2008 Year in Review: A Year of Seasonal Produce in New England

23 12 2008

It’s no secret that our growing season in the northeast is a short one.  New England has its last frost some time around the end of April by the coast and early June in the mountains and first frost can be any time from early September to the end of October.  This year many crops were hurt by some early ice storms.  Other crops did very well with the many days of rain early on in the season.

Here is a look at what a year’s worth of New England climate can give us for seasonal produce.  You will eat better and more “budget-friendly” if you eat seasonally.  Don’t let that stop you from an occasional indulgence in strawberries mid-winter.  We have a couple jars of freezer jam in the fridge from our fabulous crop of strawberries that grew early this summer.

I have linked some of the produce below to recipes for your enjoyment.


Vegetables: asparagus , beets , broccoli , cabbage , cauliflower , fiddleheads , garlic greens , greens , arugula , beet , bok choy , chard , collard , cress , dandelion , kale , mizuna , mustard greens , sorrel (the French make a great sorrel soup), tat soi , turnip , lettuce , mushrooms , parsnips , peas – snap and snow (the other favourite spring treat especially English peas) , radishes , rhubarb (one of my favourite spring treats) , spinach ,  sprouts

Fruit: apples , strawberries

Herbs: chives , cilantro , dill , marjoram , mint, oregano , parsley , sage , thyme


Vegetables: beets (Patricia Wells has a fabulous raw beet salad), broccoli , cabbage , carrots , cauliflower , celery , cucumbers , eggplant endive , fennel , garlic , green beans , kohlrabi (early in the season), lettuce , mushrooms , okra, onions – red and yellow , peppers – hot and sweet , potatoes – new , radicchio , scallions, sprouts , summer squash , sweet corn , tomatoes,tomatillos

Fruit: apricots (delish on puff pastry for a tart) ,blackberries , blueberries , cherries , currants , elderberries , gooseberries (great for jam), melons , nectarines , peaches , plums (also great for a puff pastry tart), raspberries

Herbs: basil , cilantro (also known as coriander), dill , marjoram , mint , parsley , rosemary , savory , tarragon


Vegetables: beets , broccoli , brussels sprouts , burdock (gobo) , cabbage , carrots* , cauliflower , celeriac , daikon*, fennel , garlic*, greens : arugula , bok choy , chard , collard , kale , mustard greens , mizuna, tat soi , and turnip , horseradish*, kohlrabi , leeks , lettuce , mushrooms , onions – red and yellow*, parsley , parsnips , potatoes*, pumpkins , radishes , rutabaga , scallions ., shallots*, sprouts , sweet potatoes ,  turnips , winter squash*

*This is the peak season for vegetables and fruit marked with a *, however they can be stored fairly long term in the proper conditions to be eaten throughout the seasons.

Fruit: apples* , apple cider*, Asian pears , cranberries , grapes , pears*, quince , raspberries

Seasonings: Hopefully you dried herbs from the spring and summer harvest to use for winter and fall.  You can also keep some herbs growing in a sunny window inside for a good part of the fall and winter.


Vegetables: beets, burdock (gobo), cabbage, carrots, celeriac, daikon1, garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke,, Early in the season:  kale, kohlrabi, and leeks, mushrooms, onions – red and yellow, parsnips, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, shallots, sprouts, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash

Fruit: apples*, apple cider*

Seasonings: Hopefully you dried herbs from the spring and summer harvest to use for winter and fall.  You can also keep some herbs growing in a sunny window inside for a good part of the fall and winter.

Recipes:  grilled seasonal vegetable pizzaoven roasted ratatouillealmond apricot tart,strawberry freezer jamrhubarb crisppotato gratin

For more info: The Northeast Regional Food Guide,Eating Seasonally


Cause of the Day: American Farmland Trust

4 12 2008

If you’re stuck at work and feel that you want to contribute something else, or more to the world you live in….

If you’ve just had a delicious bowl of homemade soup at lunch that your husband or wife made you last night…

If you’re already daydreaming about the next time you get to go to your CSA farm to pick some fresh vegetables…

…then maybe you would take  a minute to visit the American Farmland Trust website.

Apparently 2 acres of farm land are lost to development every minute of every day.  As they say “No farms, no food.”

Today is a great day to do so because their board of directors is matching any donations dollar for dollar through the end of the year.

You can also take their Keep it Local pledge in order to make a commitment to eating locally grown and made foods.

Bon appetit.  ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: American Farmland TrustBetter Business Bureau Charity Report

Weekly Bump: Ode to Verrill Farm

17 11 2008

Verill Farm is a place that I’ve always wanted to go.   I have heard only good things about the farm stand.  With the hectic life of running after a two year old and a four year old and living in Cambridge I have never quite made it out there.

I was sad to hear about their fire not so long ago and moved by all the support from local restaurants and organizations.

I’m pleased to announce that Verrill Farm is up and running and are taking Thanksgiving orders.

Welcome back!

Bon appetit.  ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: Verrill Farm BlogVerill Farm

Planning for Thanksgiving: Buy It

12 11 2008

Let’s face it — life’s different now.  This can mean many things for many people.  Maybe it has to do with the recent election.  Maybe it has to do with life with children versus life before children.  Maybe it has to do with you when you were single versus you now (or vice versa).  Maybe it has to do with life before the Pilgrims came to this “new land”.  Maybe it has to do with life as a mother on the plantation versus life as a mother in modern day Massachusetts.  Whatever it may be…it’s different.  Luckily that means that Thanksgiving can be what you make it.  And if you don’t feel like making it…you can buy it and reheat it!

Here are your options if you’re looking to buy all or some of your Thanksgiving meal.  These are in random order or perhaps they are listed from closest proximity to my kitchen to beyond my local streets.

Formaggio Kitchen Thanksgiving 2008
Hi Rise Bakery
Petsi Pies Thanksgiving Pie Orders
Wilson’s Farm Heat and Serve Thanksgiving
Russo’s Thanksgiving Menu
Bakers’ Best Thanksgiving
Savenor’s Market Thanksgiving
Flour Bakery
Vicki Lee’s
Verrill Farm

If you have a favorite place that also prepares food for Thanksgiving, please leave a comment and I will add it to my list.

May your Thanksgiving preparations leave you feeling thankful.  Remember it’s about family, friends, and community.  Enjoy the process, go with the flow, and don’t sweat the minute details.

Formaggio Kitchen
Caveats: Orders must be placed by 4:00PM, Sunday, November 23, to be picked up on Wednesday, November 26. We will make extras… first come first served on Wednesday, November 26.

Hi Rise Bakery
Caveats: Call with your order or pick up a form at the bakery.  No orders will be taken after 3p.m. on Sunday, November 23rd.  Pick up on Wednesday, November 26th after 10 a.m. (except turkeys) or Thanksgiving Day after 10:00 a.m. (except turkeys)  Pick up is ONLY at the Bread Company 208 Concord Ave. Turkeys are picked up Wednesday between 5-7 p.m. or Thursday between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m.  Also, they remind us that Mass state law forbids them from selling alcohol that day, so stock up beforehand (just not the Sunday before Thanksgiving…you can’t buy it then either).

Hi Rise’s Thanksgiving essential cannot be found online.  They offer Plainville turkeys with gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato gratin, stuffing, glazed brussel sprouts, pumpkin pie, apple pie, cranberry crumble, quiches, panettone and Ken’s cranberry relish.

Petsi Pies
Caveat: Petsi Pies is now accepting your Thanksgiving orders. The deadline to order Thanksgiving pies is November 20th, so please call ahead or stop by to give us your reservation. Thanksgiving pies are 10″ and $20.

Apple Crumb (crumb top),Apple Pear Cranberry (brown sugar walnut top),Blackberry (pastry top),Cherry Crumb (crumb top), Chocolate Cream, Chocolate Pecan, Classic Apple (pastry top), Eggnog Custard, Mississippi Mud, Mixed Berry (crumb top), Pecan, Pumpkin, Roasted Vegetable Savory, Spinach Ricotta Savory, Sweet Potato

Wilson’s Farms
Wilson’s Farms offers complete heat and serve dinners.

Our homemade Turkey Dinner starts out with a plump and juicy 10 to 12 pound pre-cooked turkey and includes the following: 3 pounds of creamy mashed potatoes, 3 pounds of amazing butternut squash, 2 pounds of green bean almondine, and 3 pounds of our famous traditional stuffing. You can top everything off with 2-13 oz. containers of gravy and 1-16 oz. container of our own cranberry sauce. Fresh from our bakery, you’ll find one dozen soft dinner rolls and our own fresh-baked apple pie.

HAM DINNER | $100.00
Our own Ham Dinner begins with a 7 to 9 pound honey glazed spiral cut ham and includes the following: 3 pounds of creamy mashed potatoes, 3 pounds of our own green bean almondine, 3 pounds of mashed yams, and 2 pounds of wonderful cinnamon applesauce. You can add just the right amount of zing to your ham with a jar of Vermont maple country mustard. Fresh from our bakery, you’ll find one dozen soft dinner rolls and our own fresh-baked apple pie.

Caveat: Orders must be by phone.

Bakers’ Best
Caveat: Please place all orders and changes to order by Wednesday, November 19 for pick up on Tuesday, November 25, or Wednesday, November 26.  To better serve you, and to expedite the order process, we require that all holiday orders be placed online.

Savenor’s Market
Caveat: Savenor’s requires a credit card or house account number for order reservations. A 24 hr. cancellation notice is required. You will be charged $25.00 if you do not pick up your order.

All of Savenor’s turkey varieties are: ALL-NATURAL, FRESH & FREE-RANGE raised.  Turkeys are sized by weight from about 12lb to 28 lb.  To make sure you have plenty to go around, order 2lbs of bone-in or 1lb of boneless turkey per person.
All-Natural Massachusetts Turkey .

Caveat:  Place orders by Friday, November 21st.

Vicki Lee’s
Caveat:  Place all orders by 5:00 p.m. Saturday, November 22nd.  They will be open from 8:00 – 5:00 on Wednesday, November 26th. 

Verrill Farm
Caveat:  Once again this year, we’ll be offering beautiful Floral Centerpieces to grace your Thanksgiving table.  We’ll have your centerpiece ready for pick up during Thanksgiving week. Orders must be pre-paid and placed by Friday, November 21.

Whole Foods Market
Here is their Thanksgiving Menu.

Roche Brothers
Here is the Roche Brothers Thanksgiving Menu.

Bon achat.  ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: Formaggio Kitchen Thanksgiving 2008
Petsi Pies Thanksgiving Pie Orders
Wilson’s Farm Heat and Serve Thanksgiving
Russo’s Thanksgiving
Bakers’ Best Thanksgiving
Savenor’s Market Thanksgiving
Flour Bakery
Vicki Lee’s
Verill Farm’s Thanksgiving

Farmer’s Market: The Last Hurrah

2 11 2008

In New England, we are coming to the end of our farmer’s market season.  If you’ve been inspired to hit the farmer’s markets then you still have a chance.   This time of year is a great time to stockpile for the winter.  I am about to hit all the garlic baskets and load up on my supply of garlic because grocery store garlic doesn’t even come close to the market stuff.  We’re working on storing apples in the basement fridge, and so far it works.  Doris at Noquochoke Orchards notes that some varieties of apples – like Golden Russet, Baldwin, and Ben Davis varieties can make it until April.  If you have a cool dry place then you can store winter squash, potatoes, pumpkins and turnips.,  You can also buy cranberries for Thanksgiving and just put them into freezer bags and the freezer.

Here is a round-up of what’s going on at the local farmer’s markets.

Boston City Hall (Mondays and Wednesdays)
This market is open from 11:00 until 5:00 p.m.  (in the summer it stays open later).

Cambridge Central Square (Mondays 11:30 – 5:00)
The market will run through November 24th so that your Thanksgiving horn of plenty may spill over with locally grown produce, kneaded bread, and raised meats.

Framingham Village Market (Thursdays)

Somerville Davis Square (Wednesdays 12-5)
Davis Square market will be open until the day before Thanksgiving.  For the rest of the season they expect to have Warren Farm and Wellfleet oysters every week.

If you want to continue with all the goodies over the winter you have options.  Enterprise Farm plans to offer a winter CSA (yes I will be getting to my CSA entry soon).  The share will include their produce as well as produce from small farms a little further south in the US that will be purchased directly.  For more info, stop by the Enterprise Farm tent.  Also, River Rock offers a beef subscription service through the winter so ask Tom at the River Rock tent about getting meat delivered at home.

For more info: Federation of Mass Farmers