Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Wednesday January 27, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Sustaining Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown's mission is to support our local farmers and promote locally grown food, which results in strengthening our local economy and preserving open spaces.   It's a winning mission and one that I support whole-heartedly!

Last night I hosted the newly formed Development Committee for Berkshire Grown.

Our goal is to make Berkshire Grown "sustainable" without state funding.  In 2010 we have to do without a $50,000 state grant. And personally, I think that is OK.  We just need to do and think differently.

Our goals are to run events that are meaningful and in line with our objectives of helping farmers connect with food buyers - both restaurants through the farm to table program; and people through farmers markets and CSA's.  We need to reach out to the community and build membership, and pursue corporate sponsors who want to align with our message.  Restaurants play a key role for Berkshire Grown.  Their commitment to buying local ingredients and serving them is critical to the sustainability of our local small farms and our local economies.  If you are a local or own a second home in the Berkshires, please consider sending a donation to preserve the connection between farmers and eating.  I do.  I do it through my membership to Berkshire Grown (www.berkshiregrown.org), my membership to 2 CSA's (www.indianlinefarm.com and www.farmgirlfarm.com), raising my own chickens for meat and eggs, and using my land to raise Scottish Highland Cattle for grass fed beef for my family's consumption and ultimately for sale.

Food glorious food!  Don't we all live for that? Don't we all want to put what's best in our bodies and lower our carbon footprint?  If you answer YES - then support Berkshire Grown or support your local farmers wherever you live -  DO IT TODAY!!

And, yes I did serve food.  Our meal consisted of organic rice, chicken breast with chick peas and tomatoes and a green salad.  Laura Meister (Farm Girl Farm) brought chocolate chip cookies and local ice cream.

Chicken with Chick Peas and Tomatoes 
2 whole boneless chicken breast, cut into 8 pieces
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup minced cilantro
1 cup plain yogurt (I like 2% greek but any will do!)
1 can chick peas
1 can of diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix the garlic, oil, paprika,cumin, red pepper flakes. Spoon 1 tablespoon in the yogurt and set aside.  Place chicken in a baking dish and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the spice mixture on the chicken.  In a bowl, mix the chick peas, tomatoes, remaining spice mixture and 1/2 cup cilantro.  Pour over chicken.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Serve over rice with a dollup or two of yogurt and sprinkle with cilantro. Enjoy!!