Our newest Farm Market employee, Charlie Wainger, wrote this message last week. If you haven’t had a chance to meet him, hopefully you will as he’ll fill in periodically when staff take vacations or we have a particularly busy day planned.
“I started working in the 21 Acres Market in May and I can’t believe it is already the end of June and the multi-colored tomatoes are on the table. Now the stone fruit and cherries spill onto the scale. Soon I’ll be tending to my own tomatoes at Hidden Valley Camp, a 60-acres overnight camp nestled in Granite Falls. The corn will be thigh high in July while the nasturtium and squashes flower. The herb spiral already dances with bees and the garter snakes sneak through the strawberries.
It will mark my 17th summer at Hidden Valley Camp right as the camp turns 70. I started in the 90’s as a camper and now I run the quarter-acre farm program, which allows campers from 7-17 to plant, harvest, and cook fresh produce. We collect rainwater, compost, tend to the chickens, and cook food in our new cob oven. Check us out at hvc-wa.com.” — Charlie
At 21 Acres we’re fortunate to have staff who really appreciate giving children experiences on the farm like the one Charlie describes. Our 21 Acres farm camps are run by the amazing and extremely talented Andrew Ely. They are full for the summer with the exception of the last session, August 1-5, Pizza Organica! If it interests you for your child ages 7-12 be sure to register right away!
I was asked by the 21 Acres kitchen team to test out their new gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix that they just started selling in the market and let them know what I thought. I was a little apprehensive since the assumption with gluten-free baking is that it simply is….just not the same. However, these cookies were delicious and absolutely scrumptious, which made it very hard to not eat just one!
I made sure to have both my husband try them, as well as our neighbor so that I could get a well-rounded opinion on them. The opinion was unanimous. They were amazing. My neighbor was surprised that they were gluten-free, since she usually thought gluten-free items are dry and have a bad texture. However, she thought these cookies tasted like a traditional chocolate chip cookie. The only critique my husband had was that the garbanzo bean flour added a different flavor. Not necessarily a bad flavor but unique, in a good way. I loved that not only did they taste good but they also had a great chewy and soft texture, which is what I like in a good chocolate chip cookie.
The pre-made mix is made up of gluten-free flour (garbanzo bean flour, oat flour, millet flour and potato flour), sugar, chocolate chips, baking soda and salt.
The benefits of choosing to make this gluten-free mix are, that not only is it high in protein but it also is high in nutrients.
Here are the instructions, you simply:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the package ingredients with
8 Tbls butter
2 Tbls milk
1 Tbls vanilla
let the mixture rest for 30 minutes. Bake for 12-14 mins rotating once. Transfer to wire to cool.
Makes about 24 cookies.
When you get a chance, pick up this awesome product from the market and bake up a wonderful batch of cookies to share with your loved ones!
Enjoy! Sam-21 Acres volunteer
Feel free to comment if you have gotten a chance to try this new product from the market!
This post is all about the unique root vegetable that is known as sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes). Though their season is coming to an end, I know you can still find this wonderful root vegetable at your local farmers market!
I personally didn’t grow up eating these. They seem somewhat foreign and unknown in my vegetable vocabulary. That is why I was super stoked to try something new.
Something that I never knew about sunchokes is that they grow with a beautiful yellow daisy like flower. The sunchokes grow like any other tuber vegetable under the ground. The name has an interesting history much of it is unknown. Since they don’t originate from Jerusalem and aren’t a part of the artichoke family. Early Italian settlers to America called them “girasole” which means sunflower in Italian. And somehow that evolved into Jerusalem. The artichoke part was named because of an early French explorer who came to America and believed that the vegetable tasted like artichokes. They were renamed sunchoke in the 1960s for commercial purposes.
I went ahead and researched various ways to use them. Many recipes suggest that they are wonderful and tasty pureed as a soup, as well as roasted in the oven.
I roasted my first batch and used them as a topping to a flatbread pizza. I figured they would be great on their own but since I already planned for the flatbread for dinner I thought, “Why not put them on top!”
Later that week I decided to pick up some more sunchokes from my local farmers market to make them into a soup.
I found the flavor to be spectacular. They reminded me of a sweet flavored yukon gold potatoes. My husband agreed. He also was not very familiar with them and was wonderfully surprised by their taste. They have a similar texture to potatoes but without the same starch content.
Feel free to comment on what your favorite way to enjoy this unique vegetable is!
-Sam -21 Acres Volunteer
½ pound sunchokes scrubbed clean and sliced thin
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange sunchokes on parchment lined sheet pan. Drizzle generously to coat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. (I used smoked sea salt ) Roast for about 15 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.
Enjoy as a delicious vegetable side dish or add as a unique topping to a flatbread or pizza.
Adapted heavily from A House in the Hills
4 cups peeled and chopped sunchokes
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 medium onion thinly sliced (I used wild leeks from my garden)
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 ½ -2 cups almond milk (can use regular milk as well)
Preheat oven to 400.
Lay out sunchokes on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast for about 10-15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pot. Add sliced onions and for cook about 2 minutes, until translucent. Add in garlic. Once the sunchokes are done add to the pot and go ahead and add the broth. Bring to a boil and remove from heat and add in the almond milk, just as much as you want for the desired creaminess. Puree either with a hand blender or in a stand blender (be careful with the stand blender and make sure to blend small amounts at a time to avoid the soup exploding out).
Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil. I enjoyed my soup with emmer flour focaccia .
There is supposedly a debate over if you can call a vegetarian chili, actually CHILI? I was with a group of Texans, a couple weeks ago and I thought I would ask them if a vegetarian chili could be called a chili. To them the simple answer is no.
Chili, according to some Texans, means it contains meat and no beans. Once you add beans it is no longer chili. So with this conversation under my belt I decided to name this recipe three-bean stew instead of three-bean chili.
The three beans come from Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton, Washington in the Yakima Valley. Alvarez farms was started Don Hilario Alvarez. Back in 1981 he started farming organic on a rented 30-acre plot of land on his free time. Since then has expanded to over 125 acres.
I found an intriguing farmer case study done back in 2005 by the Northwest Direct Marketing team on the Alvarez family. In this article Don Hilario Alvarez states that, “… it gives him great pleasure to be able to provide his customers with fresh, delicious vegetables that are organically grown, with no chemicals that can harm their health.” Organic farms like the Alvarez families are what supporting and eating local is all about. Recognizing and supporting those who want to improve the future of our food and health.
I made this homemade cornbread to go with my three-bean stew. I prefer my cornbread not sweet, as it goes better with savory meals without the added sugar. But feel free to use your favorite recipe.
Make this stew while the cold nights are still around and you can still find the last of the winter squashes at your local farmers markets! It is perfect heartwarming and protein packed meal. Great flavor with great northwest grown beans!
Feel free to comment on what your favorite cold night meal is!
-Sam -21 Acres Volunteer
Rainy day Three-Bean Stew
Easily serves 8
1 cup dried Pinto beans (160g) (soaked over night)
1 cup dried Maya Coba beans (160g) (soaked over night) (aka Canary beans)
1 cup dried Red Chili Lava beans (160g) (soaked over night)
1 small winter squash cubed (most squash or even sweet potato would work)
3 carrots chopped
1 bell pepper (color your choice) chopped
2 serrano peppers finely diced
1 onion (I used yellow but any kind would do) diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 cans of diced tomatoes
4 cups veggie broth
2 tbls tomato paste
1 tbls cocoa powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
Additional topping options: cheese, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips
Heat a large pot on medium with a few tablespoons of olive oil. (I used my LeCreuset Dutch oven because of its large capacity). Add the onions and cook until translucent a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic, carrots and butternut squash and cook with the lid on to soften the veggies about 10 min. Then add the bell pepper, Serrano peppers, diced tomatoes with their sauce and tomato paste.
At this point you can add as much of the 4 cups of broth as you want depending on the thickness you want your stew. I add it all as it tends to evaporate with the required long cooking time. Throw in your drained soaked beans and stir everything to incorporate.
Add all the dry spices and season with salt and pepper generously.
I usually cook my stew for a good 1 hour so the beans are fully cooked. Also this gives the stew time to absorb and develops more flavors.
You can check the stew at about 45 min to see if the beans for cooked fully, also along the way about more broth if the stew seems too thick.
Dress with your favorite toppings. I chose chopped cilantro and shredded cheese.
Enjoy with your favorite cornbread recipe!
Notes: This recipe makes A LOT of stew. I froze some since it’s just me and my husband but for a large family it would be plenty for a night or maybe two. Feel free to cut the measurements in half.
Hello! It’s Madeline, here.
While perusing recipe blogs recently, I came across this awesome idea for thumbprint jam cookies with goat cheese! As a self-proclaimed goat cheese aficionado, I was so excited to try my hand at making a recipe using the fresh Gothberg Farms goat cheese sold in our Farm Market. I wrote and photographed a cookbook in high school, but it’s been awhile since I’ve developed and photographed recipes. It’s great to be back at it again.
The basil made its way into these cookies after I sampled the kitchen’s fruit salad with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil recently. A week later and it was still on my mind… I’m definitely a sweet and savory kind of girl! My family was mixed on the addition of basil in these – some loved it and some didn’t. If you’re not a fan of basil, feel free to leave it out!
These cookies are a soft, slightly sweet, and unique twist on a classic jam thumbprint cookie. They’re a great way to use up an abundance of ripe berries if you make fresh jam, and are delicious with tea or coffee. I hope you try them!
(Side note & shameless plug: I tried Gothberg Farms’ chevre for the first time recently and it is amazing! Not as tangy as other chevres, it is sweet and sooo creamy. Matt, our new Nutritionist and Local Foods Coordinator, doesn’t like goat cheese but even he enjoyed this one in a smashed cherry panzanella salad from one of Liesl’s market demos. Recipe for the salad will come soon…)
Sweet & Savory Goat Cheese Thumbprint Cookies with Basil and Strawberry Jam
Yield: 30 cookies
- 1 ¾ cups unbleached flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup softened butter
- 3 oz goat cheese, softened
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- About ¼ cup low-sugar strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixed. Stir in the flour, salt, and basil until just incorporated. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls, and place on an ungreased baking sheet (these won’t spread much). Use your thumb to form an indent about ½ inch deep into each cookie. Add a small scoop of jam into each indent – no need to be precise with measurements!
Bake the cookies for 15-17 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden. Enjoy!
Notes: You can use any type of jam in place of strawberry. Fig, blackberry, raspberry, apricot, or blueberry would be great, too.
Thanks for reading! -Madeline
Did you try this recipe? Let us know in the comments below!
Organic food claims have changed over the years and how the organic certification system is regulated by USDA has been altered as well. The claims some companies are making about organic food, coupled with the fact that consumers are often mistakenly melding “organic” with “local,” means that shoppers need to be more aware than ever about just want “organic” means.
Our new series, Tuesdays at 21, launched this spring to foster dialog related to climate change and food systems. The second session in the series, to be held May 27, is a conversation about food systems and specifically about organic food, entitled, Not Your Parent’s Organic: Is it Time to Panic? The session starts at 6:30 pm for networking and program runs from 7 to 8:30 pm.
The timing of this particular Tuesday at 21 coincides with the 21 Acres Farm Market opening an additional two days a week and continuing through the high season of farming. The Farm Market carries food that is either Certified Organic or that has been produced by local farmers who use the highest standards of farming within a sustainable system.
Those of you who know Liesl McWhorter, Farm Market Manager, will understand when she says, “We research the source of each item the market carries and we have long standing relationships with our farmers and value-added producers. It’s important to us to be able to provide the cleanest food available for families, shoppers with compromised immune systems and for the community as a whole.”
Starting May 28, the Market will be open Wednesday through Fridays, 11 am to 6 pm; and Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm.
Liesl also reminds us, “If consumers are looking for a handy tool to be able to make decisions about what produce they buy that’s organic and what they might buy that’s conventionally farmed, they should certainly look to the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus. The 2014 edition of their free pocket guide was just released. It’s a great tool anyone can carry when they shop.”
SAVE THE DATE:
June 24 for the next Tuesday at 21
Fossil fuel-free homes: Is this doable? Affordable? What benefits accrue from swapping systems?
We’ve been doing demonstrations in the Farm Market every Friday and Saturday at 12:30 pm for the past couple of months and they’ve become very popular with customers. Meghan Tenhoff is coordinating these and she just sent the schedule through the end of May. If you have an idea for a quick, easy demo that you’d like us to offer, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
4/11&12: Weaning Yourself Off Plastic
4/18 &19: Are Bees Right for You?
4/25-26: Green Home Tour, Special Guest
5/2 &3: So Easy Liesl Can Do It: Simple Salad dressings
5/9 & 10: From Farmer John
5/16 &17: Intro to Aquaponics
5/23 &24: How to Make Hummus
5/30 &31: Fresh Herb tasting and applications
Eggs are one of the most popular products from the 21 Acres Market and we often have a challenge keeping enough eggs in stock during the shortest days of the year. Meghan Tenhoff not only works in our Farm Market but she is also the Seattle Chicken Sitter and shares her expertise in egg production and explains the seasonal shortage:
As the autumn light continues to fade the nights grow longer and colder all manner of life seems to slow. Chickens are no exception. Hens raised in backyard flocks and on small farms in humane conditions slow and can all together stop egg production in the winter. The typical production breed, egg-laying hen needs about 12 hours of light to stimulate enough hormones to lay one egg. Even as the winter solstice has just passed, our days are still very short. Another factor in reduced production is age. The first two years of a hen’s life are the most egg productive. After that they slow and may only lay an egg every now and then even during the longest days of summer. Finally, from an evolutionary stand point, this lapse in laying gives the chicken body time to rest during the leanest foraging season.
— Meghan Tenhoff, 21 Acres Market, also The Seattle Chicken Sitter
As the weather illustrated last week, fall is here. It is apparent in the abundant orange pumpkins and golden squash in our market, as well as the shorter days and cooler nights.
A great way to chase the fall chill away is with a hot cup of tea. We have several varieties of local herbal tea from Harbor Herbalist in Gig Harbor: A digest tea, a floral tea called “Indulge;” a nighttime blend called “Dream;” a blend called “Strength;” a “Nursing Mama” tea; and a blend called “Glow.”
To add a little sweetness to your tea, add 21 Acres’ summer harvest honey produced by bees from on our farm. Our bees busily pollinated our organically grown produce all summer long, giving this honey a distinctly seasonal taste. Pick up a jar soon as we have a limited supply.
The perfect accompaniment to comforting tea is a gluten free cookie. We have delicious flavors such as chocolate, snickerdoodle and ginger. If you like a little bread and butter with warm tea, try Asako’s plum hazelnut bread. Perfect for sandwiches or to accompany a soup is our country herb loaf made with an assortment of fresh herbs from our farm. Both breads would be delicious spread with a soft cheese sprinkled with fresh herbs.
If the fall weather and these fall flavors are inspiring, remember the 21 Acres Market is open from Wednesday through Saturday each week. We look forward to seeing you.
What an amazing summer we had this year! I heard we had an almost record-breaking number of consecutive dry days for a Seattle summer. As much as we enjoyed the warm temperatures and sunshine most of the crops in the fields did the same, and weeds, too. I must say this summer was one of those summers that we had to fight hard with weeding. Lots of sweat, let me tell you. Also, we had a mildew issue with some of the crops like onions this summer. Asking other farmers and sharing information, I gathered from other that we all agree this summer was more humid than normal, which caused certain problems such as the mildew attack. Although we could save our onions without fail (timely detection and appropriate action taken), it’s the reality of farming…never predictable, never boring. (more…)