The Gentleman Farmer

News and Blog

Posted 6/3/2012 10:57am by Jessica Green.

 

Its a slow start out of the gate this season as we attend our first Logan Sq Market today with eggs but no produce. This time last year it was just the opposite with plenty of fresh greens and yet our hens were still a couple of months away yet from laying.

Our new location, while robust in space has not been robust in fertility. Many of our seedlings that were on schedule in the greenhouse, halted their growth once they were transplanted in the field-- which lacked in phosphorus and nitrogen-- essential minerals for our plants.

That compounded by the dry spell which finally broke late last week, slowed our plant growth right down. Having walked the field late last evening the crops are slowly starting to come around: fennel, kale, kohlrabi, arugula, mixed leaf lettuces, head lettuce, radishes etc... are all starting to look happier. 

Farming continues to be an adventure. And a very humbling job.

Other progress on the farm includes the beginning of building out a new washing/packing station as well as a new cold room to store our freshly harvested veg. Last year we relied on our refrigeration truck to store our produce. Although not ideal and far from perfect, it did the job. We're looking forward to having a walk in cold room that will be far more efficient!

Tomatoes, potatoes, summer and winter squashes, onions, leeks, and sprouts are all in the ground. This year we are planning to grow our tomatoes under hoops and up lattice. We have a few heirlooms as well as black cherry toms and some nice beef tomatoes to expect. In the same plot, which is just uphill from the main field, we plan to  plant the rest of our nightshades-- eggplants, tomatillos and okra to name a few and new to our harvest this year will be some ground cherries or husk cherries. Lots to look forward to!

Also we've discovered that one of our chickens is indeed a rooster! Dominic was working out in the field the other day and heard a very clear "cock a doodle doo". Turns out our one "exotic" chicken that was thrown in for good measure from our sellers happens to be a guy! So now there's no question as to who will rule the roost!

For those of you who are visiting us at the markets-- we appreciate your patience! And as always, we appreciate your support!

 

Posted 5/26/2012 10:11am by Kelly Hoogenakker.

Kelly Hoogenakker Holistic Health Coach

I am thrilled to be kicking off another great season with the Gentleman Farmer this year and I’m looking forward to an exciting adventure through the freshest produce around and all the culinary delights we can create with them!

 This year, in addition to highlighting some of the great nutrition facts about the “Bounty in your Boxes” from week to week, we’re going to explore the role these foods play in your overall diet and how you define what that is for yourself.  Whether you are striving to eat a more plant-based diet, looking for ways to increase quality protein and limit carbohydrates, or just want to eat more locally sourced foods in general, you’ll learn delicious ways to incorporate this farm-fresh food into your ideal diet.

 And to keep things exciting, we’ll also be having a little Locavore Challenge this summer. All Gentleman Farmer readers and CSA members will have a chance to stretch your creativity in the kitchen and see just how “local” you can eat by sourcing an entire meal using only ingredients from within a 100-mile radius of your home. One lucky winner will receive a Free Mini-Coaching Strategy session with me valued at $50.  Keep reading this summer for more details on the challenge and how and when you can participate.

As owner of Fresh Ground Health and Holistic Health Coach in Chicago, I help men and women make healthier food choices that are easy to prepare and easy to love, without feeling restricted or deprived.  My clients experience increased energy, lower blood pressure, more balanced hormonal health, improved skin texture and gradual weight loss as they learn to incorporate new food and lifestyle choices as part of a unique, personalized approach to living healthfully.

My approach to living healthfully is based on two main principles.  One, that ideal diets are bio-individual, meaning that no one diet is right for everyone and that everyone should learn how to determine their uniquely ideal way to eat.  Two, that the foundation for every healthy diet is access to fresh, organically grown produce which forms the corner stone for nourishment and nutritional healing.  To that end, I can think of no better collaboration of ideas and resources than this one, with the Gentleman Farmer.  Thanks for bringing me back for another season!

 

 

Posted 4/24/2012 11:33am by Jessica and Dominic Green.

Posted 3/21/2012 8:55am by Jessica and Dominic Green.

Posted 1/9/2012 9:13am by Jessica Green.

We are looking forward to starting our 2012 season with your CSA subscriptions!

We hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday season and have jump started your new year with happiness and health!

As you begin to explore the site and have a look at our CSA offerings this year, please keep in mind that we have decided to forego on-line credit card processing this year. We hope this does not inconvenience you to much! You can still place your subscription on-line but then you just need to send a check our way to complete the process. All the details are where you need them, when you need them as you go through the check-out. Thank you for your understanding!

On the home front....We've been experimenting with eating mostly veggie based meals these last couple of weeks and have been exploring all the possibilities that vegetables can provide!

Our kids gobbled down a fantastic ratatouille that we found in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's new book The River Cottage Every Day Veg cookbook. I was surprised that even our 13 month old Ollie didn't object to the texture of the roasted vegetables. A testament to the tastiness!

Posted 9/17/2011 3:22pm by Kelly Hoogenakker.

Leafy Green Vegetables are the most missing food in modern Western diet. When we focus on eating more greens, we begin to crowd out the less healthy foods from our daily diet. Not only are greens high in minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron and vitamins like A, C, E and K, but they are excellent at purifying and oxygenating the blood, improving circulation, clearing congestion of the lungs and strengthening the immune system. Greens also support improved function in the liver, gall bladder and kidneys.        

 

Lucky for you, the GF box this week packs in 4 Leafy Green super heroes: Parsley, Purslane, Kale and Broccoli.        

 

Of course there are many great recipes, which center around fresh parsley, but don't forget the nice touch of topping many of your meals with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley. You immediately add a healthy, natural dose of Vitamin C and Calcium to any meal this way.

 

I know you learned about Purslane last week and I hope you are trying it. We got some from the Gentleman Farmer tent at the Logan Square Farmers Market last Sunday and it's been a great addition to my veggie juices and green smoothies!

 

Broccoli is perhaps considered a more 'common' vegetable to many but I love it! Remember the old favorite -- baked potato night? Don't forget to include steamed broccoli florets with the cheese and sour cream. Or, have broccoli for breakfast! Chopped fine and sautéed in oil or butter, it makes a great addition to an omelet or frittata.

 

Which brings me to Kale; one of my all time favorites. It's mild enough to go great in juices and fruit smoothies and hearty enough to stand up to a robust marinade as in the following recipe. Much like purslane, kale was more commonly known as a weed until people learned how nutritious it was. If you want to be as hearty and difficult to "kill" as the weeds in your yard or garden, consider eating weeds like these - you really ARE what you eat!

 

Recipe: Kelly's Kickin' Kale!

Yes, this is the recipe that made me famous. The KEY ingredient for this recipe is Smoked Paprika (sweet), a paprika made from smoked sweet peppers. It adds a flavor akin to bacon, and while you can make this dish without it - you couldn't call it Kelly's Kickin' Kale!

1 bunch of Kale

juice of 1 lemon

olive oil

1/2 to 3/4 c coarsely chopped red bell pepper

1/4 c coarsely chopped purple onion

1 garlic clove (optional - makes it spicier) salt, pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

1-2 dashes cayenne pepper

(can also use regular paprika or chili powder for different flavors)

Strip kale leaves off stems and tear into bite sized pieces into a colander or salad spinner. Rinse well and drain/spin or blot dry with a paper towel - remove most of water, or as much as you can.

Put kale in a large bowl, add lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil and about 1/4 tsp sea salt. Massage the greens with your hands for several minutes to work in the lemon and oil. Allow this to sit while you prepare the marinade.

In a food processor or blender, add all of the rest of the ingredients, plus 1/4 cup* olive oil (*OR LESS, just enough to allow the mixture to turn over) and pulse/puree to a saucy consistency. It should look a little like French dressing.

Toss the greens with the marinade; this time use salad tongs or wooden spoons - NOT YOUR HANDS; season with salt and pepper to taste. You can either eat right away, allow it to sit at room temp for 30 minutes to marinate, or refrigerate overnight and eat the next day. The next day, the greens will be much softer, they will shrink the way greens do when you cook them, and they are easier to digest for a lot of people after they have broken down a little.

 

Posted 8/18/2011 3:04pm by Kelly Hoogenakker.

This week, I'd like to focus on just 2 stars in the Gentleman Farmer CSA box. The first is the not-so-ordinary carrot. Carrots have long been celebrated for their health promoting, off-the-charts beta-carotene (Vitamin A) content. Growing up, I was told that eating carrots would help me have good eyesight and they've been a favorite staple of my diet ever since (I still don't wear glasses or contacts at 35, but I'm willing to admit I might be pushing it at this point!) But, carrots are getting another run in the nutritional spotlight, this time for another group of phytonutrients called polyacetylenes that have been shown to inhibit colon cancer cell growth. Another recent study coming out of the Netherlands has shown carrots as being major super-stars at reducing the risk of Cardiovascular Disease, even as compared to the risk reduction already recognized from eating any fruits and veggies in general.

Things to note about carrots for your every day consumption: As with many veggies, I advocate eating some raw and some cooked for the differing nutrient absorption possibilities. If you cook them, do so in a small amount of water (steaming or water sauté instead of boiling, for example) or roast, GRILL or stir-fry in oil. Actually, cooking them in oil or serving them with some sort of fat is especially beneficial, since Vitamin A is fat-soluble and this makes the nutrient more bio-available to your body. And aside from being one of the most popular and easy raw snacks on earth - juicing carrots has been shown to have miraculous healing powers - from helping to detox your liver to fighting many stages of cancer progression. Yes, carrots are mighty indeed!

Oh - and one more exciting thing about carrots? The green tops are not only edible too, but have been shown to contain even higher concentrations of the nutrients found in the roots, with less sugar and the added benefit of chlorophyll to oxygenate the blood. You can sauté them in any dish that calls for sautéed greens, or add them to a green smoothie for a super immunity booster.

The other food in your box that I would like to spotlight this week is OKRA! I'm from the South, so Okra is one of those vegetables that I feel I have a particular jurisdiction over. It is a powerhouse of nutrition with relatively few calories, boasting a good supply of folic acid, Vitamins A & C, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium (the anti-stress mineral!) One of its biggest assets, however, is its high content of soluble fiber (like oatmeal) that helps lower serum cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. But the real question most people have is what to do with it. While there are tons of recipes out there to answer this question, in my humble opinion - there are only two worthwhile uses for okra: gumbo or fried. Although I am still trying to perfect my recipe for gumbo, which is a bit too elaborate for a blog post, the best fried okra is easy enough to master on your own with delicious results - and it counters some of the slimy texture issues that many people don't like about okra. While frying isn't the "healthiest" preparation of any food, it's still a better option than French fries... and who says healthy food can't be a little naughty sometimes?

Nice and Naughty Fried Okra

(Vegan, Wheat/Gluten-Free. NOT Fat Free or Low Fat!)

Whole Fresh Okra (however much you have or want to cook)

Corn Meal (at least 2 TBSP, enough to coat)

Salt & Pepper to taste

High-Temp Oil (Grapeseed, Peanut, Coconut, etc. Do NOT use Olive Oil to fry)

 

  • Wash whole okra pods in cold water and shake off excess water.
  • Allow okra to dry on a paper towel completely, to avoid being soggy
  • Slice okra crosswise into ¼ inch to ½ inch discs. *This will gum up your knife a bit, so you may want to rinse it off a couple of times as you go.
  • Place sliced okra in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with cornmeal, salt and pepper. Stir to coat the okra lightly.
  • Heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot or skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add coated okra in batches when oil is hot - should bubble when you drop one in.
  • Fry okra until a deep, dark brown in color. It's easier to undercook than to overcook this one - the darker, the crunchier, which is good!
  • Use a slotted metal spoon to drain out cooked okra and place on a plate covered with paper towels or brown paper bags to drain/absorb excess oil.
  • Cook remaining batches while trying your best not to eat the first batch before you make it to the table.

 

This is something that no matter how much I cook, it's always gone by the end of the night! It goes with anything, could be a meal on it's own, or makes an interesting and nutrient-rich alternative to your movie popcorn. Enjoy!

Posted 8/4/2011 5:46pm by Cleetus Friedman.

I think I may have learned that cucumbers become pickles before I learned that caterpillars become butterflies. If my love for pickles and olives stemmed from being a Jew, or coincidentally that my grandmother always had the best pickles, or that all delis and good restaurants always had them on the table, is no matter. It's the chicken and the egg for me.

Throughout my years I have learned that pickles are not far from baseball. Like the Cubs and Socks, you are either Claussen or Vlassic. You like them sweet and soft or you like them sour and hard. And you'll fight that THAT is the best pickle.

For me, there was always something special about the pickles you get at an east coast deli. Not just pickles, either, but pickled tomatoes, too! The hard crunch that comes when you bite into a good one.  The twang to your tongue...the overload to your senses. The way a good pickle effects your olfactory can forever impact your impression of them as a child.

When I opened the City Provisions Delicatessen, I knew the pickle would become one of our staples and I wanted it to be right, the way I saw a pickle.

After many attempts, I came up with what I saw as the perfect pickle: The Deli Dill: a touch of sweet, a sour finish, and a crunch that could bother your neighbor. It is that pickle that lives atop our deli case, that hangs out next to every sandwich, and has become part of the thread of the fabric that weaves through our Deli.

With other veggies like snap peas, radish, beets, and more, I get a little more creative. Throwing star anise into a brine gives the veggies an unexpected punch if happiness. Although I don't feel that offering a recipe is necessary, knowing that water, sugar, vinegar, dill, and pickling spices can launch you into a pickling frenzy, the ratios and methods are what make yours special.  Adding more whole pepper or fennel, jalapeño, or any other herb besides dill gets not only the creative juices flowing, but the pallets a nice "what was that?" in the crunch.

Either way, the pickling process of a cucumber will have you looking at all vegetables in a different way.

Posted 7/30/2011 1:44pm by Kelly Hoogenakker.

There is something truly wonderful about getting out of the kitchen on a warm summer day and firing up the grill! But if you're trying to move more towards a plant-based diet, frequent grilling can lead to eating a lot more meat than you may want or need. This weeks box has some great "leading ladies" that can take the heat of the grill AND center stage on your plate.

These high fiber fruit/veggies are designed to fill you up with fewer calories and fat than meat and are a perfect vehicle for that smoky grilled flavor complemented by fresh herbs.

Start with your Sweet Romanian Peppers, which you can throw on the grill whole, after a quick rinse. Allow the peppers to blacken almost completely, turning as necessary, on a hot grill with direct heat. Remove peppers to a brown paper bag and fold the bag closed to trap the peppers inside with their heat. Meanwhile, grill your squash and eggplant slices with the instructions below.

Wash and slice the eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini lengthwise into ¼ inch strips and marinate briefly in a mix of olive oil, lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper and 1 or 2 of your favorite herbs (dried or fresh). Even if you are limiting salt intake, a small amount will help to pull out the bitterness of the eggplant, so add just a pinch to your marinade. Grill until lightly charred and tender. Leaving the skins on not only helps these slices hold together on the grill, but add gorgeous color to your plate!

Now, back to your peppers. Once they are cooled enough to handle, remove them from the bag and carefully slip off the charred skins. Cut open to remove the seeds and stem and slice the pepper into long strips.

Arrange alternating slices of Eggplant, Yellow Squash, Zucchini and Pepper and drizzle with a little truffle oil or pesto sauce for an out-of-this-world treat!

Zucchini & Yellow Squash nutrition highlights: Great source of folate, Vitamin A and manganese, and a long list of other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, especially when you consider how few calories they contain. Interestingly, this particular list of nutrients greatly supports the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels - which is key for just about anyone living in our sugar-laden society these days!

Eggplant nutrition highlights: Great source of folate, Vitamins B1 & B6, as well as potassium. Be sure to eat those lovely purple skins to take advantage of the phytonutrients that specifically help protect your precious brain cells and keep you smart. And you're probably already smart enough not to smoke, but did you know that Eggplant contains nicotine!? Don't worry, you would have to eat 20 lbs of eggplant to equal the nicotine in 1 cigarette, but maybe you'll find eating eggplant slightly "relaxing" on a lazy summer evening. 

 

 

 

Posted 7/10/2011 12:00am by Kelly Hoogenakker.

 

red cabbage
TGF red cabbage

 

You've probably heard the wise adage by now that you should strive to eat a rainbow of colors everyday - and we're not talking about Lucky Charms cereal!  This week's selection brings two gorgeous RED vegetables: red cabbage and beets!

 

Reasons for Red?  Each color of the culinary rainbow offers it's own unique health-boosting gifts.  First, let's start with a brief vocabulary list: skip this if scientific words bore you!

 

Phytonutrients refers generally to the nutrients in plants that are health-promoting. Many phytonutrients are credited with giving plants their varieties of colors, though not all do.

  Though hundreds of phytonutrients have been identified, it is estimated that thousands more are still undiscovered. Polyphenols are a class of phytonutrients which include a few subcategories such as flavonoids and non-flavonoids.

 

Many of our red and purple fruits and vegetables fall into the Polyphenol category.  One red pigment polyphenol is anthocyanin, which not only has antioxidant power (think: cancer prevention) but is anti-inflammatory, too (think: just about every other illness) and just so happens to be exquisitely plentiful in RED CABBAGE!

 

 While anthocyanin is the most common red pigment phytonutrient, betalains are another phytonutrient group that show up as red (or yellow, orange, pink or purple) that is very rare.  This nutrient takes it up another notch; not just antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, but detoxifying, too!  Best common sense source?  Skip the expensive cactus-fruit supplements and eat some Beets!

 

So, why are we seeing RED, again?

Eat Red Cabbage to:

1.     Support your Digestive Health. From healing stomach ulcers to controlling bacteria overgrowth, red cabbage can be your stomach's best friend.

2.     Lower Cholesterol. More effective here when eaten steamed than raw.

3.     Boost Immunity. High Vitamins C & A plus the off-the-charts anthocyanin content means you are better equipped to fight off everything from colds to oxidative stress which leads to cancer. Most effective here when eaten raw.

4.     Reduce Inflammation. Chronic back pain, joint pain, headaches and even allergies and increased body weight can be linked to excess inflammation.  Most of our processed foods tend to increase inflammation, so most of us need extra helpings of foods like Red Cabbage!

 

Eat Beets to:

1.     Power Prenatal. Both the roots and the greens are excellent sources of Folate - crucial for a healthy baby!

2.     Build the Blood. Ancient cultures took the rich, bloodlike appearance as a clue to the beet's usefulness and modern science has proven them right.  Beets (and their juice in particular) are known to both detoxify and rebuild the blood with important minerals including lots of iron

3.     Everyday Detox. Beets include enzymes that bind to toxic substances, effectively neutralizing them and allowing them to be excreted from the body.

4.     Heal your Heart. Beets include multiple anti-inflammatory molecules that work in a variety of ways to reduce inflammation particularly well in the cardiovascular system, but also in other body systems.

 

Try it out

 

"Cole Slaw" seems to be a picnic staple in this country, but as I've never been a fan of mayo-based dressings, I never developed a taste for it. This version delivers more benefit, less fat and cholesterol, a gorgeous PINK colored side dish and a sassy sweet-tart flavor full of fresh crunch!

 

'Pretty in Pink' Sweet and Sour Slaw

Makes: A LOT! (and leftovers of this are great lunch fare!)

2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar (raw, unfiltered if you can get it)

Juice of 1 Lemon

Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1/3 - ½ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Splash of non-dairy Milk (can also use real milk, half & half or cream)

½ Small or ¼ Medium Red Cabbage, shredded

1 Crisp, Sweet Apple, cored and grated

1-2 to 1 whole Daikon Radish, thin half-moon slices

 

Start with the dressing by whisking together the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl or in a shaker jar.  Add milk last, whisk in and set aside. Quarter and core the cabbage, then slice thinly with a sharp knife. Place cabbage in a large bowl. Peel and slice daikon. Depending on the size, you may not need to use all of it. Add about ¼ to ½ as much daikon as cabbage.  Grate the apple on the large holes of a box grater and add to the cabbage.  Immediately toss with the dressing and either serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.  Tastes great chilled or at room temperature, as well as with walnuts or pine nuts sprinkled on top. If you use non-dairy milk, this will last up to a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

 

Beets - Serving Suggestions

Remember that beets offer different benefits when eaten raw, lightly cooked, or juiced.  So try to enjoy them in a variety of ways.

 

Easy: Wash and Grate Raw Beets over a fresh green salad

Requires a Juicer: Beet+Apple+Ginger = a sweet, spicy power juice

Advanced: "Passion Soup" see recipe following

 

Beet and Apple Soup (adapted from Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell)

Serves 6 (generous portions)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil

2 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 ½ pounds uncooked red beets, trimmed, peeled and sliced

2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

7/8 cup dry hard cider (like Magners)

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Sea salt, black pepper

1 bunches of scallions, trimmed and sliced (about 1 cup)

3 tablespoons plain yogurt (optional)

 

Heat 3 TBSP butter or oil in a large stock pot over low heat, add the onions and garlic and sweat for 5-8 minutes until soft and glossy, stirring occasionally. Add the beets and apples and sweat a further 5 minutes, again stirring from time to time. Add the cider and reduce until syrupy, then add the stock. Bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or use an emulsion blender directly in the pot. Return pureed soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

About 10 minutes before the soup will be ready, heat 1 TBSP butter or oil in a small skillet and sweat the scallions over low heat for about 8 minutes until soft, stirring often and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Serve soup in bowls with a teaspoon of yogurt in the center (if using), topped with scallions.

 

Variation:

Use Golden Beets instead of Red and Pears instead of Apples. Season with a bit of Coriander in the oil with the onions and garlic - for a totally different and equally yummy experience!  It will WOW your friends.

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