Remember those black beans you received during week 1? Well if you haven't used them yet, this week might be the perfect chance to cook them up and use them for a delicious taco salad. This week's bag features crunchy green leaf lettuce, ciliantro, aged cheddar cheese, and grassfed ground beef.
This week will also be the last week for strawberries. On the bright side, cherries are soon behind and we hope to have a good supply by the middle of next week.
Of all the items this week, I am perhaps most excited about a few of the items in the large bags. Green cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables, and I think anyone who has been to one of our cooking classes where Parker has made fried cabbage will agree. It is so simple and so tasty. Here is a link to the blog post about quick fried cabbage. For other blog posts about cabbage, click here.
One of my other favorite vegetables is the sweet, snow pea. This week is just the beginning of them and by next week we will have enough for all the bags.
A few of the items this week really showcase what we are all about. The grassfed ground beef is a perfect example. If anyone came to the open house, you likely heard me rant about the terms free range and all natural and how they have no meaning.
100% Grassfed, on the other hand, has a limited meaning. Cattle are ruminant animals. This means that they have a multi-chambered stomach that allows them to breakdown cellulose (plant based fiber) and extract all the nutrients they need for life. Part of their stomach, the rumen, is like a fermentation tank that is full of enzymes that help them digest the grass and dry matter. When they eat, they chew their food thoroughly, it goes into the rumen and then they regurgitate it. At this point, they have "cud" that is then re-chewed and digested a second time.
Because cattle have this unique digestive system, the only "all natural" diet for them is 100% grass. As a result, we sell only 100% grassfed beef. This beef is much leaner and has a slightly sweeter taste sometimes. The animals we are eating this week were finished in early June, when grass is abundant and they can put on a good finish (fat).
Another advantage of grassfed is that it is healthier for us. The meat, besides having less fat, has healthier fat that has a safer ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids and also contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is known to prevent cancer and actually help you loose weight. One of the most efficient sources of CLAs is in the fat of grass grazed mammals, such as the fat on the meat or fat in the milk.
One of our other showcase items are the corn chips from Shagbark Seed and Mill. Brandon and Michelle at Shagbark work with farmers throughout central Ohio to grow heirloom flint corns that can be ground into meal. Their cornmeal is then used to make corn chips with a simple recipe of cornmeal, salt, water, and oil (a nongmo, sunflower oil). I think you'll be surprised at the fantastic flavor of these chips.
I bring this up because one of the most common questions I get is whether or not our food contains GMOs (genetically modified organism). The short answer is NO. However, I like to take a moment to educate folks about GMOs.
A GMO is a seed variety that is produced by a seed company and has a few characteristics:
- it can't naturally reproduce a "true" offspring. The farmer must buy it annually from the seed company.
- it is engineered by scientists to have certain properties, usually allowing it to be resistant to different diseases and/or chemicals (such as roundup ready corn)
- its engineering allows the farmer to produce higher yields via less loss to insects or simply a more productive plant
GMOs are most prevalent in field crops such as soybeans and corn. These crops are grown to produce animal feed or are used for processing into oils, fuels, and different byproducts needed for manufacturing. Some field crops, of course, are harvested and used for human consumption such as making soy products (for about everything), cooking oils, or cornmeals for cereals. Fresh Fork Market does not use any GMO corns, soybeans, etc in any of our animal feeds OR products for human consumption.
GMOs, for the most part, don't apply to specialty crops (fruits and vegetables we eat). Most specialty crops are considered hybrids. They are plants that have been bred to have certain characteristics, such as color, yield, shape and size. An heirloom is a plant that has not been cross-bred for generations and now consistently will produce a "true" offspring - one of the same characteristics as the parent plant. Heirlooms are generally more difficult to grow and transport.
For us, heirloom vegetables are easier to have grown. To find someone doing heirloom field crops, like flint corn, is amazing. Brandon and Michelle have done a great job working with their farmers and guaranteeing them a sale of the product at a price that rewards them for this alternative to GMO, field corn. We are proud to feature their product this week in the bag.
Some extra items available at the back of the truck.
At the back of the truck this week, you will find a good selection of salsas to go with your taco chip salad. The salsas from Blaze Gourmet range from mild to hot, with my favorite being the chipotle black bean and corn. All Blaze Gourmet salsas are $6 each.
Summer Week 3:
1 lb grassfed ground beef
1 bag heirloom corn chips
1 bunch swiss chard
1 head green leaf lettuce
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch cilantro
2 ct zucchini
1 quart strawberries
1 piece, 6 oz, aged sharp cheddar (called Hull's Trace)
Small package plus:
1 bag spinach (8 oz)
1 head green cabbage
1 head cauliflower
1 lb snow peas
1 lb chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage)
Vegetarian Substitutions (in place of beef)...I got a little carried away this week on the veggie substitutes as a lot came on. I'll adjust this in the future.
1 bag spinach
1 bunch beets
1 head broccoli
1 lb snow peas
1 bag baby greens
Vegan Substitutions (in place of cheese)
1 bag broccoli raab
1 lb hoophouse tomatoes