Local Veal and Other Winter Finds
|Right Food for the Season - Late Winter|
|Written by Lara Zelman|
With an increased demand for local products, more farmers’ markets are opening for business during the winter. Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland, MA is one of these new winter markets. They started the winter market in January and are open 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday through February 27. My husband and I have quickly added the market to our Saturday morning routine. Important to note – the later you go the busier it is! We arrived just after 11 a.m. and ended up parking in the back parking lot. Also, the earlier you go, the more there is to sample and buy.
While the variety of fresh produce is limited during the winter months, there are still more than two dozen vendors set-up in the greenhouses with products like gelato, root beer, pasta, salsas maple syrup, meat, fish, and cheese. The atmosphere is energetic and animated with the enthusiasm of both the vendors and the shoppers. The conversations are lively and people are genuinely interested in learning more about the source of their food.
I spent some time chatting with a few vendors during my two visits. As a hopeful food entrepreneur, I enjoy finding out how they got started in the food business and how they ended up where they are now. On my first visit, I spoke with Amanda from Tortured Orchard. Amanda had a sales and marketing career and decided to go to culinary school and start a business with her mom. The result is Tortured Orchard! They make seasoning sauces that do double duty as marinades and toppings. They are regulars at the summer market at Russell’s and are now part of the winter fun.
Part of my usual summer market routine is to pick up a new item each week. It’s tougher to try new produce in the winter, so I’ve been keeping my eye out for new products. The first stop for this challenge was Winter Moon Farm, from Hadley, MA. They are known for their carrots and other winter storage vegetables – I have never seen such large carrots (they have a delicious sweet taste). For the new to us product, we bought a large bag of organic Ruby Red popcorn. Michael, the farmer from Winter Moon Farm, sold it to us with the promise we’d give him a full report on it next week. The popcorn was the whitest, fluffiest, cleanest tasting popcorn I’ve ever tasted. We’ll be popping it up often!
We also picked up veal cutlets from Lawson’s Family Farm. They were recently featured here on a recent Local In Season article about their raw milk production. In addition to their raw milk and fresh cheese, they also offer grass fed beef and humanely raised veal. I love veal, but do not like to buy it unless I know how it is raised. We bought two cutlets, and using the farm fresh eggs we bought from Springdell Farm, I made breaded veal cutlets with spaghetti for dinner. The veal was tender and had a wonderful flavor (see recipe below) and reaffirmed my "local tastes better" philosophy.
I could share a unique story for every vendor at the market. I encourage you to get out of the house this winter and hear the stories firsthand. I guarantee it will brighten up a dreary winter New England day. If you can’t make it to a winter market, look for locally grown and produced products in your neighborhood stores.
Quick and Easy Breaded Veal Cutlets (serves 4)
2 veal cutlets (about 1 pound)
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a tablespoon of water
½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Set up an assembly line with three bowls. In the first bowl, place the all-purpose flour. In the second bowl, place the lightly beaten eggs. In the third bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Take one veal cutlet and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess, and then dip in the eggs, making sure to cover the entire cutlet. Dip in the breadcrumbs, coating the cutlet. Set aside and repeat with the second cutlet. Place cutlets in the hot pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, being careful not to overcook. Serve with hot spaghetti and tomato sauce.
Lara is a graduate of Boston University and works full time as a marketing manager. Whether it’s family gatherings, vacations, dinners at home, holiday parties, or just a regular weekend, Lara's goal is to make the food a part of the experience. In her spare time she visits farmers markets for interesting ingredients, blogs (www.goodcookdoris) about her adventures in the kitchen, and finds time to fit in a few rounds of golf. She is currently pursuing an MBA degree and working on a plan to make her passion for all things food-related a full-time adventure.