When it comes to coffee, those of us who drink it are looking for a variety of qualities when we make our purchase. Flavor, darkness of roast and price are likely priorities, but we may also take into consideration whether or not it is organically grown, Certified Fairtrade or if the beans were roasted locally. It is important to know how everything we consume is produced and that the farmers and ranchers who raised it are paid a fair price for their product. Here in the Western Wisconsin/Eastern Minnesota area we have a unique organization that goes above and beyond what even the Fairtrade certification can offer coffee farmers. With advance pay for product and annual visits to growers, Farmer To Farmer has bridged two unlikely farming communities, developing meaningful relationships that span time and distance. Farmer To Farmer coffee is a unique product in our region that we can all feel good about buying.
Here is what Sue Gerlach, Operations Manager, has to say about Farmer To Farmer’s coffee:
“Why choose Farmer To Farmer? We’re Different!
Yes, we’re a non-profit with 30 years of relations but what else? Every Farmer To Farmer bean is a tangible expression of the partnership and a unique opportunity to do coffee DIFFERENTLY.
Our two incredibly unique promises to the farmers
- We contract early in the season with the farmers and payments are NEVER tied to the ever-fluctuating commodities pricing.
- We pay 60% upfront so farmers have an avenue to bypass high-interest, short-term loans. These down payments provide vital income to support families during the harvest season.
Beyond fair trade: More than a label
We work with and pay our farmers directly. Farmer To Farmer has typically paid 20-25% more than our local competitors for green coffee. For example, in 2017, our Guatemalan farmers received $0.60 cents more per pound. We are ever aware that even a few dollars can truly change a life.
No middle man; no hidden costs. We value the friendships within each farming community. Annual trips and ongoing conversations provide critical insights into the farmers’ everyday lives allowing us to make impactful changes relevant to their current needs. It is a privilege to meet the farmers’ families and be invited into their homes.
When you buy Farmer To Farmer you’re making a DIFFERENCE, too!”
Farmer To Farmer coffee can be purchased through Local Choice as an add-on, and can also be found at several locations around the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin. For a full list of where to find Farmer to Farmer coffee, click here.
THIS WEEK IN LOCAL CHOICE CSA
Bifrost Farms – Chevre and Salzkase (feta)
Essence Homestead – Mixed Beans
Hexagon Projects Farm – Asian Cucumber, Beets, Carrots, Heirloom Tomatoes, Zucchini
Towering Heights Farm – Beef Bacon, Garlic
Valley Pasture Farm – Eggs, Seasoned Ground Pork (breakfast), Smoked Ham Slice, Sweet Corn
Winnowburrow Farm – Fennel, Lovage, Sage
Week 11 meal plans are provided by Nick Rigger of Hexagon Projects Farm
Baked Frittata with Chevre and Summer Vegetables with Mustard and Honey Carrots
- 8 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ tsp freshly black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1-2 zucchini (one large or two smaller), diced
- 1 heirloom tomato, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Fresh sage, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, pinch of salt, and pepper.
- In a cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet) add enough oil to coat the bottom and heat to medium/medium high. Add garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the zucchini and heirloom tomatoes, with another pinch of salt, and cook 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the pan to cool slightly.
- Return pan to heat and add the egg mixture over the vegetables. Once the eggs begin to thicken/set around the edge of the pan, crumble the chevre evenly on top; sprinkle sage on top. Slide the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes OR until the eggs have set in the middle of the pan. Remove and allow to cool for several minutes before slicing.
Mustard and Honey Carrots:
- 1 bunch carrots
- 1 T honey
- 2 T dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T olive oil or butter
- Cut carrots into 2-3 inch lengths and halve the thicker ends. Boil until tender.
- In a skillet over medium heat melt butter with the honey. Stir in the mustard and carrots and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy!
Fennel Pork Patties with Beet and Corn Shakshuka
- 1lb ground pork
- ¼ cup finely diced fennel
- Olive oil
- In a skillet over medium heat add olive oil and cook fennel for 3-4 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork with the cooked fennel. Scoop out ¼ cup of the pork and form into a patty that is about ¼’’ in thickness, repeat. Cook the sausage over medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes or until browned. Flip, and repeat until the other side is browned.
Beet and Corn Shakshuka:
- 4-5 beets, cubed
- Corn removed from 1 ear
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1lb heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel beets and cut into ½ inches cubes.
- In a cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet), heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add beets and cook, stirring often until they’ve softened (about 10 minutes). Add the tomato, corn, and a generous pinch of salt and allow to cook for another 10-12 minutes. Using a large spoon, create four wells in the mixture and crack an egg in each. Place in the oven and cook until the egg has set (4-5 minutes). Remove from sprinkle with black pepper. Serve with pork patties.
Digging Deeper into Nutrition with Johnne Smalley of Towering Heights Farm.
Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.
Fennel sounds like something only a chef would use, but it’s a healthy, easy way to punch up salads and sides. It’s basically calorie-free—just 27 for a cup, chopped—but has as much energy-boosting potassium as a small banana.
The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in fennel, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health.
Fennel can help relax the muscles in the body and contains nutrients that are anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and antispasmodic, which can help reduce and alleviate these symptoms. It is also used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infant. In other manufacturing processes, fennel oil is used as a flavoring agent in certain laxatives, and as a fragrance component in soaps and cosmetics.
Native to Southern Europe, lovage is a member of the parsley family. Also known as sea parsley, lovage is used for its leaves, stalks and seeds. It tastes like celery, parsley and anise combined and has an overall strong flavor with strong herbal notes and maybe a slight pungent aftertaste. Lovage contains powerful aromatic oils that give it its unique taste and smell.
The leaves and stem of the lovage plant add an intense celery-like flavor to soups, stews and stocks or pork and poultry dishes. It can also be used to enhance the flavor of potato dishes. Add leaves to a mix of salad greens or let wilt in soups and stocks. Use sparingly to avoid overpowering your dish!
Sage belongs to the mint family, alongside other herbs like oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme. It is a staple herb in various cuisines around the world. Sage is also used as a natural cleaning agent, pesticide and ritual object in spiritual sage burning or smudging.
Sage has a strong aroma and earthy flavor, which is why it’s typically used in small amounts. Even so, it’s packed with a variety of important nutrients and compounds. One teaspoon (0.7 grams) of ground sage contains:
- Calories: 2
- Protein: 0.1 grams
- Carbs: 0.4 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Vitamin K: 10% of the reference daily intake (RDI)
- Iron: 1.1% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 1.1% of the RDI
- Calcium: 1% of the RDI
- Manganese: 1% of the RDI
Sage is loaded with antioxidants that are linked to several health benefits, including improved brain function and lower cancer risk. Studies show that sage may improve memory, brain function and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. One study found that drinking 1 cup (240 ml) of sage tea twice daily significantly increased antioxidant defenses. It also lowered both total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as raised “good” HDL cholesterol
Fresh sage leaves have a strong aromatic flavor and are best used sparingly in dishes.
Here are some ways to use fresh sage:
- Sprinkle as a garnish on soups.
- Mix into a stuffing in roast dishes.
- Combine chopped leaves with butter to make sage butter.
- Add chopped leaves to tomato sauce.
- Serve it with eggs in an omelet.
Dried sage is often preferred by cooks and can be used:
- As a rub for meats.
- As a seasoning for roasted vegetables.
- Combined with mashed potatoes or squash for a more earthy flavor.
Aaaah Carrots! One of the earlier root crops. Most of our carrots are orange and are descendents of a yellow mutant carrot from Africa crossed with a red variety to honor the House of Orange about 400 years ago. Although orange carrots don’t have the concentrated source of phytonutrients (nutrients from plants) and anthocyanins (cancer fighters) that their reddish/purple ancestors have, they are still very nutritious. To make them even more nutritious:
- Eat cooked carrots rather than raw. Although many vegetables are more nutritious when eaten raw, cooking carrots breaks down their tough cell walls making some of the nutrients more available to our systems.
- Cook them whole. (if you want them in smaller pieces, cut them after they are cooked). Whole cooked carrots have 25% more falcarinol (a cancer fighting compound) than carrots that have been cut before cooking.
- Steam or sauté them rather than boiling them to minimize nutrient loss (from leaching into the cooking water).
- Serve them with some oil or fat. Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble nutrient that needs to be coated in fat for greatest absorption.
Beef Bacon (Breakfast Strips)
It’s BLT Season! Tomatoes are ripening and who can resist a vine ripened tomato fresh from the garden? Try a BLT made from our Beef Breakfast Slices instead of Bacon. They are made from 100% Pasture raised, Grassfed Beef and do not have any added nitrates, nitrites, preservatives, dye, corn, or soy meal. These strips are not only tasty, but healthy too.
Beef Breakfast Slices are pre-cooked, so you don’t need to worry about undercooking the meat. I simmer them in a little water for just a minute or two to make a quick Beef BLT without the fuss or mess of frying bacon. You can also microwave or fry the slices for just a short time.
These strips are also good with chopped onions and Kale to make a healthy “Southern” version of “Greens”. Try other ways to prepare these Beef Breakfast Slices and share your recipes.
The pork in your share comes from Valley Pasture Farm. Valley Pasture raises their pork on pasture without any corn or soy added to their diets. As Valley Pasture’s name reflects, they promote Animal Welfare (and Human Welfare) through Pasture-Based Farming.
As far back as 1965, studies have shown that raising pigs on pasture not only eliminates the lameness problem of pigs raised in confinement on concrete floors, but also produces pork that is firmer, more flavorful and juicy, has more vitamin E and more omega-3 fatty acid.
Not only are the animals raised on pasture healthier and healthier for you, they also enjoy a quality of life that is immeasurably higher than animals raised in intensive confinement. They are able to eat when they are hungry, exercise at will, move into shade during the heat of the day, and rest when they are tired. Because they enjoy a life and diet that is more natural for them, they’re less likely than corn and soy fed confined animals to suffer from stress, become ill, or contract an array of diseases requiring regular antibiotic treatment.
Do you have any fun recipe ideas or cooking adventures to share? Let us know in the comments, below! Thanks for reading!