Culinary Adventures

I was a little hurt when my middle daughter bluntly asked why I thought anyone would buy baked goods from me at our produce stand. I guess she has reason. For too many years, she grew up eating my failed “experiments.”

I’m the kind of cook who never hesitates to alter recipes by subbing in different ingredients, amping up spices I like, and ignoring signs that the cooking time needs to be extended. Even people who like me a lot worry when I announce as they sit down at my table that dinner is a new dish I’m trying out.

But I also have fans. Shared at a bridge tournament, my apple pecan cake was re-cut into tiny slices by the kitchen workers who said it tasted so good they wanted everyone to be able to have a piece – and it disappeared quickly. My cheesecake has become the family go-to recipe for potluck dessert; one daughter’s friend sent a text telling me it was better than sex. (I suspect she’d been drinking.)

When Ken joined my life seven years ago, I began to take cooking seriously. I raised three girls, so I’m not used to the volume a highly active 6’8” guy can consume. It’s much cheaper (not to mention healthier) to make meals from scratch. I’ve built up quite a repertoire of recipes that not only are reliably tasty but that also use up all that produce he grows.

This winter, I set out to test recipes to sell baked goods at the stand. Customers who took our survey last year indicated they would be interested in buying desserts and breakfast treats. As I began to build a menu of goodies, I had some requirements in mind:

1. We only sell what we are legally allowed to. We don’t have a commercial kitchen, but I’ve earned my California food handlers certificate. So under the cottage food law, we can sell jams, breads, muffins, cakes and much more.

2. We want our products to be tied to what we grow here at Full Flavor Farm so people will know we are using fresh ingredients. Yes, we buy our flour (unbleached), sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, etc. But the applesauce used in place of oils comes from apples we’ve canned. We grew the lemons, zested the peels and froze the juice. The carrots and zucchini that will be in our breads are growing out in the field as I write this. The peaches, apricots and blackberries that make such tasty muffins and flavor-filled jams are taking shape on trees and vines now.

3. We want people to be able to eat without guilt, but also feel empowered to indulge occasionally. The stand will have a Healthy section where individual servings are between 92 calories (zucchini brownies) and 200 calories (peach cobbler muffins and lemon zucchini mini-loaves). The higher-calorie desserts, however, will require a more disciplined approach to consumption! We’ve created nutrition labels that will be on display to provide details about calories, fats, carbs and fiber.

When our stand opens in late May or early June, Ken will bake his caraway-seeded Papa Bread and sourdough loaves for Sunday sale. I’ll be offering breakfast muffins and scones, mini-loaf snacks, and indulgent desserts, all fresh on Fridays. Exactly what will be available from week to week will be advertised on our website with an updated posting each Thursday.

With an array of baked goods added to our produce, eggs, honey and jams, our hope is to entice our neighbors, friends and customers to make Full Flavor Farm a weekly stop!


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