Category Archives: Farmer’s Market

Winder Farms

We go through produce like nobody’s business in our house.  I’m constantly snacking on some sort of fruit and always try to have a vegetable packed dinner.  So when Winder Farms reached out and asked if I would like to try a grocery delivery including a CSA box, I jumped at the chance.

winder farms csa boxWinder Farms is a premier grocery delivery service that recently began serving Orange County (they are already well established in Nevada and Utah).  The goal of Winder Farms is to provide high quality farm fresh food as well as other natural and organic products such as milk, eggs, cheese and pasta to name a few.

For my free delivery, I requested a CSA box filled some produce from local farms in the area as well as a few other staples to try such as almond milk and eggs.  When the Winder Farms delivery arrived on my doorstep, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.

winder farms csa box1 The CSA box had an abundance of fresh produce including lettuce, kale, eggplant, onion, watermelon, carrots, spinach, herbs, melon and radishes.  And the company certainly lives by their “farm fresh” motto as you could tell the carrots had literally just been pulled from the ground.  Love that.

Winder Farms Product boxIn addition to the CSA box, we also got a few bags with kitchen staples including milk, almond milk, chocolate milk, eggs, cheese, wheat bread, bacon, pasta and a frozen chicken dinner.

For our first Winder Farms delivery meal we decided to cook up the ravioli and top it with some fresh herbs.

Winder Farms RavioliThe ravioli came from a local shop in CA and topping it with fresh herbs was an excellent decision.

I also used the eggs, kale and onion to make a frittata, almond milk in my oatmeal, and enjoyed many slices of the watermelon.  Thank you again Winder Farms for the excellent delivery.  I will definitely be doing this again in the future!

The Winder Farms grocery delivery service is perfect for anyone who wants farm fresh items delivered to their door.  It’s convenient, and you can choose exactly what you want delivered to your house each week.  All deliveries are guaranteed before 8am, so you don’t have to worry about your groceries sitting outside your house all day.

If you are interested in signing up for Winder Farms delivery service, please visit www.winderfarms.com.

 

California Grown Wants to Hear From You

Remember a few weeks ago when I made that delicious Cherry and Blueberry Clafouti made from CA Grown produce?

As you know, I am a huge fan of eating locally grown food whenever possible, and am always on the lookout for produce with the blue CA Grown sticker on it at the grocery store.  And after attending the Farm to Table dinner at the Taste of OC, I am even more convinced than ever to buy produce from in-state as much as possible and support California Farmers.

The lovely people at CA Grown want to know what YOU think when it comes to CA Grown produce and if it impacts your any of your purchasing decisions at all.

So if you could pretty please with some fresh CA Grown cherries on top, take the survey below to help our CA Grown team out it would be much appreciated.  The survey does NOT gather any personal information and it’s super short and sweet.  You can access the survey here, or just click the link below:

http://californiagrown.polldaddy.com/s/survey-on-california-grown-blog

Thanks so much for helping out!

Taste of Orange County Part II – The Great Farm to Table Dinner

To read Taste of Orange County Part I, click here.

After some wandering around and enjoying our drinks, it was time for the Great Farm to Table Dinner.  The dinner was initially supposed to be on the stage of the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, but at the last-minute the event organizers decided to have it on the lawn area outside the stage instead.  At first I was disappointed we wouldn’t be eating on stage, but the lawn turned out to be quite lovely.

The Great Farm to Table Dinner was an additional cost to the regular entrance ($150) and all proceeds helped to benefit the Culinary Liberation Front, which was one of the main contributors to the dinner.  Before the meal started, we enjoyed passed appetizers from the participating chefs and Francis Ford Copolla Sauvignon Blanc.

All the appetizers were fun, delicious, and the perfect amuse bouche.  One of my favorites ironically enough was the beet and goat cheese skewer, and I’m usually not a fan of beets.

Other highlights included the nut-encrusted goat cheese with a fruit infusion, sun-dried tomato tapenade on baked crostini, and the fresh oysters with a green salsa on top.

After the appetizer hour, we were seated at two long tables and the participating chefs came out to speak about how important it is to use locally grown ingredients whenever possible and how they incorporated sustainable food into our meal this evening.  Chef Patrick Glennon from the Culinary Liberation Front came out and gave the crowd a bit of background regarding his organization.  Then it was time for the feast!

The meal started out with a salad course courtesy of Chef Paul Hancock from Avalon Grill and freshly baked bread from Dean Kim of OC Baking Co.  The salad was made with a variety of mixed greens and garnished with a light vinaigrette.

The bread from OC Baking Co. ranged from lavosh to sun-dried tomato and a baguette.   This course was nice and light, which was the perfect segue into the seafood courses.

Chef Patrick Glennon presented the crowd with fresh mussels prepared with almond milk, which literally made the mussels melt in your mouth.  I had never tried mussels prior to this evening, and I have to say I loved them.

Chef Craig Connole from K’ya Bistro and House of Big Fish created a beautiful sea bass dish that came with a lovely citrus marinade that included small white strawberries and Chef Ryan Adams of Three Seventy Common served yellowtail that was seared to perfection.

Steve Escobar from Dory Fleet came up during the meal and spoke to the crowd about how he catches all of his fish off the coast of California and then sells it at the Newport Beach Fish Market every Saturday.  It doesn’t get much fresher than that.

The meat course followed next, and Chef Rob Wilson from the Montage Laguna Beach served his unique take on short ribs by having them glazed with a blackberry reduction.  Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub and Taco Asylum also took a more unique approach to preparing his meat, and had his pork shoulder slow-cooked in cola.  I honestly couldn’t get enough of the short ribs and found myself coming back for seconds of that dish.

But the real star of the show was the roasted vegetables (from LBC Urban Farm) that was prepared by Chef Paul Buchanan of Primal Alchemy Catering.  The vegetables tasted about as fresh as you could get and had amazing flavor.  I wish they had presented these earlier in the evening because people were barely touching them because they were so stuffed from the other courses.

Chef Justin Monson of Vine & St. Roy Chef’s Pub ended the evening on a high note with his Meyer lemon tart  topped with lavender cream and garnished with fresh strawberries and blueberries.  The Englishman and I were pretty full at this point so we only had a few bites, but it was quite good.  I pretty much love anything Meyer lemon, so I knew it would be delicious.

Overall the dinner was a success – the food was prepared nicely and everyone seemed to have a great time.  I wish the chefs would’ve come out more often and talked to the crowd because I definitely had a lot of questions for them about how they got their inspiration for their dishes.

Thanks OC Menus and the Taste of Orange County for the experience!

California Grown Cherry and Blueberry Clafouti

Thank you to California Grown for connecting me with California growers and encouraging California consumers to “Choose California Grown” when they can.

If you have been reading Sweet Potato Bites for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of locally grown produce.  My favorite restaurants such as True Food Kitchen, Season’s 52 and Paul Martin’s American Grill incorporate locally grown produce into many of their dishes, and you’ll often find me shopping for fruits and vegetables at Grower’s Direct in Costa Mesa, which offers tons of California grown produce at very affordable prices.

Obviously one of the main reasons I try to buy California Grown produce is because I believe in supporting our farmers and helping the state’s economy, but another main reason is because frankly, the produce just tastes better.  The fruit and vegetables are fresher, they last longer when you take them home, and you are eating food in season, which means the quality is top-notch.  Admit it, fresh berries taste much better when you buy them locally and in season, rather in the dead of winter when they are shipped across country.

And if you think California Grown produce means more $$, think again!  Many local farmers markets and grocery stores offer California Grown produce at very reasonable prices (like Grower’s Direct).  Just be sure to look for the official CA Grown label.

Recently, California Grown sent me a giant box of delicious red cherries from Dean Devine, a cherry grower who has 175 acres of cherries in the Lodi and Modesto area.  Dean is a fourth generation cherry grower who employs up to 150 seasonal workers to ensure consumers get the sweetest cherries from his farm.  Dean credits the mineral rich water and perfect climate for producing cherries that are sweeter than from other states (another reason to buy from California farms!).  To learn more about Dean, how he maintains his cherry farms and the importance of buying produce from California, be sure to check out his video here.

The cherries were delicious!  They were nice and juicy and not tart at all.  I could tell these cherries had been freshly picked since they were not mushy and still kept their firm shape.

After making my way through a few handfuls of cherries, I knew I need to incorporate them into some sort of delicious summer dessert.  And what better dessert than a Cherry Clafouti a la Julia Child? (since Julia Child can do no wrong in my eyes).

I followed the recipe almost exactly, with the exception of a few modifications (I used non-dairy milk so a lactose intolerant friend could enjoy it) and added some blueberries in.  The dessert ended up being light and flavorful, and the cherries definitely shined through.  Even the Englishman, who claimed to dislike cherries, gobbled it right down.

Cherry and Blueberry Clafouti (adapted from Julia Child’s recipe)

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (regular milk works too)

2/3 cup brown sugar, divided

3 egg whites

1 egg

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups cherries (use CA grown if possible!)

1 cup blueberries

Powdered sugar for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

While your oven is heating, slice and pit your cherries.  I have yet to master the art of this but you should make sure there are no pits remaining when the cherries go into your dessert.

Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender, combine almond milk, 1/3 cup brown sugar, egg whites and egg, vanilla, salt and flour and blend well.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray (I used a glass loaf pan) and pour about a ¼ inch layer of your batter into the dish.  Place dish in the oven for 7-10 minutes until the batter begins to set in the pan but is not baked through.  Remove from oven.

Add in your pitted cherries and blueberries and sprinkle with 1/3 cup brown sugar.

Pour the remaining batter on top of the cherries and blueberries.

Bake in oven for 60 minutes until the clafouti is nicely puffed and golden brown.  Baking time might be slightly longer or shorter depending on how warm your oven runs.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you so desire, and serve warm with your favorite ice cream!

Thank you again to California Grown for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about all of California Grown growers. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #CleverCAGrown #spon