Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Revolution Will Be Delicious

It doesn't get any better than this: Food grown and prepared within walking distance of our house by passionate, committed growers and an incredibly talented chef. Today, the local master of high-low cuisine, Michael Christiansen of HotBox Food Truck, brought his operation to Mini Mac Farm, our source for the freshest and yummiest eggs and chicken around. He prepared a lunch of classed-up street food using ingredients grown on the farm: pork tacos with homemade fixings, lobster and asparagus salad on scallion flatbread, and rigatoni carbonara. We had one of everything with some fresh brewed lemon-mint iced tea and ate it on the grass in the shade within earshot of a gaggle of Rhode Island Reds while Mark coveted the black-and-white goats nearby.

We lucked out, because the food was sold out by 1pm. And it looks like some well-deserved attention is headed their way, since a photographer from NJ Monthly was present, jumping on the national food-truck trend. We can only hope they team up again soon.

When we moved out to the country, this was exactly the kind of community we envisioned, but we didn't imagine it would be this delicious, or this close. Next time I'll bring my camera.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Green with Envy

You know how some annoying treehuggers go on and on about how home-grown and organic food tastes so much better than what the rest of us chumps can buy at the supermarket? Well, I'm here to break the news that yes, it does.

In other words, the payoff has begun! Last night was the first time this season that Mark explained to me the odd sensation of not feeling panicked about the garden. The steep incline of toil is beginning to level out, and the garden is already starting to pay out in pounds of snap peas and picture-perfect heads of broccoli.

Smugness aside, there's some science behind the fact that there's no substitute for a freshly picked pea. It simply has no shelf life because the sugars start to convert to starch immediately after picking. And those incredibly sweet, juicy strawberries we've been picking at Genesis Farm wouldn't even make it to the grocery store. Half of mine are a bloody pulp by the time I drive home and put them in a bowl.

The volume of peas we have is unbelievable, even though we didn't get a chance to trellis them, which Mark was afraid would be disastrous. We haven't had any animals noshing on our goods besides flea beetles, and even they seem to be under control thanks to some mysterious beneficial insect. The deer have eaten a few pea shoots that latched onto the fence, but we aren't plagued by rabbits or groundhogs even though we still haven't had the opportunity to bury the extra bit of chicken wire around the perimeter. Which means we're picking a huge bowlful of peas every couple of days, and still we can't keep up. An awesome problem to have, for sure.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Smells Like Victory

Today's accomplishments: 75 tomatoes planted, weeded, and mulched, followed by Marcella Hazan's escarole torta and braised carrots--the last of the winter CSA share, spring leaves and garlic greens from this week's Genesis share, and a stake (har har) in the food we hope to enjoy this summer and fall.

Even better, we're still cooking and gardening four weeks into this trippy two-child odyssey. Smells like victory to me.