Happy New Year!

As the new year begins, we’d like to thank to all our friends and customers for making 2009 such a memorable year, full of good food and company at the farmer’s markets, on the farm, and beyond. Here’s to 2010 — may it bring health, happiness, and good things to all!
A few of our goals for the new year…

1. Organic certification! We’ve been transitional organic for the last three years — growing organically, but “unofficially” so, which means we can’t legally call ourselves “organic.” Go figure… so, this year it’s time to get busy with the paperwork!

2. Even more local food! (We hope this one is on your list, too.) The Auburn Old Town Farmer’s Market runs year round, so there are no excuses… you can find fruits and vegetables, yes, but also bread, eggs, meat, and even fish as well! Our chickens are just starting to lay again — a backyard flock is a great way to have fresh and local eggs, by the way — so we have the eggs covered, but local meats are at the top of my shopping list this year. We love the local lamb from Dan Macon’s Flying Mule Farm, and the beef and pork from Bob Sorensen at Coffee Pot Ranch. The Longhorn Meat Co. in Auburn is a great source for grass-fed meats.
3. Bake bread more often. Nothing beats the satisfaction of making your own bread, and it makes the whole house smell so good! Not to mention that it ties in nicely with the whole “eat local” thing. On the to-do list: search out local flour; experiment with different kinds of breadmaking, including sourdough and traditional Greek prozymi
(natural leaven); and try out the suspiciously easy methods in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. Five minutes? Really? Yes, please!

In other words, more meals like this… déjeuner sur l’herbe, Sfakia, Crete, spring 2009

4. More preserving projects! I’ll be scouring the Farmer’s Market this week for cabbages to make sauerkraut, and I’m daydreaming of homemade prosciutto, pickled green beans, blackberry jam, and feta (no, I don’t mean all on the same plate!) The process of transforming one food into another is addictively satisfying, and simple foods, like olives and cheese, make so much more sense when you make them yourself. It’s hard to explain — but try it and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
5. Learn more about weeds. What they tell about the soil, where they came from, and, of course, what they can be used for — speaking of which…
6. More foraging! Wild greens, yes, of course — look for a blog post about horta coming soon — but mushrooms, too. The woods around here are positively carpeted with fungi at this time of year, and we’re making plans with some mycologically-minded friends to track down the edible ones soon! Just remember, when collecting any kind of wild comestibles: Be certain you can properly identify the plants or mushrooms you are looking for; know if there are any look-alikes that may be less wholesome; and, if you’re going by guidebooks in your search, have at least two of them so you can cross-check the descriptions, especially of you are unfamiliar with your quarry.
7. Year-round gardening! This year we’re doing more winter gardening — kale, chard, lettuces, garlic, onions, radishes, carrots, and so on. We also planted butternut, acorn, and hubbard squash this summer, all of which are excellent keepers and have been gracing the dinner table regularly lately… such a treat to have homegrown food in the winter months!
. . . . .
And what better way to start of the new year than with a breakfast of fresh-baked soda bread, homemade plum jam, and a grapefruit from a friend’s tree. Cheers!

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