Friday, June 13, 2008

Lobster Sale & Indian Ladder Update

Nothing makes me happier than seeing lobster go down to $6.99 a pound for Father's Day. That's right, Price Chopper currently has lobsters on sale for this price from now until Sunday, June 15th, otherwise known as "My Day", or if Mrs. Freak is reading "My Week" (hint hint). I do believe since it is Father's Day, that I will buy an extra lobster or two just for some simple culinary experimentation. Something a little different than the 'ol steamed, boiled or lobster roll tendency. I am thinking maybe poached, grilled, maybe extract the meat raw and pan sear, served over some frisee with a nice vinaigrette. Dunno yet but if you have any ideas please share.

Now onto the other, sadder news. Neighbor Freak reported in last night and has confirmed (with his own visit) that Indian Ladder Farms has indeed stopped carrying their selection of local meats, sausage and poultry. This is truly a shame but apparently they were not selling, so said the Manager. Such is the gamble with this type of thing. It's too bad though because I don't think they gave it enough time. I go there every year for apple picking and I didn't learn about it until right before the holidays in '07. Oh well, I don't doubt that it's tough for local business' in Albany, but we need more of that sort of thing here not less.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First trip in '08 to Gade Farm

Yesterday I was able to carve out some time to get to Gade Farm, one of my favorite local farm stands. Already they have many of their own lettuces: red, green, romaine. They also have rhubarb, kohlrabi, basil and asparagus, all Gade-grown. The kohlrabi was very nice and has a mild nutty flavor. It's kind of a cross between a cabbage and a root vegetable, but very mild and could have many creative uses as an ingredient. I julienned one and used it raw in salad, and julienned another and "wilted" it with some other wild greens with warmed garlic infused olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and cracked pepper.

Gade was also stocking California long-neck garlic with robust purple cloves, very hard and fresh. Local strawberries were excellent and had that bright red, wild look as if they were picked off a montain-side. Haas avocados were twice as big as the pathetic looking avocados I have seen at the chain level, and they are $1.79 each.

First of the year "sheller" peas are in from New Jersey. I love fresh peas, however I was a little disappointed as many of the pods were very large, producing big, bland peas. I still have to buy them though, it's just one of those things. They are great raw as a snack, or plunked into a pasta dish.

Gade's own produce is pretty darn good, and if it's not their own, they do a pretty good job of weeding out the good from the bad. Most of their offerings look much better than the produce at the chains. More to follow on Gade Farm as the season progresses.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Half-Price Whitefish at EATS!

Today only! EATS is selling off all whole whitefish in the case at 50% off, bringing it to $4 a pound. My whole fish cost me $11 and is big enough to feed at least four. This would make for a perfect summer dinner with salad or as an appetizer with horseradish sauce, served with ice cold vodka. Perfect for these 90 degree days. There was about five remaining once I left around 1 p.m.

Also, it appears that EATS' produce supplier made a little visit. Today's offerings consisted of: baby bok choy (very nice looking) at $2 a bunch, baby spinach, arugula (the whole box looked incredibly wilted, not sure why it was even out), asparagus, red and yellow peppers (all in excellent shape, and all sizes - even little cute ones), lemons, limes, garlic (very good), and celery. Again, all produce either local or organic and traceable.

Once quick reminder, EATS sells it's own eggs provided by the owners from their own farm. They are excellent and well worth the 35 cent each price they command. They also continue to receive a pretty steady supply of duck eggs. Make an omelet with two of these babies and you will experience what "fluffy" and "flavor" is all about.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Fruit Finds

I have started to see the highly anticipated Saturn peaches arrive at both Hannaford and Price Chopper the past week. If anyone in your family is as crazy about them as my little freak, then you know you have to scoop these up quick. Also sited are cherries both the regular and west coast variety. Get em while they're still firm and tart.

I know I normally praise EATS for their high quality and affordable produce but as of late their source has become quite unreliable. I've been going in every other day for a week now and they keep telling me that the supplier has still not arrived. Typical, it seems nothing good ever lasts in the Capital District.

Speaking of which, one of my favorite farms must be open by now. Indian Ladder Farms, generally a hold out for not opening until post Memorial Day, made strides last year to beef up their local offerings to include local area meats and sausages, including Flying Pigs Farm products. Rumour has it though that someone high up the "food" chain has moved on to "other pastures" and with that goes the end to that department. I will have to go over and check this out for myself very soon. This will be very disappointing if true.

Nothing else much to report on for now. If you need your basic supply of chicken breast for your healthy eating, both Hannaford and Chopper has deals for under $2 a pound. I usually buy a bunch and freeze. Don't forget, chicken breast is great for the grill in a variety of ways: left whole, kabobs, stuffed with all those fresh herbs running wild in your garden right now. I think both deals end today though so get moving!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ingredient Alert!

This just in...Hannaford in Clifton Park has some great deals on fish. Sea Bass is on sale for $9.99 a pound! This is a real bargain as I have seen it go as high $18.99/lb. Last time I was in Florida, I saw at the local market for $30 a pound! This is a buy, get in while the gettin's good. Also, they have the real deal sea scallops on sale for $8.99/lb. These are the "dry" scallops, not the ones that are artificially "wet" at the Chopper. I assume these specials apply to all local Hannafords but that is not always the case. I have noticed that Hannaford in-store specials are not always locally consistent as Price Choppers are from store to store.

Eats local produce is back! Check out the fingerling potatoes, which taste great. Also, they have been getting some interesting wild greens lately. I picked up some local baby collard greens the other day. They are very tender and sweet, nothing like it's grown up version. I simply wilted them with warmed garlic infused olive oil, sprinkle of lemon, sea salt and pepper, and served my seared scallops on top. They also have some peppers, onions, garlic and berries.

I will be posting Eats finds more frequently, as I find their produce selections interesting and affordable, considering most of the food is local if not organic.

Finally, a new post!

Well, hello to anyone sill reading. I apologize for my absence as I spent the last year opening up a new store in the area (not rood related) and I can say that it has hogged all of my time.

In any case, I am back, and will try to post at least once a week now that we are starting to see some local produce.

Hope there are some of you out there who will check back.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Troy Famer's Market

This Saturday I was able to free up some time before work to visit the Troy Waterfront Farmer's Market. As this was the first time I have been this year, I was blown away with the choice of ingredients and the abundance of quality local ingredients. You can find anything from flowers to herbs, bread to meat and poultry. The photo above represents some of the produce I bought: (top) raspberries, yellow tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, red heirloom tomato, (bottom) red onions, orange beets, yellow carrots, purple shallots. I am a big fan of finding something different in veggie land, even if it is just for color. There was even a guy selling exotic mushrooms.

Now is definitely the time to go. The growing season is at its peak (in my opinion) and corn and tomatoes were everywhere. Local herbs and fennel were plentiful. Tubers such as potatoes, onion, radish, beets, carrots were all starting to make their appearance in quantity. Garlic is starting to be pulled in many varieties, and us garlic lovers know what a treat good quality garlic is. You can't even compare it with the crap from the big supermarkets.

I particularly fell in love with these purple shallots and red onions from one vendor and have been using them regularly since Saturday. The onions are sweet and well suited for slicing in rounds over fresh tomato with salt and olive oil.

I would definatley encourage anyone who loves fresh local ingredients to go check this market out. Visit the Troy Farmer's Market website for directions, hours and vendor information, but do not hesitate! Go now and get in on these amazing ingredients. Yet another quality event for Troy.

Here is some more (dare I say it?) food for thought...