Hello to all our loyal customers. We’ll bring you an update soon about what we’ve been up to at the farm, along with our 2015 customer survey so that we can get your feedback about what we’re doing right (and wrong). In the meantime, I thought I’d share a little personal anecdote just to give you a glimpse into the mentality of a Midwestern farmer…
Hope you’re well, and as always, thanks for thinking of us. -Beth, and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards
January 1st, 2015 had me wanting to eat healthier, something I wasn’t very good at in 2014. I know this will surprise many of you since I have such direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Especially those of you who know me, and know I love to cook and eat good food! But I have the same line of reasons for eating poorly that I hear from others: too stressed, too tired, and too busy. Canning or freezing produce for the winter after a hard day’s work at the farm in the summer time? Not going to happen.
Last year, it was far easier (and perhaps felt more comforting) for me after a long day to go home and eat the first thing in front of me, without having to prepare my food. A bag of tortilla chips and salsa with a cold beer was just fine. In fact, I became one of the regulars at Applebees: an order of comfort food with a side of fries, please! (After all, with a name that had the words “apple” and “bee” in it, I felt like I really did belong there.)
But I’m trying to do better this year. For Christmas I got myself a few new cookbooks and I delved in. My goal was to make dishes that are healthy, easy to prepare and taste good. I figured if I could get the preparation part down in the winter, I could make these meals quickly in the summer. As I browed the cookbooks, I could only imagine how much better these dishes would taste when fresh vegetables came back into season.
With a long list of what I needed, I headed off to the produce section. Traditionally I have only visited the produce section of our local grocery as an observer– taking a peek to check out quality and pricing.
Checking out the produce section
Checking out was harder than my usual shopping (…I really have to look up the pricing of produce on the little screen and key in how many peppers I have?) and the bill was an eye opener. Yes, it is expensive to eat healthy, if you can put a price on that.
After one week of eating healthy, here’s how I feel:
- Like I have been on a trip around the western hemisphere. My cantaloupe was from Guatemala, my tomatoes were from Canada, my raspberries and avocados were from Mexico, and many other products came from warmer parts of the USA.
- More energized. I think overall I do just feel better…but it could also be because the sun has been out for a few days now!!
I also have prepared some really delicious meals and did some things I have never done before such as:
- Eat raw beets in a salad, sweet, crunchy and delicious! Plus my favorite color on top of the green
- Bought watercress!
- Made the most amazing cauliflower soup with only 2 ingredients and a blender
- Made a “cheese” sauce for a vegetarian lasagna by pureeing cauliflower
The last piece of vegetable lasagna made with cauliflower sauce
Thus far, my favorite new dinner has been portabella mushrooms (marinated in a healthy sauce I made) with kale, red peppers, onions, garlic, sprinkled with sunflower seeds on top. It tasted as good as it sounds.
Mushrooms topped with kale—isn’t it beautiful?
Cauliflower has become my new “go to” vegetable. So much that I think I’d like to try growing it here on the farm this year. My parents grew cauliflower that was beautiful. To to this day, I can remember my father teaching me as a child when to tie up a cauliflower to form a good head.
As I cut, chopped, pureed, saluted, roasted, and caramelized each vegetable, I wondered about the farm and the farmer who grew them. Who had picked them? How old is this really given the travel and storage time? Given what I paid, how much did the farmer get out of that? What was that farmer having for dinner? Were they at an Applebee’s (or their local version of it)?
Having firsthand knowledge of how hard farming is, I am grateful to those farmers far away who sustain us through our winter months with fresh produce. Keep up the good work!