June Gathering with Farmbag of the Lowcountry

We were honored in June to have as our guests Erik Lyons and Steve Howard of Farmbag of the Lowcountry (aka Local Farmbag). Although there are several local farmer’s markets in the area, I found I was having difficulty making it to any of them. That is where Local Farmbag comes in. They deliver organic and/or locally sources fruits and vegetables right to your front door. You can also include into your bag “add ins” which could be anything from artisan breads and cheeses or free-range eggs. Every Sunday, Erik sends out an email with the contents of the bag for that week and recipes using the fresh produce. I must say, they easily accommodate substitutions.  Don’t like cantaloupe? No problem! They even let you choose want produce you want more of to compensate. So Erik and Steve came to our gathering, made a tasty fresh corn salad using, talked about Local Farmbag and answered lots of questions–boy, were there lots of questions! In addition to what they do, these guys know a lot about gardening.

Moving on to the food. Although the food was plentiful, as usual, I do not have a lot of the recipes. I just don’t. One the most talked about recipes was for a Coconut-Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie. This was not the bland pie commonly found on Thanksgiving tables. This pie was bold, earthy and flavorful. Another dish bursting with flavor was the Plantain and Pinto Stew. In addition to plantains, which I loved, it had mix of tongue tingling smokiness from cumin and heat from jalapeños. Beets are abundant in the lowcountry this time of year. The sweetness of beets, was perfectly paired with a tangy mint vinaigrette and the saltiness of cheese in this Golden Beet Salad with Parsley Mint Vinaigrette. You will see from the pictures that red beets were substituted.

Enjoy the photos and the recipes! See you in July.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Light Body

For over 20 years, Marita studied the way in which food interacts with both the emotional and physical bodies.  She has worked as a nutrition and wellness counselor and operated The Traveling Gourmet School of Cooking. She created her cookbook, The Light Body, in response to the need for a comprehensive cookbook that would meet the necessary criteria for attaining optimal health.  In her words,

My philosophy on eating is not about denial, but rather an awareness of how fresh, whole foods can benefit us both in regaining, and maintaining, health and wellness.  I believe that what we put into our bodies has a direct effect on our health, our moods and the quality of our lives.

Fortunately for us, Marita attended last month’s Eating Without Meat gathering and brought with her a most delicious  Three Sisters Stew.  She graciously has agreed to allow us to share the recipe.


Three Sisters Stew

2 teaspoons expeller-pressed canola oil
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds butternut (or other variety) squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 large ribs celery, diagonally sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried summer savory
1 cup dried Great Northern beans or black-eyed peas, cooked
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
In a large, wide-bottomed skillet, heat oil. Sauté onion and garlic until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add squash and next 6 ingredients with sautéed veggies. Cover and cook over medium heat until squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, simmer 3 minutes. Serve warm with a side of cooked quinoa.  Serves 4 to 6.
The “three sisters”—beans, corn and squash—were more than just food to Native Americans. Daily life was steeped in magic and mystery to the early people of the world. These three staples were part of myth and religion as well as food and were revered as “gift givers and caretakers of the People”. Bursting with flavor, this dish makes a quick, satisfying meal, ready in 30 minutes. 
Thanks Marita!
Our next gathering will be this Saturday.  We hope you can join us for more wonderful and nourishing dishes.