fit into the casings when he made it, so we used that.
We served up the meat and veg with some romaine from the garden topped with vinegar from Saratoga Olive Oil Company. The second night I reheated the mixture in a cast iron skillet and added some cream to it. I made wheat artisan bread earlier that day and I stuck it under the broiler before slathering it with butter and added it to the plates. It all went nicely with some red wine from Bully Hill Vineyards. The great thing about roasted vegetables (just like with making stir fry) is that you can really tailor them to your preferences and what is available at a farmer’s market or CSA share near you.
Something I should point out is that it wasn’t hard or time consuming to plan these out and although most of the ingredients are local, these aren’t 100% local dishes. No matter where you are on your locavore journey there will always be an ebb and flow but you should acknowledge it, embrace it, and move forward. There will always be hectic weeks, and unless you are incredibly strict or run your own farm, you probably won’t have a pantry filled with nothing but local ingredients. That’s ok. Something truly is better than nothing.
So I would encourage every New Yorker to sign up for the challenge. There are still plenty of days left in September and there’s never been a better time to help our local farmers!