August 30, 2016 Share

aug 30 sharephotograph: Golden Earthworm farm

Red Beefsteak Tomatoes, Mixed Saladette/Cocktail Tomatoes, Watermelon, Red Batavian Lettuce, Freshly-dug New Potatoes, Green Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini/Summer Squash.

FRUIT SHARE – 1 mixed bag of Apples & Pears

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Horiatiki, the Peasant Roots of Greek Salad

horiatiki sald

Horiatiki, the Peasant Roots of Greek Salad
Aglaia Kremezi

It is curious how a salad called ‘horiatiki’ became such a hit in Athens and all over the country. The term may be translated as ‘from the village,’ or ‘peasant,’ a welcome suggestion today as it brings to mind authentic good-quality foods, but when it was first introduced – probably in the 1960ies or early ‘70ies – the country was desperately trying to shed its agricultural Eastern Mediterranean past, and become urban and European. It was common to dismiss a garment or a conduct as ‘horiatiki,’ not modern and worthy of the new urban middle class.

Obviously, whoever first combined these basic ingredients created a salad delicious enough to be copied, improved upon and even exported to become a household dish all over the world!

Probably the famous Greek Salad was actually inspired by the summer salad-meals of the peasants. Its main ingredient, the juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, is complemented with onions and all kinds of garden vegetables and greens – cucumber, purslane, or some flavorful pickled green, like kritama (rock-samphire) that was originally a Chios island addition, and now has become part of the ‘exotic’ creative salads served in Mykonos and Santorini. The salad has sweet and sometimes mildly hot peppers, and it is always topped with feta.  In its original village past the salad/meal could have any kind of local cheese, as well as olives, and maybe capers or caper leaves. Horiatiki is scented with dried, wild oregano or savory, and doused with plenty of fruity olive oil. It might also contain salted sardines, and was often made more substantial with the addition of stale bread or crumbled paximadia (barley rusks), which soak up the delicious juices.

I vaguely remember my parents snubbing horiatiki, as an overpriced salad created by sly tavern owners. Up until then in the summer one ordered a tomato salad, with or without onions and cucumber, and separately a slice of feta cheese which came drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano. My parents, along with other people we knew, had come to the conclusion that horiatiki’s cost exceeded that of the usual salad and feta combination.  It was a gimmick for the tourists, according to my father, but also later on some of my friends, who refused to order it. They thought that even when the salad became cheaper and a kind of standard all over Greece, taverns adopted it as a way for to serve inferior quality, and smaller pieces of feta; my parents kept on ordering tomato salad and feta, separately. Eventually, though, the horiatiki invention backfired. Budget tourists were feasting on this horiatiki / Greek salad, ordering it as a main lunch or dinner and tavern owners started to complain about “the horiatiki tourists” who were almost ruining their business during high season!

Of course the taste of Greek salad depends entirely on the quality and freshness of its ingredients. The traditional Greek winter version, not called horiatiki, is based on crunchy leaves of Romaine lettuce that are complemented with spicy wild arugula, and fragrant herbs (fennel, dill, mint, borage and plenty of scallions). This salad seldom has tomatoes, and never depends on the tasteless, pale green-house tomatoes sold in supermarkets.

Here is a link to the original article

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit the little island of Kea.

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August 23, 2016 Share

csa august 23
Photograph: Brian Gardner Hoashi

Watermelon, Swiss Chard, Green Leaf Lettuce, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Zucchini/Summer Squash
FRUIT SHARE – 1 mixed bag of Nectarines & Peaches


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From Ducks and Potatoes to Wine and CSAs: A History of Farming on Long Island by Marcia Kaplan Belgorod, Member, Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA

Marcia Kaplan Belgorod has been a member of Forest Hills Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA since its inception. She was an original core committee member. Marcia has been a locavore all her life ever since the stops at farmstands on those early Long Island trips with her parents.

I grew up on Long Island in southwestern Nassau County. At the time, there were still two small family farms in town, but by the time I was in my 20s, there were none. I remember that on weekends, particularly in the spring or fall, my parents would say, “Let’s go for a ride.” That meant that they would hand me a map of Long Island, and I would navigate as we drove east until my father got tired, or they became concerned about getting home too late, or we reached the end of the island. Sometimes we went along the North Fork; sometimes we stayed on the South Shore. Either way, at a certain point the landscape would change: the suburbs gave way to farmland where most of the farms grew potatoes or raised ducks.

In 1950s, there were almost 3,000 farms on Long Island. Agriculture developed in Nassau County for the easy shipment of goods to New York. As time went on, more of the area became a residential community for commuters to the “City” like my father, and the farms moved farther east. Today, there are only 4 farms in Nassau County, one of which is owned by the county and operated as a non-profit. Of the 700 farms left on the Island, the remainder is in Suffolk County.

Local Native American peoples were primarily hunters and fishermen, though a few grew corn. European settlers migrated from Massachusetts and brought their agricultural techniques; those who farm on Long Island today are largely descended from those who have farmed there since the 17th century. Much of what we know about life on these early farms comes from family traditions and from journals and diaries kept by women. Farms were self-sufficient, and families survived on what they grew and preserved.
Survival often depended on a single crop per season. Mary Cooper of Oyster Bay wrote in her diary in the 1700’s that her family was becoming bored of cherries. Later, she wrote that the pumpkins had not been harvested before an early frost, and the family would have to make do with apples (similar to our members voicing their disappointment with the copious zucchini and at the weather’s effect on peaches).

In the 19th century, technology and the Long Island Railroad changed the nature of farming. Farmers could produce more and ship their crops efficiently. Cordwood for heating and construction was the most profitable cash crop, providing currency for farmers to purchase manufactured goods. The crop mix gradually changed to accommodate the market, and farmers moved toward crops that could be stored and were favored by Irish and Northern European immigrants. Potatoes became a major crop after the Civil War; technology assisted to make them easier to grow and to harvest.
Long Island became one of the major agricultural areas in the United States in the early 20th century. World War I opened up more markets, but market prices went down during the 1920’s, which was followed by the stock market crash and the Great Depression. Farmers had to borrow cash for seed and equipment, and suffered with the rest of the country. However, WWII helped farming; farmers were excused from the wartime draft, so they could produce food for the war effort.

Duck farming began in the 1870’s with the introduction of Chinese Pekin ducks. Their quick maturation produces particularly tender meat, and demand for “Long Island ducks” grew during the 20th century. However, environmental concerns and land prices contributed to the decline of the duck industry and today, Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue is the last remaining duck farm.

After WWII, pressure to convert land to housing development increased, prompting farmers to sell out or to move farther east. Families like the Schmitts moved from Rosedale, to Farmingdale, to their current location in Riverhead. On the South Shore, farmland was squeezed between the demand for first homes to the west and for second homes to the east.

Viniculture came to the North Fork at the end of the 20th century; in Cutchogue, Alex and Louisa Hargrave established the first vineyards. Other growers, winemakers, and investors followed and today, the Island is one of the main wine-growing regions in the country with approximately 60 vineyards ranging from 2-1/2 acres to 500+ acres. Most wines are sold at the vineyards.

There are no large corporate farms on Long Island and local farmers explore innovative ways to market their produce; many like Fred Terry, whose family arrived in the area in the late 1600’s, originally sold to wholesalers. He switched to selling directly to consumers through farmers’ markets and experienced higher profits and got to know his customers, who benefited by getting fresher produce. Other farms, like our own Golden Earthworm, reach out to consumers via the CSA model.

The rest of the world may think of Long Island as full of suburban houses, beaches, and luxury homes. And yet, to this day Suffolk County is the fourth most valuable agricultural area in the country. Despite environmental concerns and economic pressures, the Long Island farm community continues to provide produce for markets throughout Long Island and New York City.


flandersduckThe Big Duck
In 1931, duck farmer Martin Maurer constructed the Big Duck at the edge of his property as a retail store for ducks and eggs. After the farm was sold, the structure was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and purchased by Suffolk County. The duck was moved it to its current location in Flanders and houses a gift shop and duck ephemera.

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August 16, 2016 Share

Share August 16
Photo – Golden Earthworm Farm

What’s in the Box
Watermelon, “New” Red Potatoes,Tomatoes, Cabbage, Sweet Bell Peppers, Zucchini.
FRUIT SHARE – 1 mixed bag of Apples & Peaches

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A Garden Poem, by Judy Trupin, Co-Chair, Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA

A Garden Poem, by Judy Trupin, Co-Chair, Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA

Miraculous overgrown August garden
is back
Yellow sunflower heads peer out over
waist-high chard and
shoulder height dill beginning to seed.
Sprawling tomato plants finger the extra-wide blades of grass.
I walk the perimeter
tasting hot arugula, tongue-biting basil.
In the three weeks since I’ve been here
tightly clamped lettuce heads have zoomed upwards,
each leaf now nearly a hand’s width apart.
In these three weeks
I’ve washed sinkfuls of dishes
Journaled and worked
Whispered and spoken.
Bruised my foot
Celebrated birthdays
Consoled friends on losses
Laughed with my mother whose words grow shorter every day.
I’ve soaked in news of the world/country
I’d rather have not heard
Even rather had not happened.
And now,
Tying tomatoes
Digging out lettuces
Heaping vegetables to cook after sunset.
And now
Planting lettuce seedlings
Uncertain of my ability to safely transplant them
I proceed
as I can
as I do.

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CSA Orchard Fruit

CSA Orchard Fruit
Emilie Miayuchi, The Veggie Voice, Just Food 8/8/16

Now that we’re in the midst of summer along with long hot days, sandals, and sticky sidewalks, all the false starts we had leading into it seem distant. It’s a bummer to remind everyone that those false starts we had, the bizarrely warm March followed by the deep frosts in April are making big impacts on what we see in our CSA shares and at our farmer’s markets. That’s part of what we buy into when we invest in sharing the experiences of our local farmers and rural economy.
Vegetable growers can be agile when it comes to responding to abnormal weather, and have an arsenal of strategies to coax their crops into big beautiful yields. It is our fruit growers and their orchards that have less flexibility. This is because the biological rhythm of fruit trees to blossom and bear fruit is stimulated by temperature and not time of year. So, if we have a warm March the trees will begin to flower regardless of whether we are safely past the last frost date. And when there is a period of deep frost after those blossoms have set, the blooms are killed along with their potential to become fruit. For the grower, there is little that can be done, but wait for the season to cycle back.
The larger problem is that for many growers, the economic reality is such that one bad season can be enough to put them out of business. And for a field that desperately needs to retain its pool of labor and know-how, this is not a tolerable reality. When we invest in our CSA shares, we are not just investing in food, we are investing in the people growing it and in a future when food is still grown by hand, with knowledge passed down person to person, generation to generation.
As a CSA member, you make it possible for farmers to bear the learning curve of climate change by providing them the economic stability to develop their skills and infrastructural needs from season to season.

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August 9, 2016 Share

August 9 2016 share

Photograph: Brian Gardner Hoashi

VEGETABLES: Red Beefsteak Tomatoes, Red Long Onions, Green Beans, Arugula, New Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Zucchini

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What to Cook When It’s Too Darned Hot to Cook

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August 9, 2016 Thorin Klosowski, It’s hard to get up the willpower to walk into the kitchen on a hot summer day. Just preheating an oven can feel like you’re upping the temperature in the house by 10 degrees. … Continue reading

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Falling Back in Love With My CSA

August 2, 2016 Maki Hoashi, Member, Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA When I first signed up, I had the impression that I’d get lots of fresh organic produce of superior quality that I could eat raw – so fresh!  so crisp! – … Continue reading

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