Hello Market Friends,
There is a constant stream of numbers and statistics available on the subject of rising prices, some of them which should be contradictory, but unfortunately go hand in hand:
- Inflation is the highest it has been in 30 years;
- Companies are posting the biggest profits in more than 70 years.
- On a site called Trading Economics, the percentage price increases in various components of the economy are listed;
- Immediately below is a graph titled ”The ‘Must-Own’ Stock of 2022′. It leads to an article on how to make big bucks from the looming inflation crisis.
Hey! Hold on a minute!
When things are crazy in the big picture, we are very fortunate to buy food from local producers instead of companies with shareholders to impress. Times like these are when it is critically important to maintain a strong local food system, or in other words, when the going gets tough, you want to know who your farmers are.
That’s why I am including this message from Ayse Akoner in our newsletter;
However, I would argue that you are still ahead purchasing 100% local at farmer’s markets. The produce prices at farmer’s markets have remained the same because the vegetables are not traveling thousands of kms between countries. Supermarkets’ Organic produce have been mostly grown on huge factory farms and have probably traveled from California or Florida. Although I am sure there are also Ontario grown Greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries, those products have needed extra heat and light to ripen and are grown hydroponically. You just have to compare hydroponic Boston lettuce to our Butter lettuce to realize what you are missing when there is no soil involved in the produce you have purchased.
So, I guess what I am saying is please keep buying and cooking farmer’s market produce; you not only will be helping the local sustainable farms, you will actually be eating more nutritious food.”
We’ve been building connections between producers and eaters in this community for almost 20 years and a whole 2 of those years have been online. Here’s a few shots when we first moved into St. Anne’s after the park stopped being an option for us. Don’t forget we’ll be in person in Dufferin Grove Park again starting May 19th! Let’s stick together; it makes us all stronger!
We see an obvious preference for the Very Dark maple syrup from Spade & Spoon but Matt recommends you give the beautiful Amber grade a try if you haven’t enjoyed its bright flavour yet. (Also the Fuzzy Beach Jam!)
Ducks are more than just muses again! The Ducks are laying at All Sorts Acres Farms and eggs are in stock.
But if nothing fits right for dinner so far maybe another recipe from Tish’s Dishes will end up in your meal plan this week.
Tomato Sauce with Polpettine (Italian Meatballs)
Growing up as a First Generation Canadian there were many things about Canadian meals that I really didn’t understand. The most confusing meal was Spaghetti and Meatballs, especially because it was served as the entire meal!
My family never ate just pasta as a meal, let alone just spaghetti and meatballs. If meatballs were going to be part of the meal, we had Bucatini (a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the centre) as Primi (the third course of the meal), with Polpettine (Italian meatballs) or with Prupetti (Sicilian meatballs). The comedic component of this meal was the “discussion” about the type of meatball being served for dinner! Polpettine was my Father’s favourite, as he came from Supino, Italy, and prupetti was my Mother’s, as she came from Palermo, Sicily.
And even this dish was rare! More often than not, my Mother made an incredibly delicate pasta noodle (similar to Angel Hair pasta) that had the mouthfeel of silk, graced with a delicate tomato sauce made with the fresh tomatoes that had just been picked from the garden we tended in the back yard.
Ingredients for the Sauce:
3 tbsp of olive oil, ghee or butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
4 cups of passata
½ tsp of chilli peppers
4 stems of basil, the leaves torn
Ingredients for Polpettine:
¾ lb of ground beef
¾ lb of ground pork
2 oz of bread, torn into pieces (stale bread works too)
½ c of milk
2 oz of Pecorino or Parmigiano (extra for the table)
2 tbsp of parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp of white wine
1 egg, beaten
Salt & pepper (to taste)
Vegetable oil for frying (or any oil with a high smoke point)
Bucatini or any hearty pasta of your choice; Pappardelle, Fusilli, Perciatelli, Penne or Rigatoni
To make the tomato sauce, over medium heat, heat the oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Then add the passata, chilli peppers, salt and basil. Bring the sauce to a low simmer for 30 minutes or so. While the sauce is cooking, start making the polpettine.
Place the bread in a small bowl and pour the milk over it. Allow this to sit for a couple of minutes until the bread absorbs the milk.
Mix all the ingredients, including the milk-soaked bread, but not the oil. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Fry a teaspoon of the mixture to taste and then adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Wet your hands and roll out marble-sized polpettine. Once all the polpettine has been made, pour a generous amount of oil into a frying pan and heat. You can tell when the oil is hot enough if when you drop a small amount of water in the oil, it sputters. Add the polpettine, a few at a time, ensuring you don’t overcrowd the pan. Once the outer surface of the polpettine is brown, add them to the sauce. You don’t need to cook the polpettine through, they will finish cooking in the sauce. Continue with all the polpettine.
Once all the polpettine is in the sauce, continue to simmer the sauce for an additional 20 minutes to ensure that the polpettine is cooked through.
While the polpettine in the sauce finishes cooking, cook the pasta of your choice according to the package directions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and mix with the sauce. Heap the pasta onto a plate, arrange the Polpettine on top of the pasta, sprinkle with a generous amount of cheese and serve.
Sosnicki Organics continues to inspire. If you meet anyone who doubts that you can fill your kitchen with local groceries all year round, feel free to send them this newsletter!
Anne and the Market Crew