Kitsap Farm to Fork

A couple of farm girls, Diane Fish and Shannon Harkness, share their experiences with farming, cooking, local food, and building the Kitsap Foodshed.
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Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

Grocery Shopping

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

GroceriesI went grocery shopping the other day.  And, I spent more than $100.  That isn’t a big deal – it is just that I don’ t do it very often.   My grocery bill is typically $30-50 a month for food – and another $50 or so for other essentials like TP and shampoo.  That isn’t much considering that the “average” family spends between $150 – $290 a WEEK according to the USDA.  Why is our bill so much lower than the national average?  Mostly because we plant and grow our own veggies, raise meat and eggs, preserve our bounty, process in the home dairy and cook at home.   Simply put, we produce more than we consume.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my feed bill is not inconsequential.  I spent $240 at the feed store last month and I do get the hay pretty cheap ($195 last month) but that still puts our food costs at about 25-50% of the cost of the average family.

Which begs the question — is there really that much savings in fermenting your own pickles??

I guess so.  I mean, we do ferment our own pickles (there are 2 gallons of cucs in brine sitting on the counter right now and if the kitchen wasn’t such a mess I would snap a picture for the blog!), preserve jams, jellies, green beans, salsa, tomatoes, grape and apple juice, apple sauce, and pickles, and make our own yogurt, butter and cheese…which is a bit more “Pioneer Woman” than most folks.  But we don’t make EVERYTHING.  This should be pretty obvious since there are s’more fixin’s and potato chips on my receipt!  I am thrifty, but not insanely DIY enough to make my own marshmallows no matter how easy that America’s Test Kitchen says it is.  You will also notice that there are potato chips (You MUST have potato chips for a BBQ!) and a couple loaves of bread on there – because I haven’t had time to bake bread lately.  Like I said, we are thrifty – but not Amish!

So what is the single thing that saves us the most $$$ on our food budget?  I cook at home and I make most meals from scratch.  Snacks are homemade (chocolate zucchini bread anyone??) and ingredients are fresh, local or homegrown, and unprocessed.  Simple.  But time consuming at times because we are more scratch than most.  Take my lasagna for example  The cow is days away from calving so we are a little light on milk right now, but I love to make lasagna because is uses 5 gallons of milk!   The mozzarella cheese takes three gallons and with the left-over whey and two more gallons of whole milk I make the ricotta.  Then, a pound of hamburger and a pound of ground pork (from our own beef and hogs), canned tomatoes (from the garden), garlic, onion (ditto!) in the sauce and the only store bought input at this point is the lasagna noodles.  My recipe makes two 9×13 pans of lasagna – which should be at least  four meals unless I am feeding the hay crew dinner.  Pop one pan into the freezer for another day and I have  a couple of cheap, quick meals for busy nights down the road.

The real cost of this kind of cooking and lifestyle?  My time.

One can feel just a bit like the “Little Red Hen” (I milked the cow, I made the cheese, I assembled the lasagna…) because it is time and labor intensive.  Is this the most efficient use of my time?  Perhaps not when one looks at the cost of a pan of frozen lasagna in the grocery store or Costco.  Is my time really worth only $9.99 for a whole day’s work?  Depends upon your perspective.  At the same time I am making the lasagna I am building relationships with my children who work with me, passing on skills that many have forgotten or never learned, and making a conscious decision about the value of producing rather than consuming.

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” ~ Albert Einstein

 


Rubbing shoulders with the people who feed you!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

A while back I posted about Kitsap Farmer’s Markets for those folks who were looking to get up close and personal with a farmer (sort of like going to the zoo but it costs less and you get zucchini!)  If you have taken that baby step and want to get even more farmy there are lots of events coming up this summer and fall where you can even see farmers in their natural habitat!

July 20th – Poulsbo Farmers Market Kids’ Day / Touch a Tractor

Bring out the kids for a day all about them! To start, show the kids how all of the delicious food at the market is grown by taking them around to all of the tractors that will be scattered throughout the market – some brand new, some 60 years old! Next, grab a fun tie-dye shirt, for which the PFM is famous! Choose your own size and colors!

August 3rd – Manette Edible Gardens and Chicken Coop Tour

Recalling the self-sufficiency of previous generations who planted Victory Gardens, Manette edible gardeners are opening their gardens to their neighbors to show techniques for growing food in small urban spaces. The tour is also a great way to learn about animal husbandry in the city.

August 15th – Friends of the Farm “Farm to Table  Dinner”  

All welcome to join us for the third annual Farm to Table Dinner on Bainbridge Island. Enjoy local food and spirits with delicious tastes from ten local restaurants, bakeries and wineries. Live country and western swing music provided by The Jangles.  Tickets available online.

Time: 6-9 pm
Location: Bainbridge Island Town Square (Madison Avenue by City Hall)

August 21-25th – Kitsap County Fair and Stampede!

So much fun you will have a cow!  Livestock exhibits and shows, educational displays and much more!  Come on Saturday, August 24th for the Kitsap Junior Livestock Association 4H and FFA Market Animal Auction and bid on hogs, lambs, goats, steers, rabbits and broiler chickens.  Auction begins at 11:00am.  Complimentary lunch sponsored by Kitsap Bank!

Kitsap County Fair Logo 2013

August 24th – Picnic at the Pig

Join the vendors and more after the market for a kid-friendly event, fun for the whole family! Pulled pork picnic dinner, live music, farm games and contests, a raffle, and a silent auction featuring goodie bags and baskets generously donated by local businesses and regular PFM vendors.

Time: 3:00-7:00pm

Adult – $15 (includes 1 free drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
Child (10 years or younger) – $5.

September 15th – Peterson Fall Farm Fair

Proceeds from the Petersen Farm Fall Fair support the Kitsap Agricultural & Community Alliance (KCAA) and the Kitsap Community Food Co-op (KCFC), who are partnered in this effort to increase access to local food to the Kitsap community.

Come to this family-themed fair and enjoy hayrides, hay bale maze, carnival games, live music, farm tours, vendors and much more!  In Silverdale, WA off the SR3 Trigger Avenue Exit.

Peterson Fall Farm Fair

September 23rd – Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner

Local chefs prepare an amazing Kitsap Grown meal!  Hosted by KCAA.  Follow them on Facebook as more information becomes available!

September 29th – Friends of the Farm Harvest Fair

Friends of the Farms sponsors and organizes the annual Harvest Fair at Johnson Farm on Bainbridge Island. This educational and fun event brings our community together to celebrate, appreciate and nurture local farming.  Not just for the kids, Harvest Fair encourages everyone to take a day and join us on the farm.

Time:  11:00am – 5:00pm

Pumpkins-and-Vines2

October 6th – Poulsbo Farmers Market Harvest Dinner

 The PFM Harvest Dinner is an annual fundraiser which showcases the very best that the market has to offer! Hosted by Chef John Nesby at Mor Mor Bistro in Poulsbo, this dinner features fresh, local ingredients purchased primarily from the PFM. The event begins at 5:30pm with cocktails, followed by dinner and a live auction.  Tickets available at the market starting in July.

 


REAL Farm to Fork

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Busy canning, freezing and putting up right now.  I keep meaning to put together a blog post, and I have composed 100s in my head, but regretfully they haven’t come up with a way to plug the USB cord into my head!

While I am neglecting my farm to fork responsibilities you have the chance this fall for a REAL Farm to Fork experience at the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance Harvest Dinner on September 14th.  Whether you are looking for a cool date night, want wonderful local food prepared with care and attention to detail by talented chefs, or are looking for a chance to rub shoulders with the local farmers who feed us, the Harvest Dinner is the place to be!

 


Cooking for the hay crew

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Came across this column in the Tacoma News Tribune about shortcake suppers.  She talks about her grandmother cooking for the farm crew and it struck a cord in me because I grew up helping my mother put on the big spread for farm workers and cooking for the hay crew happens at our house too!  When I was growing up my dad had 3-4 good farm friends he swapped labor with for things like haying and chopping silage.  Each farmer had a couple pieces of machinery (tractors, mowers, wagons, forage harvesters) and they would share machinery and help each other at crucial times of the year.  The really cool thing is that each farmer did slightly different things – one was a dairy farmer – another raised beef cattle – so their busy times were not at the SAME time!

As my Dad and the other farmers traveled from place to place doing the big, shared work projects like haying and silage, the wives would always put on the big spread for lunch.  In the 70s there wasn’t many arenas where women competed – except in the kitchen.  Title IX was a few years away and most women were relegated to pink collar jobs.  But, in the domestic domain it was full-contact homemaking!  Just like the Amish women at barn-raising events, the tables would be groaning under the weight of baked goods and breads, mashed potatoes, gravy, roast beef…and dessert!  Cobblers, cakes, and PIES!

Now, my Dad was a bit of a joker and he liked to egg people on.  So, when they were having lunch at Charlie’s and Marion was feeding them he would say things like, “Well, you know, at Hank’s last week we had apple and lemon meringue pie!”  Sure enough, the next day Marion would produce, apple, lemon meringue AND cherry (with ice cream!)  It is a wonder they ever got any work done given the amount they ate, but they were also doing hard physical labor and could justify the big meals.

At our house we typically feed the helpers who work with us on hay deliveries.  Sometimes we have 3-4 of them on busy days so dinner is a big, sit down affair.  On Saturday we do a big farm breakfast for everyone who shows up by 8:30 in the morning.  Last week we had eggs, sausage gravy, fried potatoes, toast and jam.  I do this as a carry-over from the tradition when I was growing up.  And the crew is always grateful which provides a reward for the work of cooking for them.  While I don’t have other farm wives to contend with in a contest of pie-baking skills I need to be careful because occasionally a mom will ask “So, what did you feed them this week?” in a my-kid-seems-to-like-your-cooking-a-bit-too-much tone of voice.  But the fact remains, I like to cook for an appreciative audience.  The other night we had one of our former helpers who was home to visit family for the 4th call and say that he was coming over to help us for a couple hours for old time’s sake and the last thing he told my husband was  “….and I will stay for supper!”  Game on!


The Dark Days Challenge

Monday, December 5th, 2011

The 2012 Dark Days Challenge is upon us.  Shannon, who is more motivated to participate in these sort of things than I, signed us up.  And then today, she had a dinner failure.  So, it falls to me to keep our end up.  Good thing that we had a decent dinner tonight.  Those Sundays when we eat left-overs, chips and salsa and scrambled eggs for dinner don’t really make for a very convincing blog about sustainable, local or organic meals….all winter long.

During late summer and early fall the blog world is full of folks posting about eating local, 100-mile diets, 100-foot meals…ad infinitum.  Now, I am not a complete zealot like the 100-mile folks.  I am not going to run down to Scenic Beach and dip water out of the Hood Canal to evaporate and make sea salt.  We grow and raise about 90% of what we eat and I cook from scratch much of the time – which upon reflection makes me sound sort of Amish which isn’t the case (the bonnet not withstanding) – but let’s just say we are less dependent upon the grocery store than the average family.

Frankly, during that time of year I am too busy canning, freezing, picking, weeding, feeding, milking, and mucking to blog about what we are eating.  I think about blogging a lot while I am doing those things!  But until they develop the technology for me to plug a USB port unto my ear and download all those great blog posts composed in my head it isn’t happening.  The really interesting thing about those days in the garden and nights canning and freezing is that I am doing all the time consuming and hard work associated with warm winter meals.  Beans frozen in August take minutes to heat for dinner in December.  Tomatoes blanched and canned in September make pasta dishes in minutes for mid-week meals – garlic harvested in July is Fettuccine Alfredo when I have  a yen for something rich and creamy.

So, as we kick off the “Dark Days Challenge” I thought it would be interesting to go back in time and take a look at the genesis of tonight’s dinner!

The menu -

  • Pork Chops – the last of the chops from a hog butchered last spring.  We buy piglets from a neighbor, fatten them on extra milk and grain and butcher about twice a year.  We don’t buy any extra meat and eat out of our freezer all the time so we go through a whole hog, half a beef, 20 or so broilers and 10-15 stewing hens a year.
  • Smashed red potatoes – from the garden with fresh cream and salt and pepper.
  • Milk gravy – pan drippings, milk and Shepherd’s Grain Washington grown white flour!
  • Sauerkraut with apples and onions – we had great plans to collaborate on the ‘kraut this summer but the day we were planning on doing it I got side-tracked so Shannon made it.  She jump-started the fermentation with whey from some homemade yogurt and it has a wonderful zing to it.  The King apples were picked at my mom’s house right before Thanksgiving and the onions were from the garden.  I season it with a bit of brown sugar, pepper and caraway and saute until caramelized.  Very tasty.
  • Applesauce – from Mom’s apples.  I typically can 15-20 jars – need to get around to doing that.
  • Pickles – dutch spears made from the abundant cucs we planted last spring.  This is a refrigerator pickle recipe that I got from The Joy of Pickling.  I only made a few because I didn’t know if we would like them.  Need to make more next year!  Sweet, tart and spicy!
  • Green beans – from the garden.
  • Milk – from Ellie
  • Raspberry Juice – from the berry patch

And the best part about this meal?  It was a meal eaten around our family table with my husband and children, we were truly grateful for the bounty of our life, and were able to talk and laugh as we enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  Regardless of whether your food comes from 100 miles or 1000 miles from your home, if you are unable to eat with the people you love, they are dark days indeed!


Chicken Stew with Ricotta-Chive Dumplings

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Chris Henry posted my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore over on Peninsular Thinking as a follow up to her story on our Chickens 101 class.  That is my favorite recipe for stewing hens, but Harley suggested his favorite was this chicken stew and dumpling recipe.  It is pretty good too.  It is from Chefs on the Farm featuring the Quillisascut Farm School with photographs by Harley.  Check out the review here.  This is a “spring” stew because it features chives.  Winter variations can feature dried herbs or sage or rosemary as well.

Place a large (or two small) stewing hen in a pot with 1 onion, 3 stalks celery, 3 large carrots, two bay leaves, sage, thyme, parsley and 1 Tbsp pepper corns.  Simmer 2-3 hours on low.  Strain stock, discard vegetables, shred chick off the bones and reserve.  This can also be done in a crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or 8-10 hours on low.

For the Stew:

  • 2 Tbsp chicken fat or olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 pound carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk green garlic or 3-4 cloves thinly sliced
  • 4 c stock
  • 4 c shredded chicken
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme (1 Tbsp dry)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Saute veggies in oil or fat until onions are tender, add stock, bring to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.  Add shredded chicken and time.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (make your own)
  • 1/2 c fresh chived, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c corn meal
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 3 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together, do not over mix.  Drop by spoonfuls into the simmering stew.  (Tip: use an ice cream scoop for nice round dumplings.  Cookie-sized for small ones, regular-sized for big ones).  Simmer small dumplings 4 minutes or until tender, larger dumplings will take 7-9 minutes.  Turn them over and simmer for 2-3 minutes longer.  Serve hot.  You will be tempted to lick the bowl. Winter Variation:  Potatoes, with sage in the dumplings instead of chives is also good.


Urban Pantry – kitchen stimulus

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I am a cookbook geek.  Cookbooks often litter the surfaces of my home.  Bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen…I am constantly perusing and leaving them behind.  This weekend, as I was cleaning the kitchen, I gathered up my current inspirations in an effort to regroup and de-clutter.

This is where I have been finding my inspiration, right here.  The pyramid of books.  I suppose it is sort of intimate, like inviting you all over for dinner.  These books have been arousing the inner cook in me to create delectable feasts, often referred to in our home as “supper”.

As you are gazing over the titles, you will notice right there at the top, Amy Pennington’s, “urban pantry”.  A witty food writer for the magazine, Edible Seattle, urban gardener extraordinaire, author, and local food champion, Amy is coming to spend an afternoon in Kitsap folks!  She will be the keynote speaker and local food cheerleader at The West Sound Small Farms Expo that Diane and I have been working on.

Talk is cheap, so I decided to give one of her recipes a whirl last Saturday morning.  “Spiced Yogurt Chicken” was the recipe that leapt out at me as I had been thawing one of our chickens in the refrigerator and didn’t want to cook the same ol’ roast chicken.   I went to work like all get out as my children’s eyes grew wider.  Cutting up a whole chicken has that effect on them.  And then, letting them smell each spice before I added it to the chicken, their eyes nearly glazed over.  Together we created a culinary prize!

LOOK at all of that spice people!  Coriander, cinnamon, and chicken…OH MY!  And that was it, rubbed it all together and threw it into the fridge while we ran errands, cleaned house, folded laundry… you know, “Saturday Stuff”.  Popped it in the oven and presto!

We devoured it and the truth is, I honestly can’t remember what I served it with.  It was THAT good!  Amy will have books for sale and will be signing them at “the Expo”.  She will also be presenting a breakout session on building your very own urban pantry.  It will be a day you certainly won’t want to miss!


Dinner on the Farm (5-19-09)

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

A while back someone asked what we were having for dinner and I responded that I hadn’t looked in the freezer yet.  This lead to a discussion of food preservation, eating the whole hog, and strawberries in December and other wonders of living on the farm. 

Tonight we had a “whole farm dinner” with everything served in the meal grown or prepared on the farm.

Dinner on the Farm (5-19-09)

  • Pork Shoulder Roast (freezer)
  • Mashed potatoes (sort of fresh)
  • Steamed asparagus (fresh)
  • Apple sauce (canned)
  • Sauerkraut with onions and apples (we made the ‘kraut last fall)
  • Strawberry (freezer) - Rhubard (fresh) Cobbler with whipped cream
  • Milk (fresh)
  • Apple juice (canned)

We don’t always have a big meal like this but the roast will last a couple of meals and end up as sandwiches or tacos in a day or so, the little bit of apple sauce will end up in some muffins, and the kids will eat the leftover cobbler for breakfast in the morning.  I will be making sure there is no asparagus left!

I visited the Silverdale Farmer’s Market today – they have moved to their new location on the lawn behind the Taco Time.  Several vendors had rhubarb, and while there are no ripe local strawberries at the market right now, there were some strawberry plants.  I prefer June-bearing plants because the fruit is larger and there is enough of it so you get some even if the children graze the patch.  Everbearing varieties are nice for nibbling on all summer long but you have to be patient as there aren’t as many berries at one time. 

To plant strawberries, set the plants in a raised bed with some added compost and manure right now and you might get a small harvest in the fall.  I put in 30 plants a couple years ago and while the patch is beginning to wane a bit last year I got 25 quarts of berries for the freezer, 25 pints of freezer jam and we ate fresh strawberries (shortcake!) until the children begged for mercy.

Strawberry – Rhubard Cobbler

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.  Mix in a 9×13 pan -

  • 3 cups strawberries (I used frozen)
  • 4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 c minute tapioca

Bake for 15-20 minutes while you make the “cobbles”.

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp melted butter

Blend all dry ingredients.  Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients and mix until just blended.  It will be a thick batter.  Take the hot fruit out of the oven and give it a stir to incorporate any undissolved sugar and tapioca.  Using a large spoon top the hot fruit with “cobbles” of the batter.  Put back in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbly.  Serve warm with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Strawberry-Rhubard Cobbler


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About This Blog

A couple of farm girls share their experiences with farming, cooking, local food, and building the Kitsap Foodshed. Written by Diane Fish and Joy Garitone.

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