Good Afternoon

Week 1 of the Summer 2022 Season is here, and we are excited! For those who have done this before, you know the routine. For those who have never done FFM before, it's easy. I don't like to bore you with administrative details, so I'll just link to the email you should have received this past weekend: Summer 2022 Administrative Things. You can also check out the video + policy details HERE on our website.

It's important that you do read that email because:
  • it discusses pickup process -- watch this VIDEO (BYOB -- Bring Your Own Bag)
  • about payments
  • about missing your pickup and what to do
  • about vacations
  • how to place a special order
  • location changes -- Westlake has a new time, Avon / Tremont canceled, new Saturday OCP stop.

The Weekly Email: Most importantly, below are the bag contents and some information about the farming practices. Fresh Fork isn't just groceries. We are farmers and artisans passionate about food. We specialize in finding food made locally with the greatest attention to quality, sustainability, and value for your family. I hope you enjoy this season and embrace each week's bag with as much love as I and the other farmers do in producing your food!

Thank you for joining us this year in our 14th Summer Season. Cheers to a good growing season and lots of healthy smiles in your kitchen and at your dinner table!

Thank you again,
Trevor & the FFM team (Lauren, Allyson, Faith, Connor, Zach, Jessie, Pauline, Maddie, and all the new Summer 2022 Staff)
Last Minute Signups
We get this every year. "I keep forgetting to signup." Well, we expect it and order some extra product so we can accommodate the last minute signups.

We have 50 extra shares available this week.

To get in for this week:
1) Please reply to this email. State what size you want and where you want to pickup.
2) We will add you in and setup your account.
Getting the Most out of Your Share
The Weekly Newsletter
Welcome all to Week 1. Each week I'll send out a Newsletter on Tuesday around lunch. At it's core is the bag contents for the week. But really, the newsletter is so much more.

I like to nerd out about the food and farmers. I've been very fortunate in the last decade to meet so many interesting people and learn so much! The newsletter is for you and my attempt to share my good fortune with you.

If you ever have questions or want to learn more, please reply back and ask. It helps me know how to tailor the experience.

Thanks, Trevor

About Bag Contents and Seasonality
The bag contents listed are what we expect to get. It's a guess really, and we - us and our farmers - try our best to deliver. Substitutions will happen. There are times when a farmer guesses wrong on how many pounds of beans are in the field, or it rains, and you can't pick strawberries. Because we are telling you what you are getting BEFORE THE FOOD IS HARVESTED, we can't be exact. We appreciate your understanding if/when substitutions happen.

In the event that something isn't harvested or doesn't match our quality expectations, we'll attempt to substitute that week. Generally, at the back of the truck the bag contents sheet will be adjusted with sharpie marker.

All bags/weeks aren't created equally. We try to spread the bounty out, but there will be weeks that are bigger and some that are smaller. We generally joke that the season starts out green, gets colorful, and ends heavy.

This week's bag is a good example of how we had to adapt. April was wet and cold this year, and in general most of the produce growers were about 3 weeks behind on work. We had worked with growers to have kohlrabi, garlic scapes, parsley, and bunching onions this week for all - but they are just behind still. We were able to work with other suppliers to bring in substitutes like mushrooms, cheese, and pasta in smaller quantities.
Getting the Most Out of your Veggies
One of the most common reasons someone doesn't renew their share is that they get too much food with Fresh Fork. Let me help you read between the lines. They throw out their kale because it went wilty before they could use it or didn't make it to the snow peas.

Eating in season is very affordable, healthy, and tasty. With about a half hour of prep work each week, you can keep dollars in your pocket and feel like an Iron Chef in the kitchen.

Here are some tips for getting the best value out of your bag:
Step 1: Unpack your bag when you get home.
Step 2: Wash, peel, and prep your veggies. If your veggies are ready to cook, you will more likely cook them when in a hurry.
Step 3: Use the most perishable or unusual item first (lettuce or kale, for example in this week)

For example, this week's bag includes a whole chicken. Don't put it in the freezer. The freezer is where food hides for a long time. Thaw your chicken on a dinner plate in the refrigerator. Have it ready for roasting by the weekend.

Lettuce: wash and pack in a zipper bag with a damp paper towel.
Kale: strip from the vein, wash, and pack in a zipper bag with a damp paper towel
Spinach: wash, spin dry, and store in plastic bag or closed container

Recipes
We have recipes on our website easy to find and matched to the Fresh Fork experience. Visit the recipe section here.

Place a Special Order
The weekly share can be thought of as your base package and access to the store. For this model to work, we need weekly subscribers so that the farmers can grow efficiently, our trucks can run full, and we can guarantee work to our staff. The subscription model allows us to offer affordable prices and a big bang for your buck.

To maximize your experience, consider a special order. We have access to hundreds more products than what is in the weekly bag. From milk and eggs to meat and additional veggies, the best way to round out your groceries for the week is to place a special order.

Special orders must be placed online by Tuesday at midnight (11:59pm) to make it in for the week.
Who Needs an Excuse
to Eat
Buttercream Sugar Cookies
Memorial Day cookies
When I started planning out these cookies, I didn't put 2 and 2 together - Memorial Day is the Monday before our first pickup.

So, the cookies were in the works - dough and frosting made.

We took a vote. It was a landslide so to speak: We Don't Need a Reason to Eat Sugar Cookies!

We don't do sugar cookies all the time. They take a ton of time, so I have to plan accordingly to have the staff to roll them out, bake, and then decorate.

We start with organic, locally grown flour from Stutzman Farms in Fredericksburg. We cut in local butter from Minerva dairy and organic cane sugar. The cookies are then dressed in an American buttercream made from simply butter, milk, and powdered sugar. The food colorings are all derived from plants, such as a blueberry extract for blue and a beet juice for red.

Cookies are sold in a 4 pack weighing just under a lb each!
Steak Burger Bundle
Each week we try to offer some promotional items that we'll never be able to offer in the weekly shares due to available volume.

This week, we have a very special feature "bundle": $25 (save 20%)
  • 1 package steak burgers (4 ct, approx 1.25#)
  • 1 pack brioche buns (4 ct)
  • 1 wedge Charloe cheese (6 oz)
  • 1 package mixed oyster mushrooms (6 oz)

When we make burgers at OCP, this is one of our favorite combinations. The mushrooms are pan fried in a generous amount of butter and the creamy charloe is laid on top of the hot burger, then topped with the mushrooms. The buns are of course toasted in butter as well.

The steak burgers are made from ground up trim from the tenderloin, strip loin, ribeye, and sirloin from our grassfed beef. They are thick and a generous 6 oz.

Charloe is one of my favorite cheeses. It's a "Good Food Award" winning cheese from Canal Junction Creamery in Defiance, OH. Ralph and Sheila start with 100% grassfed milk from their herd of mixed Normande cows. They make the cheese, drain the whey, and let this washed rind cheese ripen just 60 days to a soft finish. It's a strong cheese - nutty and buttery on the inside but with a sticky rind with strong hints of mushroom and earth. The "washed" means the rind has been washed with a brine to help develop the B-linens bacteria - a bacteria that helps produce the pungent and distinguished washed rind flavor. OK, that's just cheese nerd stuff. It's good and you know it's on your burger.

The mushrooms are a mixed package from Erie Spore and Shore. He is picking them fresh each day this week for us so you'll be able to appreciate the delicate flavor of a fresh mushroom.

The buns are from Fluffy Duck Bakery on East 105th and Chester. Ben has been supplying OCP since we opened, and his breads are world class. Made with organic flour and baked to perfection.
Mushrooms
oyster mushroom
Brandon at Erie Spore and Shore was excited to start grow so many mushrooms for us. This week, we have a limited number of three different types listed on our website:

Oyster - pictured to left
Shitake - bottom left
Loins Mane - bottom right

Brandon also shared with us his recipes that he takes to farmers market. See the mushroom recipe guide here.
Shitake mushroom
lions mane mushroom
It's Chicken Season
At my farm - Wholesome Valley Farm in Wilmot - I specialize in grass-based livestock production.

What does this mean? It means I focus on growing healthy organic pastures that feed my cattle, hogs, and chickens. Each breed has a different management technique, with the beef on an aggressive pasture rotation, the hogs utilizing the cool shade of the woods, and the chickens "mowing and fertilizing" my pasture.

I like to advertise that there is a season for chickens. Most chicken in the US is raised inside large barns with 0.7 to 1 square foot per chicken. That's fairly tight but some researcher figured out that's the optimum stocking rate to create cheap food. There are plenty of local chickens raised that way. We don't buy those type of birds.

I raise chickens only during the summer growing months and freeze inventory for the winter. I believe that a frozen chicken in the winter that was raised outside with grass and exercise is far superior to a chicken raised in a barn.

Some would say I'm a glutton for punishment. At Wholesome Valley Farm my western pastures look like some form of encampment (photos above). We have 30 drag pens for the chickens - each must be moved daily, feed added, and water lines moved along. This takes a few hours each day, 7 days per week.

This structure has no floor, and the birds are on grass. Each day we move the drag pens forward to a new piece of grass. This helps to uniformly mow down the pasture and spread the manure evenly. Some growers even call these "chicken tractors" because of how the grass is mowed down behind the pens.

In the end, our birds have a better texture and more flavor than a commercial chicken. Further, the fertilizer they spread in the form of their manure helps to strengthen my pastures which will in turn create more plentiful and healthy grass to feed the beef.
Chicken 101 Basics
I learned years ago from my friend Chef Parker Bosley that a whole chicken is the best value in food. It can be prepared whole for an easy family meal or broken into parts (breast, thigh, drums, wings, and bones) for several different dishes.

If you are new to working with a whole chicken, we suggest simply roasting the chicken and saving any bones/scraps to make chicken stock (recipe below).


Here I'll answer two common questions about whole chicken:

Should I brine the chicken? Brining is the technique of seasoning a piece of meat inside and out by either submerging it in a bath (liquid brine) or rubbing it with seasonings (dry brine or a "cure" or a rub, depending on how hip and fancy you want to sound).

The brine does two important things: 1) It exchanges water in the meat for seasoned water from the brine, and 2) I think of it as an insurance plan on meat. The added and retained moisture helps prevent you from drying out the meat.

Summary: I recommend brining. It is, however, not necessary. Check out our Brine Recipe + Video HERE for more details.
How to Roast the Chicken -- Recipe guide HERE.
If you have brined your chicken, you will want to remove the chicken from the brine a few hours before you want to cook it (ideally) and pat the skin dry with a paper towel.

Taking Temperature = insert your thermometer into the thigh of the bird but not into the bone. You will feel the bone. It will give you an inaccurate reading. The juices should run clear from the thigh.

Carve your bird and enjoy!

Photos Below: Left, where to insert your thermometer. Right, a beautifully roasted whole chicken.
Chicken Stock
I think my cooking changed big time when I learned the importance of rich stock in the kitchen. It is both flavorful and nutritious.

Chef Parker Bosley first taught me about stock. He is very particular about it and can wax on poetically about the nuances he has picked up over the years.

More bones available in the online shop. In fact, I just finished up a batch of stock last night. I packed it into quart containers and stored in the freezer. I'll have quite a bit available for easy use now. I like making soup as a way to clear out the fridge some days -- because yes, I can get behind on my produce from time to time and soup is a great way to use up a lot of ingredients!
Bag Contents
Small Omnivore
Asparagus
Lettuce
Greens (Kale or Chard)
Radishes
Spinach
Whole Chicken




Small Vegetarian
Asparagus
Lettuce
Greens (Kale or Chard)
Radishes
Spinach
Grape Cider
Eggs
Feta
Mushrooms

Mini
Asparagus
Lettuce
Greens (Kale or Chard)
Radishes
Spinach

Large Omnivore
Asparagus
Lettuce
Greens (Kale or Chard)
Radishes
Spinach
Whole Chicken
Rhubarb
Strawberries*
Green Onions
Mushrooms
Ground Beef






Large Vegetarian
Asparagus
Lettuce
Greens (Kale or Chard)
Radishes
Spinach
Grape Cider
Eggs
Feta
Mushrooms x 2
Rhubarb
Strawberries*
Green Onions
Garganelli Pasta



Small Vegan
Asparagus
Lettuce
Greens (Kale or Chard)
Radishes
Spinach
Grape Cider
Mushrooms
Rhubarb
Strawberries*
Green Onions
Shell Peas

*Strawberries. I don't want to set you up for disappointment too much. This is a 50/50 chance. The growers we are getting from right now have what's called "plasticulture." That means they plant in the fall on beds of raised black plastic mulch to get an earlier berry. Most berries aren't grown this way due to the expense. We won't know what is coming in until they harvest in the morning. We have trucks scheduled to run for berries each morning, but we don't know the harvest until they get back. Today we were shorted at 3 of the 4 growers.

The main season berries - matted rows - begin next week.
OUR FAMILY OF COMPANIES