Thoughtful Food


The weekend is when it rains by threefrogs
April 27, 2010, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Farmers are supposed to pray for rain.  This is what we all thought before coming to work on Four Frog Farm (and what we assume you think, too!)

However, praise for rain also hinges on a very important factor: timing.  Let us explain this a little further.  This month, the plan at Four Frog Farm was, simply put: to get plants in the ground.  This sounds like a feasible task, but proves to be more difficult when rain is so frequent.  Right now, our day to day planning is caught up in the cross hairs of a tricky decision: weather or not to plant?  The problem with rain when your aim is to plant is that tractor work (such as: plowing, tilling, forming beds) becomes ineffective or impossible in soil that is too wet.  Hence our predicament, every time it rains the soil must dry out sufficiently before we can even think about planting.

Because of our near weekly rain storms, most of our indoor greenhouse work has been accomplished and we are literally left to wait out the storm.

This is why we have been forced to adopt a somewhat unconventional workweek:  We work when the weather is nice and we plan to take days off when we know it will be raining.  The past two weeks this has resulted in planting and seeding in the fields on Sundays and sleeping in on Tuesday mornings.

Thus, we have adopted a new motto: “The weekend is when it rains”



Making Something Out of Nothing by threefrogs
April 17, 2010, 8:33 pm
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Following up on our post about cooking on a tight budget, we Three Frogs just enjoyed a most triumphant and delicious meal tonight.

We finally received our bulk order of whole wheat flour yesterday – making a pizza immediately made its way to the top of our priority list. We didn’t have any tomatoes on hand (they’re still in the greenhouse), so we got creative and made our own recipe by using carrots for our sauce base! Brilliant!!! We fell in love with this pizza at first bite and we wanted to share the recipe with all of you:

Roasted Garlic and Carrot Pizza:

For Pizza Crust:

combine:

– 3/4 cup of warm water

– 1 package of dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsps)

– 1 TB of honey

– Let sit for 5 minutes until bubbles form on top

– Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and add to dry ingredients

dry ingredients:

– 2 cups of flour, leave some out to knead with

– 1/2 tsp. of salt

– mix all ingredients together and knead 20-30 times. let rise for about one hour or wrap in plastic and put in refrigerator for use later that day.

For Roasted Garlic:

– Cut the top off (about 1/4-1/2 inch)

– Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper

– Roast in the oven at 400°F in either a garlic roaster or covered in foil, for about 35 minutes

– Take out cloves of garlic and mash together into a paste with a fork

For Carrot Sauce:

– Cook about a pound of chopped carrots in boiling water until soft

– Put aside a handful of soft carrots to mash with a fork, and puree the rest in a blender until you get a saucy consistency

– Dice half of medium yellow onion, one clove of garlic, and sauté until tender with 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large sautépan

– Add the pureed and mashed carrots to the sautépan

– Throw in some red pepper flakes, dry oregano, then season with salt and pepper to taste

– Roughly devein (remove stems) and chop up to one bunch of rainbow chard, then add to the sauce.

Spread mashed roasted garlic on flattened crust. Then spread the carrot sauce and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes 500°F. Cut, serve, and devour.



What is the value of food? by threefrogs
April 13, 2010, 9:22 pm
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Imagine feeding yourself on $100 a month.  How about $0?

That is our challenge for this 7 month internship.  Let us explain:  prior to interning at Four Frog Farm, the three of us had a pretty privileged experience as far as access to good food (read: organic, fresh, local, and tasty!).  We had the luxury of reading a recipe and then driving to the grocery store to check off each specialty ingredient on our list (organic strawberries, gruyere cheese, pecans, etc.).  At the start of our internship, independently of one another, and perhaps out of necessity, we all decided to try to eat for free.  Starting April 1st, we wanted to spend as little money as possible ($0) to feed ourselves.  Obviously, we can enjoy whatever is in season on the farm (a definite advantage!), but we’ll have to forgo all of the starbucks runs, fancy recipes, and out of season eating that we have grown accustomed to.

Last week we began by stocking up on bulk staple goods such as beans (pinto, black, lentils) and grains (oats, polenta, millet). There are also some crops still producing or leftover from last season; unfortunately, at the moment these are limited to only four items: beets, carrots, kale, and broccoli (which, at this point, has gone to flower). Topping off our list of resources is a sparse assortment of spices that we brought from home. All told, we were cooking with some serious handicaps in place.

After one week on this plan we realized a few things. In order to be cost-efficient with our food consumption, we needed to invest more time and thought into preparing our meals. Breakfast has become an easy routine of each of us eating a bowl of oatmeal. Lunch and dinner have proved to be much more challenging. After working on the farm each day we’ve spent the majority of our nights in the kitchen right up until we’ve gone to bed. We’ve not only had to ponder the age-old question, “what’s for dinner?”, but we also had to be sure to ask ourselves, “what’s for lunch, tomorrow?” Our strategy quickly evolved into cooking massive meals in the evenings so that there were enough leftovers to eat at lunch the next day. Food has quickly become the most important thought on our minds. We realized that in order to survive on the bare necessities, we had to fully devote ourselves to the “simple” act of feeding ourselves.

Throughout the week, we all come to realizations about our personal dietary needs. Leda realized that she was not ready to become a vegetarian (after a couple days without meat, she broke down and bought some organic chicken). Stephanie realized that, in order to fulfill certain deficits of a vegetarian diet, she needed to be conscious about diversifying her food choices while sticking to our tight budget. And, Matt realized that despite his love of beets, he simply couldn’t consume them in such mass quantities (i.e. chugging an entire glass of beet juice and then topping it off with a 100% beet puree burger leads to certain stomach issues). However, above everything else, we all realized how valuable food really is. It may sound cliche but the less you have, the more you appreciate it.

Good food takes time, thought, and hard work.

beans again?!



An epic battle of good vs. evil by Leda
April 8, 2010, 4:37 am
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One cool April morning, 7 warriors prepared for the daunting task at hand.  The rains had come and gone and it was time to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.  Weeds had been ravaging the rows of majestic Garlic, but with fresh reinforcements on hand the warriors knew victory was emminent.  Each warrior knew his or her place and fell in to fighting,  just as the sun was rising over the crest.  Some were armed with long hoes, freshly sharpened by the village blacksmith.  Some were relegated to the front lines where hand to hand combat was often unavoidable.  Battle waged on through the day and the only lull in action was for the warriors to take sustenance in order to preserve their strength.  As the sun began its slow descent behind the hill,  the battlefield below lay still.  The ground was strewn with the limp bodies of the fallen enemy.  Clover, bermuda grass, thistle, none had been spared the wrath of these defenders of the Garlic crop.

The warriors were strong and bolstered by their victory.  They also knew that this was just the beginning.  The weeds would return.  But, when they did, the warriors would be ready to meet them and fight another day…



Don’t you find it odd? by threefrogs

“Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?” from Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma“, Pollan is quoting, Joel Salatin

Hello Everyone!

Here at Thoughtful Food we agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Salatin’s statement, so let us take a moment to introduce ourselves: Our names are Stephanie, Matt, and Leda. We are all college educated individuals who have decided to forgo the comfort of a steady paycheck, a 401k, and paid vacations… instead we will be serving as interns for the 2010 growing season at Four Frog Farm in Nevada City, CA. All over the world, people are becoming increasingly aware of the food that they are consuming and where it comes from. We have decided to contribute to this movement by fulfilling the need for more ecologically sustainable farmers. This blog will be a place for us to document our time spent here at Four Frog Farm. We’ll try to keep our posts short and sweet. Think of this blog as the place where we will document our experiences and reflections – it’s a place where you can get to know us on a more personal level. We sincerely believe that responsibly grown food can heal the land, our health, and our nation’s pocket book. It all starts with getting to know the farmers who are growing the food we eat everyday!

Now that you’ve met us, we’d like to offer a few easy tips on how to get to know your local farmers.

The best way to do this is to become a local food consumer.  Three options for this are:

1.  Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program! This is a great option if you are a little adventurous and like getting packages! It works like this: At the beginning of the growing season, you purchase a farm share. In return, you receive a box of produce, recipes, and other farm goods that vary by season and region.

–  The Local Harvest (CSA) website is a great resource for finding a CSA in your area.

2.  Attend your local farmer’s market! Pick out the particular veggies, meat, fruit, and other locally made goods that you want.  Next step – pay for it. Also, don’t forget to shake the farmer’s hand and tell him or her how beautiful the spinach/bison jerky/watermelon looks. When you come back next week, you can tell them how much you enjoyed that spinach/bison jerky/watermelon!

–   Again you can use the website Local Harvest to search for farmer’s markets in your area.

3.  Start shopping at your local co-op grocery store! Most co-ops pride themselves on supporting the local community by sourcing their produce from local farmers and allowing community members to share ownership (literally). We happen to be proud members of the BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley, CA!

–  To find a local co-op and learn more about how they work, visit The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).

We hope this will kickstart your efforts to eat healthy and know your farmers. Remember, don’t be shy. Farmers love to talk about what they do.

As for us, we’re looking forward to the beginning of a busy summer filled with planting, weeding, harvesting, serving our community, and most of all, eating! Tomorrow, April 5th, will be our first day of work on the farm.

Wish us luck and stay tuned for more news from the field…