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Shallots from our 2012 Wenatche Valley Farmers Market booth.

People come up to us at the stand and are excited to see that we’ve got shallots. Fact is, we’re growing the famous French grey shallots this year and we think they’ll be a smash hit. But other people stop and question what is a shallot? The quick answer is it’s a milder onion.

Shallots are technically an alium, which puts them in the same family as garlic and onions.

  • The shallot is a botanical variety of the species Alliumcepa, to which the multiplier onion also belongs.
  • Shallots probably originated in Central or Southeast Asia, travelling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean.
  • Like garlic, shallots are formed in clusters of offsets with a head composed of multiple cloves. The skin colour of shallots can vary from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta.
  • Shallots are extensively cultivated for culinary uses.

Like onions and garlic, they form a bulb underground and send a long green stalk upwards. When that turns brown and falls over, the shallots are generally ready to harvest. Storage for them is similar. Dry them down, keep them from getting overly warm or damp, and they will store for six months or more. You can use them in much the same way as onions, but their flavor is different. They are nothing like a Walla Walla Sweet, nor are they as spicy as garlic. I think the best way to try the grey shallots and get used to the flavor is raw.

Here’s a great recipe for using raw shallots and cherry tomatoes:

Cherry Tomato Salad

2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T red wine vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
1 T drained capers
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup (plus 2 T) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup finely shredded basil

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In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, shallot, capers and garlic. Whisk in the oil slowly and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and basil and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/2008/08/cherry-tomato-salad.html

And here’s another:

Baby Yukon Potato Salad with Shallots, Chives, Bacon and Lemon Vinaigrette

1-3/4 lb. baby Yukon Gold potatoes
kosher salt
4 strips bacon
1/4 cup minced shallot (from 1 large shallot)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar or white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes in a 4 – 5 quart saucepan and cover by about 2 inches with cold water. Add 1 T salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil gently until the potatoes are tender enough to pierce easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Don’t overcook them or they will fall apart.

Meanwhile, put the bacon slices in a cold 10-inch skillet and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towel lined plate, reserving the drippings. Coarsely chop or crumble the bacon and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shallots, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.

Drain the potatoes in a large colander and let cool slightly. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half any that are larger than a walnut. Taste a bit of potato skin; if it is bitter or feels tough, peel all the potatoes with a paring knife.

Drop the potatoes into the bowl with the shallot mixture. Add the olive oil, 2 T of the chives, 1 T bacon drippings, and the chopped bacon. Toss to combine. (It may appear that there’s too much dressing, but it will be absorbed). Let the salad sit for 20 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper and more salt, if necessary. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 T chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.

http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/2008/02/baby-yukon-potato-salad-with-shallots.html

Bon appetit!

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Dear Veggie Lovers,

Wow. This year has gone super fast! It was just May last week, right? I mean, the Farmers Market just went — zip! And now we are down to the final two…..

In case you haven’t heard, this may be the last year for the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market at the foot of 2nd St. Next year, hopefully, we will be at the newly remodeled – and open – Pybus Public Market. Here’s a sketch of what the artists think it might one day look like:

Right now though, it looks like this:

It will be an interesting transformation to watch.

Can they do it by May 1, 2013?

We shall see!

For more information on the project, go here.

See you Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market!

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Dear Veggie Lovers,

We are working hard up at the farm – moving leeks from their nursery bed to their permanent growing spots, and much, much more.

You’ll see the fruit (or veggies, rather) of our efforts at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market each Saturday from 8-1:00.

And thought we don’t sell grain products, I thought it would be interesting to share a bit about Emmer.

Emmer

Emmer is an ancient grain originally cultivated in Mesopotamia – aka the birthplace of human civilization, found between the the Tigris and Euphrates River systems in the Middle East. (Don’t you like how I work that in so often?) Like so many old, old, things (my Pinto Station wagon, for instance), Emmer cultivation eased as newer, higher-yield grans came to the forefront, such as Barley. And later of course, wheat.

Emmer is genetically different from wheat. And if you taste it, you’ll agree! It’s got … a more rye-like taste than regular flour. I know, because I had some locally-grown biscuit mix from Bluebird Grain Farms in Winthrop, WA.

Emmer Biscuit Mix

And I have to say, I would eat it again!

Now, Emmer as a grain is not as high in gluten as wheat, so it lends itself more to flatbread-type things, and here’s a good recipe for just that: Emmer flatbread. I’d like to try that, since it seems as though making actual bread might be more difficult. But here’s a blogger who’s done it and lived to tell the tale!

Not only that, there’s a whole old-grain baking movement in the works from the looks of things – 

and after all, Emmer is still around with us today – still cultivated in various regions for many reasons. One variety of Emmer you may have heard of is Farro. It’s grown in Italy and is sometimes used to make Risotto, although this site has a Farro and Beet Salad recipe that looks delicious, if you happen to have some Tzatziki sauce lying about. (Which if you’re Greek, you inevitably do!) But if not, hey, take a chance on the biscuits or the muffins and see how you like the flavor.

You never know – you might be eating more of it some day!

Emmer’s claims to fame includes a tolerance to rust disease and bad weather conditions, something which may come into play in the future – you just never know… food security for much of human existence has not been a certainty.

Due to bad cherry growing conditions in the Wenatchee area this year, growers are concerned about a bad fruit fly year in 2013. What will happen to the price of cherries next year, it’s too soon to say.

So, grow what you can, and make biscuits!

See you at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market on Saturday!

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Hey all,

In case you have not seen the July 2012 Wenatchee Business Journal, I thought you’d like to know we were covered. In fact, we are on the cover!

Here’s the link to the story http://wbjtoday.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&subsectionID=45&articleID=2005

It just goes to show you – it pays to eat your veggies!

Dave Lawrence with a Flicker Farm leek.

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Dear veggie lovers,

I’ve eaten kale – in several different varieties – for years. Years! But until recently I hadn’t heard of “kale chips,” the new and cool way to eat it. And it seemed as though once I’d heard about it, the subject came up over and over and over again, though no two people do them exactly the same way.

Invariably, at every Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market, someone comes up to the stand to buy kale, and says they are going to take it home to make kale chips. Older folks, young people, they all know about this phenomenon. A lot of them make it in the oven but we had a lady last Saturday who said she makes it in the food dehydrator!

So this begged the question, what are kale chips? And then, how do they taste? Are they good? Truthfully it sounded … odd. I’ve heard of toasting coconut, sure, and even nuts, and I’ve dehydrated peppers in the oven. (Dave has also made “dashboard dried tomatoes”). But sucking the water out of kale and calling it a treat? A green leafy vegetable? Wouldn’t that be weird?

Nah! It’s better than it sounds, believe me. It’s actually pretty damn good!

It’s also easy to make. The Food Network has this basic recipe for Crispy Kale Chips:

Ingredients

  • 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

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Siberian kale chips roasting.

This works out great – but we turned the oven up to 300. It still cooks for about 20 mins, but you gotta watch the little buggers. Also, some recipes say to turn them halfway through. You can turn them or not. It doesn’t matter much to the final product. One tip though: don’t just drizzle the oil on, massage the oil into the leaves with your hands to make sure they are well coated. Then, bake away.

What you end up with when you remove the kale from the oven is this:

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Green, crunchy, slightly salty – chips – for lack of a better word. And though they are more delicate than actual potato chips, they taste almost as good. Really! They satisfy a salt craving and I dare you to eat just one. Really. It ain’t gonna happen.

BE PREPARED FOR THEM TO GO FAST!

Burp.

Now, some folks will tell you to only use Scotch Kale for the chips, and others stick by Siberian. Try them both – we sell both of course! – and see if you find a difference.

And not everyone does them in the oven or uses the same seasonings. The lady that makes them in the food dehydrator uses nutritional yeast for flavor, so experiment. Be creative. The basic necessary ingredients are oil and salt. And kale, of course.

As if we needed more evidence that kale is the wonder food!

Eat your veggies!

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Dear Veggie Lovers,

Do many of us ever stop and think back to the origins of agriculture itself as we bite into an apple? Shockingly, the practice of sowing, cultivating and harvesting crops has only been around a short time in comparison to the Earth – scientists tell us Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago – and to man (homo sapiens sapiens to be specific) who’s been around for about 200,000 years – crop cultivation started a mere 10,000 years ago.

Yep, just 10,000 years. 

What were our humanoid ancestors doing before this time for food? Probably hunting, fishing, and writing bad checks at the supermarket. :p

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Homo sapiens sapiens – he’s got the hang of the dirt, all right!

You’ll notice that the number 10,000 coincides nicely with the emergence of what scientists refer to as the first civilized city: Jericho, which is about 8,000 years old. At Jericho they grew wheat and barley and probably – I’m saying it’s certainly possibly, maybe even likely, but not for positive – the world’s first farmers market began there.

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Jericho looking a bit worse for wear.

No, it wasn’t in Wenatchee. I know we all think life originated here, but no such luck!

I do remember though as a little girl that the Wenatchee Farmer’s Market used to be held on the loading dock of the Wenatchee Museum and Cultural Center. Yes, I’m that old – and before you ask, no, I don’t remember the moonshiners, but I’ve heard tale of them…

Anyway, put down that coffee cup for just a second and send your brain back 10,000 years – just for fun, but don’t let it stay too long – then snap it right back to present. Right back here, with the fruit growers, the backyard gardeners, aunt Judy with her tomato pots, and uncle Fred with his apple tree in the backyard. Too many numerous small local growers to count. How did they all get here and what took them so dang long? Well, it took a lot of time and perseverance just to grow that head of lettuce in your fridge, and a lot of very smart people.

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Lettuce be thankful for our lettuce!

Kind of gives you a different perspective on what farming is all about when you think about it, doesn’t it?

See you at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market on Saturday, May 19th.

Eat your veggies!

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Hi all,

We have just 10 more days until the start of the 2012 Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market! Can you believe it?

Just an update – Flicker Farm is now listed on the NCW EAT site under the “Food Search” tab located here.

If you haven’t already checked out EAT you are sure to find it an excellent source for locally gown food. They even have some recipes ready for your summer eating needs.

I’ve been drooling a bit over these wine and fruit ice pops from SHAPE Magazine. Don’t they look yummy for a hot summer day? Maybe after a hike? Or just out on the back porch after dinner?

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I wonder if you could put kale in that….

See you at the Market on May 19th!

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