“Farm to Table” is a phrase that is beginning to get a bit of backlash in the West… some food critics and writers claim it’s overdone, that when they go to eat out in the spring they are assaulted with more of the same, take ramps for example, or whatever produce is at its peak at that moment. Bunch of babies. Of course if you ate out every frigging night the chances are you would run into similar specials at good restaurants if the chefs featured what was great in the markets… So choose another dish from the regular menu! Duh.
For me, I LOVE IT when something arrives fresh from the “farm”… It looks different, vibrant, almost still alive. It is proud, fresh and quite inspiring for the cook. And it DOESN’T HAPPEN often enough in Manila. It’s bad enough we aren’t near many farms, but even our weekend markets are made up mostly of middlemen out to make a buck, very few of them the actual growers of the produce they sell (I know several exceptions, and mention them often enough).
These greens speak for themselves. From Gejo’s Malipayon Farms last week, I got some spectacular chard up top. Spectacular. Just the right size for me, greens not too thick and they were wonderful in a bean and sausage soup we made a day or two later. The second photo features a lone gai lan, or Chinese kale… sent as a sample and I told Gejo it looked wonderful, I could have used a kilo of those! Above, bunches of SPECTACULAR spinach. ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR.
We also got this incredible looking bunch of lemongrass or tanglad. Just compare that to the ones you find in grocery chillers, the difference is like night and day! These went into a Tom Yum Gung Soup, and were chopped up for some chicken inasal.
Minutes after the delivery was received, I headed into the kitchen to make a wilted spinach salad with some bacon and onions for lunch. It was fantastic!
I also had a bowl of homemade split pea and ham soup, made from leftover ham hocks for the broth. Yum.