We know, we know, this is supposed to be a blog about letterpress, but we thought you’d like these beautiful photos from one of our favorite places, Grindstone Farm. Not only does Grindstone provide delicious, nutritious, organic fruits and veggies to the Bella Figura staff through our CSA partnership, they are also a prime example of why farms make great wedding locations!
Of course, planning a wedding on a working farm can be tricky. You need to plan ahead so you are not stuck without power or lights (or bathrooms!), you’ll need to make sure grandma and grandpa do not have to walk a mile in dress shoes, and if you want the ultimate local experience of using food and flowers grown onsite, you’ll need to get the details to the farmer a year in advance.
When the details come together, it’ll be worth the trouble. Your guests will be able to share in an incredible one-of-a-kind experience, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Interested in finding a farm like this near you for your wedding or big event? Or do you want to use locally grown produce or flowers for your special event? Check out localharvest.org to find CSAs, U Pick Farms, Farmers Markets, Grocery Co-ops in your area!
Want to see more photos from our trip to Grindstone Farm & our CSA pick-up spot here at Bella Figura? Check out this slideshow!
Today is Tuesday, which during the summer and early fall harvest season means only one thing here at Bella Figura – it’s CSA day! Bella Figura is proud to subsidize CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships for employees through Grindstone Farm, a local organic farm. Once a week, a big van full of freshly picked organic veggies shows up at our door and we always love digging through the boxes to see what we have that week. This year we’ve been eating a lot of rainbow chard, kale, bokchoy, a variety of lettuces, onions, garlic, lots of beautiful tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini galore.
Here is a quick peek at today’s share – parsley, patty pan squash, three varieties of tomatoes, baby carrots, two varieties of radishes, lemon basil, lots of tomatillos and the first of this season’s apples.
With tomatillos greeting us week after week, we’ve all been sharing ideas on how to best use them up. The verdict is that a great roasted tomatillo salsa can’t be beat. We love this recipe from epicurious – it’s simple, quick and tasty. Does it get much better?
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos
5 fresh serrano chiles (or sub the peppers of your choice; remove the seeds for less heat)
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Preheat broiler or grill.
Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness. Broil chiles, garlic, onion and tomatillos on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat (or on the grill), turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes. Peel garlic and pull off tops of chiles. Purée all ingredients in a blender.
Allow to cool to room temperature and serve with your favorite chips or Mexican fare. Enjoy!
As part of our continued efforts to be truly eco-friendly, Bella Figura subsidizes CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships for all employees. Many of us happily take advantage of the opportunity to have fresh, local, organic produce delivered once a week by a local organic farm, Grindstone Farm. The veggies and herbs are always incredibly fresh and delicious and have typically been picked within just hours of reaching us. Because the Delevan Center, the old warehouse we call home, is the Downtown Syracuse drop off location, our CSA deliveries literally come right to our door. We love seeing what awaits us as we fill up our bags and head home to cook – half the fun is figuring out what to do with all the cool ingredients we don’t always see in local grocery stores!
Typically, we get an assortment of great lettuces, kale, fresh herbs like cilantro and dill, broccoli so delicious you’ll never want to eat anything other than organic broccoli again, garlic scapes, cool daikon radishes that resemble white carrots, and lots and lots of beautiful red radishes. As the season is progressing, so are the crops, and the veggies we receive every week are changing up, but we’ve continued to get a lot of radishes, which led a few of us to start looking into recipes that use radishes and ideally the radish greens too. After a while, we’ve found ourselves at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them other than slice them up for salads. After some hunting around, one of our letterpress printers, Carrie, who is one of the finest artisans we know to ever run an Original Heidelberg windmill, found and tweaked the following recipe that was so good, we just had to share it in the event any of you are at a loss as to what to do with all of your radishes. If you like food with an Asian flair, you will love this recipe.
Asian Hamburger Skillet
- 1lb lean hamburger (although many of us are vegetarians so we substituted the Morning Star ground “meat” instead)
- 1 medium red onion, sliced about 1/4″ thick then cut into 2″ lengths
- 1 bunch of radishes, cut in matchsticks
- 1 bunch of radish tops, cut roughly into 1″ pieces
- 4 carrots, julienned or cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1-1/2 tsp ginger paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (although we’ve also tried General Tso’s sauce and it was delicious!)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 lime (optional)
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large sauté pan, cook hamburger (or meat substitute) over medium high heat, until just beginning to brown, breaking into small bits with spatula. Stir in onion and radishes and cook another 2-3 minutes. Stir in carrots, radish tops, ginger paste and fish sauce and cook 5-10 minutes until onions are softened and hamburger is cooked through. Sprinkle with lime juice (if using) and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately…and don’t forget to let us know how you like it!
Beyond our beautiful letterpress wedding invitations, a lot of our clients love working with Bella Figura because of our extensive eco practices and our geunine dedication to the environment. We recognize that an increasing number of brides and grooms are looking to be more eco-conscious in their wedding planning and wanted to offer some suggestions for seeking out wedding vendors that are truly eco-friendly. If you’re seeking to limit the impact of your event on the Earth, opting to work with wedding vendors who are fully committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible is an important part of doing so. While “green” tends to be a common trend these days, for us and other like-minded wedding professionals, being as green as possible is our way of life. Not sure where to start or how to identify true eco wedding vendors? Here are some things to consider and to ask potential vendors when speaking with them:
– Inquire about third party certifications and/or seals of approval from environmental organizations such as Green America, Green Hotels Association, Greener Photography and others
– Check to see that the vendor has a formal waste reduction/recycling policy in action as well as policies in practice to help reduce energy consumption
– Ask vendors about their own practices in dealing with suppliers – do they have a formal purchasing policy in place whereby they give preference to other eco vendors/suppliers?
– If a vendor is providing you with a product, inquire about the materials and packaging used in production. Do they use renewable energy in production? Do they use non-toxic or less toxic materials? Where possible, packaging itself should be minimal and of a high recycled content.
– Products that are made from rapidly renewable resources are also preferable in addition to seeking out high recycled content where possible. If wood is involved in production, is it harvested from certified, sustainably managed forests? Is the product itself recyclable?
– Does the vendor support broader green living practices such as by subsidizing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships for employees, for instance, or offering bus passes to
employees to encourage public transportation use, or by offering on-site recycling and composting?
– Inquire about donations and support of environmental organizations and causes. Does the vendor offer money, services or products to charitable or community organizations?
– Ask vendors if they participate in donating 1% of sales through 1% for the Planet or in another way dedicate a portion of sales to environmental causes
– Check with your vendor to see if they participate in third-party certified renewable energy or carbon offset programs such as Native Energy
– Find out if a vendor has a mission statement that explicitly expresses their commitment to the environment
Keeping these things in mind will help you to pinpoint companies and vendors that are truly dedicated to limiting the negative impact of their business operations upon the planet. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors about their eco policies as any truly eco-conscious professional will be more than happy to let you know what differentiates them from the pack. To learn more about our own eco practices, you can visit our website.