Local. Fresh. Organic. Whenever possible. A Summer Classic in our household includes FOOD. Stuff you cook on the grill and foods that are best when freshly picked. Steak, corn on the cob and zucchini was on our most recent menu, and we are lucky enough to live 4 miles from the Rochester Public Market, voted America’s Favorite Large Farm Market in 2010. Continually operating at the same location since 1905, 52 weeks a year, the Rochester Public Market is a Saturday morning destination!
Much has been made in recent years of commercially raised meat. The documentary Food Inc. and the book In Defense of Food are both making an impact on how Americans choose their food sources, particularly beef, pork and poultry. On a personal note, after watching Food Inc. 18 months ago, the Husband and I have sworn off commercially raised meat. We feel that there are just too many food safety variables involved with commercial meat, not to mention questionable ethics. We now purchase our meat directly from the farmer who raises the stock.
The stock at Heiden Valley Farms eats grass, no hormones or antibiotics added. The chickens roam the farm eating whatever chickens find to eat. The result is food with flavor. Farmer Rick’s egg collector is his teenage son, and his meat processor is across town. This week, we picked up a Delmonico steak and Italian sausage – the latter of which was processed the day before.
There is not a more gracious summer crop than zucchini. Skip checking the garden for a day, and you might find a zucchini the size of your lower leg. No kidding. These herculean squashes are usually discount-priced at the Public Market as the obscenely large ones likely intimidate the casual cook. For pocket change, we pick out a couple of the larger zucchinis as these are perfect for Zucchini Patties! Peel, grate, squeeze out the liquid and then mix in chopped onion, add salt, pepper, an egg and Bisquick. Heat a frying pan with a bit of oil, spoon in the mixture and flip to brown both sides…what a great way to eat your vegetables!
Vegetables Part II
Technically, corn is a grass. And the amount of butter and salt that we slather on a grilled cob of corn undoubtedly takes it further from “vegetable” distinction. But Corn on the Cob is a Summer Classic, and the harvest has begun! Picking sweet corn out of my teeth happens only in mid-August through early October – and you can keep your boiled corn. I want char on my cob, and nothing beats that extra-something from grilling it next to a steak.
Premium meat comes at a premium price, so since our personal food paradigm shift, the Husband and I split what we grill. As a result, we eat less red meat and in a portion size approved by the Surgeon General. With meat this good, no one is left disappointed.
The Rochester Public Market offers* meats, fish, dairy, breads, cheeses, fruits and vegetables sold by vendors who embody “local and organic” food values. Shopping there is as much a Summer Classic as the Husband heeding his primal instinct to build a charcoal fire. I am grateful to all who toil through flood and drought to help bring this bounty to my table, with special thanks to Mother Earth.
Happy Labor Day Weekend! I hope you’re grilling up something good!
* – and clothing, purses, hats, kitchen utensils, tools, area rugs, desserts, candy, wine, jams, honey, maple syrup, food trucks, coffee, tea, live chickens…