Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Bounty of August--Fruit and Cheese

The first of August is known as Lammas or Lughnasadh. The half way point between the summer solstice and the fall equinox, it was traditionally a festival celebrating the first harvest of grain. Loaf-day or Feast of the First Fruits are other names for this early August celebration. I like the concept of the first fruit, because for me, August represents a month plentiful with fruits of all kinds. August is a month full of delicious ripe tomatoes, melons, peaches, plums, and the beginnings of apples, pears and more. August 3 is actually National Watermelon Day, a fitting start to a month in which these delicious hallmarks of summer picnics appear at markets and in your CSA share.

Here at Inverbrook the start of fruit season is celebrated with melons in your CSA share for the next couple of weeks and the start of the North Star Fruit Share. The fruit share has long been sold out, and if you are at all interested in getting a fruit share next year I suggest you get on the waiting list right now. Luckily, there are other great sources of fruit nearby—Glenn Willow, Vollmecke, and Barnard Orchards, not to mention all the great local farmers markets have fruit vendors (including Frecon at the Kennett Market on Friday and North Star at the West Chester Market on Saturday). I might also add fruit to the Friday Farmstand, I will keep you posted.

Along with the fruit share, I also encourage you to check out the various options for cheese (and yogurt) at Inverbrook. When the weather is hot, and cooking seems less appealing, nothing could be better than simple pairings of cheese and fruit—cheddar and tomatoes, feta and watermelon, yogurt and peaches, brebis and melon—all possibilities with the Hillacres Pride Cheese Share and the Highland Farm sheep products available at the farm.
I was reminded of this delicious pairing of fruit and cheese after a recent visit to Aimee Olexy’s beautiful new restaurant Talula’s Garden. The weekend before last I decided to escape the heat with a trip to Philly to visit with my sister. We took refuge in the air conditioning of the Ritz theatre, saw a great movie, and on the way home popped into Talula’s Garden for a drink (I got a delicious margarita , appropriately called the “Farmer”) and a cheese plate masterfully prepared by Josh Kaplan (see picture above). On the platter were some tiny white peach slices that tasted just amazing after nibbling on the various cheeses included on the platter. I came home from my weekend away excited about the pairings I could create at home with the soon to be bountiful fruits, melons, and cheeses that are now flowing into the distribution shed. At the Talula’s Garden bar we also met a fun couple now living in Florida that alerted us to their friend’s daughter’s blog Starving Off the Land,definitely worth checking out.

Below are some more links about pairing cheese and fruit (or inspired by cheese and fruit):

Madame Fromage cheese pairing

Apples and Cheese –great local food blog

Philly Local’s Messy and Picky cheese pairing party

Hopefully these postings will inspire a fruit and cheese plate for your next August gathering. If you missed getting Highland Farm cheese or yogurt during your CSA pick up, you can always grab some during the Friday Farmstand from 2-7PM every Friday. And now for the sound track (this concept of a meal/ingredient sound track was “borrowed” from the Modern Farm Table blog I featured in the last posting)—Hey August from one of my most favorite local artists Chris Kasper