Farm bounty

photo courtesy of Oak Hill Farm in Glen Ellen
Well known food writer Mark Bittman recently wrote 
"Although there are areas of the country where farmers’ markets feature 
 loads of fresh vegetables year round (yay Sonoma!), 
those of us who live in regions with a different set of blessings 
experience long stretches when farmers’ markets (at least those that remain open) 
offer only cider, apples, root vegetables, frozen meat and things like
 candles and sweaters made of the coarsest wool. 
Which is all fine, but it mostly serves to enhance the excitement 
we can feel when we hit the big time: a farmers’ market loaded 
with stuff that was picked not only nearby but yesterday."
Well, it's that time of year for sure. August 7 was the half way point for summer. 
So here we are at that glorious "moment" when all our winter labors prepping 
and spring toil planting at the farm pay off at the table. 
Our chefs may stop by the farm on their way to the kitchen 
to pick what's ripe and are then inspired to get creative. 
Executive chef John Toulze picking tomatoes
on his way to the girl & the fig kitchen
A recent bounty of pluots in the orchard brought about 
some especially innovative specials at the girl & the fig including 
chilled garden pluot soup with local honey, sweet crème fraîche, oat crumble 
and then grilled pluots with frisee and roasted cherries as a special salad.
Chilled pluot soup
bottom photo
pluots at the farm
Right now there's just so much to pick, whether at a farm like ours, 
your backyard garden patch or the Farmers Markets. 
You can get super creative or actually, considering how "eat-it-right-now" 
delicious everything is, simple may be best. 
One of our friends, Kristin Jorgensen who writes "The Sun Eats" column in Sonoma Sun 
offered her "last ditch month-long guide, crusade if you will, 
of what you must do to soak up every juicy morsel 
of what is left of this amazing Sonoma summer" 
with great tips on easy ways to enjoy the bounty surrounding us. 
Our favorite bit of advice from Kristin, one we subscribe to as well, is about tomatoes. 
She wisely says: "You need to eat more. I promise, you'll be sorry if you don't. 
Have them at every single meal." 

photo courtesy of Quarter Acre Farm in Sonoma
She's right. We are doing our part for you 
with the 800 tomatoes we are harvesting from the farm. 
Not only are we featuring our tomatoes and cucumbers 
in this week's Plats du Jour entree, 
but we are sharing a bit of the farm with you too—while they last, 
you can pick from a box of heirloom tomatoes at the restaurant and take them home!
overflow from our 800 tomatoes plants
to share with you!
this week's Plats du Jour features (upper left photo):
garden tomato salad made from our farm cucumbers,
smoked house-made mozzarella, avocado vinaigrette, arugula
Tomato Row at the farm
Kristin has some great ideas for what to do with tomatoes 
including the quickest way to create a sauce 
you can use for anything—from cold soup, a topping for grilled bread 
or steak, to toss with noodles and not have to turn on the stove! 
It "cooks in a sunny spot on a window sill" while 
you are out having whatever summer fun you enjoy. 
never too many, right?

There are a lot of great ideas and suggestions available
(including tips top be a savvy Farmers Market shopper)
but the absolute best resource we've seen recently 
"essentially a one-armed bandit of ingredients and techniques,
offering more than 50 combinations of things 
you’re most likely to find in a market or your C.S.A. basket."

photo courtesy of Quarter Acre Farm in Sonoma

And check out a cool new resource which is 
probably very busy at this time of year: CropMobster.
From their website: "How It Works:
Taking part in the CropMobster™ community is a great way 
to help local farms, food sellers and producers and create affordable access 
to fresh food, free donations and other items of surplus and excess 
that may be at risk of going to waste." 
If you have too much and want to share, or if you are on the lookout 
for what's fresh and bountiful, check out their latest alerts.  
photo courtesy of Oak Hill Farm in Glen Ellen

It's just that time of year—overflowing baskets, lush farm beds, 
bountiful, plentiful—truly "a buyers market," as Mark Bittman said. 
Go out and pick what you have growing, forage at the farmers market, 
bring it home and you hardly need to open a cookbook—chop it, 
drizzle some good oil and sprinkle some of the fresh herbs
 you no doubt got as well, toss and enjoy. 
Or maybe, do what many of us confess is the true summer pleasure: 
slice that juicy tomato or peach or whatever you've got...
stand over the sink and savor. 
Then repeat.

What's are you enjoying now from your farm?

Any creative recipes to share, or 

do you just throw together the best salad of the year?

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