The face of the local food system is typically associated with farmers markets and community supported agriculture models that offer direct producer to consumer interactions. Little known players in the local food system also include values-based aggregators and distributors that allow farmers to access a wider range of markets and serve communities with little or no access to fresh food. Individual consumer actions such as purchasing locally and reducing consumption of animal products create incremental changes in transforming a food system, however, a broader range of actors and stakeholders are needed to create systemic change in the food system. Local and regional food systems now have greater engagement from many different stakeholders, and innovative values-based businesses and social enterprises have been popping up all over the U.S.
Food hubs are one such emerging model which actively manage, distribute, and market food products mainly from local and regional producers in order to meet the demand from wholesale, retail, and institutional entities. The emphasis on the values-based approach makes food hubs especially poised to help new farmers enter the wholesale marketplace and grow their operations, create greater access to institutional and retail markets for small and mid-sized producers and increase access to fresh and healthy food for low-income and communities of color.
Corbin Hill Food Project prides itself in its mission to supply fresh food to those who need it most and expands on the traditional Food Hub model to meet its mission. In the early days, Corbin Hill did aggregation upstate. As Corbin Hill has grown, it has worked to leverage existing aggregation and transportation in order to better serve those typically left out of the local food system. This has allowed Corbin Hill to enhance the capacity for growers in the Northeast region to market their produce to consumers in New York City and has a ripple effect for creating a viable and sustainable local food system that serves the needs and leverages the assets of underserved communities.
Bosc pears are the easiest pears to identify because of their long, slender necks and brownish skin. The pear’s flesh is sweet, crisp, and firm. Bosc pears are an excellent choice for cooking or baking. They can also be eaten raw. Try slicing them into your next salad! This week, we have two recipes for you to experiment with. If you are in the mood for a dish that’s both sweet and savory, try Chicken with Turnip and Pear. Have a sweet tooth or chocolate craving? Try making the Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones.
3 firmish pears (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated or coarse for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chips)
2 large eggs, 1 for dough, 1 for glaze
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Peel and core pears. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pear chunks on parchment and roast until they feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath about 20 minutes. Slide parchment paper with pear chunks onto a cooling rack (or onto a plate in the fridge or freezer to speed this up) and cool to lukewarm. Leave oven on. Line baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar and salt together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Toss in cooled pear chunks, bits of butter, heavy cream and 1 egg.
3. With the paddle attachment, mix the dough on low speed until it just comes together. Don’t overmix. Add the chocolate chunks and mix for 5 seconds more.
4. On a very well floured counter, pat out dough into a 6-inch round. Cut into 6 generous wedges and transfer to a baking sheet at least two inches apart.
5. Whisk remaining egg in a small dish with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush each scone with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
6. Bake scones until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
7. Do ahead: You can get this recipe all the way to the point where you’d bake them, and instead cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and freeze them overnight. Bake them directly from the freezer in the morning; they should only take a few minutes longer. For longer than overnight, transfer frozen, already shaped, scones to a freezer bag until needed. In both cases, brush the egg wash/sprinkle the sugar on while still frozen, before baking the scones.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Cook time: 50mins
Chicken with Turnip and Pear
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 medium pear, peeled, cored, chopped
1 medium turnip, peeled, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
½ cup salted, roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, until skin is browned and crisp, 10–12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
3. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, pear, turnip, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring occasionally, until pear and turnip are soft and starting to turn golden brown, 15–20 minutes.
4. Carefully add wine and thyme, then return chicken to skillet, skin side up. Cook until wine is almost completely evaporated and chicken is cooked through, 8–10 minutes. Serve topped with macadamia nuts.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit
Cook time: 45mins