In This Edition:
Farro Salad with Celery Root & Apples
Rocking Horse Bakery
Consider a Monthly CSA
Notes from the Farmer
These are the quiet winter days I so love here in the foothills of the Cascades. I was reminded of tranquility just yesterday afternoon while on the granary’s outside milling deck sacking grain. The sun had warmed things enough so the eves dripped on the south roof; a junco fluttered down to pick up some tailings I’d swept off the porch and a chickadee sounded in the nearby aspen before skipping to the feeder for more sunflower. The machinery was temporarily off and all else was still. This was the sort of pleasant silence that sanctifies winter. Though it may sound odd, but not unlikely, if was, all in all, a "good day to be working." My father will love reading this…
Not that it wouldn’t have been just as nice an afternoon to be skiing or hiking or even fussing around the river fishing or hunting, but one has to be content in the moment, does one not? And I was thinking there are a lot of places I’d much less like to be. As well, I was reminded of the quiet, winter afternoons elsewhere – anywhere for that matter- in the country.
True to my mention in last month’s letter, it is the season for reflection. I’m not sure the honor of living here, nor doing the work we do would have the richness for us without winter.
To be sure, winter adds work with keeping things plowed out, having to meet our freight trucks at the "top of the hill", and it can be awful cold in the granary at times. So far, this winter came with snow at Thanksgiving, yet December was abnormally dry, and still we seem to have enough snow on the ground and it has been cold enough so that perhaps it seems more winter than it actually is. The snow-pack in the mountains is a bit behind, but the last thing I’m going to get too concerned about is spring water at this point. "It" – (Mother) - can snow plenty the second part of the winter both up high and in the valley. Plus, we certainly had some fall rain! And the past two springs have been very, very wet and, and...
So here at Bluebird after our holiday week off, we’re delighted with the liveliness of our customer orders to begin the new year and we’re happy to be once again drawing those good grains out of storage, cleaning them, milling and mixing them into the various forms which so many of you enjoy. I hope the new year does find you with time for reflection; I hope it does find you in good health. We thank you again for such a great 2011 and welcome your thoughts at any time. I will always have something to say – my children can attest to that- but I welcome any subjects/questions any of you readers might like for me to address in future months? Shoot them my way at email@example.com.
Peace, your farmer Sam
Bluebird News & Events
Farmers Market Schedule will be coming Next Month. In the mean time we do have a delivery service that goes to Seattle weekly for orders over 100 lbs. Please give us a call or e-mail if you have an order that you would like delivered: 1.888.232.0331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you purchase our products frequently? Save $ by signing up for one of our 4 or 6 month CSA options: a simple share (3 items) or run of the mill share (5 items). Choose from any pre-package (2lb-1lb.) item each month and we will ship it to your door!
On New Years Eve we created a Sun Spiral with cedar bows. Candle light was carried throughout the spiral bring light into the new year.
Recipe of the Month:
Farro Salad with Celery Root & Apples
The creamy sauce is rich and decadent, but the combination of crisp celery root and sweet apples with chewy farro and fragrant herbs make this salad light and refreshing. This dish is great on its own, or as a side dish for your favorite simply prepared meat or meat alternativeRecipe Serves 6
1 Cup Bluebird Grain Farms Emmer Flour
1/2 tsp Sea or Kosher salt, divided
1/2 Lemon, zest and juice
3/4 lb Celery root
1 Medium apple
4 Slices cooked bacon
8 oz Crème fraiche or sour cream
2 Tb Dijon mustard
1 Tb Maple syrup or agave nectar
1 Cup Fresh herbs/greens (any combination of parsley, arugula, cilantro, dill, even kale is good)
Add the Farro to a medium pot with 3 cups or so of water and ¼ tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer for 45-50 minutes.
While the farro is cooking, get a medium-large mixing bowl and zest the ½ lemon into the bowl. Then squeeze in the lemon juice. Cut the rough outside skin from the celery root with a sharp knife, then slice into 1/8 inch pieces and cut into matchstick strips (or you can grate on the large holes of a box grater). Put the celery root into the bowl with the lemon and toss as you work to keep it from browning. Cut the apple into matchsticks (or grate) then toss with the celery root and lemon. Chop the bacon crosswise into ¼ inch strips and add to the bowl.
In a separate small-medium mixing bowl add the crème fraiche, mustard, maple syrup and remaining ¼ tsp salt. Stir to combine, then toss with the celery root mixture. Roughly chop the herbs and set aside. When the farro is done, drain it, then toss with the herbs. Pile the farro & herbs onto a plate, and top with as much of the celery root salad and creamy sauce as you like.
Customer Profile: Teresa and Steve Mitchell of Rocking Horse Bakery, Winthrop, WA
A new year is a time for new beginnings and new dreams, and Rocking Horse Bakery owners Teresa and Steve Mitchell are busy making theirs happen. Since buying the Winthrop main street bakery in the fall of 2010, life has been a blur of baguettes, bagels, and sticky buns. When the Mitchells began seriously considering a move from Vermont to the Methow, their primary interest was in finding a business that had something to do with food, and “the Rocking Horse stood out as a good match,” says Teresa.
Although the Mitchells didn’t know anything about Bluebird Grains prior to purchasing the bakery, they quickly became big fans. Teresa says “In the process of buying the Rocking Horse we learned about where the previous owners sourced their ingredients and we were introduced to Bluebird. We were happy to continue this relationship and during the time I spent scouring the bread recipes I ended up modifying and adding more Bluebird Grains flours to many of our products.”
The relationship between a bakery and a fresh flour source seems obvious, but Teresa says that many people are surprised to learn that everything in the bakery is made from scratch, from cookies to breads. Most of Rocking Horse yeast breads feature Bluebird’s hard white or hard red wheat flours, as do their hearty muffins, and the Rendezvous Rye bread showcases Bluebird’s organic dark northern rye flour. Customers are pleasantly surprised, says Teresa, when they learn that the food they eat at the bakery is of such consistently high quality.
Complementing the bakery’s long list of artisan breads and sweet and savory pastries is a menu of soups, sandwiches, salads, and pizzas that reads like a culinary map of the world. A Thai peanut noodle salad keeps company with a bowl of South Indian Sambar soup, while a chicken, fig, and goat cheese pizzatta sidles up to an iconic avgolemono. The eclectic and ethnic menu reflects the Mitchell’s love of travel and the flavors they’ve savored around the globe. “I became enamored with the food of Asia while traveling,” says Teresa, “and then our kids are from India, so that always serves as an inspiration for us.”
In Woodstock, Vermont, laughs Teresa, “the Mitchell dinner table was always seen as a little odd.” New Englanders, the Mitchells found, have more traditional eating habits and spicy foods or ethnic restaurants were hard to find. Teresa started a specialty spice business, importing Asian spices and selling them at farmers markets. At each market, Teresa says, she would circulate amongst the farmers’ booths and see what was fresh and available. The following week she developed recipes that featured those foods and incorporated her spice blends. The adventuresome and sophisticated palate of Methow residents, says Teresa, has been fun to work with. “People aren’t afraid to try new things here,” she says. And although Teresa isn’t currently selling her specialty spice blends, they are highlighted in many of the bakery’s savory items.
In addition to sourcing flour through the Lucys, the Mitchells have found kindred spirits in Brooke and Sam. Like the Lucys, the Mitchells are a husband-wife team running a small business. Their children, Kavi (13) and Neela (11) help out in the bakery and when Kavi turns 14 he plans to get his Food Handler Permit and join the bakery’s payroll. Teresa says “Owning a small business as a family has its pros and cons. It really involves the whole family. You spend a lot of time at the business, so you need to find ways to productively involve the kids and you need to make it possible to have a balance of work and home life.”
“One of the reasons we’ve felt connected to the Lucys is that they work really hard,” she continues. “They had a dream and they gave up stability to do what they wanted to do. They’re innovative, they think outside the box. They’ve really made it happen. We wanted to do this too.”
Since moving to the Methow the Mitchells have been delighted to have a venue that allows them such a strong connection to the community. “We’re just saturated in it,” says Teresa happily, “We’re constantly making connections with new people, as well as with people we knew in Seattle or people we had brushed elbows with when we used to visit the Methow in the 1990s.” The bakery offers a welcome space to grab a quick cup of coffee or to linger over a long meeting.
“We want to be approachable for everyone,” says Teresa, “whether it’s families or meetings. In the restaurant industry there is a push to turn tables and we feel lucky to be able to encourage people to stay a while. It’s a fundamental part of who we want to be.” She adds, “This is such an embracing place to live.”
In the year to come the Mitchells will be experimenting with new recipes to delight our taste buds, as well as providing the friendly service and tasty treats that bakery patrons have come to count on, offering back to the community the Rocking Horse’s welcoming embrace.