GREAT FOOD, BAD JOKES
I asked a few friends for suggestions around a food pun for the week and Kirstie at Clark Farm was quick to the draw with this visual gem. Rich, a friend and Family Dinner member, suggested I go with "There's asparagus in this week's share, urine for a surprise!" (You're welcome. We decided to forgo the visual on that one.)
Needless to say, we're excited to have asparagus in this week's shares. The colder spring has meant that these guys were late to arrive and that most farms have them in smaller amounts but they are finally here. Fun fact, it takes asparagus three years from seed to harvest, but once they get rolling they can be cropped for over 10 years. Great work little buddies!
Tagging along with the asparagus this week are Spring Dug Parsnips. These are fall parsnips that are left in the ground to hibernate under the snow for the winter. When these Sleeping Beauties are unearthed in the Spring the starches have converted to sugars, making for a sweeter, more tender parsnip. Sautee them in some butter, a pinch of salt and you'll be in heaven. Aren't we all a little sweeter after a good nap?
Chicken from Tad, Baby Salad greens from LEF and sweet bites from Forge ... it's gonna be a good week of eating.
Erin, Tim and the Family Dinner Fam
YEARS IN THE MAKING
We are so excited to partner with A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA for this week's grain and treats. Owners Andy and Jackie King have been at the helm of this incredible bakery since 2006.
Jackie and I go even further back, all the way to Masconomet High School, to these ridiculously baggy track uniforms and Erin's awful DIY haircut. (brutal, Baumgartner, just brutal!) We were best buds in High School, running track for the inimitable Joe Casey and eating Jackie's parents out of house and home. (Sorry Rita and Tom!)
We have been chatting excitedly for years about getting their delicious bread into your shares, and it's finally happening.
And I get it. It's quarantine, you've been baking. We've all been baking. But this is another level. While my loaves look like the gnarled hoof of some J.R.R. Tolkien character, theirs are a work of art and a product of passion.
From their site:
"A&J King strives to be the best producers of the most authentic, best-tasting craft bread and pastry in the region. To that end, the bakery operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers fresh daily delivery to insure that our wholesale partners and retail customers are getting the best of the best.
We work hard to source from local growers whenever possible. Our partnership with Maine Grains has allowed us to support a growing local grain economy, while adding freshly milled, superior quality whole grains to our breads. We purchase from Massachusetts dairies, New England egg producers, and farms in the North Shore of MA for almost all of our fruits and berries, which we use fresh and preserve so we can stay local all winter."
We love Andy and Jackie, and think their products are the pinnacle of deliciousness. There is 25 years of friendship and love baked into this week's share and we hope you love it. We will for sure have them again in the shares but if you simply cannot wait, they do pre-orders and curbside pick up. Their sticky bun will change your life forever.
Spring Scallion Soup: I am not quite over soup season. I am looking forward to making this guy with the scallions from Clark Farm, if I can save myself from the urge to make another few dozen scallion pancakes.
Ground Beef Sweet Potato Skillet: One pot, greens, beef. Throw in whatever you want. Some queso fresco, some kimchi cucumbers. Throw the whole thing over rice or into tacos. Heck, put in on a pizza.
French Toast: If Andy and Jackies bread doesn't disappear by Sunday morning, this is happening
AN ONION BY ANY OTHER NAME
Is an allium! Onions and these beautiful scallions from Clark Farm are both a part of the Allium family, from the latin allium meaning "garlic." (Nothing like some culinary etymology to start your day off, am I right??)
Scallions are brighter and sweeter than onions. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and will store for a good while if you wrap them in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag.
Of course they can be a standard garnish but since their season is so short and they're so darn delicious we want to encourage you to move them to center stage. Maybe its scallion pancake time, or maybe you make a:
When I hear the words "Farmer's Cheese" it has always made me laugh. Like, aren't all cheeses the product of farmers in one way or another, why does this one earn that moniker?
Or is there some plant that magically sprouts cheese in a perennial fashion?
And if there is some mythical cheese that actually grows on trees, where the hell do I find these guys to plant all over my yard? Because if that exists, I could die happy.
Farmer's cheese is like fresh pressed cheese with the consistency of dense ricotta. It is wonderfully versatile and ready for your tacos, veggie pasta dishes or just slathered on toast (we know you've been baking bread, people!) with a touch of honey.
When Luke and Catarina from Brookford Farm suggested it for the shares this week, we jumped at the chance to introduce it to the shares. We hope you enjoy!
SLOWLY BUT SURELY
Author and Poet Anita Kizzan once said : "Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer."
We think that's a nice thing to keep in mind. It's even nicer to see it when the sun begrudgingly peeks it head out and we can soak up some Vitamin D. The farms and growers are feeling that love too, as Spring finally starts to ramp up like someone's grumpy kid that doesn't want to get out of bed.
The fields at Clark Farm (pictured on Wednesday), and all the farms we work with are coming to life too. Tractors are vrooming through the dirt, starter plants are being plunked into the ground. The time for Spring veggies is around the corner, we just need a few more weeks of patience, and potatoes.
While we wait, there are some really wonderful daily recipes coming out of the New York Times. There is a referendum on soup that is really awesome ( Cliff Notes, almost anything can be a soup). If you are not a member/subscriber - we totally recommend it. Their recent recipes have not been recipes at all, more mash-ups if you will. They sing the praises of all the blank canvas foods we love here; frittata, fried rice, pizza, soup. Check it out it's worth the small investment and its nice to follow along, or just drool over the pretty pictures.
BABY COWS, FOR THE WIN
Guys, every time I tried to type "For the Win" on this email it came out as " For the Wine" - coincidence? I think not, these are crazy times.
Which is why you need baby cows, piglets and sheep in your life. Meet "Finnish" one of the calves born at Brookford Farm this Spring. Brookford is home to your produce, yogurt and some of the delicious meat that comes into your shares. Each year the dairy "girls" have about 50 calves, there are about 15 nurse cows that birth another 15 calves and 10 or so newbie young cows who show up to the dairy.
I've seen these ladies many times; walking out to pasture, basking in the sun, caring for their young and living their Best Cow Life. I can tell you it brings me pride to bring you their product. It's farming as it should be.
And Spring means babies all over the farms; piglets, lambs, kids and calves. Follow our farmers on IG to see keep an eye on these beauties and to yell I LOVE YOU SO MUCH into your phone at a photo of an animal (is that just me?)
Brookford Farm: @brookfordfarm
Feather Brook Farms: @featherbrookfarms
Clark Farm: @clarkfarmcarlisle
It's been another busy week here at Family Dinner and the weekend will be even busier. We are happy to be open and thriving, but the increased volume of demand and our heightened sense of precaution has led to a few changes in our procedures and we wanted to share some updates with you:
- On a normal week Family Dinner serves 250 families in the Greater Boston area. This week it will be over 500.
- In order to ensure the quality of service for our existing members, we have temporarily stopped welcoming new subscriptions and have put a waitlist in place. We have also paused the referral program, for the time being.
- Typically we have 16-20 people in the kitchen packing shares and then delivering to your homes. This week, to minimize the number of people in the kitchen and allow each other space, we will have just 6.
- Our driving team has increased and will operate in fleets, meaning each driver take a set of shares, deliver and return to the kitchen for another route.
- Doubling the amount of shares delivered and decreasing the staff for safety reasons means that our delivery window will greatly expand. Many shares will arrive outside the 1pm timeframe. Please know that we are working diligently to get you your shares in a timely and safe manner. You will continue to receive text messages when your driver is on their way and when they have completed a share.
- There will also be a delay in responses to email, as your happy email response crew (Shannon is pictured above) will be among the 6 in the kitchen.
Thank you for your support and patience as we go through this process together.
Please know that we are proud to be here for you during these tough times, and will continue to do so for as long as we can.
Erin, Tim and the Family Dinner Team
NEW FARMER IN THE HOUSE!
We are really excited to be working with Drumlin Farm this week to bring greens into your shares! Ok, so maybe the title is misleading. Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA isn't "new", they've been part of the Mass Audubon Society for a long time as a wildlife sanctuary and a working farm all in one. But this is the first time we have worked with them and we want to share the news.
(And if we want to get technical; there is no "house" either so the title is doubly misleading. But I hope you'll forgive us because the alternative "Experienced Farmers Join a Food Start Up on a Virtual E-Commerce Platform For the First Time" was a mouthful.)
Drumlin is a beautiful space; 4 miles of trails and plenty of peace and quiet. There are pigs, sheep, chickens, and cows on the working farm and big, bright greenhouse housing this field of verdant deliciousness. They reached out to us this week to see if we had room in our shares for their crops and we always love to say yes to that! We hope you enjoy and that they brighten up your plates!
Also for some inspiration this week check out this wonderful series: "What's Eating Dan" from our friend Dan Souza from America's Test Kitchen. We're gonna dive into the episode on mushrooms for ideas for this week's goodies from Fat Moon Mushrooms.
Dear Family Dinner Members:
The most amazing part about Family Dinner isn't the logo, it isn't the weekly treats or the terrible jokes from the staff. It's the folks in this amazing community, all of you, that make this so special. Over 350 members in 50 towns all loving on local food and the folks who grow it.
We wanted to make more of an effort to connect you to each other (no we're not gathering in the parking lot for trust falls) and highlight some of the incredible things you're doing. Maybe we learn something from each other, maybe we find a little inspiration. Or maybe the world can seem like a dumpster fire and it's nice to be more and not less connected to interesting people doing good things.
We hope you enjoy :)
Erin + Tim
PUTTING THE "FUN" IN FUNGI
(If you're wondering if I spent a significant amount of time yesterday googling mushroom puns, wonder no more. Guilty as charged.)
One of our favorite things is when a farmer calls us mid-week to tell us about a huge harvest. Elizabeth from Fat Moon Farm called to say they had a bounty of beautiful oysters and other varieties and asked if we were interested. Holy Shiitake are we ever! (Ok, I'll stop.)
We absolutely love saying yes to these questions. It helps us get a diversity of beautiful products in your shares, helps support our local farmers and eliminates waste. All of which are really core to our mission at Family Dinner.
On-demand eating and groceries arriving at your house in 30 seconds by rabid drones may be convenient, but it's not great for farmers or the environment and certainly doesn't address the issue of waste.
When you place your weekly order with us on Mondays, it takes us a full week to fill your shares. During that time we are scurrying around to different farms and bakeries; picking up produce, tasting new cheeses, having conversations with growers; and yes, cleaning hundreds and hundreds of bags. It takes us time because we want to get it right. We want to curate a share where the ingredients marry well together, where there is diversity in the products and where we can support this distributed network of local growers like Elizabeth.
We take the time because we love the process and because we have so mushroom in our hearts for all of you!
Thanks for being part of this process!
Good Morning !
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