August 22, 2019

Simple & Stylish Party Secrets to Wow Your Friends This Labor Day

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Time for some classy upgrades to the typical hot dogs and hamburgers this Labor Day. Instead, we teamed up with with Veronica Leslie of HealthDoll.Co to provide you with some easy, yet stylish fare to excite your friends, while keeping your prep time minimal before and during your party. We will help you make cocktails (and mocktails), appetizers, main dishes and dessert that will prove a memorable experience for all. And you’ll have enough energy to enjoy your own party, too!

It’s All About First Impressions

Have an easy-to-make cocktail that can work as a mocktail, too. Going with an option that uses real ingredients like fresh herbs, citrus, or brined veggies is always a safe bet. Since you want this to be something that you can bring pronto, directly to your friends’ hands, it’s always a great idea to batch prep your concoction the night before and save the toppings for the party. In fact, you can even make this interactive and have your guests add their own adornment to their beverage.

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An Organic Bloody Mary is always a hit and you can bring the fun with lots of garnish choices. A quick way to make this recipe is by making it in batches (each batch serves 4 people). Use one 16 oz. organic bloody mary mix, 8 ounces vodka, 4 teaspoons organic steak sauce, 4 ounces castelvetrano olive juice, 4 teaspoons organic hot sauce (or to taste), and a couple shakes of classic steak seasoning salt (this can also be used for the rim). Stock up on brined veggies for garnish galore. And don’t forget to make a virgin batch; you can always add vodka if someone wants it.

Pro tip – you can keep brined veggies stocked in your fridge at all times; they can be used for cheeseboard and charcuterie accompaniments, too.


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The Cucumber Mint Rum Refresher sounds and tastes amazing, and will appeal to those who want a cocktail or a mocktail. This easy peasy cocktail combines muddled mint and lime, rum (vodka works well, too) and is topped with cucumber soda and ice. For a chic beverage option for guests desiring a mocktail, just omit the alcohol. This is an easy bevie to imbibe all evening long.

Chips & Dips Always A Win

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A chips and dips bar is a fun and super simple way for your guests to keep on dipping. Kettle papita chili lime chips and corn chips pair nicely with salsa and guacamole, or you can go a little wild and add almond dips, garlic & chive hummus, vegan cheese spreads, and garlic mint yogurt dip. For presentation, you can just pour the chips in big bowls and open the dips—serve them directly from their containers or be a little more mysterious by putting into individual bowls. Either way, your guests will be excited for some unique dip options.

Always Room for Caprese Your Way


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Caprese, typically comprised of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, can be served in many ways. A couple of our favs are as skewers (you can use tooth picks, too) or on crackers. Serving on skewers looks fancy, requires little prep, and is easy to make the night before. Start with ciliegine mozzarella, then add a basil leaf and end with a cherry tomato. Just before serving, drizzle a little balsamic reduction and add salt and pepper to taste. We also like to serve this classic recipe on a cracker. We use organic rosemary & olive oil flatbread bites. It’s best to make these the day of the party, so that the crackers stay crunchy. Add a slice of heirloom tomato, a basil leaf and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Complete with balsamic reduction and salt and pepper.

Pro Tip: you can boil balsamic vinegar on the stove for about 10 minutes until it becomes thick and syrupy to make your own balsamic reduction for a flavorful finish.

Delish Dinner Options Without the Fuss

Here are some great options to serve for dinner that won’t cause a fuss, and better yet, your guests will think you spent hours preparing. We have suggestions for all types of dietary desires, too. With just a little bit of effort the day before, you will have the perfect assortment of dishes for your deserving guests.

Labor Day 3

Spatchcock style BBQ chicken proves a beautiful presentation. The butterfly cut allows the chicken to roast flat to cook more evenly and quickly. Because the chicken arrives as a butterfly cut, you don’t need to be a pro with the kitchen sheers and you can rest assured that you can cook the perfect chicken on the bbq or in your oven. We like to use honey & thyme vinaigrette for the marinade, and add veggies and sprigs of rosemary. Voila!

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You can make Veggie & Sirloin Steak Skewers by marinating in lemon juice, garlic seasoning and organic steak sauce. These skewers brown up beautifully on the BBQ. Marinate the night before to ensure your meat is tender and full of flavor. And don’t forget to make a few veggie ones for your non-steak eating friends. You can bring back that garlic mint yogurt dip we mentioned before to use as a topping and finish with a squeeze of bright lemon.

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A simple, yet elegant dish is Puttanesca pasta. You can whip up your own sauce by adding olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, capers, sundried olives or kalamata olives, fresh basil, and garlic. You can use many of the ingredients from the prior menu items for this dish as well. Start with medium-low heat, a little olive oil and some crushed garlic. Once lightly golden, add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then stir in the other goodies. (Or you can opt for the pre-made sun-dried tomato pesto instead.) While waiting for your sauce to simmer, cook your pasta. We suggest using strozzapreti or gluten-free ravioli.

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Last but not least, don’t forget the Vegan Lavash Flatbread! Begin with lavash flatbread and coat with sun-dried tomato pesto to your desired thickness. Place thinly sliced vegan cheeses of choice; we like to do a duet of vegan mozzerella and vegan creamy chao slices. For a final touch, add a medley of fresh Italian herbs before baking till golden brown. This recipe can also work on the BBQ if you use a pizza stone (look up directions for proper use on a BBQ).

And for the Finale, S’mores please!

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S’mores are always a crowd pleaser and a great interactive way to end the evening. Everyone can gather around the fire pit to make s’mores and merriment. Another option is using the remaining heat from your BBQ. Have fun mixing and matching marshmallow flavors and various chocolate selections, too. And to make it even a little more fresh and tasty, by adding fresh blueberries or strawberry vanilla jam.

We hope that you have a fabulous Labor Day and we would love to see your feasts in your Instagram stories. Make sure to tag us @farmfreshtoyou

Recipes & tips provided in collaboration with Veronica Leslie of HealthDoll.Co.

How To Add Produce and Products To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

August 7, 2019

Olive Oil Tasting Tips

Pouring Olive Oil

The highest grade an olive oil can receive is “Extra Virgin,” but what does that really mean? Extra virgin olive oil is made by crushing fresh olives, and then applying mechanical pressure to extract their rich, flavorful oils. There is no heat involved in the extraction process, which is why it is also called “cold pressing,” and the use of chemicals for extraction is also not allowed. Cold pressing helps preserve the bright, fresh flavor of the oil. It also helps preserve the healthy antioxidants in the oil, known as polyphenols, that have been shown to protect the body from environmental stress and inflammation.

The Four S's

Tasting olive oil is a very similar process to tasting wine. The fundamentals of tasting are based on the 4 S’s: Swirl, Sniff, Slurp and Swallow. Pour a bit of olive oil into a small cup, and let’s get started! 

Swirl: Hold the cup on the palm of your hand to warm the oil slightly. Cover the cup with your other hand and gently swirl the oil around. Warming the oil and agitating it helps release the aromas. Don’t uncover just yet!

Sniff: Bring the cup to your nose, then uncover and smell the oil. Take note of what you smell and the intensity of the aroma.

Slurp: Take a sip of oil, but don’t swallow it yet! With your lips apart, press your tongue to the back of your top teeth and pull in some air – if you’re making that noise your mom asked you not to make when eating soup, you’re doing it right! Pulling in air helps spread the oil across your palette and release its flavors.

Swallow: Swallow the oil, and take note of the flavors and sensations you experience. Is your throat stinging a little? This is a good thing. It means the oil is rich in antioxidants! It should also be a little bit bitter at the back of your tongue.

Olive Oil Tasting Glasses

Did you notice that “See” wasn’t one of the S’s? This is because color is not an indicator of the quality or flavors you may discover in an olive oil, so try using a cobalt-colored glass for a “blind” tasting.

Olive Oil Production at Seka Hills

Photo: Seka Hills

Tasting Notes

Some of the pleasant aromas and flavors you might encounter are tomato leaves like Seka Hills’ Picual, nutty with hints of green apple like Seka Hills’ Arbequina, floral and fruity like Flatlands Oil & Mill’s Harvest Blend of Frantoio and Moraiolo, grassy like Bariani’s Early Harvest Blend of Mission and Manzanillo, or with whispers of tropical fruit from Ascolano like Cobram Estate’s California Select blend. Some other flavors you may pick up are black pepper, stone or citrus fruits, herbs, green tea, eucalyptus or pine.

If the oil has gone bad, or rancid, it may have flavors reminiscent of crayons or stale peanuts. Other negative flavors related to problems with harvesting or production are musty or moldy, sour or vinegary, dirty or wet wood.

Storage

Olive oil is considered a fresh product and should be enjoyed within 12-18 months of harvest. Store your oil in a cool, dark place to prevent premature oxidation and rancidity, and use within 6 months of opening. 

Use & Enjoy

While you can cook with extra virgin olive oil, we recommend reserving your most flavorful bottles for use as finishing oils to add a layer of extra seasoning and richness to dishes. Pour it in a shallow dish and use as a dip for fresh bread, drizzle on fresh tomatoes or roasted veggies, add to a vinaigrette, or for an unexpected treat, drizzle atop vanilla ice cream — trust us on this one!

Olive Oil

How To Add Olive Oil To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

July 25, 2019

Back To School Lunch Ideas

Back To School
Time is flying this summer! You still have a few more weeks of freedom, but back-to-school is just around the corner. We know life can get hectic, and school lunches can get boring. We want to help! Here are some quick ideas you can prep ahead to make mornings a little easier, and keep tummies full of healthy - and fun! - meals.

Back To School

We love traditional "Ants on a Log" (celery topped with peanut butter and raisins), but we also love all of the different variations of it that you can create! For the filling, try any nut butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, hummus, Greek yogurt or guacamole. For the "ant" topping, try raisins, dried fruit, blueberries, seeds, granola, chocolate chips and more. The options are truly endless!

For a quick on-the-go snack, try this delicious blueberry pistachio bar from This Bar Saves Lives. As the title suggests, every time you purchase a bar, you send a packet of life-saving food to a malnourished child in need.

Back To School

We are always looking for ways to reduce waste at home. Instead of using tin foil or plastic wrap, try out these reusable sandwich wraps. Made of beeswax, organic cotton and organic jojoba oil, it uses the heat from your hands to create a seal. These are also great for wrapping fruit, veggies and leftovers!

Sandwiches are a classic for a nutritious and filling school lunch. Farm Fresh To You has you covered with sliced bread, organic sliced cheese, antibiotic-free and no-hormone-added lunch meats, and all of your favorite condiments. Prefer a vegetarian option? Try using hummus and add some sliced bell peppers for a satisfying crunch.

For a sweet treat, try a Petit Pot. We have delicious pudding and lemon curd options, as well as dairy-free coconut-based rice puddings. Plus, these cute little jars are perfect for reusing for future lunches!

Back To School

Got a snacker on your hands? Put together an alternative to those pre-packaged cheese and cracker lunch kits. Create a grazing box with cheese, salami and crackers. Add a few Tosi Cashew Super Bites for added protein and fiber.

Back To School

Try a twist on a true classic with this PB&J roll-up. Spread peanut butter and jam onto a thin lavash or tortilla, then roll and slice into rounds. Our staff member's son affectionately refers to this creation as "PB&J sushi." Add a hard-boiled egg for extra protein. These eggs from Peckish even come with seasoning and dip to elevate this snack.

Back To School

This lunch features celery sticks, juicy grapes, sliced rainbow carrots, and tortilla chips to dip into delicious guacamole, plus an apple-cinnamon fruit strip for an afternoon treat. There are countless variations of these lavash pinwheel roll-ups that you can create. This one features cream cheese and cucumber slices - it's cool, crisp and refreshing! Below are some of our other favorites:

  • Peanut butter and banana
  • Hummus and thinly sliced veggies
  • Turkey, avocado and tomato
  • Salami, lettuce and cheese
  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill
  • Tuna salad and cheese
  • Shredded chicken, guacamole and thinly sliced bell pepper


Back To School

These thin lightly salted rice cakes are great plain as a snack, but they also make the perfect base for an open-face sandwich. We spread on some hummus and topped them with sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. We added our Fruity Delux Trail Mix for fiber and a few mini chocolate chip cookies for a sweet treat. We also included a vegan yogurt tube for a morning snack or breakfast on the go!

Back To School

We hope this helps inspire you to get creative with your children's lunches this year. You can even get them involved with preparing their food - our kids love making their own ants on a log and older kids are great at creating their own lavash roll-up combinations. The best part? All of these items can be conveniently added to your farm box delivery.

How To Add Farm Stand Products to Your Delivery:
CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.