Poughkeepsie Farm Project

by Anne Maxfield on July 1, 2013

Accidental Locavore PFP BarnBecause the Poughkeepsie Farm Project does outreach for the community, as well as having a Tuesday pick-up (for some strange reason, the day I start to want veggies for the week) and because someone I know there is an assistant manager, the Accidental Locavore chose it as my first “official” CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture).

What I didn’t realize was a couple of really great perks come along with membership. First, is that you get to decide what you’re bringing home. For my small share, we get to choose a pre-determined amount of five things every week. Then there’s the pick-it-yourself option, where you can go and pick, say, a pint of strawberries as part of the deal. And then there are the guests. A couple of weeks ago, there was a woman selling freshly-killed, pasture-raised chickens. I didn’t get one, only because we weren’t going to be around much for dinner and I didn’t want to freeze it (more like no room in the freezer). Hopefully, she’ll be back soon.

Accidental Locavore FennelWhat’s great about the opportunity to choose your vegetables is that seeing something will spark an idea for building a meal around it. Kind of like a version of Chopped, where you have a say.

Seeing all the Asian veggies the other day gave me an idea for a version of my favorite Thai mint fried rice, so bok choy, scallions and Chinese cabbage went into the bags. This week, I’ll possibly do a riff on cole slaw with several different members of the cabbage family. And definitely another Thai-inspired dish, using cilantro and some beautiful Boston lettuce to make a pork salad in lettuce cups.

Accidental Locavore CSAWe were excited to see frisée, as salade frisée lardons  (bacon) is one of our favorites. My husband decided it was time to make poached eggs the classic way, where you slide an egg into simmering water, while I watched, bemused, from the sidelines. I know from experience how easy it looks on TV, and how hard it is, having messed up a lot of eggs! The other night, I used some more frisée to make a simple salad with a sherry vinegar and black truffle oil dressing.* It went beautifully with some steak tartare, proving once again that all you need are a few perfectly fresh ingredients to make something wonderful!


*Dressing: 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon black truffle oil, 3 tablespoons very good olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and toss with frisée.


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7 Reasons Why Memorial Day is a Great Holiday!

by Anne Maxfield on May 28, 2012

Accidental Locavore Grill

Memorial Day would be a lesser holiday except that the timing of it is just too perfect! Without it, how we would ever figure out (without a calendar) when summer starts? As you and the Accidental Locavore know, the weather certainly can’t be trusted!

  1. According to popular media, we wouldn’t know when to start firing up the barbecue…OK, if you have to wait till now to grill, you must live in a very cold place (in which case, is Memorial Day celebrated there?). The Locavore and her husband barbecue pretty much year-round, the only exception being if we have to shovel snow to get to it. I don’t really know why but my favorite food to do on the grill is chicken. Steaks and burgers are great, but there’s something about grilling chicken that really makes it wonderful! What do you most look forward to grilling?
  2. Now that you’ve got the grill going in its official capacity, you need something to put on it, right? Isn’t it convenient that it’s also the start of a lot of farmers’ markets? Asparagus are great now and work really well on the grill. I’ve read a lot lately about grilling lettuce but haven’t tried it, have you? Ramps are on their way out, however it doesn’t take many to put on a grilled pizza…And local strawberries just need a quick rinse to make dessert (although a little vanilla ice cream never hurt). Accidental Locavore Strawberries
  3. We can wear white. Now most people are way more evolved, but I was brought up that you couldn’t wear white before Memorial Day (or after Labor Day) and some traditions just stick with you.
  4. Smart companies start summer hours. I’m not sure if this is a NY thing, but try to find a fully-staffed office in this town on a Friday after 2:00. Half-day Fridays; great idea!
  5. The reason for summer hours? They go hand-in-hand with summer rentals. How boring life would be if holiday rentals simply started on June 1st…
  6. Fleet Week in Manhattan. No matter how many times you’ve seen the ships come in, it’s always amazing to see them up close, to see how massive they are and how easily they maneuver their way up the Hudson River. Many years ago, my friend Laura and I got a personal tour of a destroyer and it was pretty impressive! Between the joy-sticks (that fire actual missiles!), the food choices and even ATM’s on every level, it was a memorable tour!
  7. Which leads to the real reason to love Memorial Day. Just seeing the sailors and soldiers on the streets of New York is the best reminder of what the holiday is all about; honoring those who have served. Thank you!




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The Best Lunch The Accidental Locavore Knows

by Anne Maxfield on April 26, 2012

Accidental Locavore Lunch

Because there haven’t been any recipes posted lately, you’ve probably guessed that for the past couple of weeks  the Accidental Locavore has done little or no cooking. Mostly because we were in France where there are a lot of people who can cook pretty well, and then when we were back home, there were charity events and birthday dinners. I finally hit the kitchen, made a batch of yogurt, have some bacon curing and am brining a brisket from Brykill Farm to make pastrami, so not entirely lazy, right?

Accidental Locavore Pate ForestierOne of the benefits of renting apartments in France is that you get to shop the marchés and actually buy some of the wonderful stuff they have there. We quickly latched onto a woman who had a wonderful selection of charcuterie. First up, a pâté forestier, a smooth duck or chicken liver pâté studded with mushrooms and to quote Frank, “made of deliciousness!” To go with, some sliced chorizo, a little local ham (made in the style of prosciutto) a wedge of Morbier, a chèvre rolled in herbes de Provence, and a wonderful St Félicien Fermier, a soft, luscious, local cow’s milk cheese, picked up from the local fromagerie. Toss in a great baguette, some good mustard and a few cornichons, et voilà, a great lunch!

Accidental Locavore French CheesesTrying to improve on our market choices, the next trip yielded a new pâté, a classic pâté de campagne, with a wonderful texture and great taste! We switched out the chorizo for some salami, got some tapenade, a bag of mixed olives and the Locavore added some local strawberries to make it look like a balanced meal.

Accidental Locavore Local StrawberriesI usually think strawberries are ho-hum, but the French ones have totally changed my mind and probably spoiled me for life. Interestingly, Celine (from the olive oil store) and I had gotten into a whole discussion about strawberries. She grew up next door to a strawberry farm and her childhood was spent picking strawberries (and eating most of them), so she was quick to sneer at the Spanish ones at the market. As stunningly perfect as they looked, I had gone right for the local ones, remembering how good they had been last spring when we were there and they didn’t disappoint!




Accidental Locavore Farm Box Week 2

This week the Accidental Locavore’s farm box definitely looked like things are getting ripe on the farm. The big surprise was a box of beautiful strawberries, as lovely and flavorful as the ones we got in Nice. If you missed my Facebook page, they were so good with cherries on top of homemade yogurt! Accidental Locavore Yogurt with Berries

There were what may be the last of the asparagus, big purple ones (because Farmer Paul knows when it comes to asparagus, I’m a size queen) and some skinny green ones he threw in since we were chatting and catching up while banding asparagus and getting them ready for the market. The next morning, I tossed a spear in the microwave for a minute, then sliced it thinly on the diagonal and added them to my scrambled eggs for another great breakfast.

Two kinds of lettuce, a bunch of arugula and I’m set for lunch for the week.

And finally, a big batch of sugar snap peas to sauté in olive oil or butter and top with my favorite herbs. Here’s the recipe:

Sugar Snap Peas With Your Favorite Herbs

Accidental Locavore Sugar Snap PeasSugar snap peas are pretty amenable to being paired with a variety of fresh herbs. Here’s a basic recipe for them that’s quick and easy. Feel free to use your favorite herbs and citrus. A shallot thinly sliced and sautéed with the peas would work well too. Experiment and see what you like the best. Here are some suggestions: mint with lemon, lime or orange, cilantro with lime, thyme or tarragon with lemon, lemon verbena with lemon, basil with orange or lime.  Serves 4.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas (Snap off the stem ends of the snap peas and pull the string down the length)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint (chopped)

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the peas and sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and sauté, stirring until the lime juice is almost evaporated. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt & pepper and stir in the mint. Serve and enjoy!

What’s your favorite herb/citrus combination?

If you want to experience Paul Wigsten’s amazing produce for yourself, catch him and his family at the Millbrook NY farmers’ market on Saturdays from 9-1. You don’t really need a black Range Rover and matching Lab, but it couldn’t hurt…