New Producer Profile: Caromont Farm Goat Cheese
Since 2007, Gail Hobbs Page has been making goat cheese at Caromont Farm in Esmont, Virginia, just outside of Charlottesville. This cheese makes people sit up and take notice! We’re overjoyed to add this artisan, small batch cheese an option at FLF&LR. When we added it to our producer list last week for its “soft opening,” it was clear that Caromont Farm already had a following among our members. In fact, several folks sent messages thanking us for adding it to our list.
“We’re small,” says Gail, “We have a 5-person staff. But our cheese does have a national profile. Until COVID-19 hit, we’d done well selling through distributors in the region: Richmond, Charlottesville, D.C., Williamsburg. The pandemic has changed how we do things, though. We’re having to reconfigure, like a lot of other small businesses. My husband was the restaurant manager at Hamilton’s [on the downtown mall in Charlottesville], and I used to be the chef there a long time ago, before I started doing this. Obviously, he’s not working there now, and we’re not selling cheese to restaurants. That’s why we’re looking for opportunities through organizations like Fall Line Farms and Local Roots. We like to sell as much as we can locally, so this fits our business model well.”
If this week’s sales were any indication, Caromont Cheese is a good fit for us, too. Lots of it went home with our members—and sales are brisk again this weekend. This cheese is everything we hope to offer to you—delicious, local, and lovingly handmade in small batches by an artisan who loves her craft. And her goats!
“We have 100 goats in our herd,” says Gail. “There are Alpines, Lamanchas, and Saanens on our farm. People love the goats, and they bring visitors here, too. We had already sold a lot of tickets for agritourism events for this summer when this [pandemic] hit. We’re just waiting to see what we’re going to be able to do about letting people visit the farm.”
Isabella “Izzy” Zechini, one of the staff members at Caromont, confirms that the goats—especially when they’re little—hold a strong attraction for visitors. “The snuggle sessions with the baby goats are really popular,” she says. “But people have been very understanding. Lots of people who purchased tickets to the farm have donated them back to the farm. We’re going to plan events for the fall to thank the folks who are sticking with us.”
Sadly, we can’t bring you a baby goat to snuggle. But we can bring you this award-winning local cheese that’s surrounded by a national buzz. In case you haven’t already perused the list, here’s the lowdown. Caromont offers 7 different options. Five of them are in the Chèvre category: mild and creamy Farmstead Chèvre with no added flavorings; an Herbes de Provence Chèvre log, rolled in herbs and perfect for cheese plates; Piquillo Pepper Chèvre, featuring sweet piquillo peppers; and Truffle Chèvre, with white Italian truffle. All of them are delectable! There’s also the Mt. Alto--a traditional Greek-style feta that’s briny and creamy, but perfect for crumbling. Last but not least, there are two types of queso de campo, or country-style cheese that’s semi-hard and a bit less salty than the feta. You can order your queso de campo plain or with olive oil and chili. You can’t go wrong either way. Seriously.
It may sound cheesy, but we’re thrilled to have Caromont Farm on FLF&LR. From the looks of it, our members share our enthusiasm!
New Producer Profile: Clean Conscience Chocolate
“Our chocolate is not candy,” explains Steve Kennedy, “It’s real food.” Not many chocolatiers can make that claim, but Steve and his wife Mary have a valid argument.
Clean Conscience Chocolate is a small artisan chocolate company in Gordonsville, Virginia, not far from Charlottesville. Every piece is made by hand, and the term “small-batch” really fits their process. Mary has been a professional chocolatier for more than fourteen years. The company is nearly 2 ½ years old and was created when she and Steve decided to focus on making healthy snacks that aligned with their lifestyle.
They focused their first year on developing and perfecting their recipes and methods to make their chocolate snacks absolutely the best they could offer. They also worked to make sure that their products reflected their personal commitment to being both clean and green. (Yes--all of their packaging, including their labels, is actually fully compostable!)
When the pandemic hit and social distancing drove people into their homes to stay safe, sales began to drop precipitously. Because most of their business was wholesale they’ve had to rethink their marketing and distribution plan. Like all small businesses in the local food economy, they had to pivot. That’s why their chocolate made it to our pages more quickly than anticipated.
Steve and Mary are scrupulous about their craft. They use only 100% natural ingredients. The chocolates are vegan, non-GMO, paleo-friendly, dairy/gluten/soy-free, and don’t contain any refined sugar or preservatives. “It’s clean eating,” says Steve, “and we’re proud of that. In fact, that’s why we chose our name. You can really feel great about enjoying our chocolates. It’s really good for you, and it’s filling. In fact, it’s my lunch almost every day!”
All of the chocolate is single-origin and comes from a grower in Ecuador. “It comes from the only certified biodynamic chocolate source in the world,” says Steve, “so it’s a step above organic and fair trade in that they have only sustainable, socially responsible, and environmentally friendly practices in their entire supply chain. The chocolate is actually raw so it has more nutrients than traditional chocolate We don’t add any fillers, so it’s also good for people who have food sensitivities. We use raw organic cane sugar and maple syrup as a sweetener for the fillings, and so little of it that some diabetics consider us diabetic friendly.”
But it’s the delicate floral flavor of the chocolate, which is naturally dried by the sun rather than roasted, that makes their products distinctive.
Their peppermint patties were an early bestseller and are particularly popular with women, followed by their peanut butter cups, almond butter cups, and coconut joys. According to Steve, each of their creations has a following, and all are now running neck-and-neck in popularity. They even offer a sipping chocolate, perfect for the few nippy days left in spring.
This is chocolate that has been carefully researched, then with great care and love, incorporated into the recipes. It’s also very thoughtfully presented.
“We were also really intentional about the packaging,” Steve notes, “as we wanted to make sure that we stayed completely in line with our goal of creating a guilt-free food. We go a bit against the grain on presentation. You won’t see fancy, eye-catching packaging. Instead, we keep it simple and--literally--transparent. And our packaging is compostable, too.”
Stay safe, stay well, and eat your chocolate. With a clean conscience, of course!
You can follow Clean Conscience Chocolate on Facebook: @cleanconsciencechocolate. They're also on Etsy.
New Producer Profile: Terra di Sienna
By Katie Hoffman, Marketing and Promotions Director
Less than an hour outside of Richmond, in the rolling Piedmont hills of rural Amelia County, Filippo Gambassi is following a generations-old tradition begun by his family in Tuscany. He and his wife, Irene Chiti, are working to produce traditional Italian salumi, using artisanal methods passed down to Filippo by family. Just one taste of their cured meats will hook you. They are delicious! And, with their focus on local ingredients and artisanal methods, they fit right into the producer lineup at Fall Line Farms & Local Roots.
If you Google Terra di Siena, you’ll learn that Filippo’s family still runs the “mother company” in Italy, creating salumi by hand with local Tuscan ingredients. But the products on our pages, while they use the same artisanal methods and closely follow the family’s tried-and-true recipes, are made with locally-raised Virginia pork. According to Irene, she and Filippo love the challenge of creating a real Italian artisanal process right here in Virginia, just like the process we have in Tuscany.
In fact, Central Virginia has marked similarities to Tuscany, where Filippo’s family began this business six generations ago. “Filippo learned how to do this as a child,” says Irene. “He was taught by his family. We use carefully selected ingredients, like sea salt from Sicily and fresh garlic. Our herbs and spices are organic. We buy our pepper whole and grind it by hand. The spices, too. Everything we do is with our hands. There’s no industrial machine!”
Filippo and Irene actually Terra di Siena 8 years ago in Staunton, Virginia. They were using a small abattoir in Amelia to process their pigs, and renting a curing chamber in the facility to finish their products. Two years ago, the owners of the abattoir decided to sell, and Terra di Siena decided to purchase it and move their operations from Staunton to Amelia.
Of course, the facility complies with all USDA regulations in order to keep the products safe for us to eat—but this still allows for the slow, natural aging and curing of the meat that creates Terra di Siena’s distinctive flavor profile.
“You can’t hurry the process,” explains Irene. “That’s an important part of the taste!”
We’re proud to offer such a delicious and storied line of products through our non-profit online farmers market, Fall Line Farms & Local Roots.
Bacon, Caramelized Onion and Toasted Pecan Salad
By guest blogger Susan Gleeson of The Sown Life Wellness
This is one of my favorite salads to make! It is an entire meal unto itself and if you want more protein you can add grilled chicken, salmon or shrimp! It’s the perfect way to highlight lots of farm-fresh food. Load it up, as all these flavors are heartwarming and delicious! This salad serves two as a main meal or four as a side dish. Enjoy and have fun with it!!!
Editor's Note: Almost everything that it takes to make this salad can be found on the buying pages of Fall Line Farms and Local Roots!Thank you for your support!
• 4 cups salad greens of your choice--I love arugula so that is my go-to! (Spinach or baby kale would be great as well)
• 1 medium red onion sliced
• 2 tsp. ghee
• ¼ tsp. herbes de Provence
• 6 slices of bacon
• ½ cup pecan pieces
• 1 medium-sized sweet potato
• 2 TBS. olive oil
• ¼ tsp. garlic powder
• Salt & pepper
• 15 whole fresh sage leaves
• 1 cup avocado oil (optional—but needed if not using bacon drippings)
• ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
White balsamic vinegar
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. For Sweet Potato Croutons: Cut sweet potato in ¼ inch cubes. Toss in a medium bowl with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Layer in one layer on the cookie sheet. (I use Parchment paper on my cookie sheet) Roast for 30 minutes or until brown and slightly crispy.
3. For Bacon: In a large skillet over med. low heat, crisp up the bacon. Drain on a paper towel and then crumble. If using pastured pork bacon, leave the fat in the pan for later use.
4. For Caramelized Onions: In a medium skillet over med. low heat, melt ghee. Add sliced onion and caramelize until soft and golden brown, adding herbes de Provence when they are nearly finished. Set aside and save skillet for later use.
5. For Toasted Pecans: In the medium skillet that you used for the onions, add just a scant amount of ghee and toast pecans. (I like using this skillet because the sweet onion flavor transfers to the pecans.)
6. For Fried Sage: Heat up the skillet you used for the bacon until the bacon drippings are hot. Place a sage leaf in the hot drippings to test the heat of the oil. If it sizzles, then add the other sage leaves. Fry front for about a minute and then flip over to the back side. Remove and drain on paper towels. (If not using bacon drippings, then you can use avocado oil. Make sure you have about ½ inch of oil in the skillet.)
7. Assembling the Salad: Layer the greens on the bottom, followed by the bacon, then the caramelized onions, blue cheese, and pecans. Save the croutons and sage leaves for after you dress the salad.
8. Dressing: This dressing is as simple as it gets. I call it my 3-4 drizzle. I take the bottle of white balsamic and drizzle over the entire salad to the count of 3. Then I take the olive oil and drizzle it over the entire salad to the count of 4. Salt and Pepper to taste and then toss!!! So easy!!!
9. To Eat It: After tossing the salad, top it off with sweet potato croutons and fried sage leaves. Serve!!!
We are grateful for the advocacy of members like Susan Gleeson! To learn more about her practice, The Sown Life Wellness, and to see her beautiful photos and recipes, follow her on Instagram and Facebook (@thesownlife). You can all visit her website at www.thesownlife.com.
This post is a follow-up to Susan’s guest post last week, in which she talks about the connection between eating seasonally and locally and good health. GO to our Center for Rural Culture blog page to read more about the philosophy behind The Sown Life--www.centerforruralculture.org.
You Reap What You Sow: Susan Gleeson, Nutrition, and The Sown Life
I’m Susan Gleeson, a Nutritional Counselor and Master Herbalist in Richmond, Virginia. My practice, The Sown Life Wellness, is located in Bon Air and my main focus is nutritional counseling and hormone balance.
One principle that drives my practice is that the quality of food we eat is primary to long lasting health and vitality. Many who come to see me struggle with symptoms of hormone imbalance, autoimmune disorders, digestive issues and disordered eating. A large part of our work together is learning how to bring some healing to clients' bodies with high quality, healthy, local food! Most don’t realize that this is even possible, and I live for those light bulb moments when a client will look at me and say: “Wow, I feel so much better!” The change is especially stark for the people who switch to eating the majority of their food from local and natural/organic farms. The difference in their health is profound. Not only are they finally consuming nutrient dense foods, but they are also purchasing the highest quality they can.
That's where my passion for Fall Line Farms comes into play. I love that I can recommend an online farmer’s market that not only provides amazingly fresh and local food but also delivers it all to one location for pick up. I firmly believe in the value of supporting local farmers and growers. What they do and what they give to us in this age of factory farmed meat and over sprayed crops is a precious and valuable gift. I have been so encouraged in the past decade as I have seen many small, sustainable farmers get more and more visibility and increased business in Virginia. In my little corner of the world, Sown Life Wellness, people are waking up to their need for quality food. They are finding out what it feels to be well and whole, and in so many ways we have local farmers to thank for that.
FLF&LR is grateful for the advocacy of members like Susan Gleeson! To learn more about her practice, The Sown Life Wellness, and to see her beautiful photos and recipes, follow her on Instagram and Facebook (@thesownlife). You can also visit her website at www.thesownlife.com. Next week, we'll feature one of her delicious and healthy recipes. Stay tuned!
New Producer Profile: Richlands Dairy
When you pull up the Richlands Dairy and Creamery web page, the first things you see are a picture of their beautiful Holstein cows and a tag line underneath that says, “Honest to Goodness Dairy.” If you meet any of the Joneses or have an occasion to visit this beautiful family farm, you’ll see just what they mean by that phrase. Their dedication to keeping happy cows and being good stewards of the land is clear. So is their dedication to offering delicious, high-quality milk and cream, with no misleading labels or added ingredients. Just straight-up good milk that you can trust.
We’re excited to be offering milk and cream from Richlands Dairy and Creamery on Fall Line Farms and Local Rootsts! Our members will be able to choose from whole milk, 2% milk, chocolate milk, half-and-half and heavy cream. And the milk is available in a variety of convenient sizes. Of course, like most of the other items you’ll find on our pages, it comes from right here in Central Virginia.
Located at 460 Cox Road in Blackstone, Virginia, Richlands Creamery and Dairy sits on 500-plus acres that have been farmed continuously since the 1750s by the same family. Currently, four generations of Joneses work on the farm. They maintain a happy herd of over 500 cows, which until recently included faithful old Quasi—the oldest member of the herd and a retiree from milking. She was distictive from the others, as she wore her very own cowbell. Sadly, Quasi passed away earlier this year, but her legacy lives on in story and the photos you'll see on the Richlands Creamery walls.
In 2018, the family broke ground on the new Richlands Creamery building, which houses the ice cream counter, the Creamery Kitchen (their new family restaurant), and the farm store. This space is designed to bring people together and create community. Whether they’re savoring an ice cream cone, picking up a gallon of milk from the farm store, or sitting down to a sandwich or soup in the Creamery Kitchen guests will feel mighty welcome at Richlands. And there are also windows that let guests look right into the dairy where the milk is bottled and the ice cream is made. One hallmark of this place is certainly hospitality. Another is the family’s sincere desire to inspire and educate visitors, introducing them to the principles of agriculture done right.
Coley Jones Drinkwater, Sales and Marketing Director for Richlands Creamery and Dairy, grew up on the farm. “I’m one of four family members who work here on the farm,” says Coley. Her father, Hugh, and her brother, TR, are agronomists, handling the planting and harvesting that keeps the cows fed with a healthy diet of food raised right there on the land. Her sister-in law Brittany is the farm manager, putting her Masters degree in Dairy Science and Microbiology to the service of the operation. “We all wear a lot of hats,” explains Coley. “It’s a lot of work, but worth it. We want to promote and support agriculture in all of its aspects. We want to be a trusted voice for agriculture as a whole. Everything we do aims for that goal.”
After graduating college, Coley traveled around the world for nearly a year, working a number of jobs, visiting far-flung places, and all the while reinforcing her belief that, as she points out, “you can really get to know people by their food—and agriculture is at the heart of that.” She came home to the farm and went into the family business because, as she sees it, “dairy is my family heritage. It just gets in your bones! I do it for the love of it—the cows, the outdoors, the feeling of being a close-knit family. If we sold the dairy, the family wouldn’t live and work together. That’s the driving force behind all of this!”
“Our number one goal in creating the Creamery,” Coley explains, “was to create a sustainable business. We had to change the current business model of a dairy. We need to make money by the end of three years—as of the end of January, we’ll have been open for 7 months. We want to increase our quality of life and to do the same for others in our community.”
“It was important to us to make a place where people could gather and connect,” she says. “I love seeing people talking and enjoying a meal or an ice cream cone. It’s great to see the kids playing. We intentionally don’t offer free WiFi here, because we put a premium on family time and community. We want people to put down the cell phones. We want them to gather, pay attention to each other, and have real conversations.”
There’s a lot to enjoy at Richlands, so be sure to plan a visit. The ice cream is delicious, and their recipe steps back from the sugar to let the flavor shine through. (This author can personally attest to the deliciousness of the Salty Monkey and the Triple Chocolate Chunk!) The farm store stocks local fare, along with Richlands dairy products And the Creamery Kitchen serves sandwiches and hearty comfort food for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and stays open for dinner on Friday and Saturday. All year long, Richlands offers farm tours, special dinners, and seasonal celebrations like a pumpkin patch and corn maze in the fall, a dairy month celebration in June, homeschool days, and Fall Festival weekends in October.
We’re proud to add Richlands Dairy and Creamery to our producer lineup. Like us, they’re dedicated to preserving Central Virginia’s farmland and rural culture. They offer what’s fresh, local, and thoughtfully produced. And last—but certainly not least—they offer dairy products that just taste really great!
For more information on Richlands Dairy or to see what’s coming up next on the farm, check their website (www.richlandscreamery.com) or follow them on Facebook ( @richlands.dairyfarm ). The Kitchen Table has its own Facebook page: @richlandskitchentable. You can call them at 434-233-3014.
Simple Enough: A Recipe for Savory Whipped Squash
By Jenny Tremblay West
The nights slip in too quickly, and the chill in my old home has me in the kitchen with any excuse to turn on that stove. In the winter time we want hearty good food that doesn't require too much fuss but returns big flavor and warmth. My go-to is often squash, which to me is simple, but to a lot of my students is a task larger than they bargained for.
I teach folks how to cook, and if they learn nothing more than how to properly peel and chop something, I feel like they are in a better place than when they come to me. Prepping veggies and ingredients is the step that causes struggle, and having the proper tools helps enormously. A very sharp knife can do wonders for the home cook and is a must for cutting hard vegetables such as squash. A peeler that has a good blade—or even better, a serrated blade—will knock out the peeling part. If you hate peeling, you can always roast the squash.
This recipe for Savory Whipped Squash comes together very quickly after the squash is prepared. The last tool that this recipe uses is an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, you can substitute a food processor or blender, or you can simply mash the squash by hand for a more textured dish. The immersion blender requires the least amount of washing, so it’s my personal favorite. The notes of herbs and cream yield silky and complex results. This whipped squash is the perfect comfort food for a chilly night’s dinner.
NOTES ON COOKING SQUASH:
If you choose butternut or another smooth-skinned vegetable, peeling is easy. If your squash is bumpy or has nooks, like an acorn squash, you may want to consider roasting and not peeling first. There are two easy ways to cook squash. Steaming or roasting. For this recipe we steamed in the instant pot.
Cut the bottom and top off with a very sharp knife. Use a good vegetable peeler to remove all of the exterior skin. Carefully cut the vegetables in half and scoop out any seeds in the cavity. Set the seeds aside if you choose to roast them. Cut the squash into large 2-inch pieces. Shape is not important, but you don’t want huge pieces.
Steam: Use your stovetop steamer, microwave steamer, or instant pot. Times will vary. You can check stovetop or microwave after 8 minutes or so by inserting a sharp knife. If it is easy to insert with no force, then the squash is done. Cooking it in the instant pot requires a steaming rack or basket. Set it for 4 minutes on high pressure, 5 minute natural release.
Roasting: You can leave the skin on (remove the seeds) for roasting, or peel and cut as in the steaming method. On a roasting pan, drizzle a little vegetable oil and place the squash cut side down. Roast in a 400 °F oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size. Check for doneness by inserting a knife. If it goes in with no force and if it is easy to remove, then your squash is done. Remove it from the oven and scoop out the interior flesh for use.
SAVORY WHIPPED SQUASH
4 cups roasted or steamed winter Squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin or other winter variety) See cooking note
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
¼ cup heavy cream, half and half or whole mil
Chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish, optional
Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize, about 8-12 minutes. Stir in thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add squash and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in parsley and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Add heavy cream. Pulse with an immersion blender until light and fluffy. Garnish with parsley or other chopped herbs if desired.
Squash pancakes: for every 2 cups of leftovers add one egg and about ¼ cup of all purpose flour. Mix well and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a pat of butter to the hot pan. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter at a time and press down lightly, frying for about 3-4 minutes or until crispy and browned slighly on that side. Flip and proceed with frying about 3 minutes more. Repeat until all done. Serve with sour cream.
Flatbreads: Toast a flatbread in a 425 °F oven for about 8 minutes. Spread leftover squash mixture on top and pop back into the oven for another 8 minutes or until warmed through. Top with a lightly dressed salad of arugula and spinach. To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and chili flakes.
About Jenny: Jenny Tremblay grew up in the hospitality industry, learning from an early age the ins and outs of her family's mountain resort in Banff, Canada. This uncommon upbringing fueled a lifelong love of connecting with people, travel, and food. She attended culinary school at Dubrulle International Culinary Arts in Vancouver and jumped into a career that has taken many forms. She has found a calling in teaching others, utilizing her skills and knowledge she has learned over a lifetime. Trained as a pastry chef, baking is one of her favorite things to share with clients and friends. Her love of gardening and fresh produce plays a heavy hand in her cooking style.
Jenny's business, Kitchen Coach, teaches in-depth cooking lessons either privately or in small groups. She can also be found teaching public classes at Mise en Place and writing recipes for local publications. Jenny lives in Church hill, just east of downtown Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two boys.
Thanks to You, 2019 Was Terrific! A Letter from Our President.
A YEAR OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2019 has been a year of growth and inspiration for our mission, and we are grateful for the support that you have provided. We have strengthened our connections with young people in our rural areas, grown the market share of our non-profit online farmers market, and continued to offer programs that educate the public about the importance of maintaining our rural culture and heritage. Along the way, we also enjoyed two sold-out fundraising events that were as enjoyable as they were productive. It was a good year, and we look forward to building on those successes in 2020.
WORKING WITH LOCAL YOUTH
This was a year of reconnection and expansion in working with rural students in Central Virginia. We continued our work with the Hand-to-Hand Program at Byrd Elementary School in Goochland. Every year, we contribute to this very worthy program. This year, with the help of Dave Booth, Culinary Arts teacher at Goochland High School, we expanded our programming to include the Culinary Arts classes at his school. The Center for Rural Culture provided tomatoes for their canning class through the Pounds of Plenty program, a feature of Fall Line Farms and Local Roots, our non-profit online farmers market. Pounds of Plenty allows members to give locally raised eggs and produce to food pantries near them. Our Marketing Director, Katie Hoffman, also visited Dave’s classes on behalf of the CRC and spent a day teaching the students to ferment sauerkraut and talking with them about other traditional rural foods. We’re excited that Dave has agreed to come on board as our Education Committee Chair, and we look forward to seeing what his leadership will bring in 2020.
FALL LINE FARMS AND LOCAL ROOTS:OUR NON-PROFIT ONLINE FARMERS MARKET
Fall Line Farms and Local Roots has done very well this year. True to our mission, we are supporting small farms in Central Virginia by providing a sales outlet for them that gives each farmer a greater financial return. According to our producers, selling through Fall Line Farms and Local Roots is financially advantageous in a number of ways, including decreasing waste. This market has a direct impact on preserving Central Virginia’s rural landscape and culture by serving the small farms we all seek as neighbors. Having a dedicated Marketing and Promotions Director has also made a big difference in 2019. Sales for the market have been up over 20% so far this year. We have added several new producers and pick-up locations, and we have some exciting announcements coming in January, too! With your support, Fall Line Farms and Local Roots has engaged even more producers, customers, and farmers in the economic commerce that sustains the rural character of our neighborhoods. Thank you!
The homestead series continues to educate the public on issues and practices that open minds to conserving natural resources and community engagement. Nationally acclaimed writer Max Watman joined us at Rassawek during the annual Spring Jubilee to offer readings from his books on local food and talk with the crowd. He also gave a Homestead Series program on making your own tinctures, shrubs, bitters, and infusions. Other Homestead Series classes included woodlot management and beekeeping.
AN INVITATION TO JOIN US IN 2020
Our board welcomes your support of our non-profit organization. If open space, local markets, sustainable living, and the natural environment are important to you, then we invite you to join us in 2020. Our goals are to increase market membership, broaden our Homestead Series topics and expand our education programs to reach more youth. Whatever your skills and experience, we welcome them! Come serve on a committee, volunteer for Fall Line Farms and Local Roots, or help with one of our events and classes. Of course, your financial support is equally important.
We wish all of our past and present members, supporters, and volunteers a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2020. Your generosity has allowed us to have a positive impact here in central Virginia. We look forward to working with you in the coming year!
President of the Board
The Center for Rural Culture
Turkey Stock - a beauty-enhancing, money-saving, gut-healing, flavor-exploding recipe!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, meaning that TURKEYS are in season! Yay! I love turkey stock. It is more robust in flavor than chicken stock, but not quite as intense as beef stock. It is perfect for drinking! Any time. Any meal. Any weather. :) This recipe can easily be adapted for any kind of poultry stock - chicken, duck, or turkey - or a combination. All of it would be delicious! You really can't go wrong.
I highly recommend getting your turkey or chicken from a pastured source. For sourcing the best quality, your best bet is finding a local farm, like the ones featured on Fall Line Farms and Local Roots! If you are buying from the grocery store, look for labels like "local" and "pasture-raised."
So be sure to save your turkey carcass from your Thanksgiving meal! I may just have a panic attack if anyone puts their turkey carcass in the trash...;)
1 turkey carcass (4-5 lbs) or 2-3 chicken carcasses (backs and necks, 4-5lbs.)- I get mine from Mickey and Anne's Farmette from FLF&LR
2 lbs. chicken feet - I got mine from Peacemeal Farm from FLF&LR
3lbs. leftover beef bones, chuck roast bone, steak bones, empty marrow bones (optional)
2lbs. turkey/chicken necks (optional) - I got mine from Forrest Green Farm from FLF&LR
1 or 2 Onions
1 bulb crushed, fresh Garlic
Fresh or dried herbs - rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves
3 Tbs. celtic salt (or just add this at the end to taste)
1/4 - 1/3c. apple cider vinegar
2+ gallons filtered water (I use a Berkey to filter all my water)
2 carrots and 2 celery stalks - (optional) - only add these for the last 12 hours of cooking
bunch of fresh parsley (optional)- add this for the last 15 min
You will need a large stock pot for this -- I have a 15.5qt one and I LOVE it! I really like the "graniteware" stock pots because they are super safe and non-reactive - while also not breaking the bank! If you want to make a smaller batch, a cute little 8-quart stock pot would be perfect.
(Please do not use any kind of non-stick or aluminum or copper stock pots - they are very toxic and the metals and chemicals will leach out into your stock during the long cook time. Cast iron, speckled enamelware, and "graniteware" are all safe options.)
I like to make REALLY big batches of stock at a time. ;) You can make as much or as little stock as you want - the more carcasses/feet/bones, the more water you use. The fewer turkey parts you have, the less water you use. The general rule of thumb is for every pound of parts you use, use 1 quart of water.
10 STEPS FOR AWESOME TURKEY (OR CHICKEN) STOCK:
Step 1: Get a carcass!
Put the turkey or chicken carcasses, the chicken feet, the turkey/chicken necks, and the optional beef bones** in the stock pot. It is totally fine if they are still totally frozen solid - I do that all the time!! (**I also save any beef bones from our meals such as the bone from chuck roasts, steak bones, or empty marrow bones. I collect them in a bag in the freezer and then I like to throw these in with my poultry stock because it adds extra minerals and calcium from the bones, but they don't have a strong "beef" flavor since they have already been cooked once!)
Step 2: Let it soak.
Cover it all with filtered water and fill the stock pot. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (this helps pull the nutrients out into the broth). Let it all soak for an hour or so until the turkey and chicken parts are thawed. (Sometimes I accidentally leave it longer, especially if it is frozen solid!)
Step 3: Bring it to a boil.
Put the stock pot on your stove and bring to a boil slowly over medium-high heat.
Step 4: Skim the foam.
When it begins to boil, the first thing to be released from the chicken are trace impurities which rise to the top and turn into a layer of weird-looking foam. This foam doesn't add any nutritional value and if left in the broth can add an off-flavor. You'll want to use a spoon or a small fine-mesh metal strainer to skim it off. I like to use a little one for skimming the foam off and a larger one for straining the stock when it is finished!
Step 5: Add the veggies and herbs.
Add some onions, garlic, peppercorns, herbs of choice, and Celtic sea salt (or you can add this to taste at the end as well). You can also add some carrots and celery, but don't add these till the last 6-12 hours of cooking or they will get a funny taste. If you want to add a big bunch of parsley for the last 15 min of cooking, that adds a really nice touch too! These days I just like to keep it simple: a bulb of crushed garlic, some big sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme, and some Celtic salt is a beautiful combination! Don't worry about chopping things too precisely - you can just chop the onion into quarters and the garlic bulb in half - leaving the skins on and all. The carrots and celery can just be broken in half, and the sprigs of rosemary and thyme can all be thrown into the pot with no chopping at all!
Step 6: Turn it down!!
Once you have skimmed the foam and added herbs, cover and reduce to just *below* a simmer. You do not want it too hot. If it is too hot it will get a burned taste and the collagen will breakdown and not be as potent. Low and slow is the goal! Cover and let it cook for at least 24 hours. You can stir it every so often to help break up the carcass and help all the good stuff come out! Also, check on it every now and then to make sure it is NOT boiling.You want it barely at a simmer.
Step 7: Time to strain!
After a total of 24-36 hours, the stock is ready to be strained.All the turkey and chicken parts should be really broken down at this point, and the stock should be nice and dark and smell good! You will need a big metal strainer to strain into a saucepan or a quart-sized glass measuring cup. Here, I am using a middle-sized metal strainer along with a glass quart measuring cup.
Step 8: Seal It!
My favorite way to store the stock is in the refrigerator - "sealed" in Mason Jars. It's so much less hassle than freezing it and having to thaw it every time you need it. Pour the hot, strained stock into quart-sized wide-mouth mason jars.(Pro Tip: the trick is to pour the strained stock into the jars while it is still very warm and put the lids and bands on very tightly. I have found that this "seals" and preserves the stock in the refrigerator for up to a month!! If there is a delicious layer of fat on the top, it will even keep for longer!! If it was sealed correctly then the jar should "pop" when you open it. Just like when you open something that has been "canned.")
Make sure you use real Ball Mason jars - which are made for canning and can withstand high temperatures. :) After you jar up the stock, let them sit on the counter a minute before you put them in the refrigerator. If they cool too fast they could break.
To freeze: Pour the stock into plastic quart-sized "ziplock" containers and put in the freezer. (Glass tends to break when you freeze it, so after a few mishaps and wasted stock, I just recommend using plastic now.)
Step 9: get the jiggle?!
When you open a jar of your refrigerated stock, it should be really gelatinous! If it is, that means you did it right! If it is still watery, that could mean either that it was cooked on too high of a temperature or that there was too much water and not enough turkey/chicken parts. Keep tweaking it until you get "the jiggle!"
Step 10: Drink it daily!
I recommend drinking at least a mug a day. I sometimes drink a cup with each meal! Just re-heat the refrigerated stock in a small saucepan.
FEEDING IT TO KIDS
I drink stock daily with my dinner - probably around 2-3 cups of it. I feed it to my kids too - my 4-yr-old and 2-year-old both will drink it out of a sippy cup. sippy-cup And my 8-month-old old recently started drinking it out of a glass baby bottle. The older two also love to drink up the stock in their bowls using a kids’ medicine syringe. It’s kinda odd, but a genius way to get every last drop of stock in their bellies with no waste at all!
I like to top my stock with extra pink salt and eat it with a big spoonful of coconut cream concentrate. You could also top with some fresh parsley or cilantro and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Of course, you can use it in any recipes that call for chicken broth or stock. And you can create delicious soups and stews that will be sure to impress!
Let me know if you have any questions! I hope you enjoy!
Sallie runs a blog realfatlife.com and an active Instagram - you can find her @real.girls.eat.fat. For a more complete bio and an unedited version of this excellent blog entry,go to https://www.centerforruralculture.org/single-post/2019/11/24/Turkey-Stock.
End-of-Season Fried Green Tomato Recipe
Oh, the crispy goodness of a fried green tomato! They’re a bit of trouble, but worth it—and green tomatoes are still available on our list this week from Manakintowne Specialty Growers.
Here’s how to get some great results.
PREP YOUR STATION:
Slice your green tomatoes about ¼” thick. Put this plate on the far right of your “assembly line.”
Season some all-purpose flour with fine-grained salt and pepper. You can even add a little bit of granulated garlic or garlic powder for some pizzazz! Put this on a plate or small platter. Put it to the left of the tomatoes.
To the left of the seasoned flour, put some buttermilk in a shallow bowl for dipping.
To the left of that, put some coarsely-ground cornmeal on a plate or small platter.
Put your skillet on the stove to warm up, with a good splash of vegetable oil in it. Keep the heat at medium or below (depending on your stove) to prevent burning.
Put some butter near the stove so that you can put a little bit in with the vegetable oil once you begin to fry the coated tomatoes. The butter helps them brown.
START THE FRYING!
Once your skillet is ready (the oil should be shimmery and moving), you can begin.
Dredge a piece of tomato in the dry seasoned flour, coating well and tapping to remove the excess.
Dip it in the buttermilk, then coat it with the cornmeal. Put a tiny bit of butter in the oil, then put your tomato on the skillet. Let the tomato slices get crispy and brown on the bottom, then carefully flip them over with a spatula.
Once they are brown on both sides, set them on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain as the others cook. You can keep this in the oven to make sure they stay warm and crisp until you’re ready to serve!
Eat them as is, top them with remoulade, or use them to top burgers. You can even make BLTs with crispy fried green tomatoes instead of the usual red ones.