The Beet Street Blog

Archive for the ‘farm’ tag

‘Hot Mulled Cider’ by Beth MacKenzie

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A few weeks ago the folks here asked me to write a guest post on what “harvest” means to me. “Harvest” and the Fall season have taken on very different meanings for me each time I’ve moved to a different place.

I went to college in New England, where people looked forward to the leaves turning colors almost as much as the forthcoming holiday season. On the evening news, the weather report would include information about peak “leaf-peeping” times for towns all along the Eastern Seaboard. I spent weekends taking walks through the changing foliage, picking apples in orchards and drinking hot mulled cider during the cold evenings.

After college, I lived in DC, where fall is also anticipated, but mostly as a relief from the oppressively hot summer. After a few months of darting from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building and trying to keep my clothes from sticking to me, I finally started to enjoy being outside, when the cooler weather of September rolled around. I also managed to make a couple of wine tasting trips to the local vineyards.

I’ve only been living in Colorado for a year or so, so I’m still learning about fall here. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that the weather seems much less predictable then on the East Coast. Sometimes I think the daily temperature is determined via a roulette wheel.

There is one thing that I always think of when I think of “Harvest”, however, regardless of where I am, and that is apples, or more specifically, apple cider. When I was growing up, we knew it was fall when my mom would pick up apple cider from local farms. The robust flavor of apple cider just says ‘fall’. Even better than apple cider is hot mulled cider. Hot mulled cider is the drink my mom would make for the holidays and other special occasions. Not only did this drink satisfy a crowd, the aroma would infuse the entire house with its luscious scent. This is a recipe I know we will be repeating as the weather gets colder!

Hot Mulled Cider

First, you will need a crock pot. Fill it with apple cider – preferably unpasturized. Then, and this is important, add 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks and an orange cut into wide slices and studded with cloves(add the cloves before you cut the orange, it’s much easier that way). Turn the crock pot on high at first, and then reduce to Low to keep warm as guests help themselves. It’s not a scientific recipe, but it is definitely satisfying! Happy Harvest!

Beth MacKenzie is MackAttack on her healthy living food blog http://www.fatbustermack.com. She and her husband of (almost!) one year have recently moved to Colorado and are exploring the state through the restaurants and local grocery stores.

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our Homegrown Fort Collins program, we have been featuring the Homegrown Blog over the last couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

The Meaning of Food by Christine Driscoll

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The Meaning of Food My life experience with food has been a roundabout passage, leading me full-circle through different phases. I was raised by parents who, aside from being wonderful cooks, firmly believed in the importance of feeding their children healthy meals made completely from scratch. Having grown up on an island, where healthy food was not prevalent, I realize my brother and I ate better than most, if not all, of our friends. Nevertheless, I did not appreciate it at the time and cooking was certainly not something I enjoyed.

I came to the States for college and with my newfound freedom, quickly took to a much different style of eating. Cafeteria food, frozen dinners, and chain restaurants took the thinking out of eating and became my way. Needless to say, I gained the freshman-fifteen in a matter of no time! During these years, I worked as a waitress in a Sysco-supplied restaurant and then a French bistro. I also surrounded myself with friends who were strictly meat and potatoes people. This period allowed me to enjoy a variety of new and different foods, although my awareness was not focused on what happened to each bite after I swallowed.

It is said our taste buds develop when we are young and eventually, we return to the foods we were fed as children. This certainly turned out to be true in my case. For me, all it took was a little self-exploration, combined with being conscious of the true needs of the human body (I am a CMT with a BA in Kinesiology). It became apparent to me that the foods I ate had had a direct influence on my sense of wellbeing. As I became more body-aware, I found it was not just organic or natural labeled foods that made the difference, but whole foods prepared in a way that preserved the integrity of each ingredient.

I am now continually told I am a picky eater, as people can’t understand why I politely decline food they normally wouldn’t think twice about eating. My response is simple: I choose to eat that which comes from the earth and retains its essence, as nature intended. Like all other living organisms, we must consume to function, so why not eat foods our bodies were originally designed to process? Eating a bag of Doritos may provide me with energy, but it’s not a quality of energy conducive to real nutrition. I live by the Mantra: “I give to the Earth and the Earth gives back to me.” This exemplifies my style of cooking, as I simply want to get as much out of my food as I can. One’s body is truly a vehicle, designed to take one where he or she desires to go. My advice then, is to explore the way one feels after eating different foods. Track common ailments and see if there are any patterns or missing links to be found. I used to get headaches almost daily, but once I started to cut down on wheat, they declined rapidly! My digestion also improved dramatically by eliminating processed foods. Optimal health begins in the intestines, which rely on the foods we put through them.

It’s funny to reflect on the past and where our experiences have taken us. At 26, I have come a long way in discovering what is “food” and how it affects me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I now live to eat and eat to live, but in a whole new way. I have been living in Colorado for just under 2 years and every morning I wake up thankful. I can honestly say my beauty radiates from the inside out. These feelings are very satisfying and are much due to my explorations with food. I hope I have inspired you to look for the deeper message and to consider what is your meaning of food?

-Christine Driscoll http://shteyndl.wordpress.com/

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Milehigheater.com Guest Blog- Harvest

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Hi all,
 
My name is Jonathan, and my wife Barbara and I write the milehigheater.com blog and we were asked by Beetstreet to write about what harvest time means to us. If you had asked me a few years ago I would have said not much really except that cooler temperatures are going to be here and soon and the end of hot summer days. But over the last few years my perspective has changed through interactions with chefs, and food.

He says:

For several years prior to starting up the blog we had been closet foodies, watching the shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef, but never really going to restaurants of the caliber that would serve the kind of food we saw on those programs or daring to try to make it ourselves. Then came a trip to New York and we finally went to a great restaurant that used fresh ingredients and our world opened up.

We started to try some of the restaurants here in Colorado and fairly often the meal item we remembered the most was something that was locally harvested and in season, such as fried squash blossoms stuffed with locally made goat cheese at Frasca that had come from the farmers market that day. Or a mushroom soup at the Black Cat made with mushrooms that had been harvested that week from a local farmer, among many examples. 

Another major turning point was when chef Skokan of the Black Cat in Boulder took the time to walk me around his garden, sampling this and that and speaking of how different things are harvested at different times of years and how he incorporates that into his cooking (in fact, during the summer 70-80 percent of the produce used in his restaurant comes from the chefs own garden and farm). Harvest changed from the fall for me to a ever changing day where things became ready to eat at their best. Be it the first strawberries early on in the year to the  lettuce, squash, beets, peaches, corn and the rest of the huge variety of items we have here in Colorado to look forward to.

I guess to sum it up Harvest to me is a day by day celebration of food at its best and a reminder that we here in Colorado are so very lucky to live in a place with such a huge variety of great food that we can get fresh and at the peak of its flavor at a local farm or farmers market right down the road from any of us.

She says:

Hi, Barb here, the other writer of the milehigheater.com.  If you would have asked me this question 2 years ago, I wouldn’t have had an answer for you. Jonathan and I have only started to enjoy and understand fine cooking since we started our blog, which originated from that trip to New York and our dining at Daniel’s, Le Bernardin and Per Se. Ever since we’ve started going to these kind of restaurants, my knowledge of harvest has been awakened. For our servers to let us know exactly where our food has come from is very interesting now to me. And their knowledge of the farms and famers is outstanding.          

Learning the names of the local farmers and how prolific they are and how cohesive the chefs work together with the farmers around the area, I have a new appreciation of the whole process from garden to table. I know Jonathan had a great time with Chef Eric Skokan of the Black Cat in Boulder at his house and garden. Even visiting the Black Cat and having Eric come out and talk about all the things he’s planting and how excited he gets telling you about his plans makes the meal that much more enjoyable.

I guess the biggest thing about harvest for me is the collaboration between farmer and chef and how developing that relationship and nurturing and growing it makes the food special in a way that is hard to describe. The relationship is special and it shows on the plate.

 http://www.milehigheater.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

‘Experience the Harvest Season at Miller Farms’ by Chelly Vitry

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Fall is in the air. Warm days and crisp nights make my mind wander toward thoughts of cider and baking pumpkin pie. The changing of the season always reminds me that it’s harvest season and that at the markets, the sweet fruits of summer are about to be replaced with brightly colored piles of beets, carrots, corn, squash, peppers, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, garlic and pumpkins.

A time of celebration, fall is when farmers finally see the product of their labors and reap the riches of their fields. The Harvest Festival began in English churches where produce was piled high and prayers of thanks are given. This quiet ritual was encouraged by local ministers to replace the pagan farm-based Harvest Suppers which were primarily an occasion of excessive drinking, eating, and dancing (sounds like more fun). 

Today, in celebration of the season, Platteville’s Miller Farms is hosting a Harvest Festival of their own, a fun family experience designed to bring you closer to nature and reacquaint you with Colorado’s agricultural heritage.
 
Colorado’s eastern plains are bursting with the products of our own local farmer’s efforts. But when we only see the end product – clean, dirt free and sanitized for our protection in uniform stacks at the grocery store, we don’t think about where our food comes from and what goes into growing it. Fall is the perfect time for a field trip to get some dirt on your shoes and meet the people who work to put green veggies and fresh, smooth fruit on your plate.

Miller Farms is a third generation family run farm, committed to keeping you connected to the land. They participate in 40 different farmer’s markets each week and offer a flexible and generous CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, bringing their locally grown produce directly to Front Range consumers. 

Their Harvest Festival is a great day out. It’s a chance to learn about farming and to see how a working farm operates. They have a corn maze, hay rides, fire trucks, tractor pulls, animals, chile roasting and best of all, a trip through 180 acres of ripe fields, where you can dig up your own potatoes, carrots and onions, choose squash and peppers, and pick your own perfect pumpkin. During October, every evening at dusk, the farm has a Haunted Hay Ride through the fields, complete with ghost stories, spooks and scary apparitions, finishing up with hot chocolate served around a bonfire.

When you bring your freshly dug up veggies home, weary from a day “working” and playing in the fields, plan a special harvest dinner using the fruits of your labor. Kind of like growing food in your garden, you will have a new respect for the humble carrots and beautiful squash on your counter. Freshly picked, they will have a depth and flavor that is somehow missing from the usual grocery store produce.

It’s a great way to gain a whole new appreciation for fall’s delicious flavors.       

Need an idea to use up all of that wonderful fall produce? Try this great soup – it’s smoky and delicious. Serve it with a salad and some crusty bread.   

Spiced Squash Soup

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Carrot, peeled and diced
1 Onion, diced
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb. Winter Squash, peeled and diced
1/2 lb. potato, peeled and diced
4 cups of Water
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper
Sour Cream and Chives to Garnish

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add carrots and onion, cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chile powder, cumin and red pepper flakes. Saute 5 minutes. Add squash, potato and water. Simmer, covered about 30 minutes. When the squash is soft, puree the soup in batches in the blender. Add Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sour cream and chives. Enjoy!

Miller Farms Harvest Festival is open everyday from 9 am – 6 pm and runs through November 24. Tickets are $15 per person, or $50 for a family of 4 with additional tickets just $10. Haunted Hay Ride tickets are $7 per person. Children under three are free for all events. Directions and information at www.Millerfarms.net         

Chelly Vitry writes the food blog, Rolling in Dough, and spends her time seeking out great local food experiences.  http://www.rollingindoughbaking.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!