Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall in love with roasted radicchio

Roasting radicchio is an easy way to impress your friends and family. Radicchio's bitter flavor mellows and sweetens in the oven producing a flavorful, beautiful, uncommon dish. At the Dirty Girl Produce stall people often see the piles of radicchio and say "How pretty! But what do you do with it?" Uncooked radicchio can be good in salads - see Sarah Henkin's recipe --  but roasting is so appropriate when the weather is cool, and you need nothing more than a few heads of radicchio, olive oil, salt and (if you like) balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese.



Roasted Radicchio

Here's what I do:

Preheat oven to 400F.  (I often make this when I have just roasted a chicken and the oven is already hot.)

Take two or three heads of radicchio and quarter them lengthwise so that the stem is still holding the leaves together at the bottom of each quarter. If the heads are especially large I will halve them and then slice the halves into thirds so the wedges are smaller. I do not wash the radicchio first. I simply remove a couple of the outer leaves. If you do wash them make sure to dry them very well otherwise the radicchio will come out of the oven mushy.

Place radicchio in a baking dish and coat each wedge with olive oil. I use a pastry brush so that they're lightly, but completely, covered. Sprinkle with salt.

Place in the oven for 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the radicchio heads. The leaves should wilt and slightly char and the core should soften quite a bit.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with good quality balsamic vinegar. Grated Parmesan and fresh black pepper are also tasty.

Sauteed radicchio is also super easy and good. Slice head into thin strips and saute with olive oil in a medium hot pan until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Great on brown rice or - even better - polenta.

Grilled radicchio is delicious too. Quarter radicchio and toss with olive oil. Grill for 15 minutes or so until tender and slightly charred, turning every few minutes. Toss with salt, a garlicy vinaigrette, and croutons.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jacob Pilarski's Early Autumn Three Bean Salad

Joe and I went to an awesome pop-up dinner at Happy Girl Kitchen Co. last week in Pacific Grove featuring vegetables from our farm. The chef for the meal was Jacob Pilarski who worked at Manresa Restaurant for the past 4 years and is currently the Chef de Cuisine at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn. He made a delicious three bean salad that he's agreed to share with us. We will still have fresh shelling beans, green beans and yellow wax beans at the markets for the next couple weeks so it is a great way to enjoy them while they last!

 
Jacob at Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

Romano beans, haricot verts and yellow wax beans

Early Autumn Three Bean Salad

1 lb. Green beans
1 lb. Yellow wax beans
1 spoonful Chevre
1 spoonful Basil pesto
1/2 lb. Tongue of Fire shelling beans, fresh
2-3 Tomatoes, very ripe
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Soak Tongue of Fire beans for 2 hours in water prior to cooking. After two hours, drain and rinse. Place beans in cooking vessel and cover with cold water by 2" (veggie stock or 1/2 veggie-1/2 water is even better). Add aromatics to beans, such as a whole peeled onion, a few garlic cloves, a few pinches of nutritional yeast, a stick of kombu, and/or herbs. Simmer beans for around an hour and a half, making sure beans remained covered by liquid (add water to cover, if needed). Salt the beans 3/4 of the way through cooking period. Check on beans periodically... if they're done earlier, great. If they need a little more time keep checking every ten minutes or so (time varies based on amount of heat applied). Adjust seasoning when beans are tender and let beans cool in pot at room temperature.

Pare stems off of fresh beans. Saute bean types separately (green and yellow might be "cooked" at different times) over medium high heat with a little olive oil. Salt pole beans just before taking them off the heat. Add finished beans to mixing bowl with chevre and pesto, tossing to coat. When all pole beans are added, adjust seasoning.

To finish: Cut tomatoes in half. Using a box grater, grate the tomatoes (cut side applied to the grater) into the shelling beans, stopping when you reach the skin. Adjust seasoning and add vinegar to taste- this is now the dressing for the pole beans. Spoon Tongue of Fire beans and some liquid over the pole beans. Drizzle a little more olive oil over top.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sarah Henkin's Radicchio with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, Mozzarella, and Herby Vinaigrette

Sarah Henkin has been a friend of our farm for several years. She's a regular chef/shopper at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and she's the market's former Market Chef in charge of coordinating programs and events. These days Sarah works at Square Meals, a restaurant-shop which specializes in wholesome prepared meals for eat-in, take-home or delivery, using ingredients from local farms, ranches and artisans. Sarah's delicious radicchio salad recipe is so perfect for early fall, and we have lots of beautiful radicchio at the DGP stall right now.

Joe and Sarah at the Dirty Girl Produce stall on Saturday

Radicchio with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, Mozzarella, and Herby Vinaigrette

Dirty Girl Produce radicchio, leaves separated and torn in half, washed and dried
1 small butternut squash, peeled with a vegetable peeler
1/2 cup plus more extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper
Handful walnuts
Handful fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro & chives, coarsely chopped
A tablespoon or so Sherry vinegar
High quality walnut oil if you have it, otherwise olive oil is great
1 ball best Mozzarella cheese you can find, torn into pieces

1.  Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 400°. Slice in half and scoop out seeds.  Dice squash into large cubes and toss in a bowl with a good glug olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss well to coat all the cubes and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 min. or so until squash is tender and edges are starting to brown. Remove and set aside.

2.  Walnuts: turn oven down to 350°. Put walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 or so minutes, until walnuts are toasted, being very careful not to burn. Remove, coarsely chop and set aside.

3.  Dressing: Add chopped herbs to a bowl with Sherry vinegar.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk to combine.  Drizzle in a scant tablespoon walnut oil if you are using it and whisk vigorously.  Drizzle in olive oil (probably about 1/2 cup or a little more- you'll have dressing left over), whisking continuously until you have desired consistency.  Taste and add more olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper as needed.  Set aside. 

4.  Assemble: Add radicchio leaves to a salad bowl.  Toss with butternut squash, walnuts, and mozzarella.  Add just enough dressing to coat all the ingredients, toss well, taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Chioggia radicchio

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tomato-mania

It is now early October and we are just coming up for air after an especially abundant tomato season. Don't worry tomatoes are not gone! We still have plenty at the markets and they are fabulous.


But September's warm, long days are now behind us and things are slowing down slightly. In August and September the farm was running at full throttle and the DGP stall at the farmers markets were jam-packed with customers (our dear customers: we LOVE you! thank you.) With Joe so busy with the farm I was completely absorbed by the adventures and responsibilities of small children/laundry/making-dinner/etc. In the middle of tomato season I also had a knife v. thumb accident that many of you home cooks can probably relate to (ouch!) and which kept me from tomato canning and even cooking for a couple of weeks. I'm sharing these details because I had intended to write several long, lovely September blog posts full of recipes for cooking and preserving our Early Girl dry farmed tomatoes and, well... it didn't happen. Instead here are some highlights of the tomato-mania that was the last month or so at Dirty Girl Produce:

FARM VIDEO TOUR: This is a video of our family at the farm in the tomato fields. It's pretty good example of what happens when you try to get your kids to "be professional."


Dirty Girl Produce Tomato Farm from miranda schirmer on Vimeo.

AWESOME PRESS: The August edition of SUNSET MAGAZINE featured an interview with Joe and included a full page photo of him in front of our tomato field. Here's the photo and bit from the article:  

"Joe Schirmer, a former competitive surfer, earned celebrity status in the San Francisco Bay Area with his dry-farmed Early Girl hybrid tomato. His coastal farm near Santa Cruz, Dirty Girl Produce, is warm enough to ripen a tomato, but cool and foggy enough that no irrigation besides rainfall is required."



THE SECRET TO A GREAT TOMATO: We only grow one variety of tomato and we only grow it one particular way: Dry-farmed Early Girls. What is "dry-farming"? When tomatoes are in season this is the question we get asked most often at markets. Thanks to a really cool project with the Oliveto Community Journal (of Oliveto Restaurant) we have a video of Joe explaining what dry-farming is:


More on Dry Farming from Dirty Girl from Oliveto Community on Vimeo.

THANK YOU! It's been a wonderful, sunny year for tomato farming -- which we are especially grateful for after the last two cold (stressful) summers -- and we are so thankful to our customers for coming out and buying our tomatoes and supporting our farm and our family!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Peter Rudolf's Cranberry Bean, Artichoke, Early Girl Dry Farmed Tomato and Kale Salad

Peter Rudolf is the Executive Chef of Madera at Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park. The restaurant's food is "well-crafted, market-driven cuisine with bold flavors centered on a wood-fire grill and hearth." During his tenure, Madera has been awarded a 1 Michelin star rating for two consecutive years. Peter shops at the Dirty Girl Produce stall at the SF Ferry Plaza on Saturdays and shared with us this recipe that uses our fresh Cranberry shelling beans, Early Girl dry-farmed tomatoes, kale, and parsley. This recipe serves 10 so make it for an end-of-summer party! 



Cranberry Bean, Artichoke, Dry Farmed Tomato and Kale Salad, Herb Vinaigrette

Serves 10ppl as an accompaniment to a protein like roast lamb shoulder.
For all mentions of Olive oil, use the best you have.

Cranberry Beans:
16oz Fresh shelled cranberry beans
1 carrot, peel and small dice
2 stalk celery, small dice
1 onion, small dice
1bay leaf
15-25 stems thyme
Bulb of garlic crushed, remove all garlic skins
Glug or two of Olive oil
2 gallons water
Salt and pepper
Place everything (except salt) together in an adequately sized stock pot, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, when the beans are ¾ cooked add salt until the water is well seasoned.  Remove from the heat when the beans are almost done, really close.  Let the beans cool to room temperature in the liquid, then remove them from the liquid, lightly dress them with olive oil and finish cooling in the refrigerator.  When they are completely cool, remove the bay and thyme, the vegetables should be a nice addition to the salad.

Artichokes:
5 large artichokes or 8 small-medium size
4-5 lemons
Salt
Clean the artichokes with a paring knife so the green skin is removed from the heart and base of the stem.  Quarter them, trim the petals and remove the choke.  Store the trimmed hearts in acidulated water, I like using the juice of 1 lemon and a few parsley stems per quart of cool water.   Bring 3 gallons of water to a boil, season well and add the juice of 3 lemons.  Cook artichokes until tender, test by pushing a paring knife through the heart to feel firmness.  They should be soft when finished.  Cool by removing from the cooking liquid and placing in an ice bath, just till cool.

Early Girl Dry Farmed Tomatoes:
6-8 dry farmed tomatoes, wash and dry, cut each tomato into 8 pieces, cubes or triangles not sliced. 
10 stem Thyme
10 cloves garlic, peel and slice thin
Salt and pepper, a few pinches of sugar.
1/4 C Olive oil
Warm your oven to 250, mix all ingredients in a bowl, be careful not to break or smash the tomatoes, lay them out carefully with space in-between each on a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan of tomatoes in the oven. Remove in 4-5 hours.  Cool to room temp.  These can be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Make your own pot of fresh shelling beans

Does making a pot of beans seem a bit unimpressive to you? It shouldn't. Beans, cooked well, are delicious, healthy, economical and versatile. In our home we happily eat our way through at least one pot of beans a week - with rice and tortillas, in vegetable soups, or simply in a warm bowl topped with a bit of salt, pepper and Parmesan. The very best book I read this year, Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, devotes an entire chapter to beans. The chapter's title? How to Live Well. I couldn't agree more!

So easy a three-and-three-quarter-year-old can do it.
Charlie described shelling these beans as "really fun"

The loveliest time of year for bean-lovers is here. It's fresh shelling bean season, and the Dirty Girl Produce stall has baskets heaped full of Cranberry and Cannellini beans. The Cranberry beans come in freckled, magenta bean pods and have similarly colored beans inside. The Cannellini bean pods are a cream color with white beans inside. Fresh shelling beans do not need to be soaked before cooking, they cook quicker than dried beans, and they are especially flavorful and creamy in texture. 

Cranberry beans

Cannellini Beans

Here's what you do:

1) Shell the beans (holding each end of the bean shell, twist, then pop the beans out into a bowl). Some people are turned off by the need to shell the shelling beans but it really does not take long at all and can be a great job for kids in the kitchen.

2) Put beans in a pot and add cold water to cover by about two inches. Place on the stove top.

3) Bring to a boil then quickly lower to a simmer. If scum rises to the top of the pot skim it off and discard it.

4) While simmering add a good amount of salt (and add more when they're done cooking until they're seasoned to your liking). Add a big splash of olive oil. You can also add any other tasty flavor-adders that you may already have in your kitchen such as: fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, sage, a bay leaf, or parsley leaves or stems, an onion, leek, carrot, and/or celery stalk. If you don't have any of these things that's ok too.

5) Simmer beans for 20 minutes or so. But do not take my word for it. Taste the beans and see if they taste good to you. Here's a great description on "doneness" from An Everlasting Meal: "Beans are done when they are velvety to their absolute middles. You should feel as soon as you taste one, as though you want to eat another."

Serve warm and topped with any of the following: Parmesan or another cheese, breadcrumbs, chopped fresh herbs, pesto, or a drizzle of olive oil. Or use in a number of other dishes such as bean gratin, bean and pasta soup, ribollita, minestrone, or rice and bean burritos.

Cool beans in their liquid and refrigerate or freeze to use later.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Make your own basil pesto

Basil pesto is a simple and delicious sauce to add to pasta, pizza, grilled chicken or vegetables. Like so many foods it is much better homemade. When you make pesto at home instead of buying it at the store the flavors are fresher, you can modify the ingredients to your own tastes, and the planet is spared one more plastic container. It is also easy and fun to make! It only takes about 10 minutes and it's a very kid-friendly project. 


The most important ingredient is, of course, the basil. We grow Genovese basil and have it at the market generally from July through November. We harvest and sell our basil with the roots left on so that it can be placed in a vase or glass of water and stay fresh for weeks. I leave my basil bunches in a vase on my kitchen counter which looks pretty and smells great. It also encourages me to use basil in so many different dishes (and not forget about it in the fridge!). I'll add a big handful of coarsely chopped basil to a pot of soup, a bowl of pasta or a plate of eggs. It's also delicious on pizza and layered in sandwiches.

My basil pesto recipe comes from THE BEST COOKBOOK EVER, The Art of Simple Food By Alice Waters. I cook something from this cookbook practically every day. My copy is dusted with flour, stained with beets, and cracked at the spine. There is a delicious, not difficult recipe for cooking everything we grow at Dirty Girl Produce.

BASIL PESTO (Adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters)

1) In a mortar and pestle pound into a paste one clove of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If you don't have a mortar and pestle you can use a food processor or you can use a regular bowl and any pestle-like kitchen tool you might already have (a meat-pounder might work). 

2) Add and continue to pound 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts.

3) Add 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

4) Coarsely chop 1 packed cup of basil leaves and add to the mortar/bowl with the garlic, nuts and cheese. Pound it all together.

5) Continue pounding while you slowly pour in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Pesto texture is a matter of preference. I make ours a bit chunkier and uneven but make yours however you like.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups pesto.

Pesto freezes well so while basil is in season make extra batches. Transfer pesto to a container, cover the surface of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil, put on the lid, and freeze.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Brad Briske's grilled summer lettuces with peaches and cheese

I recently found out how delicious grilled lettuce is (where have I been?!). You must try it! Last month Joe and I went to an Outstanding in the Field dinner at Route One Farm. The chef for the evening was Brad Briske, a super talented chef who has worked at Gabriella's in Santa Cruz and Main Street Cafe in Soquel. He served cannellini beans topped with grilled romaine lettuce and grilled chicken. It was incredible. We will have lots of romaine and butter lettuce at the markets in the next few weeks so Brad kindly agreed to write up a grilled lettuce recipe for this cookbook. Include this in your Fourth of July grilling!

 

Grilled summer lettuces with peaches and cheese

For the lettuce marinade
4 heads lettuce
3 cloves minced garlic
2 sprigs rosemary chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon organic sugar
salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut your lettuces down the middle from root to shoot leaving the bottom stalk attached. Toss split lettuces in marinade bowl until evenly coated and marinate for no more than 20 minutes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Melissa Perello's charred spring onion dip

Melissa Perello is chef and owner of Frances restaurant in San Fransisco. Frances' menu "reflects modern California sensibilities, and focuses on ingredients from local markets, farms and producers in a casual, neighborhood setting." Melissa earned a James Beard “Best New Restaurant” nomination in 2010 and a Michelin star -- AND she's a regular Saturday morning visitor to the Dirty Girl Produce stall at the Ferry Plaza market! She kindly agreed to share her charred spring onion dip recipe with us here. Thank you Melissa!



Charred Spring Onion Dip

2 bunches spring onions, white and or red (DGP's baby/green shallots could be interesting for this too)

Trim the bottoms, nip off any ugly parts from the green tops and peel off any super ‘papery’ skins. Wash and dry ‘em. Toss onions with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt. Grill until they start to take on a good amount of color. Then cut off the bulb bases and toss those in an oven (350F or so) wrapped with foil, for about 10-15 minutes or until they are just cooked through, but retain a bit of crunch. Take the cooked green tops and bulbs and cool until chilled, then mince or chop them up.

3/4 pint Sour Cream (we use Straus whole milk)

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese (again, whole milk, no low-fat bull-sh*t)

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Mix everything up together and season with salt and black pepper to taste. If necessary, adjust consistency or ‘tartness’ with more sour cream.

Serve chilled with crackers or grilled bread. At Frances we serve this with our with nigella seed lavash cracker.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pim Techamuanvivit's strawberries in hibiscus and vanilla syrup

Pim Techamuanvivit, author of the food/travel blog Chez Pim and The Foodie Handbook: An (Almost) Definitive Guide to Gastronomy, is a great friend. She uses DGP strawberries for her famous jams and often hangs out with us at the downtown Santa Cruz farmers market on Wednesdays.  

Here is a post she wrote about making strawberries in hibiscus and vanilla syrup with Dirty Girl strawberries. From Chez Pim:


Here is a veritable three-star dish you can do at home.

We had a small dinner party a few nights ago to celebrate our return from Europe. One of the friends who came was Joe, aka the hunky Joe of Dirty Girl farm. He brought a few pints of gorgeous strawberries which he picked for us just an hour or two earlier. The bright red berries were a new hybrid called Albion. They were unbelievably fragrant and flavorful, and -in a momentary lapse of judgment- I decided to share them with everyone for dessert.

The berries would have been great on their own, but I wanted to do something fun with them anyway. I first thought of whipping up a quick batch of cream –that would be crème chantilly for us snobs. I might even flavor it with the wonderful vanilla beans from the Reunion Islands that Malik gave me a few months ago.

Then I recalled a lovely strawberry dessert that Alain Passard serves at his restaurant l’Arpège in Paris. With his usual brilliance and delicacy, he baths the flavorful strawberries in a nage of hibiscus and vanilla flavored syrup –which at once enhances the true flavor of the strawberry while adding to it a whole new dimension. It’s so simple, yet so extraordinary.

The recipe was printed in Alain’s only cookbook, the illustrated children’s cookbook he collaborated with Antoon Krings, Les Recettes des Drôles de Petites Bêtes -which, by the way, is so cutesy-cute it is indispensable for your French speaking children, be they real or imaginary.

I adapted the recipe a bit, and it worked perfectly well in my kitchen. Miranda, Joe’s beautiful fiancée (sorry girls), loved it so much she wants to give out the recipe to people who buy their berries at the farmers market. Perhaps we will leave a stack next to the berries this Saturday.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Putting the "straw" back in strawberry farming

For a video tour of the Dirty Girl Produce patch click below.

Dirty Girl Produce Strawberry Patch from miranda schirmer on Vimeo.

Santa Cruz County is blanketed in strawberry fields. While this may sound beautiful the reality of large scale conventional strawberry production is pretty grim. Conventional growers rely on methyl bromide as a soil sterilizing fumigant, toxic sprays and water soluble fertilizers that leach in to streams.

Another challenge in growing strawberries is the dependence on plastic mulch. Since I was already uncomfortable with the amount of plastic drip tape I was hauling off to the landfill every year, the idea of using more plastic on my farm was concerning.

The first year I planted just a few thousand plants and instead of using plastic mulch I used straw mulch which is what farmers used in the past and how “straw”-berries get their name. Strawberries without mulch get overtaken by weeds and with the long growing season that means a lot of hand weeding. Also strawberries need constant soil moisture and mulch holds the water in the soil by preventing evaporation from the sun. I quickly learned that there is a reason farmers don't use straw mulch anymore. We still had to hand weed many more times than we would if we were using plastic. Also, the straw didn't hold in the water meaning we needed to irrigate more often.

Make your own strawberry jam

Making strawberry jam is one of my favorite summer rituals. I love the warm strawberry smell that fills my house while I'm making it and the sweetness that this jam adds to our breakfasts and afternoon snacks throughout the year. If you are someone who "doesn't like jam" make this and you will feel differently.



When I first started out I decided to consult the experts and I asked for advice from two of my favorite jam-making pros: my aunt, Becky Courchesne of Frog Hollow Farm, and my friend, Pim Techamuanvivit of the food/travel blog Chez Pim. I also referred to Christine Ferber's book Mes Confitures. The recipe below was inspired by their advice.

This is a french-style jam that is looser than many commercial jam varieties. There is no added pectin. It has a wonderful fresh strawberry flavor with not too much - but not too little - sugar.

It is always best to make jam in small batches. If you by one flat of strawberries at the market eat a basket or two right away, clean and freeze a few baskets worth, and use the rest of the baskets (about 6) for jam making. This is a two-day process but there is very little actually cooking time. Cleaning the berries and washing the jam jars will likely be the most time consuming part.


5 lbs strawberries -- this is about 6 or 7 baskets of strawberries
3 lbs sugar*
1/4 cup lemon juice

*Pim explained to me that good rule of thumb is 60-65% sugar to the weight of whole fruits. While you might be tempted to use less sugar this is not a good idea because the fruit may not preserve properly. That said, homemade strawberry jam is very safe.

1) Rinse and dry strawberries in batches. I use a salad spinner. Remove green leaves and stem on top of berries (this is called hulling). Cut berries into large pieces. Place berries into a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the sugar and lemon juice and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight. This is called macerating. The sugar will cause the strawberries to release their liquid.

2) The next day get your jars and lids ready. I use the 2-piece lids (with lid insert and lid ring) so that I can reuse my jars, only replacing the inexpensive lid insert each time. Wash jars and lid rings in warm soapy water. Place on a baking sheet and put into a 250F oven for at least 20 minutes. Leave them in the oven until the jam is ready to be jarred. While your jars and lid rings are in the oven put your lid inserts in a pan of simmering water for about 10 minutes. Leave them in there until you are ready to fill your jars.

3) On the stove-top pour strawberry mixture into a large, heavy nonreactive pot. I use a Le Crueset soup pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Pour entire contents of pot back into your glass or ceramic bowl.

4) Place a colander in your cooking pot and pour in strawberry mixture. Remove colander with berries and and bring syrup to a boil. Cook the syrup on high heat, regularily scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or spatula to make sure nothing is sticking, until the syrup reaches 221F. If you don't have a thermometer you can simply cook the syrup until it reduces by about half and looks dark and sticky.

5) Add the berries back into the pot and continue to cook over high heat for just a few minutes. You want to make sure the berries are cooked through and hot -- but you don't want a burned layer at the bottom of the pot. Once the jam has cooled just a bit skim off any foam from the top, if you like.

6) Remove the jars from the oven and fill the hot jars with your hot jam (leaving about 1/4 in. of headspace) and cover with hot lids. This ensures a tight seal. Place jars back on baking sheet and back into the oven at 250F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let jars cool completely. You will hear popping noises as jars seal. If any jars do not seal after a few hours simply store them in the fridge and use the jam in the next week or so. All sealed jars should be stored away from light and heat. They last for years unopened and a week or so once opened and stored in the fridge. Enjoy!

Welcome to Dirty Girl Cookbook

Get to know our farm and learn delicious new ways to cook the food we grow!

In the coming year, Joe will be writing about how he grows our produce and he'll give video tours of the farm. We'll post some simple recipes and preparation techniques for everyday home cooking and preserving, and a local chef will share how they cook DGP fruits and vegetables in their restaurant.

We would love if you'd send in your favorite recipes and photos of DGP food you've cooked at home. If you are a DGP farmers market customer or chef that would like to submit a recipe just email us (mirandaschirmer [at] gmail) or comment here.

Much more information to come! Be sure subscribe for regular updates.