Happy humid summer, folks. We’re excited to announce the start of a blog to help keep you in the know about what’s coming to your local farmers market each weekend. (See which markets you’ll find us at, here.) We’ll also delve into background information on our family farm, our valued workers, and our growing practices. And of course, what would a blog be without recipes and cooking tips? We’ll feature a few ideas each week to help you use up your produce -- because we want you to get the most out of what we’re growing.
Have any burning questions you’d like answered? A long-loved family recipe that you think everyone should know about? Tell us all about it via our contact form and we’ll do our best to address your thoughts here.
A list of produce coming to markets is below, but first we’ll highlight a uniquely tart fruit that we are so pleased to grow: currants. Like clockwork, every time this member of the Ribes genus crops up at markets, we get loads of curious people asking what the heck to do with them. (An unfamiliarity with currants may be in part to their time of being outlawed in America, due to their ability to spread a fungus that killed white pine trees -- read all about that in these Business Insider and Atlas Obscura articles.)
Currants are small, round berries that grow on shrubs in temperate climates. There are some 120 species native to North America and western South America (a.k.a. the Andes); other varieties were cultivated even way back in the 1600s in the cool-temperature regions around the Baltic Sea. Currants are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, among many other health benefits. (They also just taste really good.)
Our red currants tend to be slightly tarter and with a more acidic kick than the black currants (the red ones are a little smaller, too). Here are several ways to use both the red and black currants:
Make into jams, syrups, and sauces.
Toss raw into smoothies (with some peaches too, hint, hint!) or juice them to make a killer cocktail (we’re thinking they’d pair well with bourbon and gin -- and maybe a fresh basil garnish). Turn them into sorbet, even!
For a delightful no-proof drink, add currants to kompot, a fruity punch from Russia.
Make a shrub -- we like the 1:1:1 formula spelled out here by Polina Chesnakova in The Washington Post: Take one part sugar, one part vinegar (such as apple cider), and one part fruit; whisk the sugar and vinegar together until mostly dissolved, then add the fruit and mush/muddle to crush. Let that mixture chill in your refrigerator for a few weeks (ideally), then strain and you’ve got a concentrated syrup to use with bubbly water, cocktails or salad dressings. (Shrubs are a great way to preserve, too, as they last for many months in the refrigerator -- seems we may just need a whole post about shrubs soon, no?)
Of course, don’t feel like you need to limit currants to sweet and syrupy applications: Their tart notes pair beautifully with pork, chicken, and lamb. Toss a handful in a breezy chicken salad. Stir-fry red cabbage with a hefty douse of vinegar and a few handfuls of currants (maybe add a dash of caraway seeds or a few juniper berries, for good measure). Add them to a sweet and savory fruit salsa. Once you start playing around, you’ll get to know these little berries very well.
In the next blog post we’ll tell you all about another member of the Ribes genus: gooseberries!
In the meantime, here’s more of what you can look forward to this weekend:
Peaches (white and yellow)
Cherries (if the conditions cooperate!)
Raspberries (red and black)
Currants (red and black)
Apples (Lodi and Earligold)
As always, we’ll have our own applesauce and fruit butters for sale. If you’d like to purchase a larger than usual quantity of anything, please send an email to Kathy -- include your name, phone number and farmers market location -- so that, once your order is confirmed, we can have it priced and ready for you to pick up.
And don’t forget to bring your reusable tote bag and berry toppers (those red hairnets) with you on market days. See you there!