Week 12, 2016

Policy from Field Notes Farm

As a farm that maintains overwhelmingly direct to consumer sales, we have been intrigued by the developing Food Freedom movement. In March 2015, Wyoming signed into law the Food Freedom Act. The act exempts food sales in Wyoming from government inspections, licensing and certification as long as they are single transactions between a producer and an ‘informed end consumer’. It applies to farm markets as well as homegrown foods. There are no restrictions on the product, so long as they have a label that states the name of the producer, address, ingredients and the disclosure *not government inspected*. The purpose being “to allow for the sale and consumption of homemade foods, and to encourage the expansion of agricultural sales by farmers markets, ranches, farms and home based producers”.

The act opens up alternative food choices and eases the transaction for consumers who wish to buy products from small, local producers. The main concerns raised against the act revolve around the public health risks. It is important to note that most food illness outbreaks stem from from federally inspected food plants. Federal regulations can’t and won’t fix the unscrupulous. Oftentimes, they just whitewash it. While federal accountability isn’t wrong in and of itself, it’s an expensive and often impractical means of accountability. A more efficient, diverse, and principled system (though more personally-taxing) is the local one, in which consumers can visit, converse with, and personally inspect the farms from which they procure their food. It’s a system policed without government cost, and reinforced by self-interest.

Virginia, Utah, Vermont and New Hampshire have similar bills on the floor for discussion, and perhaps, it will come to Wisconsin one day soon. This law would not affect our sales (raw agricultural products [vegetables] are not regulated at farm markets). It would remove many regulatory barriers for new farms and food business starting out — and that is something we do support!

Fall Shares available – As the nights grow cooler and the days a little shorter, we begin to look ahead to the fall. If you have been enjoying the summer harvests and have not signed up for a fall storage, there are still a few openings. The fall storage options include a 2-week ($75) and 4-week ($150) drop-off from mid-October through mid-November. The boxes include larger quantities of items that will store through the winter (squash, onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, beets, radishes) and a few fresh items (salad greens, herbs). We have secured our first bins of apples for our burgeoning hard cider business and plan to include some fresh pressed cider in the shares.

You can sign up online or by sending us note via email.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
Has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

-from To Be of Use by Marge Piercy

Roasted Carrot and Fennel with Harissa, Black Lentils and Yogurt

1 pound carrots
1 pound  fennel (about 2 medium bulbs)
2 medium red onions
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
a couple pinches salt and pepper
1 cup / 250ml Greek-style yogurt (preferably goat or sheep)
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
1 cup / 225g black lentils (Du Puy or French lentils would also work), soaked if possible
½ tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
a handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
flaky sea salt, to garnish

Harissa Dressing

¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil
1-4 tsp. harissa paste, to your taste (I used 3 tsp.)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ Tbsp. maple syrup
pinch sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub carrots well and slice them in half lengthwise (if they are relatively large, slice them in quarters lengthwise). Wash fennel and slice lengthwise into thin sections. Peel and slice red onion into eights. Place carrots on a baking sheet and rub with a little coconut oil.

Place fennel and red onion on a separate baking sheet and rub with a little coconut oil. Place in the oven to roast for 25-35 minutes until tender and charred around the edges (the fennel and onions may take longer than the carrots, so remove carrots first if necessary). Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper.

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the lentils. Wash lentils well, drain and rinse until water runs clear. Place in medium saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered for about 15 minutes. Add about a half teaspoon of salt, stir and continue to simmer covered, until the lentils are tender, about 5 more minutes. Drain and rinse. Stir in olive oil and season to taste.

While the lentils are cooking, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Start with a teaspoon of harissa paste and add more to suit your taste. The dressing should be spicy, but palatable. Add the roasted vegetables and fold to coat well.

Combine the lemon zest and yogurt.

To assemble, divide the yogurt and lentils among four plates. Pile the vegetables on top, sprinkle with flaky salt, mint, and drizzle any remaining dressing over the top. Enjoy

Chana Masala

A lavishly spiced chickpea stew garnished with the fresh citrus-y zest of cilantro

2 tsp. Canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp. Ground cumin
1 tsp. Turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 chile de arbol, broken in half
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
3 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 – 15oz. cans)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
Kosher salt
1 tsp garam masala
4 cups cooked rice
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric, bay leaves, chile, cinnamon, and garlic; cook until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute more.

Add the tomatoes and cook until almost dry, about 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas, ginger, ½ cup water and a large pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld and a thick sauce forms, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garam masala and season to taste with salt. Remove and discard the bay leaves, chile, and cinnamon. Serve over rice and top with cilantro.

Lime-Cilantro Dressing

¾ cup oil olive
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, juiced
1 TB white wine vinegar
1 TB honey
garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp chopped shallots
⅛ tsp salt

Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the ingredients for 1 minute. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Note: This dressing is also a great marinade for chicken or kebabs.

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