Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

This buttermilk biscuit recipe is a stand-alone taste treat too, but it’s versatile enough to enjoy with jam, apple-butter or a little butter.

• 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour (and more for rolling)
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. granulated sugar
• ½ tsp. baking soda
• ½ tsp. salt
• 6 Tbsp cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
• ¾ cup cold, well-shaken buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

In a large wide bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, soda and salt.  Using a pasty blender or your fingertips, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size lumps.  (The flour and butter mixture can be refrigerated in a zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month.  If frozen, thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.)

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the buttermilk, just until the flour mixture is moistened.  Do not over-mix.  The dough should just come together, and it will be sticky.  Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently knead 6 to 8 times, dusting lightly with flour if needed to keep it from sticking.

On a floured surface, pat the dough into a 4×8 inch rectangle.  Use a 2” cookie cutter for rounds or a large, floured knife, cut the dough into eight 2-inch square biscuits.  When making round biscuits gently re-form the cuttings to use up the dough.

Place them on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

(Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, Aug/Sept 2013)

Young people and that first job on the farm

by Jay Reesor

Every once in awhile, I am asked what I enjoy most about being a farmer. It would make sense that I would respond, I love to watch things grow or I enjoy planting corn, both of which I enjoy. But that is not my answer to that question. What I really enjoy is working with youth. Our farm, market, and store have given me plenty of opportunity to hire and work closely with perhaps hundreds of high school and university students through the years.

Sometimes it’s a young person’s first real job working with us, so they come rather nervous and shy. Sometimes their moms or dads “make” them come to work and they really don’t want to be working. One of the things that we have learned is to make sure that we are dealing directly with the young person, and not their parents. (But on that note, my dad got me one of my first jobs at a golf course.)

I think I am drawn to working with the shy ones ’cause I used to be pretty shy myself and I love to build them up and help them gain confidence. It is remarkable to watch the positive development of youth through their experience at work. To watch them grow from awkward and a little slow to confident and capable is really a privelege! It is also wonderful for me to be in an environment that includes youth. It gives me a window into the challenges that teenagers and young adults face.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to wander through the soybeans and check for pod development and I enjoy seeing my customers select their corn from a giant pile of Gourmet Sweet Corn. But I get a great sense of accomplishment from observing one of our young staff gaining confidence and practical skills on the job.

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Jordan Barkey is one of our summer staff who started last year working in the farm market.  This summer he’s also doing deliveries and selling sweet corn from one of our trucks.

Rustic Tomato & Cheese Tart

August and September are the best months to enjoy Ontario tomatoes in all their juicy and flavourful glory, but this tart tastes good with Ontario greenhouse tomatoes year-round.

This tart uses a buttermilk biscuit dough for the base and your favourite cheese or blend of cheeses.  It looks lovely in its rustic form, so don’t worry about shaping the crust perfectly. It makes about 6 servings and goes well with a green salad.

Tip:  Reesor’s Market & Bakery carries Kawartha Dairy Buttermilk or  you can make your own buttermilk substitute by adding 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to 3/4 cup of milk and waiting 5 minutes for it to thicken.

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Rustic Tomato and Cheese Tart

• 1 recipe Buttermilk Biscuit Dough (see recipe below)
• 2 Tbsp cornmeal or semolina flour
• all-purpose flour, for rolling
• about 1/3 cup feta cheese (or your favourite cheese)
• 3 to 4 medium, ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
• Salt
• about 2/3 cup coarsely grated Gruyère (or your favourite cheese)
• 1/3 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s Light works well)
• 1/3 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and chives
• ½ tsp. dried oregano or marjoram
• Freshly ground black pepper

Position rack in the center of the over and preheat to 425 F.  Sprinkle a 12×17 sheet of parchment with the cornmeal or semolina flour.

On the cornmeal, pat the prepared biscuit dough into a 5-inch round.  Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 13-inch round, lightly dusting with all-purpose flour to keep the dough from sticking, if necessary.  Transfer the dough on the parchment to a large baking sheet.

Crumble the feta cheese over the dough, leaving a 1½-inch border.

Arrange the tomatoes over the dough in two flat, slightly overlapping concentric circles, lightly salting each circle as you go, leaving a  1½-inch border.

Combine the Gruyère, mayonnaise, herbs and pepper in a small bowl.  Dollop the mixture in generous tablespoons over the tomatoes. The tomatoes do not need to be completely covered. Fold the dough border over the edges of the tomatoes, pleating the dough if necessary.

Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the tomatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack, about 30 minutes, before cutting into wedges and serving.  You can also serve it at room temperature.

(Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, Aug/Sept 2013)

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Brooker’s Natural Meats

Tom Brooks the owner of Brooker’s Natural Meats in Schomberg, Ontario has established a unique way to bring Ontario meats to a few select stores.

Tom comes from a grocery store owner background and in 2009 began to envision a healthier way to eat than what has been available in the mainstream grocery stores. That vision helps him continue his labour of love providing Ontario meat to people who are becoming increasingly interested in their food sources.

Along with a team of farmers in Harriston, Ontario, Tom established a breeding program for cattle, pigs and chickens and hires these farmers to raise them on grass pastures and free-run chicken pens. The animals are raised as naturally and as stress free as possible and are shipped to nearby, provincially inspected facilities to make sausages and cuts of meat to Brooker’s recipes. Tom’s philosophy about meats is, “If it doesn’t need to be added—then don’t add it.”

At Reesor’s Market & Bakery in Stouffville we offer a range of Brooker’s Natural Meats including chicken sausage and chicken burgers, pork sausages, and beef hotdogs. All of our Brooker’s meats are gluten-free.

We are loving their chicken sausage on the BBQ and loving the short ingredient list: chicken, water, salt, raw sugar, parsley, chives, leeks, garlic. You can also try their Mild or Hot Italian, Honey Garlic, Spinach Feta, and Oktoberfest pork sausages or the nitrate-free pea-meal or sliced bacon.

Brooker’s chicken products are made from chickens raised using no hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides and fed on a diet that is 100% organic. All are raised in a large, ethical, well-ventilated environment with free access to the outside.

The pork products are made from pigs that are allowed to forage and root through the grass for everything they need to be raised naturally. Their pasture diet is supplemented with a 100% GMO-free organic grain feed.

Even the Brooker’s beef hotdogs are gluten-free and nitrate-free and made from cattle that have a diet of 100% grass in the summer and grass silage during the winter months.

Brooker’s individually seals and flash-freezes their meats and you can store them in your freezer for up to six months to a year with no danger of freezer burn. Look for Brooker’s Natural Meats in our white freezers.

www.brookersmeat.com

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How about changing up your BBQ condiments?

At Reesor’s in Stouffville we have a great selection of chutneys, relishes, ketchups, and mustards to add some extra zip to your BBQ’ed meats, fish dishes, curries or anything that you want to liven up. Our favourites are Sweet Onion Balsamic Chutney made by Round the Bend Preserves; Lasting Heat Peppercorn Mustard prepared by the Savvy Chef, and Ketchup made by Country Flavour (maybe you’ll say goodbye to Mr. Heinz).

Reesor’s sweet corn is in full swing & tasting great

We’re picking sweet corn at our farm on the Ninth Line and we and our customers are loving it as much as ever.

If you need lots of sweet corn for a corn roast or freezing you can phone ahead to place an order and we will have it all bagged and ready for you to pick up at our Stouffville market or at our farm market. And it’s 10% off when you buy 5 dozen or more.