April 2010
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Late April localvore spread.

“Hey,lets go pick wild leeks and then make a localvore meal.”  That welcome invitation from Karen came late last Saturday morning and by evening we had assembled  a magnificent feast. The last-minute dinner party was particularly notable for how easy it was to load the table with a wide range of delicious local products–foraged,harvested from the garden,and bought at nearby markets and farm stands.

Just a few years ago,assembling such a meal would have required a significant effort but thanks to the “local foods movement”and the committed businesses creating excellent products for the growing market of discriminating eaters,it no long requires a major undertaking and certainly no sacrifices in quality and deliciousness.  What struck me too were all the interconnected relationships we had with the food and stories behind each item.  Here’s a sampling.

 Morel appetizer- Eric sauted our just-picked morels and wild leeks  in butter with a white wine reduction and touch of cream.  Served on toasted Mad River Grain bread from Red Hen Bakery.

Fiddleheads –Karen had picked a pile of them the day before because the ostrich ferns were unfurling fast in the warm temperatures.  Served simply steamed so they had that crunchy,unique texture that makes them so fun to eat.  

Potatoes –whole baby German Butterball potatoes from Jericho Settlers Farm,roasted in the grill.  They might have been the most delicious potatoes I’ve ever tasted!  I stopped by the farm the next day,anxious to pick up some more and ran into Christa,the farmer, who said the potatoes had been harvested back in October and stored in a refrigerator at around 40 degrees. That kept them in almost perfect condition all the way to the end of April.    

Green salad –Kath brought a multi-textured assortment of overwintered greens from her unheated greenhouse,applying the season extending methods discussed in previous posts —but with greater success than me!  We threw in some lightly steamed asparagus from my hoop house and dressed the salad with a quick dressing made from last year’s shallots,sunflower oil from the Rainville Farm and red wine vinegar that we’d “made”just by letting old wine sit in a jar for several months. 

Golden beets –picked last fall,Kath stored them in bags at the back of her refridgerator over the winter and for this meal, paraboiled,slipped the skins and dressed them with a little butter and fresh chives.  The smooth texture and sweet-rich flavor complimented all the other foods.  She noted that the variety,Touchstone Gold,germinates better than other golden beets —a tip I will aim to remember for  next year’s seed order. 

Flat iron steak- Greg grilled grass fed beef from the rich Lamoille River valley at Boyden Farms just a few miles north of here.  It was cooked to perfection and served with it minimal seasoning,featuring the full, natural flavor of the meat. 

Wild leeks –just picked within the hour,sauteed,cooking the white bulb first until it is tender and then adding the green leafy parts at the end.  Such a refined flavor for a wild plant –somewhere between onions and garlic. 

For beverages we had Kath’s home-made grape juice from wild vines that grow near her home in Richmond and a crisp seyval blanc from the the Boyden Valley vineyard, adjacent to the farm where the beef was raised,that paired particularly well with the spring fare.  Finally for dessert,Karen’s blueberry sauce made from berries picked and frozen last summer with home made ice cream. 

Oh,I forgot to even mention the assortment of wonderful local cheeses —but that will have to wait for another post.

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