chicken with wild mushrooms and carrot
november 25, 2012
Daybreak Farm sits on 90 acres outside Richmond, Virginia in Chesterfield County. Fully operational since 2008, the farm is owned by the DiSavino Family and managed well by powerhouse Dawn DiSavino, who gave a recent tour with daughter Annmarie and son Howie. This family lives off the land – they eat what is grown and raised – and most of the power used to keep the farm running is solar. Large freestanding solar panels resembling sports bleachers are visible just beyond the main house. Currently there are goats for soapmaking , beehives which should produce honey by spring, a fledgling fruit orchard, a well stocked fish pond and over one hundred laying hens, guarded by three roosters.
If I ruled the world, apples would be a seasonal commodity. Yes, I recognize the convenience of year round apple availability in grocery stores, but I want to miss them terribly when their season ends and welcome them back heartily when there is a chill in the air next fall. Absence would make any heart grow even fonder of this versatile fruit. My local farmer’s market carries a dozen or more varieties from late August until they close shop at Thanksgiving.
The last of the tomatoes are on the vine. Time to rescue them before they fall victim to frosty nights. I have friends who swear that late season green tomatoes will eventually turn crimson if you patiently watch over them on your windowsill. This offers fleeting pleasure and tests patience. Why not enjoy green tomatoes throughout the cold weather months in the form of a spicy chutney? Green tomato chutney can be both down home and elegant, enlivening hot and cold appetizers, salad dressings and grilled meats and seafood. It makes a terrific sandwich spread, elevating simple cold cuts and cheeses to the sublime. When unexpected company arrives, you can impress with a snack of green tomato chutney, creamy cheese and a base of flatbread, crackers or slices of toasted baguette.
End of summer means that field peas are in season. Sure, you could purchase frozen field peas, but nothing compares to the earthy taste and toothsome bite of those that are freshly shelled. You will pay a little more, but these are not mechanically separated from their shells; a labor intensive act of love has delivered these beauties to the market. Field peas are technically beans, not peas. They are cousins to the Asian Mung bean, traveling to the new world in colonial times with African slaves who recognized their value as drought resistant, nutrient rich, portable foods.