So, I’ve made it five weeks in a row on my weekly “pie of the week” challenge. This week: Ham and Cheese Pizza!
Shaved Smoked Ham (Amor Gardens and Pork)
Red Onions (our farm, but not enough to market this year 🙁 )
Nabuka Scallions (really, they’ve become my favorite pizza topping…)
And a drizzle of hot honey, made from our own Cayenne peppers and Freedom Hills Farm honey
This one falls in the “close to greatness” category. At least given the preferences of Xenia and myself. I found it a little on the salty side, and wished I had added more honey to offset the saltiness. In contrast, Xenia thought it was too sweet, and wished there was less honey. I also think the mustard would have been better applied after the bake, like the honey. The flavor was fine, but it lost its sheen and looked a bit dried up (even though it wasn’t). That’s a cosmetic, rather than flavor, thing. But, such things still matter!
I’ve also begun posting my weekly featured pizza on our farm’s Instagram and Facebook page, rather than my personal page. Several people requested that after I included the project in last week’s ‘ish. And, it is “Farm to Flame pizza” I’m going for, after all… (And, really, the flame singing the ham and cheese pizza? THAT’s something special!)
I’ll probably move all of the past, and future, pizzas over to my recipe / eating blog eventually. That will collect all of them together. So check over there in a week or two if you want to follow along.
This past weekend, we brought a new crop to the market: almonds!
What?! You can grow almonds in Indiana?
Yes. Yes, we can.
Our almonds are a variety called “Hall’s Hardy,” and are a hybrid between an almond and a peach. The peach part of the parentage allows the tree to be hardy enough to survive and produce here. It’s also grafted on a peach rootstock.
I’m not sure we’d recommend other folks try growing them just yet. We planted two trees 13 years ago, and one died after about 5 years. The other has become a beautiful tree, and produced a small crop four out of the last five years. This year was the first time it was a large enough crop to bring to market (I did use it in the past for making almond gianduja chocolates, though…). The crop this year was huge! Unfortunately, so it had so many nuts that it broke about half of the tree off. We are hoping the injuries won’t lead to a tree-killing infection.
The almonds have a very intense flavor, different from the more familiar California almonds. Its almond parent is a similar variety to the almonds used to make Amaretto and marzipan. Really delicious, and a lot more intriguing than the rather bland common almonds.
All of this glory does come with some challenges, though. The shells are quite thick, so you need some persistence and/or the right tool to get them open. If you have a good nutcracker, it should work. On some of the nuts, there is a nice “lip” where the two halves converge. Worked a flat-headed screwdriver in, then twist to separate the halves. That’s Chad’s preferred method. Xenia, on the other hand, is able to use a hammer to crack the nuts (when Chad tries to do that, he tends to get almond butter with shell shards..). Vice Grips are another good option – set the jaw enough to avoid smashing the nut.
We’ve been making slow progress on our goal to bring more locally-produced nuts to our community. They’re nutritious, delicious, and net-carbon-negative. A big change from nuts shipped all over the world! Come by a market and try a handful!
… But not your local food!
This week is “fall break” for the Culver Farmers’ Market. The vendors all get a week off with no market between the outdoor Main Season market, and the indoor Winter Market. But you still need to eat, right?!
Never fear: we offer our home delivery all 52 weeks of the year. So order from our online store by 10:00 tonight, and we’ll drop your goodies at your front door Thursday afternoon!
Next Saturday, the market will return, in its winter form: in the ground floor large meeting room of the Culver and Union Township Public Library. The winter market continues every Saturday, but starts an hour later than the main season market. So 10:00-1:00. We will not have a market on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, so plan ahead and/or order for delivery for those festivities as well!
Chad is honored to have been selected as part of the Expert Exchange in Certified Naturally Grown‘s new professional development offering for beginning and early stage farmers, Film SEEDs.
Hand-made Fine Chocolates make great Christmas gifts! Especially when you know a bit of the story behind their creation. I put a lot of love into creating beautiful, delicious chocolates, a little bit of which is captured in this one-minute behind-the-scenes video I shot of myself making our most popular chocolate, Heart of Darkness. If you haven’t seen it (or even if you have 🙂 ), take a look!
How far ahead of your desired delivery or pickup time do you need to order bread? Chad bakes bread to order, so it can be helpful to know!
Most of our breads require two days to make, because I use a delayed fermentation method. This involves letting the dough raise for a long time in refrigeration, rather than the more common method of encouraging dough to rise quickly in a warm place. Delayed fermentation allows time for enzymes within the wheat and produced by the yeast to develop deeper flavor than the faster method. Sourdough breads, such as our sourdough boule or onion rye, require an additional full day, as the mother starter is fed and expanded first to create the starter used to leaven that batch of dough
For example, when I bake for a Saturday market, I make sourdough starters on Wednesday evening. I make all of the doughs on Thursday. Then I begin baking around 10:00 Friday night finishing moments before leaving for Saturday’s market.
I can generally predict what we will sell on a given Saturday, so we simply set the inventory for the online store for what I plan to bake. However, Thursday deliveries are much less predictable, and I bake bread to order, beginning baking about 5:00 Thursday morning. This means I need to prepare dough on Tuesday evening, and sourdough starters Monday.
We’ll keep an updated cheat sheet at the bottom of the weeklyish to remind you, but just make a habit of ordering bread early, eh?
Time for a big announcement! The Hole in the Woods Farm Weeklyish Newsletter!
We’ve had many requests for regular updates on what’s happening at the farm, as well as tips for how to cook and eat seasonally and locally. Enter, the Weeklyish!
Chad is making chocolates again this winter! Check our online store to see the current selection of handmade artisan fine chocolates.
We will have a few varieties available for the November 7 Culver Farmers’ Market – you can order now! Our goal is to have a wide variety of chocolates available by the November 21 market, so you can stock up in time for your thanksgiving celebration, and a full selection beginning in December. Chocolates make great gifts!
We’ll begin by rolling out the 2020-2021 “All Hearts” collection: past favorites Heart of Darkness, Heart of Gold, and two new selections, Warm Heart, and I Heart Huckleberries.
Stop by the market this weekend, or order online for home delivery!
How do you get your bread fix now that the Tuesday evening Culver Farmers’ Market is over for the season? Never fear: You have three great options!
With the arrival of summer, and the economy beginning to open back up from the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will be changing our bread baking schedule. Beginning Tuesday, June 16, bread will be available at the Tuesday evening (5:00-7:00) Culver Farmers’ Market.