I almost forgot that I had expressed interest in trying a Bourbon Spice Rack, the mixed drink that Gretchen Thomas, Barcelona Restaurant Group’s Wine & Spirits Director, had developed to showcase DOC’s USDA Organic Maple Syrup. DOC’s participated in Barcelona’s Farmigo program last year and has become a staple ingredient at the restaurant.
As a farmer, every winter (right around the end of January) I get an itch to go outside and do some physical work and, well, be a farmer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ability to hibernate, and I love the fact that I can rest my body and get it ready for the upcoming farming season, but I can only do so much of that. I’m used to year-round farming from back home.
Now is the time to plan an outing to a local sugar house where you will gain an appreciation for the ancient art of making syrup from the sap of maple trees. Maple sugaring, which takes place mid-February to the end of March, starts with tapping maple trees and slinging collection buckets from them to collect the sap. More advanced collections systems use plastic vacuum tubing, but no matter the technology, it takes 40 to 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
The change of season from fall to winter brings us shorter, darker days and a challenging growing season for even the most adventurous four-season farmers. Ah but the wonders they’re able to produce despite the elements – tender field spinach and baby kale plus greenhouse treats like fresh herbs, pea shoots, mushrooms and lettuces – are drawing crowds to the winter farmers’ markets. Indeed, it’s the winter spinach and kale that are the first to sell out at Fort Hill Farm’s booth at the Saturday Westport Farmers’ Market.
The 2013 Winter Conference brings into focus the challenges of adjusting to climate change for farmers, gardeners and consumers. Join us to discuss the future of sustainable farming and celebrate local food. Workshops are scheduled throughout the day and follow the keynote address by David Wolfe, Ph. D.
In between workshops, attendees can visit with over 50 vendors and exhibitors with local foods, crafts, books, and sustainability initiatives. There will be a silent auction with garden supplies and other Connecticut grown and crafted items and services.
Unless you work weekends, the news that the Westport Farmers’ Market has moved to Saturdays for the winter will be music to your ears. I expect we’ll see many more families and a greater demand for lunch, along with all the other artisan and farm-fresh foods sold at the market. Located at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens in Westport, the market gives you the added pleasure of perusing the wares – including freshly crafted herbal wreaths – available at this venerable garden center. You’ll be warm inside the heated greenhouse while shopping so there are no excuses no to stop in to check it out.
The kids are back in school and the weather has cooled off a bit, but summer isn’t over yet. Capturing the fleeting days, and tastes, of summer is easy to do in Fairfield County. We are lucky to have abundant farms, farm stands, farmers’ markets and restaurants working hard to make sure that the best of what they have to offer makes its way to our lips. Here’s my “don’t miss” list of things to do before summer’s nothing but a distant, sweet memory.
My love affair with fennel started when I was a child in India. Oh the aroma! The minty, liquorishy, anise flavor that explodes with each burst of the open fennel seed and cannot be described as anything other than “fennel.”
These memories take me back to the hot summer nights when I enjoyed spicy coconut curry meals with my family. Afterwards, we’d cool down with roasted fennel seeds – eaten like an after dinner mint. Go to any Indian restaurant and they serve them with the check. Nothing can cool you down like fennel.
This March is the time to plan a visit to a sugar house and gain an appreciation for the ancient art of making syrup from the sap of maple trees. Maple sugaring, which takes place mid-February to the end of March, starts with tapping maple trees and slinging collection buckets from them to collect the sap. It take 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup! Collected sap is brought to the maple sugar house to be boiled until it reaches the syrup stage. It’s then poured off, strained and cooled for bottling.
A Four Course, Locally-Sourced Gourmet Feast by Collyer Catering of Westport February 14, 2012 7:00 pm until the party’s over $75 per person includes wines by Saugatuck Grain & Grape RSVP: 203-438-5382 First Course Micro Green Salad with Local Goat … Read more
By Analiese Paik Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean opportunities to eat food from local farms have all dried up. On the contrary, there are more ways to source local and sustainable ingredients for home cooking than ever before at … Read more