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Archive for May, 2011

Chocolate and amaretto go so well together.

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Rich, dark, silky chocolate and sweet, smooth amaretto.

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I adapted this cupcake recipe and this frosting recipe to achieve this flavorful but not-too-boozy recipe.

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Vegan Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup amaretto (plus more for dipping)

1 cup natural cane sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional, but awesome)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. With an electric mixer, beat together the following ingredients in a large bowl: non-dairy milk, amaretto, oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat on medium speed for a minute or two.
2. Now sift in the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, until the clumps are gone.
3. Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pan, about two-thirds full for each. Bake for about 22 minutes at 350F, or until the cupcake slowly springs back when pressed with a finger. Allow to completely cool before dipping the cupcake tops into a small bowl of amaretto and frosting.

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For a bit more boozy cupcakes, dip the cooked and cooled cupcake tops in a little bit of amaretto before frosting.

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Vegan Chocolate Amaretto Frosting

Makes enough frosting to top 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup vegan margarine, room temperature

1/4 cup amaretto

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 cup coco powder

1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

almond slivers to garnish

Method

  1. Beat the margarine using an electric mixer until fluffy.

  2. Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt then beat for 3 minutes more.

  3. Pour in the amaretto then beat for another 5 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy.

  4. Pipe or spread the frosting on to your cakes as desired.

Perfect for birthdays, picnics and BBQs.P5277181

 

I hope everyone back home has had a great Memorial Day. I spent the morning at school then went out to lunch along the Rhine with a group of my girl friends. A lovely way to spend a hot, late spring day!

Tonight I’m going to a bar called Spleen to listen to Andrew Vladeck, a singer and songwriter from New York who’s stopping in Bonn on his European tour.

Should be a good night, I’ll tell you more tomorrow!

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This week has been full of delicious food, exciting adventures, and memorable events.

I’m not going to let my lack of modern-day journaling prevent this week from being known. Much of what I mention now will hopefully be put into a more detailed post of its own, but in the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy my week in review.

Last Saturday

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I had such a good day last Saturday. Sebastian and I drove to my new favorite German museum, Kommern Open-Air Museum. I was going to bring my class to the museum on Thursday for a trip and wanted to be a bit more knowledgeable before leading a tour.

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The museum has collected and repaired traditional buildings from the Rheinland and placed then into four communities. Visiting the museum is like traveling back in time.

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We enjoyed walking through the buildings and imagining what it must have been like to live in the Rheinland region 500 years ago.

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Old-fashioned rhubarb custard crumble cake

After visiting the museum, Sebastian and I did a bit of shopping then went to see two short plays.

The Bonn Players, the theatre group I’ve acted with in the past, was showing their spring productions. Both plays were very well done and really enjoyable to watch. After the play, Sebastian and I ate an extremely late Italian dinner at a local restaurant then called it a night.

Sunday

Lazy day at home. Probably the most interesting thing I did was ate a great soup and salad lunch.

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Chickpea vegetable soup, mixed salad and bruschetta.

Monday

I’ve told you about.

Tuesday

At school the kids performed their musical for Year 2 and a few parents who weren’t able to come on Wednesday. Other than that, it was a normal school day.

Once home, Sebastian and I made a very traditional German spring dinner.

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Boiled new potatoes, fish, white asparagus and hollandaise sauce.

Wednesday

My students performed their Pied Piper musical for their parents. There were several teary eyes in the audience and many appreciative greetings at the end. I am so proud of the kids as well. They really put everything they had into this show.

Thursday

The class trip to Kommern was a huge success.

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The kids were fascinated by “the olden days.” As opposed to Saturday when Sebastian and I went, on Thursday, the town was ‘working.’

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The bakery was baking bread, the blacksmith was making horseshoes, the housewives were cooking and gardening.

Probably the most memorable part of the day was meeting a woman who described what life would have been like 200 years ago. She had everyone captivated by her tales of childhood and hard manual labor.

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I was absolutely exhausted after the trip and was so happy when I got home to find that Sebastian had prepared pizza dough for dinner.

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We ran to the grocery store and strawberry stand before beginning to bake our pizzas. I made a fennel and red onion pizza with black olives and a balsamic glaze.

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Absolutely divine.

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Sebastian went down the spicy road and made a salami and jalapeño pizza.

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I also whipped together a very quick rhubarb tiramisu using a recipe from my vegetable box.

Needless to say, Thursday night I slept like a baby.

Friday

Last day of the week before a week off of work (sort of.)

School went well, one of the mums came in for Mystery Reader and finished reading The School Mouse. I have loved listening to this particular mum read this book. She reads with the most soothing and beautiful British accent your could imagine. I’m just sad that the story is over. I always feel a bit down the few lonely days after finishing a good book.

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After school, I came home and made birthday cupcakes for my friend and classroom assistant, Prachi. I had planned on bringing the tiramisu but realized that I’d be carrying around a heavy glass dish all night and decided to go the dish-free direction.

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 Vegan Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes, I promise a recipe soon!

Because of my baking, we were running so late that we decided to take the car after all. I guess carrying a glass dish wouldn’t have been a problem. We ate at a Mexican restaurant in Bonn called Tacos. I had delicious vegetarian fajitas and a margarita. We ended up staying at the restaurant all night, laughing, talking and simply having a relaxing night out.

Saturday

I didn’t sleep well Friday night because I was too nervous about Saturday morning. My friends Jan and Matt are in a band and invited me to sing a couple of songs at an upcoming gig.

Saturday was my first rehearsal with the band and to say that I was nervous really is an understatement. Only Matt has ever heard me sing so I was really afraid that the rest of the band would be unimpressed and question his judgment. Luckily, all went well and I had a really good time with the band. Our next rehearsal is on Thursday then the gig is on Friday.

Once rehearsal was finished, Sebastian and I went to IKEA then over to Jan and Zoe’s to help them move into their new apartment. They are only moving next door, but the new flat is about 3x larger than the old one. Doctored up frozen pizzas and beers were shared on the new balcony then we relaxed and chatted while listening to music late into the night.

Sunday

Beside cooking a really fun breakfast and dinner, today has been a total write-off.

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I slept in, made breakfast, fell asleep while reading, woke up again, watched three documentaries, talked on the phone with my friend, made dinner, then started blogging. A very unproductive day.

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I have this coming week off of school but will be going in to work most of the days to work on writing reports. Although I hate that I’m spending a “vacation week” writing reports, I’m glad that I have the time to focus on the reports while the classroom is all mine.

Alright, thanks for sticking with me through this long post, I promise to provide a few of the recipes on their own as well as a dedicated post to Kommern Open-air Museum.

I hope all of you have had a great week and a relaxing weekend.

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This is what happens while you talk to someone across the room and whip cream at the same time. P5106366

Oops.

Several weeks ago when I made my friend Rachel’s birthday pavlova, I over whipped the whipped cream and stumbled upon the way to create delicious homemade vanilla sweet cream butter and buttermilk.

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After over whipping the whipping cream, I was left with the fat solids and the liquid.

I simply strained away the butter milk and set the butter on a paper towel to strain a bit more.

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Over the past week, I’ve spread the vanilla sweet cream butter on hot English muffins and toast. Slightly sweet and dainty.

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The vanilla sugar butter milk took my whole grain pancake mix to a whole new level.

Strawberry yogurt and fresh strawberries perfectly complimented the pancakes.

So, how to make this delicious mistake?

Vanilla Sweet Cream Butter and Butter Milk

Ingredients

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

Method

  1. Combine the whipping cream and vanilla sugar in a large, cold bowl. Whip together with a handheld mixer past the whipped cream stage until the whipped cream breaks into solids and liquids.
  2. Strain the butter milk off of the butter. Strain the butter in a cheese cloth or paper towel.
  3. Refrigerate and enjoy.

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Day in the life of” post. I really enjoy looking back at my earlier posts because they were more of a journal or diary rather than ‘just recipes.’

I guess a mixture between the two is the way to go for me.

Speaking of mixtures, my dinner tonight was a wonderful mismatch of delicious recipes.

Before getting to dinner, let’s start with breakfast.

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Breakfast was a yogurt bowl using my new favorite Turkish yogurt topped with raw oats, fresh strawberries from my CSA box, ground flaxseed, raw buckwheat and slivered almonds.

Delicious.

My time at school has been very busy lately. Last week the students had to take their standardized tests which means that this week I’m very busy marking the tests. We have also been busy putting together a musical which has been a lot of fun, but a lot of behind-the-scenes stress for me.

My first break today was spent trying to work out some computer kinks with the tech guy at school. After much effort, neither my SD drive nor my scanner were properly working. Boo.

At least I was able to munch on an apple during the so-called-break.

Regular lessons continued after the break and before I knew it, it was lunch.

Although I didn’t snap a photo of my salad, it was identical to the salad I ate yesterday, so here’s a slightly blurry picture of that salad.

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All ingredients, except for the chickpeas and salad dressing came from my CSA box.

Cabbage, red leaf lettuce, zucchini, carrots, red peppers, chickpeas and a dressing made with grape seed oil, white wine vinegar, sweet mustard, salt and pepper.

Lately I’ve recognized that my produce supply is now grocery store free. All of the vegetables in my refrigerator for at least the past 3 weeks have come from my boxed delivery scheme. Really cool to be eating completely locally grown vegetables.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to really enjoy my lunch today as I was too busy arranging microphones and the sound system for my students’ musical.

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My adorable 18 students are putting on a musical performance of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. They have worked so hard to create the set, costumes, props and characterizations.

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The backdrop for the musical turned out really well, if I do say so myself. I sketched a town scene onto two large bed sheets then the kids took it away from there.

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They mixed their paints then painted the entire scene. They worked so well together by organizing themselves into ‘task forces.’ Our classroom assistant and I then went through and outlined everything with black permanent markers.

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The amazing music teacher at our school actually wrote all the music for our musical. I told her what I wanted to do, gave her a few lyrical ideas and she created something amazing.

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Today my class invited the whole school to watch their dress rehearsal. Although they were obviously nervous, they sang their little hearts out and really impressed the students and teachers alike.

I am so so very proud of these kids.

We have another rehearsal tomorrow with a small audience and then the parents’ performance on Wednesday.

Wish them luck!

After school, I went to the gym and took a new class. It was so hard but so good. While taking a shower, I could barely rub the shampoo in my hair- my arms felt like noodles.

Once finished at the gym, I came home to make dinner.

My refrigerator was getting pretty full of food that needed to be used up or thrown out. Although this meal was a real mismatch of unlike food items, the whole package was magical.

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Wild rice, tahini coleslaw, rhubarb chutney and breaded tofu.P5236948

Let’s be honest, I only made the rice to use the rice cooker I inherited yesterday from a leaving teacher. Making the rice was more fun than eating it and all but a couple bites sadly went in the bin.

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I used Mama Pea’s recipe for Tahini Slaw but omitted the peppers. Although I accidently went a little heavy on the dressing, this slaw recipe is a keeper. I love the Asian flavor from the ginger and creaminess of the tahini.

Yummy!

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This past week, a good looking recipe for Crispy Tofu Kabobs with Rhubarb Chutney was posted on one of my favorite recipe blogs, vegalicious.

I knew then and there that these recipes would help me put to use the tofu and rhubarb that were hanging out in my fridge waiting to be used.

Although I didn’t have panko crumbs, normal breadcrumbs worked very well. This is actually the first time I’ve ever fried anything or made a chutney.

While everything (except for the rice) was delicious, the real star of the whole meal was the rhubarb chutney.

Holy Cow!

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Spicy, sweet, warm and flavorful, this chutney rocked my taste buds.

If you have 3 stalks of rhubarb handing around, please make this chutney. It was so simple with outstanding flavor and depth.

Such a yummy, mismatched meal.

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Last Sunday, I went on a short hike with my friends Jan and Zoe.

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We started at the car park just above Rolandseck, a neighboring village.

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It was overcast and a bit chilly, perfect weather for an uphill hike.

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On the way up, we stopped to spy through the gates of a private property. Imagine living in a turret.

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The hike was quite easy with a few hilly areas. Everything is finally green again. I love spring.

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There are several longer hikes and bike trails which lead to the remains of the Rolandsbogen Castle. These paths are marked with different numbers and paint symbols which can be seen to the right of the arch above.

P5156730 Cool root systems were enjoyed by all.

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Before we knew it, we’d reached signage of the Rolandsbogen Restaurant.

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Here’s a little history about the Rolandsbogen Castle, copied from this source.

Above Remagen and Rolandseck, near the island of Nonnenworth, is the former castle of Rolandsbogen. It is now in ruins, although offers magnificent views to those who climb up to see it. The castle was built by Charlemagne’s nephew, Roland. He supposedly returned from serious injury in Spain to find his wife had taken her vows as a nun on the island. So he built this fortress to be able to catch glimpses of her. The castle was built around 1040, and fell after an earthquake in 1673. Roland’s window still stands romantically in place.

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Romantic even with the story rolling in.

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Up a few more steps, we found the arch, cafe and restaurant. The building above is actually a Standesamt, one of the registered locations for the legal, civil union side of marriages in Germany.

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The view over the Rhine was fantastic.

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With the Seven Hills across the Rhine, and the convent turned school on the island, this castle once stood proud with an amazing view.

We had a coffee and shared a slice of cheesecake and apple cake while waiting out the storm before making the descent.

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The walk back down was a bit more sunny and humid but still really lovely.

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I’m so lucky to live in such a geographically interesting place. Just minutes from my home I have hills, dormant volcanoes, prairies, forests and one of the most important rivers in Europe.

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I just need to get out and hike more often.

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Over the last few weeks, strawberries have burst into season in Germany.

The tiny fruit stand down the road has once again set-up-shop, ready to share the bounty of their berries.

As I approached the stand last week, the smell of strawberries was so pungent, I felt like I was walking through the fields.

In honor of the fresh spring strawberries and their very compatible  blueberry friends, I made a delicious vegan tart.

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The crust was a simple combination of almond meal, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and almond extract.

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After heating the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt together over medium-low heat, I added the almond extract then poured the warm mixture over the almond meal.

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Simply fold the mixture until well incorporated then press into an oiled tart pan. P5076197

This crust is baked for 15 minutes before adding the filling.

Speaking of the filling…

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The filling ingredients are apple juice (I used Weber,) cornstarch, maple syrup, lemon juice, almond extract, lemon zest, salt, blueberries and strawberries.

P5076193Half of the apple juice is whisked together with the cornstarch then set aside.

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The mixture will look quite milky.

From here on out, I didn’t take any pictures, but the next step is to cook together the remaining apple juice and zest, maple syrup, lemon juice, almond extract and salt until it simmers.

After that, stir in half of the berries and cook until they release their juices before reducing the heat and adding the cornstarch mixer while continuing to whisk.

Once the mixture is thick, fold in the remaining berries and place the mixture in the prepared crust. Spread evenly, cover and refrigerate until set.P5076204

Delicious, fresh and spring-like!

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Mixed Berry Tart

Adapted from Clean Start by Terry Walters

Crust

2 cups almond meal

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon almond extract

Filling

1 cup apple juice

2 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

zest of 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and lightly oil a 9-inch tart pan with coconut oil.
  2. To prepare the crust, combine maple syrup, coconut oil and salt in a small skillet and heat over medium-low hear, whisking continuously until the oil is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the almond extract.
  3. Place the almond meal in a large bowl and pour the syrup mixture over top, folding to incorporate the ingredients.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared tart pan and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove crust from the oven and press down any bubbly areas of the crust. Cool the crust on a wire rack.
  5. To prepare the filling, whisk together 1/2 cup apple juice and the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup apple juice with the maple syrup, lemon juice and zest, almond extract and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add 1/2 a cup of both the strawberries and blueberries. Stir the mixture until the berries release their liquid.
  6. Reduce the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to whisk until the liquid thickens up. Remove from the heat and gently fold in the remaining berries.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust, cover and refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 1 hour.

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Chickens, juice and vegetables- Saturday was a fascinating day as I toured the farms and local businesses where my local CSA grows and acquires their produce and products.

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The tour started at 9:00 at the farm where the vegetable boxes are packed, Biolandgärtnerei Hüsgen. When I first chose to receive a weekly vegetable box delivery, I picked this company for a few main reasons:

  • Their dedication to growing organic produce
  • Their support of other local organic farmers
  • Their commitment to be as environmentally friendly as possible
  • The ease of participating due to their online shop
  • That this business is allowing a young family to do what they love while being available to their children

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In addition to their vegetable box delivery scheme, they also own and operate a small organic grocery store for the community.

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The store had a wonderful local feel to it. It was at this shop that I saw my first bulk bins in Germany. They had a little bit of all things necessary without being crowded.

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Outside the shop, they had so many vegetable plants and flowers for sale. I would love to go back to buy some plants for the balcony.

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The shop was really busy with locals from the village picking up their plants and weekly shopping.

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Throughout the first half hour, we were free to walk around the shop and farm before setting off in a tour bus at 9:30.

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Our first stop was Hof Alpermühle, the farm where my eggs come from.

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The eggs from Hof Alpermühle are free range and certified organic. We were taken on a tour of the chicken coops as well as the room where the eggs are sorted, stamped and packaged.

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To be certified as an organic, free range chicken farm, the family farm must meet certain regulations (I hope I get everything right, my German is alright but not fluent.)

  • Chickens are all-natural, unmodified by breed or body
  • Access to organic food and water at all times
  • Access to the outside (the barn is closed up over night to protect the chickens from foxes)
  • Access to shelter at all times
  • Free choice in nesting
  • A dry, naturally ventilated, sanitary shelter
  • No more than 4 hens per square meter (at this farm, they only have 2 hens per square meter)

One thing I found a bit ironic was the chicken feed. The ingredient list on the hens’ feed is healthier and more natural than probably 85% of food items that we’d find on grocery store shelves.

All feed ingredients were certified organic and recognizable as grains that we’d even eat.

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The farm has 2,500 chickens, split into 4 family groups, which each lay one egg per day in the morning hours, usually between 6-10 am.

Although the barn is kept closed over night, the doors are opened bright and early to allow the chickens access to open pastures once they’re awake and active.

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We were shown one of the hens up-close. Here, the owner, Mr.Klose, is describing how the beaks of chickens are cut off in caged farms. Every hen on his farm looked like the image of a healthy and happy hen.

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This is the nesting room. The hens have free choice to lay eggs wherever they want but they like the dark of this part of the barn. Once the hens lay their eggs, they head outside.

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The nests slightly slope back, allowing the eggs to roll and be collected. The size of the eggs depends on the age of the hens. Older hens lay larger eggs than young hens.

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I was really impressed with how clean the barn was. The hay on the ground was dry and fresh, keeping the hens’ feet healthy. Since the barn was so sanitary and the hens were so healthy, the eggs came out immaculate.

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Once the pallets of eggs are collected, they are taken to be sorted.

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The sorting is done by a conveyor belt system which is carefully observed by the employees of the farm.

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Some stages are more carefully observed than others, such as the candling stop where the eggs are checked for shell damage and deformities.

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I remember candling eggs in kindergarten throughout the process of hatching chickens in a classroom incubator.

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Here Mrs. Klose was explaining the difference between egg sizes and colors. She also told us that her dogs, although not trained to do so, protect the hens from hawks and foxes.

Every member of the Klose family, human and hound clearly love the hens they care for.

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After the tour, we were treated to coffee, brownies and fresh fruit.

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The brownies came from a local bakery that only uses eggs from Hof Alpermühle.

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One thing that was really funny was when Mr. Klose opened the barn door. As soon as the hens heard his voice, they came running from all directions to greet him like a pack of loving dogs.

I am so glad to know where my eggs come from. To see the way the hens are cared for makes me completely comfortable consuming a product from this farm.

It was also wonderful to meet the family and get to know their passion for organic farming.

After the chicken farm, the next stop was the local juice press.

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I once received a mystery-free bottle of Weber apple juice in my vegetable box. It was the best apple juice I have ever drank, 100% pure fruit juice, pressed in a family press not far from my home.

The tour of Weber Fruchtsaftkelterei started in the apple orchards.

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Mr. Weber took us around his apple orchard while explaining the varieties, pollination of the trees and recent weather conditions.

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The orchards host bees, local grazing animals like cows and sheep, birds and even small children.

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The blossoms have just fallen off of the apple trees.

Weber buys apples, pears, rhubarb, cherries and an assortment of other fruit from local farmers, but 10% of the apples used in their products were grown in the Weber family’s own orchards.

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They also import some exotic fruit such as mangoes and bananas for a few of their juice varieties.

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Although some fruit which can not be grown in this area is imported, they are committed to using local fruit for all else.

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Seeing that it’s spring, the presses were not running but we were invited to return in the fall when the apples are harvested and to see the press in action.

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I have no idea what Mr. Weber was talking about in the large room full of huge metal vats. The technical language mixed with the loud echoing kids’ voices= I didn’t catch a single thing.

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The room was pretty impressive none the less.

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After the big jugs room, we saw the assembly line where the bottles are cleaned, filled, sealed and labeled.

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Weber reuses its bottles like most other beverage companies in Germany. I love the pfand system here. When you buy most drinks, you pay a pfand for the bottles. Pfands are usually between 8-20 cents, depending on the size and material of the bottle. When you’re done with the contents, you bring the bottle back to the store and get your money back. This economic incentive results in bottles being reused rather than going to garbage dumps or incinerators.

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The whole process, from apple branch to bottling takes place on the family-owned property.

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After the tour, we were invited to a juice tasting.

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Apple mango, pear, apple, apple cherry, apple black currant, and apple elderberry juice were served.

Mr. and Mrs. Weber even brought out their apple sparkling wine for us to taste.

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My favorite juices were the plain apple and apple mango. I bought a bottle of both from their little shop.

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I also bought a bottle of rhubarb nectar which I brought to a going-away BBQ Saturday evening. We mixed the rhubarb nectar with champagne– so so so delicious!

After our visit at Weber, we went back to Biolandgärtnerei Hüsgen for a yummy fresh lunch before continuing the tour of the gardens and box-packing facilities.

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Lunch was white asparagus soup and a salad. Both asparagus and the red lettuce were in my box this week.

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The local organic bakery where the delivery scheme buys its bread was also at the farm for us to taste and buy some of their new products. Although almost all of their products are vegan, when eggs are used, DLS whole-grain mill bakery only uses eggs from Hof Alpermühle.

Here is the DLS Bakery promise, copied and translated from their website.

Our products contain
NO preservatives
NO dyes
NO emulsifiers
NO cling materials
NO acidity regulators
NO anti-mold agent
No industrial bakery
NO pre-mixes

NO Animal products (with the exception of two bread recipes.)

All grains are grown under the highest organic standards in and around Hennef. The grains are slowly ground daily on natural stone.

I bought two wild garlic baguettes to bring to the Saturday night BBQ and a wild garlic and tomato quiche which I ate for breakfast on Sunday.

After lunch, we were shown the box-packing facilities.

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All 1,100 weekly organic produce boxes are packed by hand.

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We were shown how the produce is weighed, wrapped and organized for each and every individual box. One thing is for sure, every employee really seems to love and believe in the value of their job.

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Next up, the tractor wagon was uncovered and those of us who were interested in touring the Hüsgen family farm hopped on to the hay bale seats and went on a ride to the greenhouses.

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Several of the organic farms in the area operate through a partnership. Each farm grows the vegetables that they grow best, then they share the harvest.

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Although the Hüsgen farm grows more than what we saw in these greenhouses, what we saw here was the main part of their partnership crop.

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Tomatoes

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Peppers

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More tomatoes

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Cucumbers

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Rhubarb

While looking at the rhubarb patch, one little girl cried out, “Mommy, we had that in our box this week!”

To which the mother replied, “Yes, and here is where it came from.”

How cool is that?

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Salads, dark leafy greens and herbs.

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Mr. Hüsgen honestly discussed farming methods, costs, and difficulties in operating an organic farm. He expressed his dislike for the plastic-covered greenhouses but explained that they work well, are durable and more affordable than glass greenhouses. I respect him for his honesty and willingness to share his triumphs and struggles with us.

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I am so happy that I am able to support this farm and all the other local businesses associated through them.

I truly trust in the health and wholesomeness of the products I consume from all farmers I saw on Saturday and all those who I didn’t see but know are trusted by the Hüsgen family.

P5146664 If you live in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia, the photo above outlines the organic produce box suppliers in this area of the state.

If you live anywhere else in Germany and are interested in finding a Community Supported Agriculture scheme near you, please visit oekokiste.de.

For only 13 Euros per week, I am spending less money on food than ever before while eating healthy, local, organic produce and supporting businesses that I believe in.

Choosing to receive a weekly fruit and vegetable box is one of the best changes I’ve made in my life here. Seeing exactly where that food comes from has made my choice even more satisfying.

A big, warmhearted thank you goes out to everyone who participated in the Spring Tour this past Saturday (not that any of the farmers even know about this blog.)

I especially thank Biolandgärtnerei Hüsgen for allowing me to see, for free I might add, exactly who I’m supporting with my measly 13 Euros.

Thank YOU for reading along about this awesome day in my life!

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