At Home with Local Food — Bethlehem Rose Garden Farmer’s Market
Local can mean picking an apple off the tree in your backyard, or plucking a tomato off the potted plant on your balcony. But if you are interested in a way to instantly plunge into the world of fresh local food, visit your local farmer’s market. It is the easiest way to purchase and eat food at the peak of its flavor and connect face-to-face with the farmers who grow it. I live in southeastern Pennsylvania and our local harvest brings us life and vitality, a shared experience of the world, and a heritage we can savor and pass on—so at the end of this post you will find 2 recipes—signature offerings of mine highlighting some of our local produce…but first…
Eating local food is different. By doing so, one is able to catch the rhythms of nature, eating the best it has to offer. I want to introduce my neighborhood’s new farmer’s market—located in the Bethlehem Rose Garden— between West Raspberry and Broad Street. The Bethlehem Rose Garden Farmer’s Market meets every Saturday, from 9am to 1pm, up to and including September 24, 2016.
I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was to stop by and talk with local farmers and vendors, and then shop! There are so many delicious items to choose from: naturally grown vegetables in season, local fruits, pastured chicken meat plus eggs, duck eggs, raw honey, artisan cheeses of all kinds, cow’s milk, maple syrup, whole grain breads, pastries, pies, cakes, nuts and kettle corn—also homemade soaps, hand spun wool yarn and more. You must check it out!
Get an early start, make a list, but be flexible and be prepared to adapt it to include unexpected finds. Take a pretty basket or sturdy canvas bags—or even a wagon for your kids and then pile food all around them. The setting is shaded, so buy some bread, cheese and fruit and spread it out on a blanket and have a picnic! As you walk around, let your eyes feast, ask questions, ask for a taste, look for hidden treasures. Be a savvy shopper-let your farmer be your teacher!
I am going to start with some recipes—featuring farmer’s market favorites: chicken, peaches, potatoes and goat cheese, followed by shots of some of the Rose Garden Farmer’s Market vendors and their goods…remember folks, this market is just getting underway, so stop in—more vendors are sure to join in the future. Buy fresh—buy local—support your local growers!
Click to Download: Poached Chicken with Fresh Peach Salsa
Signature Offering by Annette O. Corona – All Rights Reserved
Poached Chicken with Fresh Peach Salsa
Makes 6-8 servings
I love chicken—it is my ultimate comfort food. I love chicken prepared any way however, poaching is by far the easiest and most convenient way to prepare it in my humble opinion. I mention poaching often in social media food posts, so I am finally sharing it with everyone!
Chartier Farms, firstname.lastname@example.org – I met these farmers, a husband and wife team, just last week at Bethlehem’s Rose Garden Farmer’s Market. I purchased a 5+ pound roasting chicken for a reasonable price and was quite excited to prepare and taste the bird. I was not disappointed—full of flavor, meaty and delicious. Since it is summertime and we are in the middle of yet another heat wave, poaching a bird is quick, and you have plenty of moist, luscious chicken meat at your fingertips in the frig for sandwiches, stir-fries, salads, soups or just a quick protein snack! It is easy to do and don’t forget to save the poaching liquid—in fact, feel free to toss in an onion, carrot, a rib of celery, bay leaf, parsley stems, mushrooms, or even a splash of white wine—to help flavor the meat and broth, although it is not really necessary. Salt and black pepper will due and plenty of cold water. That’s all you need besides a chicken.
I have included a quick and easy recipe for Fresh Peach Salsa-–peaches being my favorite fruit and oh so juicy, and in season right now. This is a pairing you can’t beat. Let’s get started…
To poach a chicken:
(1) 4-5 pound whole chicken, wiped clean (see NOTE)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Himalayan Pink Salt or sea salt
10 whole black peppercorns
Fill a large pot with cold water and add the whole chicken (you can split the chicken in half if you find it is easier to handle), making sure the chicken is completely covered. Bring to barely a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that may rise to the top. Just before the water boils, stir in the pink salt and black peppercorns. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and gently poach the bird for 1½-hours or until the chicken is moist and tender (do not overcook).
Using a large slotted spoon and a large fork, gently and carefully remove the chicken and place on a carving board. Reserve the poaching liquid for other recipes. Remove the skin and bones and discard, leaving the meat in large pieces. Arrange the meat on a large serving platter and sprinkle with pink salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with Fresh Peach Salsa. Refrigerate any leftovers.
NOTE: Feel free to add the neck, gizzard and chicken heart to the poaching liquid. I never add the chicken liver to the poaching liquid. The chicken liver can be quickly seared in browned butter, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper and served immediately.
To make Fresh Peach Salsa: Makes about 4 cups salsa
6 firm ripe peaches, washed, pitted and chopped into small pieces
½-cup finely minced onion
½-cup finely minced red or green bell pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice
¼-cup fresh basil leaves torn onto small pieces (generous)
A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and chill until ready to serve. This salsa is also good with fish and grilled vegetables.
Click to Download: Chevre Mashed Potatoes
Signature offering by Annette O. Corona – All Rights Reserved
Chevre Mashed Potatoes
Makes 4-5 servings
This is an excellent side dish featuring potatoes and chevre or goat cheese. You can twist the recipe a little bit more by topping each serving with crumbled smoky bacon and a sprinkling of hard, aged cheese like goat Gouda, grated through the large holes of a box grater—-mix it in or let it be the part you pick off first and eat (like me!)
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 large potatoes), unpeeled
2 tablespoons unsalted goat butter or cow butter
½-cup goat milk or cow milk
1 small onion, diced
4 sage leaves, minced
4 ounces fresh chevre goat cheese at room temperature
½-teaspoon sea salt
½-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 thick slices smoky bacon, pan-fried and crumbled (optional)
2-3 tablespoons hard, aged cow or goat cheese, grated (optional)
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water (leaving them whole), cover, and boil until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain in a colander and let rest covered with a kitchen towel for about 5 minutes. Break the potatoes apart and push through a ricer into a large bowl.
As the potatoes are cooking, put the butter, milk, onion and sage in a medium-size saucepan and warm over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer and stir occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Pour the hot milk mixture over the potatoes and add the fresh chevre, salt and black pepper. Beat by hand with a large spoon until smooth and creamy. Serve as is or with crumbled bacon and a generous grating of hard, aged goat cheese like goat Gouda. Fabulous!
NOTE: Keep your mashed potatoes warm by setting the bowl (covered) over simmering water until ready to serve.
Lastly, here are some pictures of the vendors at the Bethlehem Rose Garden Farmer’s Market.
The definition of a “Locavore” is anyone who seeks out and savors foods grown, raised or produced close to home —Amy Cotler.
Thanks for stopping by…