Sunday, August 20, 2006

First Weekend for Bronx Grapes

After a year of blogging, and over a hundred posts I occasionally struggle with what my core M.O. is. I don't think I have the sheer photographic or culinary chops of Keiko over at Nordljus, or the consistent voice and perspective of Alder over at Vinography. I still struggle with an appropriate photographic technique for meat, and occasionally I'll lose all perspective and post something like my overly-personal entry on satsumas. If my ambitions include one or more flavors of a career in food, these lapses describe the degree to which I am still more enthusiast than expert. So do these photos of four freakin' pounds of Bronx Grapes.

We got ours at the Lagier Ranches stand, at the Grand Lake Farmer's Market, where the "Rolls Royce of table grapes" is yours for the consuming, and will only set you back $3.00 a pound.

Bacon For the Foreseeable Future

Back in May, on an otherwise ordinary Saturday, Doug Stonebreaker of Prather Ranch told us that the following weekend he'd have bacon. I'd been keen on some organic and old school bacon since seeing a post on Highland Hill Farms Bacon over at Meathenge. My wife and I arrived the next Saturday only to have our BLT-dreams dashed. We were so visibly disturbed that Doug gave us consolation sausage. The following weekend we headed up to Portland. During the two bacon-free months since I figured that we'd missed out on this year's magic bacon weekend.

Not so. For the past several weeks now we've picked up a package of the most intensely meaty and smokey bacon I've ever thrown in a skillet. I'd lobbied for this week's package on the grounds that we never did make the Bacon Dripping Ginger Snaps we'd seen a recipe for during last year's holiday season.

We did pick up a package this week despite assurances that the folks at Prather Ranch hope to have bacon on an ongoing basis. I'll let you know how the cookies turn out.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Wild Boar Farms

There are two times of year when we come dangerously close to just handing over twenty dollar bills to vendors at the Grand Lake Farmer's Market. The peak of grape season is one of them, and the height of tomato season is another. For grapes we lean toward Hamada Farm's concords, for tomatoes it's Wild Boar Farms.

Brad Gates has been breeding tomato plant varieties for eight generations now, and has refined several varieties with unique names like,"Berkeley Tie Dye" and "Evan's Purple Plum". An associate of his in New Zealand also plants crops of these varieties, giving him essentially twice the number of tomato plants to cull seeds from.

This weekend he showed us samples of one variety that had an oblong shape he'd noticed last year. Working to refine the varietal, he'd expected to wind up with orange and yellow striped oblongs. Instead he wound up with a single plant bearing oblong fruit in just about every tomato color you can imagine. Rather than sell a single color, he'd brought them all. Gesturing toward a bin of striped green, red, and yellow fruit he said,"I mean, which of these would the tomato world be better off without?"

Then suddenly, fried okra.

Tip Top Farms has great okra right now. Green, red, and white varieties at the pea of freshness and flavor. I totally dredged and fried that okra.