WV Farm2Fork: Saving food at home and through the Harvest Kitchen
We are excited to announce that we are back to doing a monthly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail!
Here is the most recent.
The summer harvest season is coming to an end, and sought-after items, such as tomatoes, green beans and corn, are slowly being replaced with popular fall fare, like apples, beets and carrots. So you may be stocking up to have the fresh tastes of summer around a little longer.
But wait! It’s going to take a little planning if you don’t want to find yourself with an excess of produce, staring at the bags of red, green and yellow on your counter or in your pantry, and wondering, “How am I going to use all of this without letting it go to waste?”
It’s a legitimate concern. Food waste is a major issue around the world.
Globally, we waste about 1.4 billion tons of food every year. In the United States, Americans annually discard nearly 40 million tons, or 80 million pounds of food — more than any other country. That equals about 30-40% of the entire country’s food supply.
And, if that doesn’t hit close to home, studies have shown that U.S. households waste about a third of the food they purchased every year. Imagine what that does to your grocery bill. Whether you’ve stored something incorrectly and it’s gone bad, overlooked ingredients or are tired of leftovers, we throw out a lot.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to decrease that amount:
- Learn new recipes — we’ve included two to help you out here.
- Plan your meals accordingly by cutting down on how much you make.
- Can your leftover vegetables or freeze them. For example, tomatoes can be frozen for up to six months for use in sauce (see our recipe for Chicken in a Tomato Basil Cream Sauce), salsa, stew, curry, etc.
As a mission-driven organization with a focus on growing and supporting the local food economy, The Wild Ramp also takes food waste seriously. One of the ways that we’re doing our part — and also supporting our farmers in the process — is through our Harvest Kitchen program, led by Chef Jedediah Thornburgh.
Through Harvest Kitchen, we purchase excess seasonal ingredients that might be in abundance from our market producers to create our own assortment of prepared food — think freezer meals and side dishes, soups, broths and packaged baked goods.
Since the Harvest Kitchen was started in 2019, we have used about 1,500 pounds of surplus product. It’s a win-win all around: less food is wasted, which benefits our farmers and our market, and our customers get convenient meal options and the chance to try new recipes.
So, the next time you visit The Wild Ramp, make sure you look for our Harvest Kitchen label along with your other favorite local items to see what we’ve been cooking up — and check out our social media channels!
Chicken with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
2 – 6 oz chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (Minced)
2 medium tomatoes (Diced)
¾ cup heavy cream
Red pepper flakes
¼ cup Pecorino Romano
Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, dry basil and dry oregano.
In a large sauté pan, sauté chicken breasts with 1 tbsp butter and olive oil until fully cooked.
Remove chicken and set aside.
In the same sauté pan, add butter, olive oil and garlic and sauté until golden brown.
Add tomatoes and basil, sauté until tomatoes start to break down.
Add heavy cream and simmer the tomatoes, stirring constantly.
When the cream is hot, add Pecorino Romano and stir until there are no clumps and the sauce starts to thicken.
Return chicken to pan and coat with sauce. Add red pepper flakes to the top and serve.
Green Beans with Sautéed Tomatoes
Yield: 4 servings
½ lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and strung
1 medium tomato
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dry basil
½ cup white wine
Salt and pepper (to taste)
A pot of salted water for blanching
Put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
Small dice the medium tomato and add to a large sauté pan with oil and dry basil.
When the diced tomato starts to break down, add green beans to boiling water and let them blanch (only for 1-2 minutes) to bring out the color.
Remove the green beans from water and immediately add to the sauté pan — give a few shakes to make sure all ingredients are mixed.
Add white wine and let green beans simmer until the liquid has reduced.
Place green beans on a plate and then pour the remaining liquid over the top of the beans.
Roasted Corn Salad with Black Beans and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 servings
2 ears of corn (shucked but with husks still on)
3 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
1 dash cumin
1 small tomato, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup black beans
3/4 cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup lime juice
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 325° F.
Mix melted butter with cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and cumin.
Pull the husk back on corn and liberally add butter. Then, recover the corn with the husk.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
While the corn roasts, mix all of the ingredients of the vinaigrette together.
Remove corn from the oven and let it cool.
Remove corn from the cob and mix with remaining ingredients.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and season with salt and pepper.
Serve over a piece of butter lettuce.