Roadside Ohio: Rhoads Farm Market

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Farmer's Market, Produce, Roadside Ohio

I’ve loved buying fruits and veggies from Mrs Rhoads at the North Market (and as of last year, Clintonville and Dublin) Farmers Market for the past few years, with an awareness that her farm was based out of Circleville. It’s funny how one can buy their food at a farmers market, speak directly to the farmer that grows their food, and still have a disconnect between that and the actual farm.

So, like I said, I knew their farm (and their main farm market) was in Circleville, but had no idea what a massive presence they had in the area or the interesting family history behind it. Even to this day, the farm, the market and the nursery are a multi-generational family business. I managed to get down to Circleville to visit the farm and the market last summer, and was super impressed by what I found.

I was expecting a little roadside stand/market, but what I found instead was a state-of-the-art full fledged market, located just down the road from their farmland. Mr. Rhoads was kind enough to take me on a driving tour of their farm, and the best way to describe it is sprawling and extremely diverse. Acres and acres of some of the most beautiful produce you could imagine.

Outside of Rhoads Farm Market

I was there near the end of last summer (I’m getting around to posting this now, at the beginning of their growing season), so it was right in the middle of peach season. I had never had a perfect peach until last summer. You know, the kind where you can smell how sweet and juicy it’s going to be? Last year was a fantastic year for peaches, and Rhoads had the best of the bunch. They were so good last year that I drove to Circleville in the middle of the week so that I wouldn’t have to wait until the next Saturday until I could have some more. And they didn’t let me down, with their peaches being front and center the second you walked into the market.

Farm Fresh Peaches

Last year wasn’t the best year for tomatoes, but even Rhoads’ offerings were solid on that front.

Tomatoes

I love melon, but can never commit to an entire one of any kind – I love that they offered cut melon for those of us who aren’t trying to feed a large number of people.

Cut Melon

Still, if whole melons were what you were looking for, they had those too.

Watermelon

In addition to whatever seasonal produce is available (for instance, during this time of years it’s some of their fantastic strawberries), they also offer a refrigerator full of Ohio meats, cheeses, dairy, and other farm fresh goodies from around the state.

Meat and Dairy

Along with a full selection of local to Ohio canned and dry goods:

Canned Goods

Are other veggies that they grow on their farm that are a bit more perishable

Veggies

Beans and Potatoes

along with produce from other parts of the country (ensuring that no matter what time of year you visit, there will always be something available).

Peaches

Cantaloupe

It’s amazing what is right down the street from us (a half hour away in Circleville, actually) if you just take the time to look. At the very least, take a second to introduce yourself to Mrs. Rhoads the next time you’re at the North Market Farmers Market – she’s a really nice person, and loves to talk about her farm and the things they grow on it. I encourage you to support local farms, and check out the great food that’s being grown in your own backyard. I hope that this is the first of many roadside farm stands that I profile this summer.

If you’d like to go: Rhoads Farm Market, 1051 SR 56 East, Circleville, OH 43113, 740-474-2028

Farm Fresh and Local Produce 5/08/2010

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Farmer's Market, North Market, Produce

I think this week is the one that signals the true beginning of the growing season for me – while in weeks past, I had to fight my instincts to get up that early on a Saturday morning, this weekend I was so gung ho about going that I woke up 20 minutes before my alarm even went off. Because as much as I like the North Market and Clintonville Farmers Markets, I absolutely love the Worthington Farmers Market. And this was the opening day, and I was looking forward to seeing people I haven’t seen since last fall.

Still we started out at the North Market, as usual – and lo and behold Mrs. Rhoads was there. I was looking forward to catching up with her (it’s been a few months – I think I last saw her at Lisa’s potluck a few months back) and she had the first strawberries of the year! She was kind enough to gift me a quart to try – just in case you can’t wait until next week to get some, I’ll tell you all about my visit to her farm market down in Circleville real soon. I was holding off until the growing season started again, and now that it has, I’ll be able to tell you about all the neat roadside stands, farm markets, and pick your owns I discovered last year. We’re blessed with an amazing growing here in Ohio. I’m looking forward to being able to plant in my garden (rather than in my cold frame or in containers) once the danger of frost is passed this weekend.

Strawberries from Rhoads Farm

Cause man was it cold and windy today. More than it has any business being in May. Jeans & Jacket weather. It could be worse, I suppose – it could have been raining too, but blech with the weather today. So my trip to the North Market was a bit abbreviated – it’s still at less than half it’s usual capacity, but I can’t see skipping it. Well, except next week – I know better this year – I’m waiting until last to go to the North Market, lest I get stuck within the perimeter of Race for the Cure for the 3rd year in a row, LOL. I’ll say one thing – this gig has been great for making me more aware of what’s going on in downtown Columbus at any given time. Maybe next week I’ll bring my Vado and get some video footage so you can get a feel for our market here. It’s got a nice vibe.

We made quick time up to Worthington – there was a plant sale going on the green, but we were there early enough that it wasn’t the madhouse we know it can be, which was nice because it gave us a couple of minutes to catch up with some familiar faces.

Lots of rhubarb everywhere – is rhubarb normally this early of a crop?

Rhubarb

And AJ from Sassafras Bakery was there with a full assortment of baked goods – we got a little of this, and a little of that, because I absolutely love her stuff. I love the decorations she comes up with each week for her sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookies from Sassafras Bakery

I also got more radishes, so I could enjoy another week of sandwiches made with radishes, homemade butter, and sea salt.

Radishes

Lastly, over to Clintonville – we were glad to see that Oakvale is selling their cheeses there this year, because we love them so. This variety is one of my favorites for putting in a macaroni and cheese mix.

Oakvale Habenero Heifer Cheese

I did get a couple of bags of spinach – I’ve been eating a lot of spinach lately, and have been looking forward to eating it locally.

Spinach

So where did you go this week, and what did you get? Are you planning on hitting any mid-week markets this upcoming week?

Radishes with Butter and Salt

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, North Market, Produce

There are certain things that just go together – tomatoes and basil, peanut butter and jelly, strawberries and whipped cream, eggs and truffle salt to name a few. One of those perfect combinations for me is a nice hearty bread, sweet cream butter, radishes and sea salt.

French Country Bread with Homemade Butter and French Breakfast Radishes

I made it using all local ingredients – French Country Bread from Omega Artisan Baking in the North Market, butter made using Snowville Creamery’s wonderful heavy cream, and French Breakfast radishes I got from the Clintonville Farmers Market.

What is your favorite thing about spring eating?

Morel Risotto

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Cooking Light, Eating Local, Food Porn, Recipes

This is the time of year I usually go a bit morel crazy, but our finances this year are such that they are, for the most part, a bit too dear in price (at $40/lb) for me to indulge in more than once or twice. One or two popped up in my yard, but they weren’t big enough for me to really make a meal of. So I gave in and got a half a pound when they got some in at Hills Market – these were local ones, of the white type, which usually have a little bit less flavor than the black ones.

So I decided to stretch them further by making a nice risotto out of them. With all the fat in this recipe, I wondered why it was in Cooking Light – until I saw the serving size. Needless to say, we ate four servings a piece. ;-) And it was worth every calorie. Great recipe.

Morel Risotto

Morel Risotto
recipe courtesy Cooking Light

4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 pound morel mushrooms, halved lengthwise
1 cup uncooked Carnaroli or Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Bring Homemade Chicken Stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, onion, and thyme to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms; cook 1 minute. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in vermouth; cook 30 seconds or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup stock; cook 4 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add cheese, cream, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; top with chives. Serves 8.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 198 cal, 8.7g fat (sat 3.4g,mono 3.9g,poly 0.8g), 7.5g protein, 21.9g carb, 1.5g fiber, 22mg chol, 0.5mg iron, 237mg sodium, 78mg calcium

Scallions Three Ways

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Food Porn, Gardening, Produce, Recipes

The best part of gardening is that sometimes it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I had planted green onions in my garden last year, and had a couple pop up, but nothing else after. I just figured that they had failed to germinate (or that I hadn’t refreshed the soil enough), and chalked it up to a packet of wasted seeds. Imagine my surprise when they started coming up like gangbusters when it first started getting warm. I let them keep going, and by this past week, I had what came out to be three full bunches of green onions to use. I decided to use them in an Asian-themed meal where each dish had green onions as a distinct component.

We had picked up some really great looking beef and pork for stir-fry at Hills the day before, and decided to modify an existing recipe to use both rather than just the beef it originally called for. And we allowed it to marinate overnight, which I think helped concentrate the flavor a bit more. Since you’re not cooking the meat to death, it stays tender. This was just all around nice, with very good flavor. We’d make this one again.

Scallion Stir Fry

Beef, Pork and Scallion Stir-Fry
adapted from recipe by Jody Prival

1/2 lb. beef sliced and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb. pork sliced and cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch scallions cut into 1″ lengths
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed

Marinade:
1 1/2 oz. tamari
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. slivered fresh ginger

Sauce:
2 tbsp. tamari
2 tbsp. sake
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/3 c. cold water
2 tsp. oil
2 tsp. Hoisin sauce (optional)

Mix marinade with meat. Stir well and set aside for at least 30 minutes (we let ours marinate overnight). Put some oil in a wok and heat until very hot, then add the garlic. As soon as it starts to brown, add the meat and stir rapidly until the red color disappears. Add the scallions, then the sauce. If it gets too thick, add a little water. Heat ~1 minute, then serve.

The second dish, the Jap Chae, is one I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I cut down the amount of sesame oil in the recipe a touch (because at least to me, the flavor of it can overwhelm everything else in excess), but found it a bit bland, because cutting out some of the sesame oil knocked the flavor profile off a bit. I’ll have to try a different recipe next time. I was still able to use it by eating it mixed together with the stir-fry – combined they are quite nice. I did like the veggies a lot in this, though, so I’d keep that aspect. I’ll post the recipe from Jaden’s blog intact, though – because you may have better results without altering it. :)

Jap Chae (Korean Glass Noodles)

Jap Chae (Korean Glass Noodles)
recipe from Steamy Kitchen

Serves 4-6 as part of multicourse meal

1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (shitake, wood ear)
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length. Set aside.

In bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.

*rehydrate your mushrooms if you are using dried

After finding out truly easy Pa Jun is to make, I’m really questioning the logic of one local Korean restaurant who tries to justify charging $9.95 for a single vegetarian pancake (same price they charge for seafood) because “the amount of work needed to make it is the same”. What a crock! This recipe, in fact, is so simple, that I can see making it whenever I have 30 minutes to spare and a hankering for it. Even though this variation of it just uses scallion, I’ve seen it made with zucchini, kimchee, and other veggies you have laying around and need to use. Next time around, I may put a little soy sauce in the batter proper to make it a touch more savory.

Pa Jun (Scallion Pancake)

Korean Scallion Pancake (Pa Jun)
recipe courtesy About.com

2 c. flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. water
1 bunch of scallions, halved and cut into 2-3 inch lengths
1 tsp. salt
Oil for cooking

Mix all ingredients together and let sit for about 10 minutes. Check consistency before cooking – batter should be a little bit runnier than American pancake batter, so that the Pa Jun cooks quickly and evenly. (Add more water if necessary to achieve this consistency).

Heat a saute pan over medium heat and coat with a thin layer of oil. Pour batter to fill pan in a thin layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes until set and golden brown on bottom. Turn over with help of a spatula or plate (or flip it in the air if you are good at that) and finish by cooking 1-2 more minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Serve with soy sauce.

So, if you had an abundance of scallions, how would you use them?

Farm Fresh and Local Produce 5/01/2010

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Eating Local, Farmer's Market, North Market, Produce

We woke up really early morning to hit the farmers market, hoping to beat the rain. No suck luck, though, as the rain really started coming down. We ducked into the North Market just long enough to escape the worst of it, then returned back outside.

I saw the first of local asparagus, and my how beautiful it is. I picked up a bunch, but am not quite sure what I’m making with it quite yet.

Asparagus

There were an overwhelming amount of dip mixes, salsa in jars ad the like (last year I remember it being many more farmers), but one new addition I was happy to see was Meadow Maid and their many varieties of cheese.

Cheese

Over to Clintonville, and it became a mad dash through the market to just get a couple of items before the rain came down again. I didn’t get any of these, but loved the color of the spring braising greens from Elizabeth Telling Farms.

Spring Braising Greens

Over at Sweet Thing, we got lured in by their samples and ended up getting a jar of their blueberry habanero jam. Yum.

Sweet Thing Jams

We had enough harvested here at home that we didn’t need any green onions, but the bunches I saw were especially perky and fresh. How may ways do I love green onions? Later on I’ll let you all know.

Green Onions

And last but not least, I picked up a few bunches of French Breakfast Radishes, to slice thinly on hearty bread with salted butter made out of Snowville cream.
French Breakfast Radishes

Next week Worthington opens, so it’s back to my 3 market Saturday morning habit. Where did you go today and what did you pick up?