The folks at Corner Stalk Farms are growing lettuce year round (yes, year round, even in this weather!) in recycled shipping containers nestled in East Boston. Its a super energy and water efficient environment that produces over 20 varieties of heirloom lettuce and herbs. And it begs the question:
Where does your produce come from?
When you're walking around the grocery store, take a look, its a fun little game of Geography Bingo. California, China, Mexico, or Yuma, Arizona might pop up on your radar. Chances are that your greens traveled across the country, or the world, to land on your plate. These leafy jewels that we have to offer you came from East Boston, Massachusetts. These little guys could have taken the Blue Line to be delivered to your house.
How the heck does that work? Here's a bit of background from Corner Stalk Farm:
"We specialize in using Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). LED lighting, temperature control and automatic water flow within insulated shipping containers creates the ideal environment that leafy greens need...Hydroponics is a soil-less growing method that allows the cultivation of plants using recirculated water with optimum nutrient inputs. Compared to the harmful chemical and grey water runoff created by industrial farming and urban pollution, we have no runoff and use no pesticides or harmful chemicals. To top it off, we leverage vertical growing technology to grow 20 plants per square foot of farm space per month."
How cool is that? Who knew anything but our grumpiness and animosity could grow in New England in January?
WHAT'S IN THE BAG?
HALF SHAREProtein - Sirloin Steak and Eggs from Feather Brook Farm; Garlic and Herb Quark from Brookford Farm
Fruits and Veggies - Heirloom Lettuce from Corner Stalk Farm; Lion's Mane's Mushrooms from Mycoterra Farm; Certified Organic Beets and Yellow Potatoes from Brookford Farm
Grains - Flatbread from Iggy's Bread (poke holes and cook at 375 for 10 minutes)
Special Treat - Ginger Molasses Cookies from Vinal Bakery (Sarah from Vinal has said she has some amazing new ideas up her baker's sleeve that she's excited to share with us. We literally cannot wait.)
Protein and Dairy - Sirloin Steak, Chicken and Eggs from Feather Brook Farm; Maple Greek Yogurt and Garlic and Herb Quark from Brookford Farm
Fruits and Veggies - Heirloom Lettuce from Corner Stalk Farm; Lion's Mane's Mushrooms from Mycoterra Farm, Certified Organic Beets, Red Cabbage and Yellow Potatoes from Brookford Farm, Royal Cortland Apples from Siena Farm
Grain: Flatbreads from Iggy's Bread (poke holes and cook at 375 for 10 minutes)
Special Treats -Ginger Molasses Cookies from Vinal Bakery. (Sarah from Vinal has said she has some amazing new ideas up her baker's sleeve that she's excited to share with us. We literally cannot wait.)
The Simplest Salad: These leafs are very delicate and to drown them in Blue Cheese or 1,000 Island Dressing (what the hell is that anyway?) would be a most grievous sin. A simple splash of a good olive oil and a pinch of salt will let the actual flavor of the lettuce come through.
Grilled Steak and Mushrooms: The Sirloin Tip is a super versatile cut of meat. It does well with grilling or searing, grabs onto marinades well and can stand up to any spice rub. Here we choose a one-pan wonder that pairs the meat with the Lion's Mane Mushrooms. The recipe claims it "so easy you could even cook it while camping", which sounds absolutely terrible. We prefer ours in the warmth of our dining room with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mushroom Pizza: If you haven't used all your mushrooms to top the steak, might we suggest a riff on pizza? We haven't tried this one yet but we plan on giving our mushrooms a rough chop in a pan; spreading the quark over the pizza shell and letting it bake for a 10 minutes. For something heartier you might adds some slices of cooked potatoes or some left over steak. You could chop the salad greens on top for a beautiful presentation.
You could also bring the Beets into the game with a Beet and Boursin (sub Quark) Tarte. Please forgive the horrible puns and LOLs in this recipe. We didn't write it.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Hot Toddies, PBS and Chill: If you still have a few days left before trudging back to work and the snowy New England tundra doesn't inspire you to leave you home/jammies/dog- might we suggest a few binge-worthy culinary shows to pass the time?
Mind of Chef (PBS): This series combines travel, cooking and the delightful snark of Anthony Bourdain who narrates. Each season follows a different chef around to learn about their life, favorite dishes and approach to food.
Chef's Life (PBS): Follows Chef Vivian Howard and her family through each season as they try to bring the farm to table philosophy to small-town North Carolina.
While diving down the wormhole, we suggest a Hot Toddy to keep you toasty along the way. The Toddy will also help stave off a cold or cough. That's Science.