December 2-8, 2019
While our family was saying the blessing before Thanksgiving Dinner, I kept one eye open and respectfully admired the sustenance that lay before me. It was all there: turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, spinach something or another, kale salad, Kay’s scalloped oysters, fresh fruit, and both a fork and spoon above the plate, awaiting dessert. I knew I was going to eat some of everything, way more than is normally appropriate. What flashed before my eyes was from whence all this food came. Knowing what I know about ingredients, I felt very fortunate.
The turkey, Lupe and I had reared from a hatchling, through blazing heat and frigid winds. These heritage birds are truly magnificent creatures, rare by most standards, deemed irrelevant by industry standards. With customer interest, a handful of small farms around the country have singlehandedly brought these birds back from the brink of extinction. The pieces I chose had been thoughtfully prepared by Chef Alex who said it was confit. I’m still not exactly sure what that means but mine was deboned fork tender chunks of dark meat that had my taste buds asking, what is this? bring it on! (My taste buds felt very fortunate too.) I picked up a couple of pieces with my fingers while nobody was watching just for a full tactile experience. The rich turkey stock gravy really set off the flavor, so of course it went on the dressing, and the mashed potatoes that I had prepared myself that very morning.
Many of you enjoyed one our turkeys, and I have a lot of thanks to Meghan who kept up with all the spreadsheets, turkey sizes, phone numbers, emails, and special considerations you may have had, so that each of us could share a turkey raised right with friends and loved ones. Here is an insider’s tip: next year we plan to also offer fully prepared cider-brined heritage turkey confit ready to heat and eat, with gravy and all the fixins.
I worked my way around the plate sampling each item to devise my strategy of how much of each side dish to eat and in what order and in what combination. The mashed potatoes I peeled were from the “kitchen” bin, those determined to be un-sellable due to cosmetic blemishes, but still good for us to enjoy. It may be counterintuitive to some of you, but most of what we eat at the farm are the blemished fruits and veggies that are perfectly fine otherwise. I do feel fortunate to be able to enjoy the potatoes, whether they are beautiful or blemished, as I hold much respect for the guys who worked so hard to put them before me.
I grabbed a forkful of kale to get some roughage to soak up the gravy and realized it might not have been there had Jeremy not stepped up and helped pull row covers over the crop before the 14 degree F night a few weeks prior. Even I helped out that early November day to cover several acres of crops with row cover. It is truly a blessing to see a variety of people from vastly differing backgrounds come together as a team, in trying conditions, to accomplish such a feat in short order.
The deviled eggs coaxed from the laying hens and washed and candled by Carolyn or EJ were calling to me as well. But, I just could not make room for more food. I wished I had remembered to sneak some Tupperware to the table in my jacket pocket.
I’m not sure what’s involved to grow organic cranberries, but I trust that no herbicides or pesticides were released into the ponds on my behalf. I feel fortunate to support an organic cranberry farm family somewhere in Maine, who probably puts cranberry sauce on everything. Maybe next year we can send them some southern gravy and they can send us cranberry sauce.
None of this would be available for me had John and my wife, Ann, not decided to work together on the farm they each grew up on. Together as a family working over the years to hone their skills, they grow and provide an awful lot of good food to people that appreciate the work. The countless hours looking over the hood of a tractor or sorting tomatoes or pouring over emails add up, and the bounty now produced is nothing short of remarkable. I am appreciative of all the farmers with fortitude, who create wholesome organic foods that simply taste amazing. Many of the best recipes are quite simple with the intent to let the food speak for itself.
As we ate and joked around the table wondering what the two dessert eating utensils were for, I couldn’t help but be thankful for our customers that have expressed so many kind words over the years. With such loyalty and commitment, we have expanded our productive capacity to offer more variety over a longer period of time. Most of what was on my plate was from the fields outside the window. We used to not worry about having kale at Thanksgiving, much less on Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Now we have kale planned out for all year, to go with our mashed potatoes, spinach something or other, oysters, fruit, dressing, turkey, and of course healthy gravy. We feel fortunate to have you serve your friends and family food from Elmwood Stock Farm because I do really know how good it is. -Mac Stone
In Your Share
- Kale, Baby
- Lettuce, Salad Mix
- Potatoes, Gold
- Squash, Acorn
- Squash, Delicata
- Squash, Honeynut
- Squash, Spaghetti
- Sweet Potatoes
- Turnips, Purple
Check out our Pinterest board for this week’s recipes!