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Archive for the ‘Farms & Gardens’ Category

Higher Ground Rooftop Farm

Higher Ground Rooftop Farm

We climb narrow metal steps from the top floor of the Boston Design Center, set out through a heavy, metal door, and over a final raised ledge at the bottom of the door that can only be intended to discourage entrance onto the roof. Even before my eyes adjust to the brilliant sunlight, with my first breath, I can feel the farm in my lungs. It is not exactly just the smell of things growing; more the feeling of being given pure, new oxygen, in even exchange for the CO2 I am offering. When, still squinting, I first see the careful rows of vibrant life, I have that feeling of gazing at a mirage – it seems a bit of that visible, liquidy heat shimmers up into the air just beyond the edge of the rooftop, slightly obscuring the Boston skyline, at eye-level, off in the distance.

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A Medley of Vegetables

Fall is in the air, but before we trade the summer bounty of local fruits and vegetables for the dark days of winter (and endless cold-storage beets and potatoes) there’s still the fall harvest to look forward to — the time when hearty root vegetables are fresh and exciting; a rustic prelude to the winter holidays.

Going to school in upstate New York, harvest time was always my favorite. The excitement of a new semester was accentuated by the chance to experiment with the season’s best local produce, and scouring farmers markets for new ingredients is how I fell in love with “nose-to-tail” vegetable eating. While we don’t have to eke out every last nutrient from our food supply to survive, using all the edible parts of vegetables can be both practical and fun. (more…)

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The Team at Full Belly Farm

The Team at Full Belly Farm

As many of you know, the local produce season is winding down and we’re seeing a lot less variety coming in from the fields. Like much of the country, we look to California for fruits and vegetables when our own region cannot sustainably supply them. (more…)

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Seedlings - Red Fire Farm

Seedlings at Red Fire Farm

At Formaggio Kitchen, serious consideration is given to the impact of the land or terroir on each bottle of wine, wheel of cheese and bar of chocolate — for familiarity with soil and its composition yields a deeper understanding of the relationship between the Earth and our food. Many of our biodynamic and natural wine producers emphasize the importance of soil composition as it relates to the health of the vineyard as well as to the expression of the wine. I Clivi winemakers, Ferdinando Zanusso and Mario Zanusso, produce, “as ‘transparent’ a wine as possible, in which soil, climate and tradition may come fully through and be perceived without interferences.” (more…)

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Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

For a lover of words, leafing through an heirloom seed catalog is almost as delicious as eating the fruits and vegetables pictured on each page. The poetry of heirloom seeds is unabashed, starting with names such as Amish Deer Tongue lettuce, Moon and Stars watermelon, Rouge Vif d’Etamps squash, Yellow Dent corn and a personal favorite, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. Nomenclature aside, heirloom crops possess a long, distinguished past. (more…)

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Heirloom Apples from Scott Farm (Dummerston, VT)

Top to bottom: Franc Rambour, Duchess of Oldenburg, Lamb Abbey Pearmain and Gravenstein.

Crisp autumnal air. The sweet smell of leaves. Dashes of yellows and oranges and reds and browns. A quintessential New England fall. And nothing says fall to me like apples and apple picking.

As a child, roaming the orchards, climbing up the ladder to pick the fruit, and biting into a juicy red McIntosh was what thrilled me. Now that I’m a bit older, I still love to pick apples but, as a produce buyer here at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, what really gets my motor going is the sheer variety of apples available today.

There are, of course, the old standbys like Granny Smith and Galas. The New England staples like Cortlands and Macouns. And, with the help of seed savers and the grace of a handful of dedicated growers, like Zeke Goodband of Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont, there are heirloom apples. The names themselves are reason to cheer: Ananas Reinette, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Duchess of Oldenburg. (more…)

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Rockville Market Farm - Harvesting

Harvesting at Rockville Market Farm*

The cheese counter at Formaggio Kitchen is pasted with articles, vintage cheese labels, stickers, helpful tips and lovely old pictures from our early days in business. All are interesting to peruse, but one sticker in particular always resonates with me as I pass it daily – a small, hardly noticeable, green sticker right at the entrance to the counter. It reads, “No Farms, No Food.” This statement may seem obvious, but in a time where triple-washed, packaged, pre-cut and peeled vegetables are the norm, it is difficult to remember that everything we eat was grown by farmers in wide spaces, deep in the dirt. By maintaining close relationships with the farmers that produce our food, the gap from field to consumer is ultimately closed and enormous benefits are immediately apparent. Not only is it now possible to know the exact date of harvest, but we can discuss the pest management techniques used on the farm, inquire about the diet of livestock and poultry, and even know the farmer’s most recommended crop of the week. With this in mind, Formaggio Kitchen aims to be an equally transparent connection between our customers and farmers. We are happy to talk at length about the practices of each farm and alert customers as to when we receive produce from each grower. Recommending the perfect fruit or vegetable comes naturally when we are so highly tuned into what is happening on the fields! In that spirit, here is an in-depth look at some of our favorite farms and growers in the New England area. (more…)

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