Farmers and Chefs
Out on the road we get to try some of the best food being crafted across the country. At The Hickories event in Ridgewood, CT a few moons ago, Chef Carlos of Spread in South Norwalk, CT made meatballs with Farmer Dina’s gorgeous lamb and pork. Guests could not get enough! The succulent savory of the meatballs, with the light heat from the harrissa yogurt made perfect bite after perfect bite. We had to share the recipe with everyone!
Pork and Lamb Meatballs
5 cloves garlic – minced
3 large eggs
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
1 tsp sea salt
.5 tsp cracked black pepper
1/3 cup Japanese breadcrumbs
1/2 pound Dina’s Hickory’s spring lamb
1/2 pound Dina’s Hickorys pork loin
Makes 8 servings of 2 meatballs per each serving. Mix ingredients well; shape into meatballs. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven in a parchment paper covered baking dish or cook in a lightly oiled sauté pan at medium heat until ready.
1 cup yogurt ( Greek)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 tablespoon juice fresh lemon
2 teaspoons harissa, sauce
sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
Whip all ingredients together and season to taste
Chris, chef Carlos and the Spread crew
We were fortunate to host a full table of foodies at our farm this June. This was the fourth time our family farm hosted Outstanding in the Field. Each year, the vibe and food is different, but it is always a day when we pause to enjoy our region’s bounty with people who care about how their food was raised and grown.
My brothers and I grew up on our farm, Capay Organic, which our parents founded in 1976. It’s about 45 minutes northwest from Sacramento. As kids doing farm chores and packing produce boxes, we would never have imagined a farm-to-table dinner that brought about 200 people out to our land for multiple courses of mouth-watering food.
It is great to have an event where you see the work of growing produce and protein be enjoyed by the end consumer on site – truly farm-to-fork. There are many terms that are so popular now, and it makes me take a look back at appreciate our roots. My mother and father, Kathy and Martin, began farming when farming wasn’t cool – it was crazy. To scratch a living doing small production agriculture was certainly against the grain, and I would hear stories about my black sheep type father questioning the way of doing things with his dad, an accomplished professor with significant contributions to the agriculture community. Despite the odds against them, my parents made a go of it. With the support of many others including the budding California cuisine restaurants in the Bay Area there was demand for a different and unique products. Radishes no larger than a quarter, mesclun salad mix when iceberg lettuce ruled the menus, and heirloom tomatoes were just a few of the things that were commonplace in my childhood.
The small start of the food revolution was one thing – farming organically was another. My oldest brothers recall working the Davis Farmers Market – one of the premier certified farmers markets in California – during its early days. They would sample product and say, “try this melon, it’s organic.”
A response of “Of course it is organic, it has carbon in it” was one of many statements they recall. This helps me remember how young the organic movement really is.
For us, my brothers and I, I see our role as continuing the movement. Look at how far organic has come. Or farmers’ markets for that matter, there are thousands across the country now and my father was worried nobody would come that first Davis Farmers Market as he drove with his produce an early morning during the summer of 76. So how do we take this movement that has been passed down to us, and carry it further? For me, it is driving information, and creating or improving on a food system that allows that transparency. How do we get to a world where people can know where there food comes from, who grew it, and how they did it?
Farm Fresh To You, our farm’s CSA and produce delivery service, was created in 1992 by my mother after my parents divorced and mom purchased the farm and raised my brother and I (the older brothers were off to college and military academy). She wanted to connect customers to the farm that grew their food and provide some economic stability to the farm. The sourcing philosophy was to use the produce on our farm to make a seasonal box of the best available produce, but then source from neighboring farms to ensure the customer received a selection that they enjoyed. This is delivered directly to the customers’ doorsteps – giving the convenience needed to help a customer change their eating habits to include a box of seasonal produce showing up weekly or every other week.
With the information age we at Farm Fresh To You are striving to take it to the next level. How can we create a system that allows any small farmer to manage the piles of information related many individual customers receiving produce? The addresses, billing, vacations, produce preferences, packing info, quality issues, delivery issues – it can become too much very easily for a farm already trying to do something as complex as growing 50+ varieties of produce. We are accomplishing it today and are making gains each year of making the information more and more available to the consumers that support this alternate produce distribution system that supports local first. We hope to do our first trials next year of allowing others to use our IT system to accomplish their small farm distribution, to service their customers in a way that allows the customer to stick with their farm and spend more with them. This is the first step, if we are as successful as the founders of this food movement, maybe in the future it will be a key piece that disrupts the traditional produce distribution system. Until then we live with the fact that the majority of produce that packs the supermarket aisles is a cost-first, local -second approach, with huge amounts (particularly in the spring for fresh vegetables) being imported from out of the country.
It is an honor to work with Jim Denevan, another driver and pioneer in the food movement, and the wonderful staff at Outstanding in the Field this year. We look forward to next year, and another wonderful farm-to-fork meal under our oak trees in the summer evening.
Freeman Barsotti, co-owner, Farm Fresh To You and Capay Organic
After our great event at Beekman 1802 we asked the Beekman Boys to send us their favorite recipe of the season. Brent sent us this fantastic recipe for tomato tart! What more do you need on a hot August day?…
Beekman 1802 Tomato Tart
At Beekman 1802 we grow or raise 80% of all the food that we consume, and this includes over 100 different varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables.
The harvest that we look forward to the most is that of the heirloom tomatoes, and this easy to make tomato tart is the perfect summer recipe and can be served warm or at room temperature making it perfect for an “al fresco” summer evening.
- All-purpose flour, for rolling the pastry
- 1 sheet (7 to 8 ounces) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, drained
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound tomatoes, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (using different varieties, colors, shapes and sizes of tomatoes will make for a visual feast)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out to a 10 x 15-inch rectangle and transfer it to the baking sheet.
- With a paring knife, score a border 1 inch in from the edge all around the rectangle, cutting into, but not through, the dough. With a fork, prick the dough inside the border all over (this is so the border will rise higher than the center that’s been pricked). Brush the center with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Spread the mixture over the center of the puff pastry sheet. Top with the tomatoes, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.
For more recipes check out their Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook