Fresh bounty from local farms
Special to The Union
Summer fruits and vegetables are thriving, and local farms are bringing a bounty to the produce shelves at BriarPatch.
Taste the local flavor of tomatoes from Mooney Flat Farm; cucumbers from Sweet Roots Farm; lettuces, cabbages, and fresh herbs from Riverhill Farm; red and fingerling potatoes and sweet corn from Super Tuber in Penn Valley; yellow nectarines from Filaki Farm; basil from Township Valley Farm and First Rain Farm, Zephyr summer squash from Greg’s Organics; and blueberries from Naked Farm — to name just a few.
It’s as fresh and gorgeous as can be off the farm, and it’s tempting to buy more than you can possibly eat.
To emphasize the joys of the local food season, BriarPatch Co-op is sponsoring our fifth annual “Discover Local” month-long celebration. Throughout August, we host daily samples and events to see, learn about, and especially taste locally grown foods.
Farm Tour – To get a firsthand look at an up-and-coming local farm, a tour of First Rain Farm will be held 9 a.m. Aug. 11, sponsored by both BriarPatch and Nevada County Grown. Even with his busy season is at its peak, Tim Van Wagner has invited the community to tour his farm off Rector Road, above Nevada City.
Tim raises both produce and livestock — dairy goats and free-ranging pigs. His farm was recently certified as organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), an achievement which involved both paperwork and costs. With his funds heavily tapped for spring planting, Tim took advantage of the Organic Certification Loan program that BriarPatch established in 2012.
“I love being able to tell people I’m Certified Organic,” he said.
Cooking Classes – August’s “Co-op Cooking Classes” will feature local vegetables and meats. The classes are held 6-8 p.m. each Thursday at In the Kitchen cooking school in Nevada City.
The Aug. 1 class will focus on a pair of sometimes baffling vegetables: kohlrabi and eggplant. Teacher Lucinda Tyrrell will share recipes and lead preparation of Kohlrabi Salad with fennel dressing, Kohlrabi Slaw, Kohlrabi Soup, Eggplant Ratatouille and Eggplant Chickpea Tagine.
On Aug. 8, Kayla Wexelberg will teach, “Local and Raw Sauces, Entrees, and Desserts”; on Aug. 15, Liam Blackmon will offer “Tapas, Local-Style”; and on Aug. 22, Doug Schma will teach “A Taste of Oaxaca,” featuring Nevada County free range beef.
Film Screening – A young Alabama couple made a pact to eat only foods grown and raised in their home state, and while they were at it, made a film to tell the story of this quest. Titled, “Eating Alabama,” the film will be screened on Aug. 23 in the BriarPatch Community Room, at no charge.
Tasting Party – The month will culminate with a local food and wine tasting party, to be held from 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 25, in the BriarPatch eating room/gallery. Tomatoes, melons, fennel, breads, cheeses, dips and wines from Smith Vineyards, Coufous Cellars, and more will be offered. A five-dollar admission fee will include a coupon for five dollars off any wine purchase.
If you’ve seen those interesting looking kohlrabi at the farmers markets or in stores and wondered how to cook them, here’s an option — slaw.
Tea Rubbed Lamb, Taleggio Orzo & Kohlrabi Slaw
The Perennial Plate
This recipe came from a local food challenge that was presented by Mississippi Market in St. Paul, Minnesota. The co-op presented chef Daniel Klein with some ingredients, challenging him to make up some dishes on the spot. “I thought these dishes worked really well together, but each of the components works well on its own, so don’t feel like you need to cook it all,” said Klein.
8 lamb chops (2 per person)
1/2 cup black tea
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons toasted coriander
2 tablespoons black pepper
Grind all the ingredients (except the lamb) in a coffee grinder or food processor. Sprinkle onto lamb, and rub into the flesh. Let sit for 2 hours then use a paper towel to wipe off what you can, bring the lamb to room temperature. Sear the lamb chops on both sides and cook to medium rare (140). Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Kohlrabi and Beet Slaw
I don’t grate Kohlrabi because it loses its crunch; the beets, however, benefit from being broken down a little more. This is a simple slaw, I always need acidic flavors on the food I cook – slaw is always a nice option.
2 small kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
3 small yellow beets
beet greens, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Combine all the slaw ingredients in a bowl, leave to marinate for 5 minutes or so.
2 cups orzo pasta
2 cups dandelion greens, minced*
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Taleggio cheese, grated
* Hearty greens such as spinach or Swiss chard can be substituted if dandelion greens are unavailable.
Add salt to a pot of water and bring to a boil, add orzo and cook through. Strain the orzo but reserve some of the liquid. To the orzo, add in the butter, followed by the dandelion greens (you want them to wilt a little). Then slowly add the grated cheese, make sure to add some of the pasta water as well. You are basically making mac and cheese, by slowly adding the cheese and hot water, it will melt evenly to a sort of risotto consistency.
Serving suggestion: Serve all together or as separate dishes.
Stephanie Mandel is the marketing manager at BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley. Contact her at email@example.com.
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