2021: A Year of Good Eating

Looking up from a busy, busy year of farm work, we’re happy to see 2021 on the horizon! This week, Elmwood Stock Farm staff is commenting on their food goals for the new year. Here’s what we’re looking forward to cooking and eating into 2021:

Fermentation is on the minds of several folks here.

Mackenzie is just starting her fermentation journey. “I am looking forward to learning more about and experimenting with fermenting! I love all things fermented, but I’ve never done it myself. I’d like to try kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc. We’ll see how it goes,” she says. 

Alex B. says, “During the beginning of lockdowns back in March, I decided I really wanted to take the jump into experimenting with fermentation. I’ve always dabbled in a little pickling of veggies here and there or making a quick batch of sauerkraut, but I had not really tried out true techniques and recipes for ferments like sourdough starter and kimchi. I was able to successfully create a sourdough starter and bake a few loaves but never really felt I mastered a truly perfect sourdough loaf—perfect crunchy crust and light and airy interior. I am hoping to jump back into this new journey of bread baking this year, so I can have delicious fresh bread to pair with my own pickled and fermented vegetables from the farm. 

“One of my go-to favorite recipes I’ve been making is toasted sourdough einkorn bread topped with homemade vegan cashew herb ricotta, pickled watermelon radishes and spicy microgreens from Elmwood Stock Farm, and flaky sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper!” (Alex’s sourdough-ricotta-radish creation is pictured above.)

Naomi is looking forward to improving her veggie fermentation with the help of fermenting weights—we highly recommend this simple investment—after having less success than she’d hoped in her first fermentation attempt.

“I’m currently ‘brewing’ watermelon, black Spanish and daikon radishes with sea salt, and I’m looking at making Middle Eastern traditional ‘pink fermented turnips’ (using beets). I’m not planning on using any vinegar— only salt and the natural bacteria microbes living around us,” Naomi says.

Mac has long written about the relationship between the human microbiome and soil microbiome and continues to be intrigued by kimchi and other lactofermented foods.

Seasonal veggie wishes abound!

“Since starting at Elmwood Stock Farm, I have learned quite a bit about the seasonality of different types of produce and how we can adapt our eating habits to more closely align with the options that nature provides us,” says Brittany. “I want to continue to learn how to eat with the seasons and rely on local food options as much as possible. That being said, I would really love to try my hand at canning, and maybe next summer attempt to make some heirloom tomato sauce!”

Meghan is upping her seasonal-eating routine with the cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg. (Look to your local bookstores for this one!) 

Meghan says, “The cookbook is an exercise in eating seasonally; each of the six seasons receiving their own chapter. The recipes are creative and approachable and spotlight the flavors, textures and versatility of vegetables throughout their growing seasons. If I had to recommend one cookbook to a rookie locavore, this would be it!”

An immersion blender is on Betsy’s wish list this Christmas. 

“My hope is that it will help me use up all my veggies. I enjoy making soups, smoothies and sauces. You can make big batches of tomato sauce all at once and then freeze or jar it so you have lovely homemade sauce even in the winter. My favorite thing to do for an easy dinner is to make pizza using the Wiesenberger pizza crust mix (so easy and fast), my homemade sauce, and then whatever veggies or toppings I have available,” she says.

And Cecil (Ann and John’s father) is already looking forward to summertime for heirloom tomatoes to top his cheeseburgers.

Sweets definitely made the list.

Naomi joined Elmwood Stock Farm in late summer, after rhubarb season, and when she learned the farm grows rhubarb, she was pretty excited. “That’s my favorite. I’m totally making rhubarb tart when they come around. I’m from France, and that’s a favorite childhood memory! I haven’t had one in so long,” she says.

Ann has raspberry pie on her mind. “It seems so decadent to have enough raspberries at one time to make a pie out of them! Preserving the harvest is the goal, as if I plan ahead, we can all have pie,” she says.

We’re home gardeners, too.

AIex J., our on-farm chef, has a small strawbale garden in her front yard in Lexington. “I had such an amazing experience with growing habanero peppers in my strawbale garden! I have limited space in my front yard, but they did so well. Still, for all of the peppers that I grew, I only got two or three bottles of hot sauce. Next year, I am super psyched to grow more peppers,” Alex says. (See Alex’s strawbale garden, pictured above.)

Lisa has worked on farms in different parts of the world and brought home with her dreams of fruits, veggies and especially herbs to grow. “I have been trying for four years to grow recao, or culantro—a cilantro-like herb that I grew in Puerto Rico. I have yet to find recao seeds that will germinate for me here! So in 2021, I am continuing my recao quest, as well as growing some other favorite herbs that are hard to find here, like papalo (pictured above), shiso and moringa.”

And EJ is in search of the perfect cherry tomato: “I always grow tomatoes every year, and I hope to grow some different varieties next year. I like cherry tomatoes the best, because they go so well on my salads and with tuna fish. I’m always trying to eat healthier, which is difficult with children.”

What are your food goals for 2021? Can Elmwood Stock Farm help you get there? Share your cooking, eating and gardening wishes with us on Facebook or send us a note, and maybe we can work your idea into a newsletter to come!

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