A couple of weekends ago, my nutrition class boarded a big yellow magic school bus and we were on our way to visit a local organic farm. I’d like to share a some pictures, a few thoughts on organic food, and of course, a recipe :)
This little farm is home to a few acres of veggie gardens with very impressive variety, fruit & nut trees, chickens, bees, and pigs. Some gardens were filled with green babies, others ready for harvest, while some plants were allowed to flower for seed harvest (like the gorgeous kale above). A day spent in these gardens is exactly what I needed to rekindle my appreciation for the land we live on and for how much local & amazing stuff there is to eat in southern Ontario.
Organic farming on a small-scale farm means that farmers need to be creative and resourceful when it comes to ensuring a healthy crop and a profitable farming operation, since chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are prohibited. Although “natural” substances are sometimes permitted (who knows what those can be?), this farm claims to generally stay away, so it’s really important for them to maintain healthy soil in order to have healthy plants that are naturally stronger in resisting diseases and damage from pests. They do a lot of really awesome things to keep this operation rolling. Healthy soil = healthy mineral-rich plants = good food = healthy humans. I like this equation.
I don’t know a lot about large-scale organic farms or conventional farms that have organic lines of produce, but I suspect that they don’t work them same way. What we saw at this farm was some serious veggie TLC, unlikely in large-scale production. I appreciate that there are health and environmental benefits from the restriction of chemical use in general, but I don’t believe that all organic foods are created equal, even with the regulations and all. That being said, it was so amazing to visit a farm that walks the talk of organic farming, and I feel really fortunate to have access to the food that grows there, even if it means waking up really early on the weekends to make it out to the markets.
And now for some food….since local greens are finally coming around, I’d like to tell you about one of my favourite ways of using them. Sauteed greens on some butter/ghee with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon, and a couple of sunny side eggs is one of the best 5-minute meals ever. I made this one kinda fancy with Wheelbarrow Farm radishes, but this type of dish is all improv and anything goes.
- 1/2 cup finely diced radishes
- 1 Tbsp. finely sliced onion or garlic greens
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. unpasteurized honey
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- butter or ghee to coat a small frying pan
- large handful (~ 2 cups) of coarsly chopped brasica family or chard greens
- pinch of salt for the greens
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- To make the salsa, combine diced radishes and sliced onion/garlic greens in a bowl
- Whisk the remining (dressing ingredients) in another bowl.
- Combine the veggies and dressing and let the radishes marinate while preparing the eggs. I find that the radish salsa is better the next day, but gets a little stinky (in a good radishy way).
- To start preparing the eggs, rinse the greens and drain – it’s good to have some water drops left on the greens
- Melt butter/ghee on a small frying pan over low-medium heat.
- Place the greens on the pan, add a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, toss, and cover, letting them steam for a minute or two under the lid, just until they wilt.
- Crack two eggs on top of the wilted greens, use a wooden spatula to break up and help spread out the whites.
- Cook until desired egg done-ness, using the lid and temperature to control the cooking process. I find that covering the eggs at the beginning helps speed up the cooking of the whites without overcooking the yolks, but that would depend on the pan, greens, and egg size.
- Top the eggs with radish salsa (there will probably be some left over) and some salt and pepper.