Organic Food & Recipes

ORGANIC RECIPE: All About Chard (with Organic Tacos of Creamy Braised Chard Recipe)


Organic Food Guy
Kenwood, Sonoma County

Botanically chard is a subspecies of ordinary garden beets, bred for its leaves rather than its root, and packs the same kind of nutritional punch. The name “chard” comes from the French chardon, or thistle, although chard is not a thistle (the name came about cecause chard has a wide midrib similar to the cardoon, which is a thistle, and because of this physical resemblance the French word for thistle came to be applied to chard as well).

For some reason, chard also goes by the name of Swiss chard. While the vegetable is commonly grown in Switzerland, among other northern European countries, it’s the French and Italians, not the Swiss, who have done the most with chard, with the Spanish and Greeks running a close second. In southern Spain and out on the Balearic Islands, it’s cooked much as the Arabs of North Africa use it, with spices and hot chiles, or cooked with sweetmeats. In fact, chard’s history is long, going back before Rome (its subspecies name, cicla, refers to sicula, the ancient name of Sicily), before Greece, back to ancient Babylon. Various theories have been proposed for why the country of Switzerland has been associated with chard, but none of them seem worth repeating. I just call the vegetable chard and leave it at that.

The Organic Factor
Make sure your chard is organic. The high-nitrogen chemical fertilizers used in conventional agriculture can cause the plants to take up too much nitrate, which can change within the human digestive system to cancer-causing nitrites. Organic soils feed chard their nitrogen from natural sources, at just the rate the plants need it.

Study: Organic Farming Is More Profitable Than Conventional…



From Mother Jones

After years of steady growth in demand, organic food now accounts for 5 percent of US food sales. Yet organically managed land makes up just 1 percent of US farmland. Why hasn’t the craze for organics moved from the supermarket to the countryside? The problem isn’t a lack of profitability, a new paper (abstractpress release) from Washington State University researchers David Crowdera and John Reganold finds.

The researchers found that organic farming is somewhere between 22 percent and 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional.

The authors crunched data from 44 studies involving 55 crops grown on five continents over 40 years and found that organic farming is somewhere between 22 percent and 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional. The reason: the higher price farmers get when they sell certified-organic crops. This “premium,” as it’s known, stands at around 30 percent, and stayed roughly equal over the four-decade period, the authors report.

Millennials Like ‘Organic’ — Even if They Have No Idea What It Means…


From The Atlantic

Some labels magically make food appear more nutritious.

In August, The New York Times ran an essay by Sam Tanenhaus that sought to sketch a comprehensive portrait of Millennials. Tanenhaus, who labeled Millennials monolithically as “Generation Nice,” devoted some space to discussing the shopping habits of this bold new generation: They’re drawn to socially-responsible companies, they’re mindful eaters, and they adore all things organic, even the cotton in their clothing. Tanenhaus left one thing out, though: They’re easy to manipulate.

Recipe: Twice Baked Irish Potatoes with Stout Beer and Fresh Kale…

From Cooking Up A Story

Ivy Manning—In the Kitchen

First, Ivy Manning visited with Shari Sirkin, of Dancing Roots Farm, and learned more about kale. Now it’s time to take that kale into the kitchen and create something delicious and easy to make, with ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens! Full Disclosure: I made this Irish Potatoes dish for my family—it’s wonderful!

“What’s your favorite potato story?” Gene Theil, the spunky potato farmer nicknamed “ Gene the Potato Machine,” asked me one crisp November morning as I chose from his table of russets. I drew a blank. “Everyone has a potato story,” he assured me. It finally dawned on me: colcannon. My grandmother used to make the satisfying mash of kale or cabbage and potatoes for me when I was a kid. She said its origins came from necessity when times were tough in Ireland. Women would add kale, cabbage, or even seaweed to their mashed potatoes to stretch the meager harvest;– the greener the colcannon, the tougher the times. Gene was happy to hear that he was right again, we all have a potato story. My love of simple but comforting colcannon inspired this satisfying variation of double- stuffed potatoes; it’s a sort of Irish soul food, if you will.

The Graying Lions of Organic Farming…


From NYT
Slide Show here

BIG SUR, Calif. — Among the sleek guests who meditate and do Downward Facing Dog here at the Esalen Institute, the farmers appeared to be out of place. They wore baggy jeans, suspenders and work boots and had long ago let their hair go gray.

For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties, and during breaks they shared the clothing-optional baths.

The agrarian elders, as they were called, were invited to Esalen because the organizers of the event wanted to document what these rock stars of the sustainable food movement knew and to discuss an overriding concern: How will they be able to retire and how will they pass their knowledge to the next generation?

Michael Ableman, a farmer and one of the event’s organizers, said the concerns were part of a much larger issue, a “national emergency,” in his words. Farmers are aging. The average age of the American farmer is 57, and the fastest-growing age group for farmers is 65 and over, according to the Census Bureau.

During their meetings, some of the farmers worried that their children would not want to continue their businesses and that they might have to sell their homes and land to retire.

Organic Recipe: Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce..


From Let There Be Bite

This sauce is always a crowd-pleaser because it celebrates two flavors that are not often found “raw” on a pasta: ripe summer tomatoes and high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Not only does it have the look and “mouth-feel” of a tomato-cream sauce, the olive oil gives it a richness that doesn’t feel as guilty as heavy cream.

· 4 large organic heirloom tomatoes
· 1/2 cup pine nuts
· Fresh organic basil, marjoram, thyme
· 1/4-1/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil, to taste
· Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
· 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
· 1 clove garlic, thickly sliced
· Organic asparagus, zucchini, or zucchini blossoms
· 1/2 lb farfalle pasta

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in another pot that will hold all the tomatoes. With a knife, make an “X” on the bottom of each tomato that just breaks the skin. Cook the tomatoes in the boiling water for a couple minutes, or until the skin starts to break away from the flesh. Remove the tomatoes. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the tomatoes (they should strip off easily from where the skin was cut).

Put the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat to toast for a few minutes. Be careful—they toast quickly! Set aside off the heat.

Rinse and dry whichever vegetable you opt to use. If using asparagus, discard the bottom one-third of the asparagus and slice on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces.

Grilled Pitas with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

From TheDailyGreen

The onions can be cooked up to 3 days in advance — just bring them to room temperature before spooning over the goat cheese.




4 tablespoons olive oil
2 jumbo onions (1 pound each), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Four 6-inch pitas, sliced horizontally in half
6 to 7 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions, sugar, and salt, and cook 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes longer or until onions are golden brown, stirring frequently.

2. In cup, stir remaining 2 tablespoons oil with tarragon and thyme. Brush cut sides of pitas with herb mixture; spread with goat cheese, then top with caramelized onions.

Carbonara-Based Life (recipe)

Front Porch Republic Blog

There’s a story (if memory serves) about a little spat that affected the greatest and best-dressed rock band ever.

(I confess that, given the inveterate mendacity of consciousness, one never knows for sure whether one is being ironic or sincere.)

During a rehearsal or a sound check or something, Neal Schon was wailing away on his guitar, as was (and is) his wont—and long may he wail—when the ever-humble Steve Perry came over and turned his amp down. “They want to hear the voice,” Perry said, pointing to himself. “The voice.”

Divorce was inevitable, and eventually it came, and I, like many whose musical tastes are impeccable, regretted it. But still there are days when, standing in my kitchen, inching toward the vital late-afternoon decision as the lights go down in the city, I want to hear both the wailing guitar and the soaring pinched voice. And that can mean only one thing: I’ve decided to feed the troops some carbonara (and maybe hope for some lovin’, touchin’, and squeezin’).

That this culinary delight (not to mention this melodious word) is not on the lips of more people is a mystery, given how good it tastes and how simple it is to make. Of course you can make it more complicated if you want to, and that’s okay by me (first rule of cooking to music: more time in the kitchen is better than less). Any way you want it, that’s the way you need it.

Carbonara makes use of two important staples that, were I the head of the USDA, would be food groups unto themselves: bacon and eggs. (Bacon! Is there anything it can’t do? And, O, thou egg! How noble in design, how infinite in flavor! In form and moving how express and admirable!)

Faithful reader—and even you, my enemy, benighted though you be—hear the words of the greatest and best-dressed rock band ever: be good to yourself. Make your move across the Rubicon.

Get a pound of bacon.

How About Some Stinging Nettle Soup?

Via Culinate

It’s been said that as long as you’re near water, you’ll never go hungry. Cattails have been hailed as “nature’s supermarket” and arrowhead has been called the “swamp potato”; watercress graces the menus of the fanciest restaurants.

But even Euell Gibbons, the father of the modern wild-food craze, makes a glaring omission in his forager’s bible, Stalking the Wild Asparagus: There is not a single mention of stinging nettles.

Stinging nettles are delicious, abundant, and oft-overlooked. And you don’t even have to live in the sticks to find them.

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) grow in swampy places and riparian corridors along streams throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. They resemble a mint, though they’re in their own botanical family (the Urticaceae). They’re easily identified by their pairs of deltoid (slightly triangular), dentate leaves (opposite-decussate in orientation), with fine spines covering the stems and leaves.

In the Pacific Northwest, they first poke their little heads out of the alder and cottonwood duff in February or March, in search of spring’s first warming sun — depending on your neck of the woods, they’ll be out a little earlier

Organic Garlic Mashed Potatoes With Cheese (Aligot) and Psychedelic Mashed Potatoes Recipes


Purple or “blue” potatoes are smooth textured and excellent for mashing. Peel the potatoes and cut them into uniform small dice, so that they cook rapidly and evenly. Use just enough water to barely cover the potatoes, and when you drain them, just before mashing, save the cooking liquid and pour some back into the mash to make a smoother purée. The outrageous color is especially effective with dark or red meats and brilliant green vegetables. It’s nice to know that anthocyanins, the pigments that make some vegetables purple, are healthy antioxidants. Use this same technique to make mashed parsnips.

Makes about 6 cups, serving 6

3 pounds organic purple potatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
About 6 cups water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch bits

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubed potatoes and salt in a heavy, 1-gallon stockpot and cover them with the water. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender and just beginning to fall apart, about 15 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes through a colander over a bowl or another pot to save the cooking liquid. Force the cooked potatoes through a ricer, or, if no ricer available, put the drained potatoes back in the pot in which they were cooked and mash them with a potato masher or a whisk. Whisk in the butter and just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to render the mashed potatoes smooth and creamy.

My Best Organic Blue Cheese Potato Salad


Some conventional potato farmers say they won’t eat the potatoes they grow for market because of the toxic sprays they use. So only leave the skins on potatoes you eat if they are grown organically. After experimenting some over the summer, this is my best yet potato salad. Love them organic carbs.

1. Boil organic red potatoes with skin on. Remove from heat and place potatoes in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle organic golden balsamic vinegar over potatoes, stir, sprinkle, stir.
3. Let cool in a bowl, or if in a hurry, put in the freezer or refrigerator for a bit.
4. Steam some organic cobs of corn. Slice off the corn kernals; chop or dice the potatoes and any of the following ingredients needing it. Add to the potatoes, corn, crumbled organic blue cheese, crumbled free-range bacon, hard-boiled organic eggs, organic red onions, organic italian parsley, salt, pepper,  then toss. Stir in organic mayo.
5. Taste, adjust ingredients, serve, and get stuffed.

Focaccia: Easier than expected, tastier than you knew

Story here

Light-textured, shiny with olive oil, and creamy-flavored, this complex bread only seems complicated to make

OK, so it’s not true that I’ve never baked before. Despite my fears, I’ve tried at various points to exorcise myself of my dough timidity, and once even scaled the Great Focaccia Mountain and turned out a few decent rounds. They had all the things you’d want in focaccia — a tender, light crumb, a thin pliant crust that crisped with a nudge in the toaster, and a rich flavor of olive oil. It was great, exciting and … totally lost to me after I made it, because I only did it once and tried to sneak away while I was batting 1.000.

But in baking school, kneading my way through literally dozens of loaves of bread, I felt myself growing more comfortable with doughs of all sorts, increasing in difficulty from the 1-2-and-done loaves of Irish brown soda bread to the tough-but-fair mass of bagels to incredibly sticky, challenging gloops that wanted to glue themselves to my hands, my workbench, my neighbor’s hair. Midway through Day 3, by the time we got to the school’s quick, straightforward recipe for focaccia, it felt like a vacation. It turns out that my Great Focaccia Mountain is actually more like a quaint little hill, but who says things need to be hard to be great?…

Story here

Garlic-Roasted Lamb Shanks with South American Jalapeño-Parsley Salsa (Organic Recipe)


Garlic-Roasted Lamb Shanks

[Recipe dedicated to Owens Family Farm, Hopland. -DS]

We usually think of stewing a lamb shank, as in osso buco. But you can also treat the shank like a mini leg of lamb. It roasts to perfection and produces the same kind of full-flavored morsels that dark meat lovers insist on. As with any roast, plenty of garlic is never out of order.

Serves 4 to 6
Takes 2½ hours

4 local pasture-fed lamb shanks (9 to 10 pounds)
24 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large organic red peppers
2 cups cooked organic chick-peas
1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
18 organic corn or 12 flour tortillas, warmed or crisped just before serving

South American Jalapeño-Parsley Salsa (see below)
2 cups organic sour cream

1. Heat the oven to 475ºF.

2. With your fingers, push the garlic slivers into the natural openings in the lamb shanks and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange the lamb shanks and bell peppers in a single layer in 1 or 2 roasting pans. Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350ºF and roast until the peppers are soft and the skins are wrinkled, about 1 hour more. Remove the peppers and continue roasting the shanks until the meat is well browned and pulling away from the bones, about 50 minutes more. Remove and let cool enough to handle.

More at

Julia Child’s Famous Potato Leek Soup (Organic Version)

For about 2½ quarts, serving 6 to 8

4 cups sliced organic leeks—the white part and a bit of the tender green
4 cups diced organic potatoes—old or baking potatoes recommended
6 to 7 cups water
1½ to 2 tsp salt, or to taste
½ cup or more organic sour cream, heavy cream, or créme fraîche, optional

Special equipment suggested: A heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan with cover.

Simmering the soup: Bring the leeks, potatoes, and water to a boil in the saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cream, taste, and correct seasoning.
See also: “When you think about it, a breakfast cereal is a bizarre product — there is nothing natural or normal about eating manufactured flakes and puffs created by giant machines in factories, shipped around the world and sealed in plastic for months…” Against breakfast cereal at Energy Bulletin
Image Credit: 1961, public domain

Joan Gussow, Matriarch of the Organic Movement


A woman who wouldn’t stop asking questions, and her seminal role in today’s food fight.

Last spring, when hundreds of alums and faculty of the nutrition program of Columbia University Teachers College gathered to commemorate the department’s 100th anniversary, one speaker riveted the audience. Shoulders back, patrician chin jutting forward, Joan Gussow strode toward the stage. A recent octogenarian, she remains in remarkable shape.

“Good morning. I don’t come with slides,” the seasoned speaker quipped to immediate laughter. “But I have to say that if anyone told me 35 years ago that I would be speaking after a Manhattan borough president had talked about New York City’s foodshed, I would have thought they were smoking dope.” More laughter and applause. “So this is a thrilling moment for me.”

Thrilling because for the past 40 years-half her life-Gussow, a longtime occupant of the Mary Swartz Rose chair of the college’s Nutrition Program, the oldest in the nation, has been waging a tireless war against the industrialization of the American food system. Long before mad cow, avian flu, E. coli or the “diabesity” epidemic made headlines, Gussow foretold the impacts of the post-modern diet on public health, ecology and culture, “depressing generations of graduate students,” as she now puts it, with the news that “life as they knew it was not sustainable, and destined to come to an end unless we urgently changed our ways.” And along the way she didn’t just lay the foundation for modern-day locavores. She also challenged nutritionists everywhere to look up from their microscopes to see the cafeteria, the factory farm and beyond.

“In many places we have begun serious dialogues about the corporate malnourishment of our children,” she told the crowd last spring. “We have painfully begun to fix school lunch, and we have a family in the White House that is publicly committed to local, organic food and has begun digging up part of our national lawn for a vegetable garden.  It is hard to not yield to a kind of heart-lifting optimism.”

More at Edible Manhattan

Why We’re Fat and Why To Buy Locally-Grown Food


Click Here To Enlarge

Get Off The Fat Train That Features Chemical Industrial Food, and Get Healthy With Fresh, Locally Grown Organic Food

Local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances from other states or countries. Local farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life.

Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in our community. Getting to know the farmers who grow our food builds relationships based on understanding and trust, the foundation of strong communities.

There’s never been a more critical time to support our farming neighbors. With each local food purchase, you ensure that more of your money spent on food goes to the farmer.

Knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables us to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations. Buy food from local farmers you trust.

Local food doesn’t have to travel far. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials. Buying local food also helps to make farming more profitable and selling farmland for development less attractive.

Our Farmers Markets are now opening year-round locally, our Co-op features locally-grown produce, and our CSA’s (here, here, and here) are serving up local organic abundance.

When we buy local food, we vote with our food dollar. This ensures that family farms in our community will continue to thrive and that healthy, flavorful, plentiful food will be available for local future generations.

Pasta and Beans


Have you tried this Italian staple?

Whether pasta e fagioli — literally, pasta and beans — is an Italian soup with pasta in it or a pasta sauced with beans is a matter of proportion and preference. I like it as a soup thick with beans and pasta.
Featured recipes

* Pasta e Fagioli alla Fiorentina
* Pasta e Fagioli alla Veneta
* Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)

The notion of two starches combining to become an Italian staple at first seems difficult to fathom. But try pasta e fagioli. This dish of modest ingredients is capable of providing great pleasure and satisfaction.

Creamy beans give way to pasta’s toothsome give. Seasonings of aromatic rosemary, tangy tomato, garlic, and sometimes pancetta or prosciutto infuse the mellow beans. As they cook, the beans exude a silky broth that absorbs garnishes of green olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

When I want to make soup into a one-dish dinner, I turn to pasta e fagioli. Its ingredients are easy to find or make substitutions for. Its bean-and-grain combo provides a vegetarian protein. Making it can be as easy as simmering cannellini beans with garlic, tomato, and rosemary, and then cooking a short, hollow pasta such as tubetti or macaroni in the beans.

When I want vegetables, too, I serve bowlfuls with a small pile of garlicky sautéed greens on top. Kale, dandelions, or broccoli rabe are good choices. I have also added cubes of the last of the winter squash to the simmering beans, with rich results.

The only deal-breaker to making a decent pasta e fagioli is that you have to begin with dried beans. There is no way around this…

More at Culinate

Twice Baked Irish Potatoes with Stout, Onions, and Kale (Videos)


Cooking Fresh with Ivy Manning — In the Kitchen

First, Ivy Manning visited with Shari Sirkin, of Dancing Roots Farm, and learned more about kale. Now it’s time to take that kale into the kitchen and create something delicious and easy to make, with ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens!

“What’s your favorite potato story?” Gene Theil, the spunky potato farmer nicknamed “ Gene the Potato Machine,” asked me one crisp November morning as I chose from his table of russets. I drew a blank. “Everyone has a potato story,” he assured me. It finally dawned on me: colcannon. My grandmother used to make the satisfying mash of kale or cabbage and potatoes for me when I was a kid. She said its origins came from necessity when times were tough in Ireland. Women would add kale, cabbage, or even seaweed to their mashed potatoes to stretch the meager harvest;– the greener the colcannon, the tougher the times. Gene was happy to hear that he was right again, we all have a potato story. My love of simple but comforting colcannon inspired this satisfying variation of double- stuffed potatoes; it’s a sort of Irish soul food, if you will.

From the Fields: Kale here

Potato Recipe and Instructions here

Here’s The Beef (With Organic Grass-Fed Steak And Hamburger Recipes)


Not long ago, I spent a day at a ranch in Central Texas where my father grew up. One of his childhood friends was showing us around his section of grazing land. Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush were blooming, and along the horizon, a small herd of cattle stood in silhouette against the clear blue sky punctuated with puffy white clouds.

“I’m leasing the land now to a fellow who’s raising grass fed beef,” explained my father’s friend. “He wants to keep it all natural.” As we walked, my Old Man and his friend shared memories of their childhoods during the Great Depression when their parents worked at the nearby cotton gin.

“Do you remember the burgers?” my father’s friend wanted to know. “I used to ride my bike from the cotton gin into town to buy hamburgers for the crew. They charged a nickel apiece, but if I could get five other guys to order one, the burger joint would give me six burgers for a quarter and I could keep one for myself. Those hamburgers were the best-tasting things in the world.” My father agreed; nothing like ‘em. “Beef just tasted better then.”

Egg In The Eye (Organic Recipe)

Organic To Be

Both of my kids, who are grown and cooking for themselves now, never tired of this dish. In truth, the best part was always the little piece of toast that came from the cutout circle in the middle of the bread, where the yolk peeks through. Jonah, my youngest, was very happy when I buttered an extra slice of bread, cut it into little pieces, and toasted it, so he could have more crispy toast for dipping in the yolk. This recipe calls for only 1 egg per person. You can cut a larger hole in each bread slice and cook 2 eggs inside.

6 bread slices (white, wheat, Italian, sourdough, potato, English muffins)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
4 organic, free-range eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Grass-fed lamb — Which foods are you willing to pay top dollar for?


All the recent articles filled with tips on slashing your grocery bill are making me uneasy.

I am not opposed to most of the advice. In fact, I agree with it. Yes, we should shop mindfully, cook from scratch, and eschew convenience foods. This is true whether the economy is flush or tanking.

Let’s get reacquainted with these practical habits; let’s become better cooks.

What bothers me, though, is a certain tone. Underlying the lists of helpful hints, I detect a set of beliefs about food’s relative importance. Or unimportance.

One: We are like broken records, forever thinking that food ought to cost less. Are farmers’ markets really to be regarded as an occasional indulgence — as I have seen them characterized — when the fruits and vegetables for sale there are among the most nutrient-dense and healthful foods to be found?

Two: When the cost of living goes up, one of the first places we look to cut corners is on what we eat, to compromise on what we put into our bodies.

When we scale back, I fear that instead of practicing the peasant’s art of turning humble fare into a nice spread, we merely substitute poor-quality ingredients. This is a half-baked effort to eat the way we always have, but for less money… More at Culinate

Moo Milk

From MOO

After many months of organization and planning, Maine’s Own Organic Milk Company (MOOMilkCo) is a reality. The 10 organic dairy farms that were dropped by H.P. Hood have joined with Maine Farm Bureau and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) to form a special type of limited liability corporation.

Maine Farm Bureau and MOFGA put the project together with exceptional support from the Maine Department of Agriculture.

Production is expected to begin in late November. When the company is up and running, the milk will be  trucked by Schoppee Milk Transport to Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook, where it will be processed on an organic production line now being installed. It will be packaged in half-gallon paper cartons under the MOOMilkCo’s own label, which will include the use of Farm Bureau’s “Maine Produces” logo. The milk will be homogenized and pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized, and sold in retail grocery stores in Maine and New Hampshire. It will be available in whole, two percent, one percent and skim. Cream, half&half, butter, yogurt, ice cream and other products may become part of the mix in the coming years. In the meantime, these byproducts will be organically certified and sold into the wholesale market.

Oakhurst Dairy and Crown O’ Maine Organic Cooperative will distribute the product. Hannaford, Associated Growers and a number of natural food stores have agreed to stock it, and sales negotiations are in process with Shaw’s and Wal-Mart.

Sprezzatura Pasta


This dish, invented by my brother, Dave, is very simple — nothing more than penne pasta with Parmesan and chard. But it’s not really easy. The exact amount of each ingredient isn’t as important; you can vary them if you like. The trick seems to be in the timing during the sauté stage.

It’s also not a bad idea to halve this recipe, as it makes the stage in the sauté pan more manageable. If you don’t feel you’ve got it right the first time, don’t give up. It may take some practice.
1 lb. dried penne pasta
~ Olive oil
5 to 6 cloves garlic, roughly minced
1 bunch chard (about 10 leaves), roughly chopped
1 handful pine nuts (optional)
1½ to 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
~ Salt to taste


  1. Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Undercook it slightly, because it’s going to get tossed into a sauté pan and cooked some more later. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water to stop the cooking. Sprinkle it with a little olive oil and mix it up to keep it from sticking together.
  2. Pour about three tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet (about 14 inches across). Over medium heat, sauté the garlic for just a minute, then toss in the chard and sauté until the greens have wilted.
  3. Turn the heat to high and toss in the penne. If the full pound of pasta seems too much, just use as much as you can manage in the pan. If you’re using the pine nuts, toss them in, too. Mix everything up, then let it cook for a minute or so. (The pasta will want to stick to the pan if you’re not using a nonstick pan, and that’s OK.) Add the Parmesan and mix again.

More at

Italian White Bean Soup Recipe

From Farmgirl Fare

Paula Butturini’s Zuppa di Fagioli / Italian White Bean Soup
(My version made about 9 cups)

Paula says:
Whenever it’s snowing, or simply dank and cold, my family likes eating sturdy soups to ward off mid-winter chills. This hearty Italian soup—which can be made with any dried white beans or a combination of varieties—warms our kitchen while it’s cooking and warms us through when we sit down to eat it.

You can speed the whole process by using a 20-oz can of good quality, canned, white or cranberry beans, and using only 3-4 cups of water. In that case, you simply skip Steps 1 and 3, and add the canned beans and water to the stockpot at the end of Step 2.

My notes:
This is the sort of recipe that invites improvisation and experimentation. You could make it ten different times and end up with ten different soups—all of them good. Just use what you have on hand and personalize the pot to suit your taste.

I tend to prefer thick (dare I say sludgy?) soups to brothy ones, so I reduced the amount of water, upped the veggies, and added extra beans (I used canned organic cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans).

For the pork portion, I used a small but meaty smoked ham hock from the locally raised hog we bought a while back and had butchered to our specifications (and which has sadly just about all been eaten up). Good call—it added a wonderful smoky flavor. After the soup finished simmering, I cut the meat from the bone and into small pieces, then stirred the ones I didn’t pop in my mouth back into the pot.

If you want to make a vegetarian version, you could toss in some fresh (or even dried) herbs to add more depth. It would probably also be very tasty made with good chicken stock instead of water.

Go to full article here

Pastured Turkey Cooking Tips

Chelsea Green Books

For the past week, farm families across the country (including my own) have been rising each morning to engage in what has become our own unique, albeit macabre, Thanksgiving Tradition.  We are processing our turkeys.  Unlike the factory-farmed birds found in most grocery stores, these birds are usually processed just a few feet from the lush grasses where they were raised, quite often by the same hands that first gently set their newly hatched toes into a brooder, and then carefully moved them, once they were old enough, out to the fields for a few months of free-ranging turkey living.  Now that the processing complete, our birds sit in our coolers and await our customers, who will venture out to the farm for a tradition of their own, retrieving their annual Thanksgiving feast.  For those of you who are new to this process, here is a list of tips to guide you through and make sure that you have a delicious holiday feast.

  1. Please be flexible. If you are buying your pasture-raised turkey from a small, local, sustainable farmer, thank you VERY much for supporting us. That said, please remember that pasture-raised turkeys are not like factory-farmed birds. Outside of conscientious animal husbandry, we are unable to control the size of our Thanksgiving turkeys. Please be forgiving if the bird we have for you is a little larger or a little smaller than you anticipated. Cook a sizeable quantity of sausage stuffing if it is too small (a recipe appears below), or enjoy the leftovers if it is too large.  If the bird is so large that it cannot fit in your oven, simply remove the legs before roasting it.

Take Action! Ukiah Mendocino – Veggie Trader: Trade, Buy or Sell Local Homegrown Organic Produce, Seeds, etc.

From Planet Green

[Here’s a way to trade on-line for local organic produce. I’m offering Mulligan Books as a centralized SAME DAY drop-off and pick-up point for goods being traded. You’ll find my offer listed on the free Veggie Trader website. -Dave]

How great would it be if there were want ads in your local newspaper or on Craigslist for organic fruits and vegetables, grown in your town, by your neighbors? A new website – Veggie Trader has sprung up that offers exactly such a service–a purchasing and bartering clearinghouse for locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Veggie Trader describes itself as the “place to trade, buy or sell local homegrown produce.” The idea is simple: you register on the website and then offer to purchase, sell, or trade any manner of surplus fruits or vegetables. If you have too many tomatoes and want to see if anyone nearby has a surplus of peaches or peppers, you can log on, run a search, and find out who in the neighborhood may be willing to exchange with you.

It’s a great way to offload additional produce and exchange it for something that you might be unable to grow in your own yard, but that another gardener may specialize in growing. It’s totally free to join, and costs nothing to post an offering, or place a wanted listing.

The website only started four months ago, and is definitely still in its infancy. Despite that, they have over 6,000 people signed up so far. The folks who have registered thus far are concentrated on the U.S. West Coast in California and Oregon, but since the website is still starting out, it could very well extend to your neighborhood. You can help make the website grow by registering and offering to buy, sell, or trade for whatever produce you have or may want.

Veggie Trader has ambitions to expand to include dairy, eggs, and meat, all items that are heavily regulated. The future may hold great things for Veggie Trader, only time will tell if the site can attract enough members to gain enough momentum to make a difference in the local food movement, but we’re certainly rooting for them.
For organic recipes, see Organic To Be
Now posting regularly at Mendo Moola updated blog site

The Economics of Organic Food

From Avery Yale Kamila
Portland Press Herald (Maine)
Via Organic Consumers Association

August 28, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Only rich people can afford to eat locally grown, organic food. Have you heard that one before? I have, and it’s sure to come up during the “Can Maine Feed Itself?” keynote discussion taking place at next month’s Maine Fare festival in the midcoast.

The panel brings together a number of movers and shakers from Maine’s food scene for a conversation centered on how the state can become more self-reliant when stocking our grocery stores and filling our dinner plates.According to well-known organic Maine farmer and author Eliot Coleman, who farms year-round in unheated greenhouses and will participate in the panel, the No. 1 barrier preventing more Mainers from eating food grown and raised locally is the competition from cheap eats trucked in from California.

A whole book could be written (and has been) about the reasons factory farms and agribusinesses can produce food that costs so little. However, the simple answer, as Coleman pointed out, includes physical scale, illegal immigrant laborers, polluting farm practices and government subsidies.

At the same time, the idea that only the well-off can eat fresh, locally grown eats ignores the obvious and inexpensive solution of growing your own garden. You can’t get any more local than food grown steps from your kitchen. And with seeds that sell for pennies apiece and with compost an essentially free fertilizer that anyone can make from table scraps and dried leaves, it becomes clear that price alone is not the true issue.

I’d argue that the real barrier is psychological. Part of this can be traced to the American obsession with animal protein.

Meat, dairy and eggs are all expensive ways to include protein in our diets, and these ubiquitous staples of our national cuisine can be produced cheaply (think a dozen eggs for $1.69 at the grocery stores versus $4.50 at the farmers’ markets)

Quick & Simple Whole Grain Muffin and Hot Bread Recipes from Scratch

From Dave Smith
Adapted from Whole Grain Cookery (o/p 1951)
by Stella Standard

June 16, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Whole Wheat Muffins

1¼ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins
1¼ cups organic buttermilk or kefir
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons organic butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients and stir the raisins through them. Combine with the mixed liquids, stirring as little as possible. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake in a hot oven about 20 minutes.

Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins

2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 organic egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup tepid water
wild or organic blueberries, washed and drained

Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the egg and add the sour cream, syrup, molasses and a little of the water. Combine with the dry ingredients and if the batter seems too thick, add a little more water. Stir as little as possible. Put half enough batter in each greased muffin tin, add a tablespoon of blueberries and then cover with the rest of the batter.

Bake in a hot oven about 20 to 25 minutes. 375°F. for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 325°F.

Buckwheat Muffins

1 cup organic buckwheat flour
½ cup corn meal
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 organic eggs, beaten
1¼ cups organic milk
4 tablespoons melted shortening