We’re fortunate to have a kitchen here at the farm, built in 2011 to use all of the wonderful, fresh produce coming out of the fields. Not only does an on-site kitchen enhance the value of our produce, it allows us to extend the season of local eating through preservation and provide high-quality, delicious food to our local community.
Our kitchen crew works hard to keep the farmstand and Hello Cafe stocked with “regular” products – fresh breads and baked goods, salads, yogurts, etc. But there’s also a lot of spontaneity in what they do.
Since their goal is to use as much produce as possible without having to add it to the compost pile, they’ll often switch gears to process an excess of a crop coming in from the field or produce that we won’t be able to sell in the farmstand. When this happens, one person stops what they’re doing and focuses on processing.
Sometimes, it’s an easy task – like taking 20 minutes to bag 40 pounds of spinach. Other times, it can take much longer, especially if they’re trying to salvage a crop that’s been damaged.
The goal is to have as much preserved as possible, so that when there are fewer crops available, we are still able to use and sell our produce – pickled, fermented, frozen or incorporated into the food products we make for the farmstand.
When we’re swimming in tomatoes late in the summer, for example, they’re made into all different types of sauces, chopped and roasted, or even just frozen whole.
Generally, frozen fresh produce has a “shelf life” of about one year, which means we can use any preserved items throughout the entire season.
Last fall, the kitchen blended garlic with olive oil, then froze it in portions to use throughout the spring and summer until this season’s garlic is ready!
Though it can seem intimidating, putting in a little extra work now will totally pay off in the long run. If you’re unsure about it, try starting with simply freezing greens (no blanching required). Or stop by the farmstand and choose from the many different products stocked in our freezers!
[ By Laura Angers on 2018 June 8 ]