Town Farm: My Summer Grocery

    My favorite part about summer (because BOY oh BOY am I not a heat person) is definitely oodles and oodles of fresh vegetables from our farm share. The Pioneer Valley is beyond beautiful, and summer is the time to take notice. Farms abound, and they are all just so darn incredible! As a vegetarian chef, what on earth could be better than organic vegetables straight from the source every single week? Be still my heart.
    In my last private chef job, part of my task each week was to check out what was in the small vegetable garden on the client's property. It was such a blessing to be able to use herbs that fresh in my cooking! There is something so honest and authentic about that kind of garden-to-table ethic. Thank you, Alice Waters!

Tyler and I both absolutely love the process of going to the farm... Seeing where everything comes from, experiencing the assault on the senses as we pour over all the delicious offerings each week... There's just something completely amazing about it. Not to mention how happy our bodies are to have all of these nutrient-filled goodies every day!

And here is where I will shamelessly spotlight the farm that Tyler and I have had our share with for the past two years: Town Farm is owned and run by awesome couple Oona Coy and Ben James, who we have had the good fortune to know via cooking and childcare outside of the farm. Their farm is designed in such a way that I would venture to say that you've seen nothing like it! They have limited space given that they farm within Northampton city limits, and everything fits exactly where it needs to in a smart and efficient way. Aesthetically, everything on the farm is beautiful, adorable, perfect: The vegetable shed is a joy to walk into each week with its chalkboard labels and beautiful, blown up photographs. The painted signs pointing share holders to the correct "you-pick" crops are bright and sunny. There are play spaces for the kids built by Mr. James himself. This couple is endlessly talented, if you haven't already gotten the picture. Plus, there are freshly shaved snow cones available with maple syrup for only 2 dollars when you pick up your share! Could you ask for more?

Here is an excerpt from their website:
We have been raising goats and growing vegetables in downtown Northampton since 2004. In 2008, we decided to make a business of it and started Town Farm in a residential neighborhood that borders the rich agricultural area known as the Northampton Meadows. We currently offer 120 CSA shares and sell our produce at Tuesday Market in downtown Northampton, as well as to several town restaurants. We own about three acres and lease an additional nine. All of our produce is grown using sustainable practices, with the goal of building the long-term integrity of the soil and the larger community. Current population on the farm includes 3 adults, 2 boys, 2 momma goats & 5 goat kids, 6 ducks, some laying hens, a few turkeys, and 1 rooster named Governor.

This week, there was a particularly amazing surprise in the vegetable shed... TOMATOES! Last year, the terrible tomato blight practically sent me into a depression (and who would've thought, considering I am the one who hated tomatoes until just a couple of years ago). Our share last year was completely without a single tomato, and the missing pop of red was heartbreaking. What would we eat all of that fresh basil with?! How would I make my jars of tomato sauce?! No fresh salsa?! But fear not, they are back this year... and they are BEAUTIFUL! We got a quart of regular tomatoes, a bag of tomatillos, and a bag of cherry tomatoes. I am over the moon. 

In fact, I promptly went home and whipped up a batch of my favorite salsa verde! Easiest recipe in the world, and it is so fresh and delicious! Here is what you will need:

6-8 good sized tomatillos, medium dice
1 medium sized red onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded (unless you LOVE spicy!) and minced (I used Anaheim here because it was what came in my share... but you get the picture)
1/2 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
2 T olive oil
2T sugar (or more, if necessary to counteract acid)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chopped tomatillos in a food processor and pulse until the pieces have come together into a nice chunky liquid (10-ish pulses). Pour the mixture into a bowl, add onion, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro. Mix until combined. Add the lime juice, cumin, oil, and sugar and mix. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put in the fridge- this salsa tastes best if left overnight to let the flavors meld. BUT it's great either way! Try this: Make your favorite grilled cheese and mix a little of this salsa into the cheese as it's melting (Tyler's brilliant idea!).... HEAVEN!