Friday, July 15, 2016



  1. a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.
    • (of food or drink) made in a traditional or non-mechanized way using high-quality ingredients.
      "local artisan cheeses"

This is now also one of the food industry's most abused marketing terms.  I read not too long ago about Tostitos introducing a line of "artisan" corn chips.  What?  Does Fritolay actually think there is any validity to this claim?  Do people buying them think so?  It all seems kind of silly. 

As one who actually fit the definition a lot of days, I sometimes wish I were a little less artisan.  I do walk out into a field with a broadfork in hand to dig carrots and wheel a Vermont Cart across a field to pull in cucumbers.  Sometimes my kids are by my side helping's all very artisan.  Today, however, digging potatoes by hand, I really hated the whole experience.  With six inches of rain in the last week, this was a dreadful process, kind of like trying to fish heavy rocks out of wet cement.  

All told, however, I understand the desire to buy artisan in this very mass produced, plastic culture we live in.  Scale matters.  We actually do have some basic equipment such as a potato digger and undercutter we use (in much drier conditions) for harvest.  These are powerful implements which help us with the heaviest crops, but are also very small scale in comparison to typical farm equipment to suit our 6-foot wide beds.  

The power of small scale is all about quality.  A mechanized bean picker pulls in all beans of all sizes and snaps some in half in harvest.  It's 100 times faster, but when we pick by hand we can taste and sort out beans as we harvest into half-bushel baskets.  There is a difference in quality because of this attention to detail, so don't let some food conglomerate or big farm operation tell you otherwise and certainly don't let them pawn off their stuff as artisan.  

In the box: 
  • Artisan Norland Potatoes - yes, by hand today :)
  • Green Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Bunch of Beets: Check out recipe below
  • Alisa Craig Sweet Onion
  • Cucumber 
  • Summer Squash: Everybody should have one Zuccchini, but most also got a yellow straightneck summer squash (use the same as you would zucchini).
  • Green Leaf Lettuce or Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Fresh Mint
Borscht Salad 
From Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matix

Peel and grate 1/2 lb beets.  Make a vinaigrette with minced shallot or onion, 2 t Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup sour cream and some chopped or dry dill.  Add about 2 cups shredded cabbage and a chopped hard-boiled egg.  Toss with the beet, garnish with fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper as you see fit.  

Note: I really like this Bittman book for its veggie recipes.  This book is all about flexible cooking and changing up recipes to use the ingredients you have on hand.  Check it out.