Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eating Omily: Freekehn' Good

I love my local veggies, local cheese, local maple syrup, local honey, local meat, local eggs, even local popcorn. It's a way of life for me. There are, of course, some things that I can't buy from small local businesses or farms yet. Frozen meals, of course, dried pasta, and grains. Grains is a big one. I love brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat couscous, oatmeal, etc. I had pretty much resigned myself to getting my basmati from the foothills of the Himilayas for only a couple bucks a pound (really, Trader Joe's?) for lack of a local option, but those days are over, Baby! Say hello to freekeh!

Well, I should say, say hello to the Cayuga Pure Organics! I take this quote from their facebook page to make it clear to you just how awesome these people are, and how very very much you want to support them:

"Cayuga Pure Organics, based in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, is an Organic farm with a mission: To re-build our local food systems in harmony with the earth, and in the spirit of community."

Yay! They'll be at the Union Square market this Saturday. You can find them there every Wednesday, and most Fridays as well. But if you're not quite close enough for that to be an option, say 'Hello!' and place an order here! I also recommend liking them on facebook to keep a bead on which market they're at when, and which awesome beans and grains are in the harvest.

So...what the freekeh?

Freekeh is actually made from wheat. When the wheat plants are still immature, and the wheat seeds are soft and still have a lot of water, they're harvested and roasted. Here are some pictures (after cooking).

The immature seeds have a lot more protein, vitamins, and minerals than do fully mature wheat seeds or other grains, which have more starch. You cook freekeh similarly to brown rice: 2:1 water to grain, simmer for 45 minutes. I recommend throwing in an extra quarter to half cup of water per two cups of water, and letting it go a little longer than that, depending on how al dente you like your grains. Ironically enough, here is a picture before cooking!
The flavor was described to me as smokey, but upon tasting, I'd have to describe it as ridiculously delicious. The epitome of savory flavors, sort of like the best parts of mushrooms and bacon rolled into one. Seriously, I keep nibbling on the cold leftover freekeh in the fridge like some kind of healthy crack fiend.

As you may have noticed, the price, at $6 a pound, is certainly higher than my TJ's brown rice, but it's not like you tear through a pound of grain all that fast...ok, this stuff is so good we're definitely eating it faster than we ever did rice...all the same, I think we can swing it, and maybe you can, too, at least some of the time! That extra money is your contribution toward sustainable farming practices, human rights, supporting your community, and working our way back toward a sustainable way of life. Quite a bargain when you look at it that way!

Freekeh's not the only grain you probably haven't heard of that they're offering. Next week I'll have to try the quinoa alternative they suggested and let you know how it goes. If it's half as good as freekeh, TJ's grain days are over!

Trying new things is one of the great pleasures of local eating in general, and farmer's market shopping in particular. Not only was the lady selling me my beans and grains friendly and knowledgable, but plenty of die-hard fans waiting their turn for their weekly fix jumped in, giving me cooking tips (add extra water!) and more info on taste and texture (it's chewier than brown rice...). You can make more friends in ten minutes at a Farmer's Market than you can in an hour at the grocery, and that is a guarantee I'm willing to stand behind.

Shop local, eat local, love local. Because it's freekehn' awesome!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Emily! I had no idea that was available in NY. And we will definitely do an affordable yoga wear post soon! :) Thanks for the suggestion! xo style, she wrote