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.
This week we have Vegetable Ginger Broth from John at Five Way Foods for the whole and double shares. John had a dream of starting a company to topple the broth business by making real-deal, from scratch broth. (Most of the stuff you see on the shelves is full of preservatives and other malarkey.) Its a real love - the simmering takes forever! We wanted to share this with you for your sautéing your summer veggies or for the perfect chilled soup or smoothie addition. We also love to keep you guessing in the shares!
"Five Way Foods takes proud in producing healthy and fresh broths. Our Veggie Broth is slow-simmered using locally sourced vegetables (leeks, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, celery, and more) along with herbs and spices (sea salt, peppercorn, rosemary, thyme) and a good size portion of ginger. It’s a flavorful broth that is low in salt with no gluten, dairy, soy or preservatives and 100% Vegan."
We have berries from Kimball Fruit Farm in Pepperell, MA. This is an IPM Farm, which is not certified organic but used environmentally conscious pest management. We have been searching for organic berries but have learned its incredibly difficult to do in New England at scale.
The farm and the fields are gorgeous, if you are ever out that way, stop by the store! You can find their goodies in some of the best restaurants in Boston. If you visit them at the Union Square market early enough you might see Chef Tony Maws picking out produce for Craigie on Main. ( Good Lord, that BURGER.)
One of our Family Dinner Members, Corrine, is doing the Pan Mass Challenge this year. This is 192 mile bike route across Massachusetts to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Corrine's youngest son Joey was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and had to undergo many harrowing treatments. From the wonderful community of excellence at Dana-Farber, he is now cancer free and a total rock star.
Family Dinner has donated a dollar from each share sold this week to Corrine's ride. They are just shy of their $10,000 goal if you want to learn more!
We love to support the local community, if you have any ideas for us, please let us know!
(Photo Credit Michael Piazza for Edible Boston)
According to an Edible Boston article, Magic Bites Bakery and Café in Arlington " is not just a bakery." Walking into their corner shop on Mass Ave is Arlington is a wonderful experience. Its a dreamy, cozy space that is brimming with delicious products, smells and temptations.
Trying to make a selection feels near impossible, but Husband and Wife team Atilla and Elif are there to help -cooking up a storm and delighting customers with tastes of their meze, soups and pastries. The love and pride they have in their food is obvious and contagious- which is why we had to bring you some of their goodies this week. From Atilla:
"We are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, to serve the best quality of healthy food to the valuable guests and customers from a relaxing, clean, boutique designed environment for takeout, delivery , wholesale and catering .
Every product is prepared and baked from scratch with the REAL, healthy and first quality ingredients; no fake additives, preservatives, mixtures. We only serve the products that we will feel confident to serve to our little kids; healthy and natural. We are committed to the best experience of our guests and customers."
We have brought you their Muhammara "the best spread ever". A red pepper paste made with spices and the best walnuts. (Contains bread crumbs!) Use it on veggies, with fish, or as a simple and perfect Meze.
And when you are craving more; check them out at 916 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington.
But, if you go there and take the last piece of their spanikopita, and there's none left for me, we are no longer friends.
....It ain't easy being Green.
This week you have a share that's chock full of greens. A veritable verdant Vesuvius! Late Spring in New England = Leafy greens for days. Let's load up on iron and Vitamin C, folks!
Seeing all that leafy loveliness can overwhelm some as they open their fridges. We share a few recipe ideas below and link to an article from Cooking Light to fire up your creative engines.
Also, its steak time from Tad at Feather Brook Farm. We order whole animals from Tad and so we have a whole variety of steak cuts this week, and a few ideas on how to cook each. (With a healthy serving of greens on the side obviously.)
Finally, and maybe most importantly, which Muppet are you? (These are things I think about.) Kermit gets a lot of attention but I think I'm more of a mix of both Waldorf AND Statler with a pinch of the Swedish Chef.
We brag a lot at Family Dinner; about our incredible farmers and makers, about our wonderfully enthusiastic customers (I see you Amy R and Mel L!) and about the joys of warm donuts from Union Square Donuts. Something we don' talk nearly enough about is our amazing team behind the scenes. These are the folks who lovingly sort, pack and drive your goods to your home.
There's a wide spectrum of talents on our team: we have a lawyer, a banker, non-profit workers, musicians and teachers. There's a professional glassblower, a designer, a new Dad, a new farmer and a Chuck. Chuck is just a legend, I'm not sure what else to say.
Each of these folks shows up early Saturday morning, a bit sleepy but ready for a few hours of bad 90's music, terrible Dad jokes and the good work of packing all of your shares.
We are so proud of our team and honored that they work with us.
Outside Family Dinner, and outside their day jobs, many of them lend their talents to charitable organizations. This week both Shannon and Rachel (pictured) will be leading youth empowerment workshops; Shannon with Massachusetts Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (MA HOBY) and Rachel with DivestEd and the Better Future Project.
Both these women are working to make the world a better place through their energy, time and activism. We couldn't be prouder to support them with our time and our food :)
Friends, meet Vikram Mathur, owner of Yatra Tea Company. Vikram is a local guy, born is India and is completely passionate about tea. His company direct sources tea from estates India (no middleman, which is music to our ears!) and they are "fanatical" about quality and freshness.
When Vikram first approached us about including his hand-selected teas in our shares, we paused a moment, given that - you know- we are a local food company. Unless your goods grow on the rolling hills of Belmont, we said, no deal.
But his insistence on touring the terroir, knowing his producers, sourcing directly and giving back to the community made us think again.
We are obviously very keenly dedicated to eating locally. But we know that isn't always possible/easy. (Case in point: they don't make much coffee or white wine in Somerville and those are definitely part of the food pyramid in our house.)
We realized that when you can't buy from your neighbors, when you can't source it from your backyard- its best to go to someone who knows the product, the producers and the supply chain inside and out and who obsesses over every step of the process.
So we are trying this out. We are brining his tea to our whole and double shares this week. We would LOVE to hear what you think!
"The tea itself is a lightly oxidized black tea produced in the Spring. It is the highest grade of tea (SFTGFOP1) produced by the estate. It brews a lovely golden liquor and is extremely fragrant with pronounced floral notes. The taste is smooth and well rounded."
For more info, visit their site!
This week we got to head to Lexington Montessori School to check out their greenhouses, their farm and their farming curriculum. It was amazing! All the students from Pre-K to Middle School participate in creating a beautiful environment and a delicious bounty. We were GIDDY thinking about kids learning about the importance of food and treating it with respect throughout its life cycle. Heck Yes, LMS! We bought some seedlings for the double shares too!
About the program, from their site:
"Children discover where food comes from, how it is grown sustainably, and begin to appreciate the hard work it takes to grow nourishing food on a small “farm”. We spend time learning and discussing nutrition, aiming to understand the importance of eating a rainbow of colors. In addition, the middle schoolers take a compassionate look at food insecurity in America and the lack of fresh fruits and veggies for those in need. From toddlers to 8th graders, the farming program allows students at LMS to explore their surroundings, challenge themselves, think deeply, and participate in growing and nurturing new life."
What a dream. To start the mission of all of THIS early. We know we sound like a broken record**, but thank you all so much for supporting the mission of Family Dinner and spreading the good word of local food.
** To all of our 20-30 something customers: "records" are an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. It's how we all listened to music when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
There is a really specific joy in getting out to see them on their land and spending time in the field, to see how it's all done. Andrew and Diana Rodgers run the farm and have an incredible team.
Clark is an idyllic place; expansive fields and happy animals snorting and baaaah-ing here and there. They didn't even mind when I stole a baby pig and drove off like a maniac with it riding shotgun listening to Phil Collins. How kind is that??
Behind the beauty is a passion and dedication to mission that makes us proud to work with them and be a small part of what they're trying to do. If you're ever in the neighborhood, stop by their farm stand. If you're feeling like geeking out on sustainable food conversations; check out Diana's podcast Sustainable Dish on iTunes. And keep an eye out for her forthcoming film Sacred Cow - making a case for better meat. We can't wait!
It's the Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo and, most importantly (!), we are celebrating our 100th order with Tad from Featherbrook Farms - Break out the Chips and Dip!
You've probably seen photos of Tad before, a lovable guy with a big smile and an appreciation for overalls.
Tad has been with us since the beginning, since even before the beginning. Teaching us, encouraging us and supporting us as we explore the wonderland of local food. He sent this week's invoice with a note: " Yayyyyy! Order number 100. Who would have thought!!!"
We couldn't do any of this without the incredible network of farmers that makes up Family Dinner. Tad, Fran and Brenda from Busa Farms in Lexington, Luke and his family at Brookford Farm, Andrew at Clark, Andre at Heron Pond- and the many, many makers, bakers, and purveyors whose goods fill your bags every week . We are so grateful for the amazing, and delicious, work they do. Here's to 100 more orders, Tad.
(DID SOMEONE SAY CHIPS ???)
Oh yeah! We also have Tortilla Chips from Mi Nina this week. Perfect for watching the latest episode of GoT on repeat.
Have a great weekend!
- Page 1 of 9