Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday's Forage

Today (12/8) took us to Rich Farm in Oxford, CT for raw milk, New Morning Natural Foods for various sundries, including Murray's Chicken, and Waldingfield Farm in Washington, CT.

Murray's chickens are local to Pennsylvania. They are humanely raised by a number of family farms in PA. They are not given growth hormones or antibiotics. They guarantee that all of their retailers are within 300 miles of their farms. Okay, so not 100 miles for me, more like 200, but given the issues with getting chickens in CT (regulations), this is as good as it is for now. I'm not giving up, but Murray's is not Perdue either.

The drive to Waldingfield Farm was lovely...from Oxford, through Southbury and Woodbury...looked like a postcard from Connecticut. I met Patrick Horan (one of three brothers running the farm) last week at the Sandy Hook Holiday Farmer's Market. He had lots of jars of his pasta sauce. The organic tomatoes are from his farm, the basil, onions, and garlic are from friends (in CT), and the olive oil is of course, from the world.

I am Italian (4th generation American, but still full-blooded Italian) and I generally do not eat pasta sauces that are not made by blood relatives. It's not snobbery per se; let's just say that my expectations have been well managed over the years. But seeings how I am in the dark days of winter and did not spend many of the light days of summer "putting by" the local bounty, Patrick's sauce, if it worked out, could be a life saver.

Well, it worked out. It is a delightfully delicious marinara. I'm jealous because it takes me longer to make one pot of marinara than it took him to make 5000 jars. The recipe is Waldingfield's and is produced at Palmieri's in New Haven, CT. According to Patrick, it's "one of the last old school Italian tomato processing facilities around."

This pasta sauce is good, real good. It has a good flavor. So I went to his farm in search of more.

I met his parents and his brother Quincy, the full time farmer. It turns out that the farm first belonged to their mother's grandfather and has been in the family ever since. I met the dogs too, although I forget their names (because I'm a cat person). But they were good dogs.

Anyway, I left with a case of pasta sauce and very happy.

By the way, those who know me are probably flipping out that I'm calling this "pasta sauce." Well, that's what the Waldingfield folks are calling it. And it is a marinara (meatless), so the name "sauce" applies. The meat-based, red tomato, divine-simmered-all-day-Sunday stuff is still gravy in my vocabulary. No meat = sauce. Meat (pork & beef) = gravy.

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