Category Archives: foraging

Foraging for Thanksgiving – 2014

Because we are both hunters and gatherers…

Yes, I already have lots of things I’d preserved and stored from the summer. And I had a number of things I’d gotten last Saturday at the Westport Farmers Market. But one still needs MORE.

The Saturday before…

This year, I changed it up a bit and instead of the usual tradition of the New Haven market, I went up to Litchfield.

First stop, Arethusa Farm Dairy in Bantam, CT for cheese, butter, sour cream, egg nog, and as long as I was there, a dish of ice cream to keep me going.

arethusa

Since I was in Litchfield and so close, off to the Litchfield Hills Farmers Market. I scored spinach and arugula from Maple View Farm, some veggies from Wild Carrrot Farm, and some Cato Corner cheese for Thanksgiving and lots of other things for post-Thanksgiving real life.

litchfield

Then down to New Morning in Woodbury, CT for other things…like my milk…and an assortment of non-local, but essential, Thanksgiving items (olives, bell peppers, pistachios, rice, lemons and limes, and more things like that).

new_morning

Then to Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT for yet more apples, Brussels sprouts, Lyman’s Cider. I already got my choice, hand-selected by Howie Bronson sugar pumpkin last week.

maple_bank

Then on to Ferris Acres Creamery in Newtown, CT to pick up my ice cream order.

ferris

This picture was taken at 4:30. The last of the crowd had just left. They were only supposed to be open until 3 PM!

The Tuesday before…

First stop, Quattro Farm Store in Pleasant Valley NY for the turkey, heavy cream, some more veggies from the Migliorelli’s, flour and corn meal from Wild Hive, and some NY beer (and some other stuff not for the holiday).

quattro

There’s Carmella (who I was delighted to finally meet) and her granddaughters.

Then on to Sport Hill Farm in Easton, CT, for cauliflower and whatever else one might find!

sport_hill

I think I have enough now.

Foraging: Winter Greens

Despite the backlog of challenge meals to post, I have to tell you about the best thing to happen since local wheat. This winter has just gotten easier for locavores. Holbrook Farm has extended their growing season into the winter using green houses and hoop houses. They are supplying greens. Fresh organic greens. In the winter.

Jacqueline at Holbrook's

Imagine that: I got genuine fresh Holbrook mustard greens, spinach, and cilantro in January.

They’ve enlisted Jacqueline to manage the place over the winter season.

They have lots of other greens and will have them all winter long. In addition to lots of fresh greens, Holbrook’s carries Stonewall Dairy raw milk, Arethusa pasteurized milk and cheeses, Apple Ridge Farm grass fed beef, and more. Lots more.

I’m particularly grateful since Hurricane Irene and Alfred the October Surprise claimed many of my stored veggies.

Holbrook’s winter hours are 9 AM to 5 PM from Monday to Friday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday. They’re closed on Sundays.

Here’s a fast and happy sandwich with melted Arethusa Havarti cheese and Holbrook mustard greens sauteed with garlic and olive oil.

Foraging for Thanksgiving

I was wondering if my Thanksgiving foraging wasn’t a bit like the retail Black Friday games. I mean, I got up early so I could get to the New Haven Wooster Market before Trinity Dairy ran out of butter and cream. (Because I have pies, mashed potatoes, and whipped cream to think about!) Though the market was crowded with the usual bustle this market gets, it didn’t get down to a street fight over the last celeriac from Yale Farm.

So what’s different from the retail experience? For the most part, the cashiers at the farmers markets ARE the farmers or had some participation in the growing and harvesting of these products. I don’t think many clerks at Walmart worked in China, making the merchandise they ring up for you.

It’s highly likely that the retail shoppers don’t know their producers or the folks staffing the check-out. I don’t get to New Haven often (it’s city driving!) and it was fabulous to catch up with Patrick of Waldingfield, the folks from Stone Gardens Farm, Sankow’s Beaver Brook, and others.

As I’ve said here before, the Thanksgiving holiday is between the grower, the eater, and Provenance. It is very gratifying to thank these folks personally for putting food on my table all year long. And 2011 was an extraordinarily challenging year for us. Between Irene (with a six-day power outage that claimed 2/3 of my food stores), Lee (giving two weeks of on and off rain with no sun or wind), and Alfred (the pre-Halloween snow storm that also brought a six-day power outage), my food stores just weren’t up to their usual peak Autumnal levels.

My Thanksgiving forage took place over several days. In addition to the New Haven Market, Saturday was my day to go to Sport Hill Farm where Patti had several new rows of escarole growing. In fact, Patti has lots of new things growing, safely snuggled under row covers. I also went to New Morning Natural Foods on Saturday to get my milk and yogurt and various other sundries. The place was jamming because it IS a food holiday and they are predominantly a food store. It was great to see a number of produce items from Fort Hill Farm and Riverbank Farm and I scarfed them up. I was glad to get the Woodbury chestnuts, brought by a neighbor with some chestnut trees at this time every year.

On Monday, I set out bright and early for Pleasant Valley, NY to get my turkey from Quattro Game Farm. I was hoping to get one of the heritage breeds like Bourbon Red, but due to my size requirements, I got the broad-breasted white. Still, this baby was pastured and pampered and I love it just the same.

Quattro’s Game Farm is a family farm started by Camilla Quattrociocchi and her mother over 50 years ago. More here. Quattro Game Farm  is related to Migliorelli Farm by marriage—how cool is that! (The Migliorelli’s are from Lazio, Italy which is not far from Tivoli, Italy and their farm in America is in Tivoli, NY—coincidence?)

The Quattro farm store is fabulous! Imagine an Italian specialty import shop crossed with a game farm crossed with a fresh produce farm in an area with even more local growers. Italian locavore mecca! I scored in the bounty department big time!

A little ways up the road, is Clinton Corners, NY, home to Wild Hive Farm Cafe, where we can get locally grown grains, among other things. Don’s cafe is an exceptional example of farm to chef, farm to table, and farm to consumer implementations. I stocked up on my grains and some other goodies available in this area.

click to visit Holbrook FarmFinally, no Thanksgiving forage would be complete without a stop at Holbrook Farm in Bethel, CT where John and Lynn (and friends) have been keeping it going for 34 years. John is a community resource. With his famous Rolodex, he pointed me in many good food directions over the years. In fact, it was John who introduced me to Quattro Farm and encouraged me to make the trip because he was certain I would love it. He was right!

Holbrook’s has also been busy with late season planting in an array of hoop houses. He’s brought on Jaqueline as the winter farm manager and expects to be able to provide fresh greens for several months through the winter.

Though I’ve said it many times before, I think it’s okay to be redundant in this regard: To all my farmers and farmers helpers, Thank You.

Happy Thanksgiving!