Hope for the future of food was served up along with culinary delights during Organic Seed Alliance’s 5th annual Community Field Day & Tasting event on September 30th in Chimacum, WA.
Over 100 community members spent the early evening learning about plant breeding and variety trial projects and also tasting and rating the diversity of flavors organic farming can deliver in the Pacific Northwest. Two dozen participants also attended an inspiring talk by Dr. Edith Lammerts van Bueren of the Netherlands on how a holistic approach to plant breeding can reap benefits not only for agriculture but also social, environmental, and economic systems worldwide.
Thank you to all the participants for contributing to our research by evaluating different varieties of organic vegetables and grains. For the first time at this annual event, tasters had the option of entering their ratings digitally. We will share the results once we have combined the online data with the paper balloting.
Thanks also to our farm, artist and farm-store friends who contributed items to help raise funds for our mission through a donation raffle: Jefferson County Farmers Markets, the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, Finnriver Cidery, the Finnriver Farmware, Millbrook Clayworks, Red Dog Farm, the Port Townsend Food Co-op, Center Valley Ceramics, and the WSU Farm Tour. We couldn’t bring you such a large and engaging event without support from so many friends: our dedicated volunteers, Dr. Edith Lammerts van Bueren, Essential Blooms, the crew at Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chef Janna Shields, the WSU Jefferson County Seed Library, Spring Rain Farm, the Jefferson Community Foundation, Patrick Merscher, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
We also want to honor the two dozen farmers, seed growers, and food retailers who joined us for a deep dive into regional and national breeding and improvement projects during a morning farmer-researcher field walk and discussion of preliminary 2019 variety trial results. We are grateful for their openness to share their knowledge and experience with each other and to help guide our ongoing research and education efforts. Watch for the full report of our 2019 WA-based variety trial results to be released later this fall in time to consider your 2020 farm and garden plans.
Below are Chef Janna Shields’ recipes for the Chef Showcase dishes from the event.
Sweet Corn Custard with Candied Kernels
350 gr Dungeness Valley Creamery Milk
15 gr Potato Starch
2 Spring Rain Farm Duck Egg Yolks
50 gr Organic Cane Sugar Organic Sweet Corn Kernels – fresh off the cob or frozen
Simmer the corn kernels in the milk on low heat for an hour to impart the flavor. Take off heat and blend until smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove chunks.
Whisk together the sugar and yolks until light in color, add the starch and incorporate. Place milk in a pan and bring to a gentle boil, take off the heat, add a small amount of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking quickly to temper. Carefully add the rest of the milk to the egg mixture, put back in pan on low heat. Whisk constantly, in a few minutes the mixture will start to thicken to the desired consistency. Remove from heat, spread in a shallow dish and cover with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming on the surface and refrigerate immediately.
For the candied kernels: coat fresh corn kernels with olive oil, salt, and sugar to taste. Spread thinly on a baking sheet, roast at 375 degrees until they start to shrivel and caramelize. Cool. Dehydrate until crunchy.
2019 Chef Showcase Recipes
Quick-Pickled Swiss Chard Stems
2 Cups Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup Water 3
1/2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
1/3 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
Bunch of Fresh Thyme
Bunch of Swiss Chard
Combine vinegar, salt, water, and sugar. Whisk vigorously to dissolve sugar and salt. Set aside. Clean up chard, remove leaves, chop stems into desired sizes. Place in vessel for refrigeration. Pour liquid over stems until completely covered. Stuff bunch of thyme (or any seasoning you prefer) into liquid. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Red Cabbage with Bacon
Head of Organic Red Cabbage
Several Strips of One Straw Ranch Bacon
Salt and Pepper
Organic Cane Sugar
Organic Garlic Cloves – smashed
Organic Olive Oil
Shred or chop cabbage and add to hot pan with oil. Sear until caramelized and starting to show some burnt edges. Toss in salt, sugar, pepper, smashed garlic cloves to taste, and sauté on medium heat to meld flavors. Chop up bacon and cook alone, add to cabbage and enjoy hot.
3 Cups Organic Spelt Flour
1 1/4 Cup Warm Water
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, adding flour if it stays sticky. Dough should be soft, but manageable. Let it relax for an hour or overnight. When ready, flour a large counter surface to roll out cracker dough thinly OR if you have a pasta roller (much easier) roll out the dough to about a 4. Place on ungreased baking sheet (with or without parchment paper), bake at 355 degrees for 6 minutes. Check for crispness, continue to bake in 2-minute increments until crispy and slightly browned. Cool and keep in airtight container.
Carrot or Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 Cups Organic Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Organic Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Organic Ginger Powder
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1 1/4 mix of Organic Olive & Coconut Oils
4 Spring Rain Farm Duck Eggs
2 Cups Organic Cane Sugar
1 teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract
3 Cups grated Organic Beets and/or Carrot
Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and baking soda in a bowl and whisk well. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir dry mixture into egg mixture. Stir in grated veggies. Bake in a greased and floured pan, or a pan lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes – check the cake for doneness using toothpick or press method.
For the frosting: Combine one package of cream cheese, one stick of organic unsalted butter, a teaspoon of vanilla, and some salt. Using softened butter, cold cream cheese, combine everything together in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix slowly to combine. Add powdered sugar to taste. Slowly mix to incorporate. Then put it on high for 30 seconds to whip it up. Frost thickly on cakes when they are cool.
Red Onion Jam
Sliced Organic Red Cippolini Onions
Thyme or Rosemary
Organic Olive Oil
Organic Cane Sugar
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Cook onions in oil in a deep pot on medium high heat until onions start to turn translucent. Add sugar, vinegar, salt, and herbs to taste. Cook on LOW heat for as long as you can – at least 45 minutes. Stirring occasionally, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Keep tasting it, adjusting spices and salt to taste. Onions will cook down over time. Enjoy warm or cool and serve with your favorite snacks.