This past fall, right before the holidays, I found a version of this recipe below in Food & Wine Magazine and knew I had to add it to my holiday menu. In fact, I ended up making it for our huge family on Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas Eve. My grandmother liked it so much that she has asked for seconds. (High praise indeed!) I don’t know the exact measurements, since I have now made this so often that I do it without consulting the recipe, but this is more or less it…
1 pound of Brussel Sprouts – stems trimmed, and halved
Juice from half a lemon
Plain Bread Crumbs – enough to toss
1 Tbsp or so of melted butter
Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees. Toss trimmed Brussel Sprouts in olive oil and sea salt and spread out evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, checking to make sure they brown but not burn. Toss with a little melted butter and bread crumbs.
If you are trimming the sprouts ahead of time, squeeze the lemon juice over them and then covered and keep in the refrigerator, it will help keep them from browning after they are cut. If not, squeeze the lemon juice over them after they come out of the oven.
My favorites though are still the ones served at Beckett’s Table, roasted and served in an iron skillet with bacon. You can’t beat them.
The new farm at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is coming along. It has been months of work to get to this point. The patient garden, the plot nearest to the hospital, has already been planted and has started producing. We had patients and staff from the hospital help plant at the groundbreaking, and we were thrilled to have them come out again recently to plant the new rows in the garden. It is always such an uplifting experience to be there. For all of the very serious work they do, the CTCA is a place of much hope and joy.
Getting the ground ready has been quite a process, especially since the surface was hard as a rock. Sean has spent many long frustrating days out there trying to get the ground cultivated so we can start making planting beds, only to have one piece of equipment after another break in the process. He was back and forth between the two farms bringing out different pieces of equipment, fixing broken bolts, trying to find replacement parts. So, he resorted to this…
We brought in a rented tractor and hooked up the rippers he was using on the ground and it did the trick. This was a big one, a 300-horse power tractor that wasn’t taking “no” for an answer. The ground finally acquiesced. I even got to go out and ride along one morning while he was working and see for myself what he was up against. It wasn’t dirt clods coming up, it was hardened, unforgiving soil that had finally met its match.
But the great news, is now that the ground has been ripped everything has become much easier. So far, the west section of the farm has had salad, arugula, cauliflower, onions, chard and kale and broccoli all planted. And as much as the rain this past weekend put a damper on the market, it was exactly what the ground at the CTCA farm needed. All of that water will be able to soak deep down into the ground and help soften it and make it easier to continue forming the planting beds. As we move forward, we are putting OMRI-approved (Organic Materials Review Institute) nutrients into the ground, and Sean will continue to till, level and form planting beds, helping to make the ground ready to grow. We are excited for what is to come.
After four days of record low temperatures there have been a lot of questions about how we fared. Trust me, it has been a big issue of discussion and worry around here. We have dealt with frost before, but this was more than just a cold snap. Having the temperatures down that low for four days is unprecedented. Bob watches the weather like a hawk. He compares the weather reports from the National Weather Service, the Weather Channel, AccuWeather… to name a few. We also have multiple weather stations positioned around the farm in order to get the best reading on the temperature from the different fields, when it gets as low as it has been a difference of even a few degrees can be a big deal. So, we did what most of you did, we watched, we planned, and we bundled up. Everything.
The farm now looks like this…
Even the sugar snap peas and fava beans that normally look like this…
Right now look like this…
The good news it that it looks like we were able to save quite a bit. We covered everything that needed to be covered with frost cloth and ran water through the drip tape to keep the ground temperature from getting too low. The heartier plants like kale, broccoli and chard are fine being left uncovered and can handle temperatures as low as 10-degrees. In fact, they looked pretty good to me this morning.
We also left a lot of seedlings in the green house, rather than transplanting them into the fields, as we would normally do this time of year. The green house is downright balmy right now, so there was no worry there.
The citrus may have taken a hit. The fruit protected in closest to the tree trunks should be fine, but the fruit on the outer branches and low to the ground may be lost. While we were able to run drip lines out in the fields, the citrus orchards would normally receive frost water to keep the temperature in the orchard up. This would be done with irrigation water and, unfortunately, the canals are empty at the moment as they are being worked on for maintenance. We were picking as much as citrus possible last week in anticipation, so hopefully the loss won’t be too bad.
We will be at the markets this week and not to worry, we will have plenty to offer. And happily, the thermometer is back on its way up again. Hope to see you this week!
Happy New Years!
We hope that you had a wonderful holiday season. McClendon’s Select will be back at the Town and Country Farmers’ Market tomorrow, January 2nd, during our normal business hours. We will also be at the Old Town Scottsdale market this coming Saturday, January 5th. Come visit – we have plenty of organic veggies to help you start out the year on the right track!
We did want to let everyone know that McClendon’s Select will not be at the Town & Country Farmers’ Market the day after Christmas on Wednesday, December 26th. We will have our normal schedule otherwise. We will be at the Old Town Farmers’ Market in Scottsdale on both Saturday, December 22nd and December 29th and we will be back at Town & Country on Wednesday, January 2nd. We will have quite a selection this week and next to help with all of your holiday cooking. I am already putting my lists together.
We hope that you are having a wonderful holiday season!
After several requests, McClendon’s Select is bringing back our market tote bags. We didn’t realize how popular they were, nor how long it had been since we had them available. But they are back now and at the markets, $7/each available in tan and green. We love it when you bring them back and fill them up.
They say you should be so connected to your food that you know who your farmer is… and now you can prove that you do! We have t-shirts for the first time. There is the “My farmer’s name is McClendon” shirts in long sleeves for $14/each, and “Bee Organic” shirts in short-sleeves for $12/each. Ask the cashiers for one in your size.
Both shirts are organic cotton (of course!), and they were printed at TumbleTees Screen Printing in downtown Phoenix. TumbleTees is a non-profit that employs homeless youth to give them an opportunity to learn screen printing, customer service and other job skills, while earning a paycheck. They were incredible to work with and I would highly recommend them. As well, as recommending our lovely graphic designer, Carla from TalkBack Designs, who is as clever as she is creative.
TumbleTees Screen Printing
1641 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
Hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving already, but we are ready to help you prepare for next week’s feast! We will have a large selection this Saturday at the Old Town Farmers’ Market in Scottsdale and again next Wednesday at Town & Country. We will be open our normal hours, but as we have seen in years past, make sure to get there early.
We will also have the Pie Ladies, Beth and Ronna, from Love’s Kitchen back at the Town and Country Market next Wednesday at 9:00am. If you haven’t had one of their amazing pies, you are missing out. Their pies have become a part of our Thanksgiving tradition for the past few years. (I have already put in an order for three!) This year they will have the following pies available for pre-order…
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan
Granny Smith Apple
Buttermilk Custard (my favorite!)
Sweet Potato Pie
Tollhouse Chocolate Chip (available both with and without walnuts)
White Chocolate Macademia Cranberry
You may give them a call at 480-650-0088 to place your order with them. They are taking pre-orders until 8:00pm Monday night and will have the pies at the market by 9:00am on Wednesday for pick-up. They take cash or checks only.
And, we have not traditionally done the market on Saturday after Thanksgiving, but we will be there this year during our normal business hours, so make sure to stop by.
We look forward to seeing all of you this next week and can’t wait to hear the amazing things that are cooking for the holiday! Have a wonderful one!