Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tribute to Farmers

I know I'm not alone when I drive through the local countryside (at home or on vacation) in the summer and am impressed by acres and acres and acres of bountiful crops... not to mention stops at local farmers markets that are overflowing with the most wonderful fruit and vegetables.  Winter, on the other hand...
well it has me wondering about what farmers do when the fields are frozen or covered in snow, like we found when my daughter, grandson Dov, and I took another trip to Marg Zillig's farm.
This time it was to pick up our lamb order - half a lamb for her, one quarter for me and another quarter for a friend of hers.  Although her vegetable gardens are still dormant, lots of little lambs are being born.  The little guy in the coat is just a day or two old. 
Dov thought they were all very noisy, so we went to watch the (even noisier) geese and ducks & chickens who chose to stay in their coops and out of the cold.  
Who could blame them.   
As for produce farmers,  I know that farmers markets - are much smaller... if they're even open at all this time of year .  The photo above shows a score from two Halifax farm markets and I thought I'd give a shout out in appreciation to each of them.

From the Seaport Market
Fresh Chorizo sausages & flank steak from Getaway Farms - sustainably raised, grass fed meat and butchered to order by Ben the Butcher himself... like my having him prepare short ribs three different ways a few weeks ago.
Elridge Farmstand this time of year is barely half the size it is during the summer.  But I did pick up eggs, fresh garlic and Red Russian Kale (although it actually is green) from Oakview Farms
One stand that is green all year round is River View Herbs.  Not only do they have fresh herbs, check out those stunning eggplants and peppers!
This time I picked up some thyme, oregano, sage and arugula. 
Selwood Green, is an organic farm that takes farm stand to a whole other level, preparing delicious dishes made with ingredients from their own farm as well as those of their neighbours. I couldn't resist the young leeks and first spinach.
Another of my favorite vendors is Randy of Ran-Cher Acres.  I love their goat cheeses.  My visit to their farm a few years ago, still brings a smile to my face
Although,I usually purchase "ingredients" at the market, I couldn't resist these pot stickers from Cheelin Restaurant one of the many delicious ethnic food vendors.

Next up, a trip to the Historic Properties Farmers Market - never as busy, but still has some of my favorite vendors to chat with - Unfortunately the Spice Man  who distributes spices from Epices de Cru didn't have any Turmeric, so that will mean another visit soon.  
I've already mentioned my score of lamb from Marg Zillig, but on defrosting the last package of chops, I realized that there were only 2, so of course a stop to chat with Bill Wood of Wood 'n Hart Farm meant a purchase of  two more chops to make a lovely meal. 
And while I truly miss my friend Peter and the rest of The Fish Shop team, I did buy some lovely cod fillets, caught locally and distributed by Evan's Fresh Seafoods (his fish can be found at both Halifax Markets & the restaurant serving great fish & chips, etc is at the Dartmouth market at Alderney Landing )
A visit to Ted Hutten and his crew at Hutten Family Farm always has heritage and other interesting varieties like these carrots that when sliced into rounds will be so pretty in the chicken soup for the Passover seder.  The Brussels sprouts, will probably be roasted this week. 
Last, but not least this week, some smoked turkey from Sweet William's  Country Sausage, found at both markets.

Huge thanks to all of you for the efforts you put into the food I serve at my table.

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