One of our amazing teammates at Family Dinner, Olivia (professional glassblower, teller of horrible makes and maker excellent Spotify playlists) came to us once and asked if we had ever had the goodies from Quebrada Baking Co in Arlington (and Belmont! And Wellesley!). I hadn't and next thing I knew Olivia brought us an assorted box of cookies, rolls, and croissants to try- thinking it would be a great fit for Family Dinner.
To ensure a well-run experiment; I did what any data obsessed foodie would do and I ATE THEM ALL.
To be honest, I did what I used to as a child with boxes of Chocolates and I ate the best bites of each one and put them rest back in the box for Tim. (I'm an Only Child, folks).
We were really impressed with what we tried. You can taste the delicious ingredients, the quality of the butter and the freshness of goodies made just that morning. And we echoes of our mission in theirs:
"We are a family run neighborhood bakery with unrelenting dedication to our product, our team, and our communities.
Everything is baked in house, starting in the early hours of the morning to ensure freshness. We use the highest quality ingredients and are committed to sourcing locally. We strive to bring the freshest, simplest and most wholesome Ingredients in every decadent bite."
We hope you enjoy the treats this week and we can't wait to hear what you think.
We also always love your suggestions on new products and new things to carry! Like this week's garlic salt from Hippy Pilgrim- we put that stuff on EVERYTHING. (Pucker up, people! It's garrrlicky!)
Erin + Tim
First note: BAGS!! BAGS!! BAGS!!! Please (pretty please!) return your bags and ice packs to your driver. We clean, sanitize and re-use them! Please hunt around and see if you have a treasure trove of them somewhere and leave them out for your driver! Thank you!
This week's vegetable hero is Pak Choi.
Pak Choi, sometimes found under its alias "Bok Choy" is a variety of Chinese cabbage. This kind doesn't form the giant head of cabbage that we are used to, instead forming these petite clusters of greens. The good folks at Wikipedia let me know that this is also sometime called the "soup spoon" vegetable because of the shape of its leaves. They may look spoonish but we don't recommend eating your cereal with them (gross.)
Even if you've never cooked this vegetable, its has a delicate flavor and is easy to prepare a variety of ways. We think simple is best, just a quick trip to the cast iron, some garlic and a splash of sesame oil- more on that later. If you don't have sesame oil, but like a little punch of flavor- we recommend picking some up. It's a great pairing for many of the wonderful veggies that come with Fall.
You asked and we have heard your cries for coffee. Folks started asking over a year ago when coffee (and for some folks, when WINE) would be available in the a la carte offering for the shares. It took us some time and some sleuthing around for the best folks to partner with, but we are ready to bring Tandem Coffee to the Family Dinner table.
We have long been fans of their incredible coffee, we drink it by the gallon at Vinal Bakery in Somerville, and at Tandems two locations in Portland, ME. The more we dug into their story and talked with their incredible staff, the more hooked we are.
"In 2012, after working in coffee in Boston, Martha's Vineyard, San Francisco, and New York, Will and Kathleen Pratt found a home for Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine. With Will’s background in carpentry and Kathleen’s immaculate painting and sanding skills (plus the occasional libation from their neighbors at Bunker Brewing Co.) they built a cozy cafe and roastery in a beautiful 1930s brick building nestled in East Bayside—a neighborhood they are excited to call home.
Tandem wholesales to businesses who share their commitment to quality and detail. They travel to origin every year to source the best tasting coffees they can find, as well as to build the relationships they've already started with farmers, exporters, and importers. Their coffees are roasted on the lighter side of things to highlight the unique flavors each one has to offer, and to represent all the hard work that has gone in throughout the entire process. "
We love that commitment to detail and respect of the origin of the product.
We are bringing you their West End Blues offering. The folks at Tandem say:
" West End Blues is a complex blend of flavors and textures. Fruity but not fruit forward, grounded in chocolate and sparkling with zesty notes of baking spices and tea, WEB shines when combined with milk but stands on its own as a killer drip coffee."
SO! How do you get it?!?!
Add it on to your weekly share in the a la carte section. We are running a special for $13 bag through September. The price will increase to $16/bag in October. Each week they will roast on Wednesday and we will deliver to you that Saturday. Doesn't get any damn fresher than that.
Some folks are saying that Summer is over. The slight chill in the air, the drastically early Halloween candy and the perpetual Pumpkin Spice pushers are singing the the death knell of the season.
At Family Dinner, we say NAY.
Summer is not over. Not in the fields anyway, and certainly not in your shares- your grill wants to flex its muscles for at LEAST another month. So let's summer it up for a few more weeks and celebrate the sweetest corn around, the juiciest heirloom tomatoes and the peachiest peaches New England has to offer.
Also, keep an eye out folks! We have heard your cries to add to our a la carte options and we are responding. Get ready for new fun options coming soon.
Happy Labor Day folks!
Friends, meet Shannon. Shannon is one of the wonderful team members at Family Dinner, lovingly packing and delivering your shares to you each week. She is the maker of great playlists and the teller of terrible (but wonderful) jokes.
Shannon is also an entrepreneur who started her own organic vegetable, flower and herb farm this year!
She's no spring chicken in the farming world, having grown up on Feather Brook Farm where we source our amazing meats.
She went on to get a BBA Marketing with Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming via UMass AND a Master of Science in Sustainability Science with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. Smart cookie!
She traveled to Ghana interning with an oil palm mill and farmers implementing regenerative agriculture and then finally returned back home, starting her farm with a firm mission in mind:
"I wanted to take an active role in combating climate change here at home through agriculture.
Local food is an act of defiance against the corporate ag machine. Sovereignty in the local food system from seed to plate is giving power back to the community and empowering local food producers and consumers."
We love what Shannon is doing at Blossom Brook Farm and are excited to support her as she grows. Keep an eye out for her produce in your shares and follow her on IG to check out the progress! @blossombrookfarm
We hear from folks sometimes that they are intimidated by the chickens in the shares, they're not used to cooking a full or half bird, so they tuck it into the freezer to be used "some other time".
Have faith people! It's time to stare down that bird and conquer your fears.
Today might be the day that you use your chicken right away. Let it defrost and plan your attack. Grill, stovetop, or slow-cooker- just get it done and enjoy for the rest of the week.
As always it is chicken from Tad at Feather Brook Farm. As always they are treated with love (and a few curse words) and its the best damn chicken, ever.
Erin + Tim
.... Because they Cantaloupe!
This week we have Melons from Brookford Farm in Canterbury, NH. We love supporting Luke and Catarina and their incredible work at this 613 acre farm. This beautiful land used to be a sod farm and for years and years was depleting the soil, robbing of its nutrients; making it weaker from year to year.
Luke, Catarina and their team (including their 4 boys) have been tending to this land and nursing it back to health since 2012. They have 35 acres of organic produce and beautiful herds of cattle (hello Maple Greek Yogurt!), pigs and chickens. The land is happy to have the love and gave them a bumper crop of melons this week. We are passing all that love on to you.
Erin + Tim
Did you know that Washington State is the top producer of blueberries in the United States? And then Georgia, then Michigan? Washington State alone produces over 95 MILLION POUNDS of them a year! That's a lot of berries friends!
And, in case your fingers are itching to Google the distance between Boston and Washington State, let me save you the time and just tell you its about 3,000 miles (or 423,000,000 Jet Blue Points). It makes me wonder what a delicate fruit has to be treated with to survive a journey that long. Or if it's organic, how long ago it was picked before it arrives on our plates.
Last week one of our members said that the berries she got in her share were the "the most blueberry tasting blueberry" she had ever had. It made us smile.
That's what we are always going for at Family Dinner, local produce, from local growers delivered to your door at the peak of freshness. The most Tomatoey Tomatoes. The Blueberriest Blueberries, brought to you with love.
Thanks for the support, and Bon Appetit!
Erin + Tim
Friends, we updated a few things on our weekly confirmation emails! They will hopefully help clarifying the skipping process and help us ensure a more smooth delivery process! Thank you so much for your help and input, we appreciate it. The new weekly confirmation email will have this useful info:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ORDER!
When will this order be delivered?
Saturday deliveries will be delivered on Sat 08/03 between 10am-1pm.
Tuesday deliveries will be delivered on Tue 08/06 between 1pm-4pm.
Oops, I forgot to skip this week!
Forget to skip your order? Reply to this email by Monday and we can skip it for you and issue a refund. It is very hard to accommodate cancellations and delivery changes after Monday, because we place orders with farmers on Tuesday. If we have to cancel your order later in the week, it results in wasted food and resources. Thanks for your help and understanding.
What do I do with these bags and ice packs?
Please remember to return your insulated bags and ice packs - we clean and reuse them each week! You can leave them on your front door or hand them to us in person when we deliver your next share. The planet will love you as much as we do!
Sorry for all of that boring housekeeping stuff. We hope that the photo of a baby goat from Clark Farm got you through it.
Erin + Tim
ALERT: The weather is calling for EXTREME HEAT THIS WEEKEND. (110 degrees, people!) Please make every effort (if you are not home) to leave a cooler, with ice for your shares. We hand pick this food with love and want to make sure it arrives to you in top quality.
Back to your regularly scheduled food love:
One of the greatest parts of this job is getting to spend time on farms, which we do every week. We do it because dirt is fun, pigs are cute and being outside watching the best food in New England be planted, grown and harvested is a singular joy. We do it because we want to know exactly what is coming to you every week, to taste the quality and be picky about what you receive.
We tour the vegetable gardens, dairies, animal fields and bakeries to make sure the best of what New England has to offer is coming to your door.
As you roam through the grocery stores you will see the words: "local", "farm" and "nature" splashed across all sorts of items. Some of it is genuine, much of it is marketing. A day at Clark Farm (pictured), Brookford Farm, Feather Brook Farm or Busa Farm in Lexington will show you exactly what the genuine article is. And it's delicious.
Weeknight salads can be a hum-drum collection of wilted greens and mediocre accoutrements. They can be hard to look forward to. But they don't have to be.
For a quick and fun porch dinner I like to make a salade composee. A fancy way of saying a big bed of dressed greens and whatever meat or veggies you have laying around. Last night's dinner was a Salade Nicoise, a traditional salad from Nice, France. Folks have been fighting over what goes in that traditional salad for years.* But I don't get that fussy.
The arrangement of this salad makes for a fun meal to share with a few folks over a bottle of rose.
Could be a great way to end your week and use your left over chicken , shaved turnips and crisp cucumbers.
The secret here is a really good bottle of olive oil to drizzle over the veggies with a heavy pinch of Maldon salt. Oh, did I mention the rose?
*From Wikipedia: "Former Nice mayor and cookbook author Jacques Medecin was a strict salad traditionalist. His 1972 cookbook Cuisine Nicoise: Recipes from a Mediterranean Kitchen called for the salad to be served in a wooden bowl rubbed with garlic, and excluded boiled vegetables: "never, never, I beg you, include boiled potato or any other boiled vegetable in your salade niçoise." Médecin wrote that the salad should be made "predominately of tomatoes" which should be "salted three times and moistened with olive oil" Yikes.
The 4th of July has come and gone but hopefully you're getting some down time to enjoy friends, Family and some delightful food. Hot grill, cold beers, maybe?
It's so easy to get wrapped up in the whirling dervish that is everyday life (work. emails. family. chores. laundry. more emails, even more laundry.)
We hope you can steal some time away from this week to take a breath and enjoy the ride. (Just the Frank the Dog here on our small road trip this week.) All that stuff, and your never-ending list will be there when you are done.
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