Apples, Paris, Pumpkin pie

Apples, Paris, Pumpkin pie

Whether you mull it, spike it, or sip it, apple cider is synonymous with autumn and here at Homestead, we’ve got Melick’s premium and unfiltered available for whatever way you cider. Pressed at their New Jersey cider mill from September through January, Melick’s is cold pasteurized to preserve the full taste and flavor of their freshly picked apples.

Consider the apple — an ancient fruit revered by Romans and Greeks as a symbol of love and beauty. “It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man,” contemplated Henry David Thoreau. Brought to America somewhere in the 1600’s and cultivated on most farms during the settlement of the United States, there are now over 100 varieties grown commercially and Homestead has stocked some of your favorites—Macoun, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Fuji, and McIntosh.

Paul Cezanne once said, “I will astonish Paris with an apple,” and went on to create timeless masterpieces using the iconic apple as inspiration and subject. Celebrate your own creativity by picking up a few varieties of your choice and simmering up a batch of simple applesauce or baking an apple pie. Speaking of pies, we carry delectable ones, including pumpkin, a seasonal favorite which would probably taste amazing accompanied by a pint of our Bassett’s Salted Caramel Pretzel ice cream.

Looking for ideas for Meatless Monday cooking? Homestead’s escarole is the perfect main ingredient for making a simple but hearty supper like this Cannellini Bean and Escarole Soup. Another idea? Any of our squash is the perfect start to a healthy, satisfying Buddha Bowl.

Mums, Cabbage, pumpkins, gourds, Indian Corn — we’ve got it all. The autumnal cornucopia is bursting here at Homestead. Stop by for your share of the seasonal bounty..

Fresh produce every day. Locally grown produce in season. Homemade lunches and dinners to go. Fresh-baked award-winning pies.

© 2018 Homestead Farm Market

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The Asparagus Has Arrived!

The Asparagus Has Arrived!

The ancients appreciated their asparagus. Long before Clarence Birdseye and his US Patent #1,773,079 marked the inception of the modern frozen food industry, Emperor Caesar Augustus had an “Asparagus Fleet”— an elite military unit complete with the fastest runners, who would carry asparagus spears high into the Alps to be frozen for later use. Caesar, in fact, coined the term “Velocius quam asparagi conquantur”—literal translation “faster than cooking asparagus,” colloquially meaning, “get going already.”

Once dubbed the “Vegetable of Kings,” even King Louis XIV’s affinity for asparagus was so passionate he had them cultivated in greenhouses so he could enjoy them year round. The Greek Physician Galen touted the health benefits of asparagus during the second century AD and his claims hold great truth with this vegetable that’s low in calories and a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.

Homestead’s fresh asparagus has arrived from Katona Farms, a fourth-generation operation for over 60 years, dedicated to cultivating Jersey fresh fruits and vegetables. This versatile veggie can be wrapped in prosciutto, tossed in pasta, broiled, baked and grilled. But sometimes, simplicity is what best suits a fresh quality ingredient. Try this delicious recipe for Lemony Roasted Asparagus, courtesy of Cookie and Kate:

INGREDIENTS

Basic roasted asparagus

1 large bunch (about 1 pound) fresh asparagus
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

My seasonings (use one or all, like I did)

Zest and juice of 1/2 medium lemon, preferably organic
Lemon wedges, from the remaining 1/2 lemon
Sprinkle of finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Small handful fresh mint, finely chopped
Light sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Other options

Pat or two of butter
Garlic butter
Light drizzle of balsamic reduction or regular balsamic vinegar
Toasted sliced almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus (if you sharply bend the asparagus near the base, it will snap in the right place). Discard the ends.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place the asparagus on the sheet and drizzle with 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the asparagus. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the asparagus, and toss until the spears are lightly coated in oil. Arrange the spears in a single layer on the pan.
Bake until the asparagus is tender and roasted to your desired level of doneness (I may have left mine in a little longer than necessary, but I like the crispy tips). Very thin asparagus, like the kind shown here, will take as little as 10 to 12 minutes, whereas thicker asparagus will need 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the roasted asparagus to a serving platter and season however you’d like. You could keep it simple with a squeeze of lemon juice, or just Parmesan, or add a pat of butter or drizzle of balsamic vinegar. For my variation here, I grated the zest of about half a lemon over the asparagus using a Microplane, then squeezed the juice of half of a lemon over it, and garnished with a few lemon wedges, for good measure. Then I grated some Parmesan over the dish, followed by a light sprinkle of chopped mint and a very light sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Fresh produce every day. Locally grown produce in season. Homemade lunches and dinners to go. Fresh-baked award-winning pies.

© 2018 Homestead Farm Market

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Autumn Leaves of Splendor and Bountiful Wares of Vendors

Autumn Leaves of Splendor and Bountiful Wares of Vendors

Soon the autumn leaves of red and gold will appear and at Homestead the harbingers of autumn have begun to debut—pumpkins, corn stalks, and gourds. We’ve also got plenty of apples, including the best-selling Honey Crisp, an apple “designed” to be a crowd pleaser. The Honey Crisp is the result of researcher David Bedford’s use of cross pollination techniques at the University of Michigan. That pleasing crunch and clean fracture in every bite was engineered; the cells of a Honey Crisp are actually twice the size of other apples. Patented from 1991-2008, the Honey Crisp earned the University of Michigan more than ten million dollars in royalties!

Homestead’s Honey Crisps come from Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick which has been in operation since 1725 and is the largest apple grower in NJ. Winner of Outstanding Farmer of 2017 by the Garden State Culinary Arts Awards, Melick’s has over 650 acres of land with over 20,000 apple trees.

Please join us on October 15 from 1-4 for Local Vendor Day where you can meet the folks from Melick’s Farm as well as lots of our other vendors. There will be pumpkin painting for the kids and delicious samples of a variety of items. Our resident Thai chef, Bhu, will be on hand as well as an opportunity to meet our friends from here:

Fulper Farm, a fifth generation family operation that produces wholesome, quality dairy products using environmentally friendly practices. We’re stocked up on their delicious Ricotta, fresh Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese as well as milk and Plain and Vanilla yogurt.

Griggstown Farm, the gold standard of fresh, antibiotic free poultry. We carry a wide variety of their delicious products—Chicken; Turkey Burgers, Ravioli, Pot Pie; Chicken & Turkey Sausages, and Ground Turkey and Chicken.

Bassett’s, another purveyor of wholesome old-fashioned goodness. Be sure to pick up a pint of their seasonal Pumpkin flavor ice cream for your Fall dessert menu. Quantity is limited, so get yours while it’s still available.

Fall’s chill inspires hearty rib-sticking dinners and veal is the perfect protein to add to your table. It’s loaded with nutrient-rich zinc, niacin, Vitamin B-12 and B-6 and we’ve got rib chops, loin chops and ground veal from Eagle’s Nest Farm. With over 22 years experience, Eagle’s Nest is owned and operated by the Sigle family—Andrea, Bill and their daughter Emily. They raise Holstein calves on their 17 acre farm to provide local, free-range and antibiotic-free veal.

The folks from Mt. Salem Lamb farm will also be on hand. Of course lamb is another nutrient-rich lean source of protein. Try this delicious Roast Lamb with Artichokes and Lemons.

Doug Riexinger. founder of Grandpa Doug’s Soap, is a former chemist who began experimenting with soap-making 7 years ago. Doug was in search of a soap that would be free of the harsh ingredients and chemical additives of commercial soaps. His hand-crafted alternative is soap made from olive, coconut, or red palm oils, whole wheat or oat flour and scented with lavender an essential oil known for its long-lasting fragrance and therapeutic properties.

Meet the guys behind HankSauce, a company created by college roommates Hank, Matt, and Josh who built their brand on a shared passion of the ocean and a summer of farmers markets. Come find out what makes their hot sauce, home-based in Sea Isle City, so hot it flies off the shelves of their local taco shop and everywhere else.

Fresh produce every day. Locally grown produce in season. Homemade lunches and dinners to go. Fresh-baked award-winning pies.

© 2018 Homestead Farm Market

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Rice is nice

Rice is nice

I recently found myself staring at the different varieties of rice on the shelf at the Market and realized I didn’t fully understand how to maximize each ones’ uniqueness in the dishes that I was preparing. I did some research and would like to share what I learned with you.

  • White rice: comes in short, medium and long grain. The size being the length of the grain vs the width. Long grain such as Uncle Ben’s and Carolina are 3X longer than they are wide. White rice is processed with the germ and bran removed and then polished. A medium grain rice is Arborio which is mainly grown in Italy and can be used to make risotto (see shortcut below) and rice pudding.  It absorbs a lot of liquid and becomes creamy when cooked. A short grain rice is normally steamed rather than simmered with a lot of water and gets sticky when it’s cooked. A mixture of sugar, salt and rice vinegar is poured over the rice to make sushi.
  • Jasmine: a long grain variety cultivated for a distinct flavor. It is known as Thai flagrant rice. It’s steamed (see method below) rather than simmered in water until it is absorbed and sticks together when it is cooked. A great rice for stir frys.
  • Basmati: a little longer than a standard long grain rice and cultivated in India. Fluffy when cooked and used in currys and other Indian dishes.
  • Brown rice: minimally milled so most of the bran and germ are intact. It takes longer to cook than white rice and is more nutritious.
  • Wild rice: not rice at all but the seed of a grass grown primarily in North America. This is very nutritious and has a nutty flavor.

*Steaming rice. Place rice in a large saucepan of salted boiling water and boil for 10 mins. Drain rice in colander (mesh should be small so rice doesn’t come through) and rinse. Set colander over a pan of boiling water (rice should not touch water). Cover colander with a tea towel and the lid of the pan and cook until rice is tender and fluffy about 15 minutes. Make sure water in pan does not evaporate. Be careful when lifting towel as not to burn yourself.

**Making risotto in the microwave. OK I know this seems like blasphemy to an Italian and to a good cook but I pride myself in being both and this method is successful and allows you do many other things while making the risotto instead of standing over a pot stirring and stirring.  Stir ½ cup finely chopped onion, 1 clove garlic minced, 2 tbl butter and 1 tbl olive oil in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and microwave on High for 3 mins. Stir in 1 cup of rice and microwave 2 minutes. Stir in 2 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable broth and ¼ cup white wine. Cover and microwave on high for 9 minutes. Carefully swirl mixture and  microwave for another 8 minutes. Remove lid and mix in 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and an additional ¼ cup broth; stir for one minute until creamy.  Add an additional ¼ cup broth if necessary. Add other ingredients if desired such as mashed butternut squash, roasted asparagus, etc. or just enjoy as is. Season with salt and pepper.

Fresh produce every day. Locally grown produce in season. Homemade lunches and dinners to go. Fresh-baked award-winning pies.

© 2018 Homestead Farm Market

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